Policy Statements: Democratic Reform

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Want to understand how Christian values can translate into responsible policy on democratic reform?

Public justice demands that our leaders to undertake reforms that would increase voter trust and promote participation and healthy engagement in civic affairs. 

CPJ believes that introducing proportional representation to our electoral system would make it stronger, help it represent a broader range of views, and respect the reality of pluralism. 

CPJ calls on the federal government to: 

Adopt a system of proportional representation

A public justice framework calls for everyone (both citizens and leaders in society) to contribute to the common good. This requires accountability, dialogue, and fair representation. An  electoral system based on proportional representation accomplishes this by ensuring that everyone’s vote counts and incorporating diverse views and values into political institutions.

CPJ recommends that proportional representation or a preferential ballot system be studied with a view to future use in Canada.

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End audits of charities' political activities

Many Canadians support the work of charities, which together comprise over eight per cent of the national GDP. Recently, concerns have surfaced about audits undertaken by Canada Revenue Agency targeting charities’ perceived political activities. According to press reports, a “chill effect” on democratic charitable activities has resulted. The Canadian Council of Churches, of which CPJ is an affiliate member, has raised this substantial concern in a letter to government.

CPJ calls for an end to the government's audits of charities' political activities.

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Restrict or eliminate the use of omnibus bills

One method of enhancing democracy would be for governments to severely limit the use of omnibus bills in the House of Commons. Omnibus bills put several measures on a diverse array of policy areas up to one vote by parliamentarians. Ten omnibus bills have been presented to the House of Commons since the 2011 election, amending hundreds of Acts.

The use of omnibus bills prevents MPs and Canadians from properly scrutinizing and approving legislation.

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Insure that public policy-making is always informed by evidence

Our public policy-making should always be informed by evidence. Senior researchers in the civil service need to have their opinions heard and government research should be made widely available to the public. Our government has a responsibility to act transparently and ensure efficient access to information and government documents.

CPJ is pleased to see the reinstatement of the long form census. We also call for the federal government to bring back the National Council on Welfare and the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.

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Faith in Our Vote

A Public Justice Case for Proportional Representation 

Submission to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform
October 2016
Download the Brief

CPJ recommends that the Canadian government adopt a system of mixed-member proportional representation (PR) that is effective, legitimate, engaging, accessible, inclusive, and representative.

CPJ for proportional representation

CPJ Submission to Public Consultation on Electoral Reform
May 2003
Read the letter
CPJ has a longstanding belief that our current "first past the post" system of political representation is fundamentally flawed and should be replaced by a proportional representation model. 

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