Democratic renewal committee mandate

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Special Committee on Democratic Renewal has worked hard on a number of fronts over the last year and a half, and I think all members of this House would agree that we’ve accomplished a lot.

The white paper gave the committee a mandate to look at a number of things beyond different electoral systems such as gender balance, the role of MLAs, the legislative calendar, and the civility of debate in this House. Of course, I’m disappointed with the government’s response to the plebiscite results, but I hope that we can still see progress in the other important areas of democracy which this committee was mandated with.

A question to the Premier: Will the special committee be allowed to complete the rest of its mandate?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, the scope that was laid out in the white paper was laid out with the full intention that this would be the business of this House in the course of this mandate, and indeed, a number of the matters referred to by the Leader of the Third Party have been referred to in throne speeches, so it may well be, and it’ll be for this House to give further guidance to the special committee, in the event that those matters are to be pursued by the special committee, Madam Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Premier and democratic renewal committee mandate

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Yesterday, along with the other party leaders on Prince Edward Island, I received a letter from the Premier outlining his plan for election finance reform.

Election finance reform was part of the mandate of the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal so I was sort of surprised when the work we had started in this area was so suddenly and completely overridden by the Premier’s letter.

Question to the Premier: Why have you superseded the mandate you, yourself, gave to the special committee on electoral reform?

Mr. Myers: Because you wouldn’t tell them what he wanted to hear.

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, I didn’t supersede the committee whatsoever.

I followed up on the ministerial statement that I made last spring and on a commitment that we made in the throne speech, and have laid out very clearly and openly and transparently proposals for consideration with the intention that those would be pursued precisely as is said in the latter part of the letter.

If this House is of the view that the special committee should take up that work, then they may well do so.

But I don’t think because a special committee exists that that means that the Premier is prevented from bringing forward very important reforms that will make the kind of change that I believe the Leader of the Third Party and others have been calling for.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party.

Premier and campaign spending limits

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you, Madam Speaker.

While I would hope that if the Premier is, indeed, going to supersede the work of this committee that he would at least follow the direction he gave himself in the white paper.

On election financing the white paper spoke of four areas in election financing that should be addressed: who would be able to make donations; how much those people or bodies could make in terms of donations; taxpayer subsidies to the parties; and caps on campaign spending. But that caps on campaign spending was left out of your letter.

Question to the Premier: You changed your mind on whether corporations and unions can make donations, you changed your mind on who was going to continue the work of this body. Did you also change your mind on capping spending limits?

Speaker: The hon. Premier.

Premier MacLauchlan: Madam Speaker, as the Leader of the Third Party will know, we actually discussed this in my office on November 7th as part of the consultation process that I indicated last spring I would undertake.

I did, also, with the Leader of the Opposition, although I was disappointed on the extent to which that was followed up.

But that’s the nature of a consultation. As I said to the Leader of the Third Party when we met, that campaign financing may indeed, but campaign spending may, indeed, be something that arises further downstream.

This is a letter and it’s a comprehensive letter with comprehensive proposals that are well laid out, and I encourage all hon. members to take them up in the spirit in which they’ve been put forward.

Thank you, Madam Speaker.



  1. W.Wilkins 19 December 2016 at 10:56 am

    With all respect and openmindedness, I would appreciate if the Premier would explain what he means by “. . . the nature of consultation”. An honest explanation of what he means by consultation may also shed light on what he means by “transparency” and “democracy”.

  2. rebootbill 19 December 2016 at 11:57 am

    Old Wadey Boy MacLaugh-in is at it again. Trying to show what a freaking intellectual he is, when all he really is, is an embarrassment to all Islanders. Complicated answers to simple questions is just another way of avoiding doing the wishes of the people. The people have spoken, and this so called Leader could not lead his way out of the paper bag he crawls out of everyday. He is not supposed to do what he feels or thinks is right. He is supposed to do the will of the people. Let the big guy call an election today and see if his big red machine will pay for another victory. With no campaign finance reform the Liberals think they will win the next election because they have the money. The Liberal Party will be sorely disappointed.


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