Friday, June 29, 2007
SHOULD NEW BRUNSWICKERS BE CONCERN ABOUT THIS ISSUE????
New Brunswick's Opposition Conservatives say there's a big hole in the Liberal plan to improve the workings of elections and the legislature.
The provincial government Thursday delivered its official response to the Commission on Legislative Democracy, which was appointed under the Conservatives in 2004 and delivered its recommendations in early 2005.
"Our response to the Commission on Legislative Democracy outlines the first steps we are taking on a much longer journey," said house leader Stuart Jamieson.
But Jamieson said those steps will not include the commission's big-ticket recommendation — a referendum next year on whether some MLAs should be elected based on proportional representation, or the percentage of the popular vote parties receive.
Conservative MLA Bev Harrison says the decision against holding a referendum is hardly democratic.
"You missed the cornerstone here, and I think you need to be more responsive to allowing people to make the decisions you just made now," the Hampton-Kings MLA said.
Jamieson told reporters electoral reform needs more careful consideration, but he also said the Liberals simply didn't like a system that includes proportional representation.
The Liberals are already moving on several ideas, like a ban on political parties topping up the salaries of ministers, and protection for bureaucrats who blow the whistle on government corruption. They say they'll also bring in measures to get more women to run for office, and set up a registry of consultants who lobby the government.