New Democrats introduce democratic reform legislation

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VICTORIA – New Democrat MLAs tabled three important pieces of legislation on Thursday to strengthen democracy in B.C..

“It’s well past time to modernize and strengthen our system of government and election laws,” said New Democrat spokesperson for democratic reform Gary Holman.

“With so many Liberal government scandals, examples of retribution against employees, misleading statements, and efforts to keep secrets from the public, it isn’t surprising that British Columbians are losing faith in the system.”

New Democrats introduced three pieces of legislation that would help restore integrity to government.

Holman introduced the Whistleblowers Protection Act that would protect people who provide information in the public interest on serious matters that are potentially unlawful, dangerous, demonstrate a gross mismanagement of public funds or negatively impact the environment.

New Democrat house leader Mike Farnworth introduced the Fairness in Financing Local Government Elections Act that would ban corporate and union donation in municipal elections.

“As we saw in the municipal elections across B.C., the current free-for all in election funding creates a huge financial imbalance between candidates,” said Farnworth. “New Democrats believe restricting campaign contributions solely to individuals will ensure greater openness and fairness in local government elections.”

New Democrat MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed Jane Shin introduced the Electronic Petitions Act that would allow electronic petitions to be formally tabled in the legislature, modernizing the way the general public are able to lobby their own government, and make the process more meaningful.

“The public’s involvement in the electoral system shouldn’t end the moment a ballot is cast,” said Shin. “Every British Columbian should have a meaningful way to have a say on the key issues facing the province.”

Holman said these three bills are just the beginning when it comes to what’s needed in B.C. to improve our system.

“I will be travelling around the province in the coming weeks and months to hear the ideas from British Columbians about how to improve our electoral system and democratic processes,” said Holman. “It’s my hope that we will be able to take some of those ideas and introduce more legislation that will help restore confidence in government and democracy in B.C.”

The democratic reform legislation introduced on Thursday can be found here:

Electronic Petitions Act 2014

Whistleblowers Protection Act 2014 – Holman

Fairness in Financing Local Government Elections Act