Federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau announced a new 32-point plan at a press conference on Tuesday to improve government services and boost transparency in government if the Liberals win October’s election.
On the party's website Realchange.ca, he outlines the plan. Notably, the party plans to "end" the Conservative government's practice of using "inappropriate omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny of legislative measures."
The Liberals also said they would end government "harassment" of charities through Canada Revenue Agency audits. In recent years, charities critical of the Harper government's policies have been targeted by what many call politically motivated audits. Sierra Club Canada Foundation director John Bennett praised the Liberals' statement, saying "Canadians need and want a nonprofit civil society that's participating in policy development" and that this has been hampered in the last eight years due to the chill caused by CRA audits.
"All the parties represented in the House of Commons, except the Conservatives, believe there is a role for charities in taking part in public policy," he said.
Under the section "more accessible information," the party outlines several key points:
- Amendments to the Access to Information Act so that all government data and information is made open by default in machine-readable, digital formats
- Elimination of all fees associated with the Access to Information process, except for the initial $5 filing fee
- Ensuring that Access to Information applies to the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices, as well as administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.
In addition, Trudeau expressed his desire to see an end to the first-past-the-post electoral system. The NDP, meanwhile, has also said it wishes to scrap the current system and switch to proportional representation. The Liberals don't specify whether they would support proportional representation, but say "2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system" if they are elected.
"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," the website states.
"This will be carried out by a special all-party parliamentary committee, which will bring recommendations to Parliament on the way forward, to allow for action before the succeeding federal election. Within 18 months of forming government, we will bring forward legislation to enact electoral reform."
The announcement comes on the heels of new polls showing Trudeau struggling in third place, behind the NDP leader Thomas Mulcair and the Conservative party's Stephen Harper, as the candidate most Canadians view as the best prime minister.