After 10 years under the Harper government, Ottawa is broken. Canadians’ faith in politics has never been lower. After promising reform, the Conservatives have delivered the most centralized, partisan and self-serving government in our history.
Under Harper, Science and evidence have never mattered less; politics and partisanship have never mattered more. The people elected to represent their community in Ottawa have become Ottawa’s voice in their community.
That’s why the Liberal Party has proposed a comprehensive plan to restore Canadians’ confidence and trust in government—a plan for real change.
Real change is about opening up government. The Liberal Party will reduce fees for requesting government documents and extend the public’s right of access to information to all Ministers’ offices, including the Prime Minister’s Office. We’ll also ensure independence for government watchdogs.
Real change is about providing Canadians a stronger voice in Ottawa. We’ll strengthen the role of MPs, introduce more free votes, and reform Question Period to ensure the answers are relevant to what was asked. The Prime Minister will regularly answer questions from all MPs, not just party leaders.
We will also reform the Senate. Unlike other parties, we’re not going to cynically promise to do the impossible or engage in a lengthy debate with the provinces over the constitution. Instead, we’ll create a non-partisan Senate that serves Canadians, not political parties.
Real change is about making every vote count in every election. As part of a national engagement process, we will ensure that electoral reform measures – such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting and online voting – are fully and fairly studied and considered. And within 18 months of forming government, we will bring forward legislation to enact electoral reform.
We’ll also ban wasteful partisan advertising. Toughen penalties for elections fraud. And close loopholes in political finance laws.
Real change is about making policy based on facts, not facts based on policy. We’ll let science and scientists speak—even when the truth is inconvenient. And we’ll bring back the long-form census.
Real change is about raising the level of service provided to Canadians to a higher standard. We’ll expand digital and phone services. Stop the Conservatives’ plan to end door-to-door mail delivery. Overhaul the Canada Revenue Agency so it serves taxpayers rather than frustrating them. End the political harassment of charities and clarify the rules to reaffirm their important role in public debate.
Finally, Liberals will commit to gender parity in all government appointments—and our federal Cabinet will have an equal number of men and women.
These are just highlights of our plan. All are part of a Liberal agenda that will shed new light on the government and ensure that it is focused on the people it is meant to serve: Canadians.
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada