MPs from all parties will be given an opportunity to demonstrate their openness and transparency today, as the NDP will table two motions in the House that would open to the public the Bureau of Internal Economy and have the mailing programs of all parties be subject to an unbiased examination.
“The NDP believes that the only way to have real accountability for the BOIE is to replace it by an independent body. But until then, the only way to make it more transparent is to lift the veil of secrecy and to ensure that all meetings are open to the public”, said NDP House Leader Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster).
The same philosophy applies for mailing programs. “The rules should be the same for everyone, but there is a partisan interpretation of a lack of clarity. We want mailings from all parties to be examined, in order to set the record straight and place all parties on equal footing,” added Julian.
The Chief Electoral Officer of Canada also thinks that we need more clarity and we need to seriously study the mailing programs. “These are complex matters that warrant careful consideration as they have many repercussions on the activities carried out by Members of Parliament”, wrote Marc Mayrand in a letter to the Speaker of the House.
The motions read as follows:
That the House request that a) unless discussing matters relating to security, employment, staff relations or a tender, or if unanimous consent of all Board members present is obtained, all meetings of the Board of Internal Economy be held henceforth in a transparent manner open to the public; b) all Board proceedings be henceforth recorded and verbatim publications of the proceedings be made publicly available; c) all reports of studies ordered henceforth by the Board be made publicly available; and d) proceedings of the Board to be held in camera, as well as reports of studies ordered by the Board to be kept confidential, only take place after a publicly held discussion of the Board explaining the necessity of the confidentiality.
That the House request that the Board of Internal Economy conduct an investigation, in a transparent manner, of all large-volume mail programs administered by MPs or their offices, and clarify all rules surrounding mail sent using franked envelopes.