C) DEMOCRATIC REFORM

6. Officers of Parliament

The Conservative Party believes that senior officers such as the Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Comptroller General, Ethics Commissioner, Information Commissioner, and Privacy Commissioner should be appointed by Parliament and report to it.

7. Free Votes

The Conservative Party believes in restoring democratic accountability into the House of Commons by allowing free votes.

All votes should be free, except for the budget, main estimates, and core government initiatives. 

On issues of moral conscience, such as abortion, the definition of marriage, and euthanasia, the Conservative Party acknowledges the diversity of deeply-held personal convictions among individual party members and the right of Members of Parliament to adopt positions in consultation with their constituents and to vote freely.

8. Supreme Court Judge Appointments

The Conservative Party believes that nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada should be ratified by a free vote in Parliament, after receiving the approval of the justice committee of the House of Commons.

9. Senate Reform

The Conservative Party supports the election of senators.

The Conservative Party believes in an equal Senate to address the uneven distribution of Canada’s population and to provide a balance to safeguard regional interests.

We believe that wherever the people of a province or territory by democratic election choose persons qualified to be appointed to the Senate, the government should continue the practice of filling any vacancy in the Senate for that province or territory from among those elected persons.

10. Electoral Reform

The Conservative Party believes the discussion of possible changes to the electoral system is valuable in a healthy democracy.

In reviewing options for electoral reform, we believe the government should not endorse any new electoral system that will weaken the link between Members of Parliament and their constituents, that will create unmanageably large ridings, or that will strengthen the control of the party machinery over individual Members of Parliament.

A national referendum should be held prior to implementing any future electoral reform proposal.

The publicly-funded annual payment to federal political parties of $1.95 per vote received in the previous federal election should be cancelled immediately and there should be no additional public funding of federal political parties beyond that presently contained in the Elections Canada Act.

11. Independent Judiciary

The Conservative Party believes that an independent judiciary is a vital safeguard of the freedom of Canadians against the exercise of arbitrary power by the state.

12. Parliament, the Courts and the Charter

The Conservative Party believes that Parliament, rather than the courts, is the law-making body of Canada.

We support the establishment of a parliamentary judicial review committee to prepare an appropriate response to those court decisions that Parliament believes should be addressed through legislation.

We re-affirm the legitimacy of the entire Charter of Rights and Freedoms including section 33 (notwithstanding clause).

We support legislation to remove authority from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to regulate, receive, investigate or adjudicate complaints related to section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

13. Property Rights

The Conservative Party believes the government should seek the agreement of the provinces to amend the Constitution to include this right, as well as guarantee that no person shall be deprived of their just right without the due process of law and full, just, and timely compensation.

We believe the government should enact legislation to ensure that full, just and timely compensation will be paid to all persons who are deprived of personal or private property as a result of any federal government initiative, policy, process, regulation or legislation.

14. Rights of Workers

The Conservative Party of Canada:

i. supports the right of workers to organize democratically, to bargain collectively and to peacefully withdraw and withhold services while:

a. respecting the law,
b. respecting the right of other workers, without sanction, not to participate should they so chose, and
c. respecting private property;

ii. believes that Government should work with unions and employers in areas of Federal jurisdiction to develop dispute settlement mechanisms and encourage their use to avoid or minimize disruption to services to Canadians;

iii. supports the right of union workers to a secret ballot in any strike vote and in all union
elections;

iv. supports the requirement that unions be subject to full, transparent annual financial reporting so long as they enjoy a not-for-profit status and receive public support in the form of tax deductibility of union dues;

v. believes that the federal government must act to ensure that members of unions under federal jurisdiction have control over the use of the funds collected in the form of mandatory dues. The federal government should legislate the following:

a. federal Public Service unions and unions in federally-regulated industries must explicitly detail on an annual basis for their membership the portion of their budget allocated to political donations, donations to media organizations, and to
political activism and campaigns; and

b. federal Public Service Unions and unions in federally-regulated industries must allow members to opt out of the portion of their dues that are allocated to the activities in (i) above.


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