TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
Brandon University political science Prof. Kelly Saunders and Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire shake hands at BU’s Clark Hall on Thursday during the announcement of a joint initiative between Maguire and students to crowdsource ideas for either a private member’s bill or motion to be tabled in the House of Commons.
Brandon-Souris member of Parliament Larry Maguire is turning to you, the constituent, to decide what bill he’ll bring to Ottawa.
On Thursday, the Conservative MP, along with Brandon University political science Prof. Kelly Saunders, announced a plan to crowdsource ideas for a private member’s bill or motion to table in the House of Commons.
Using an online template, anyone — regardless of age — can submit an idea up until Oct. 15, at which point second-year political science students will whittle down the submissions and select a few to be presented at a public town hall meeting in November.
There will be a panel of questioners who will help select the winning idea — which might just become a law.
There are some parameters. The ideas must be within the purview of the federal government, it must be constitutional, and must not compel the government to spend any money.
"The residents of southwestern Manitoba are passionate about their politics," Maguire said during the announcement at BU yesterday. "Connecting with people is the most important part of this job."
As part of Saunders’ politics class, which introduces students to the basics of government, the vetting process will be part of their semester’s curriculum.
"This way, they’ll actually be able to participate in the process," Saunders said. "I’m trying to get my students educated, but also passionate and engaged in this political system in Canada."
Maguire highlighted examples of private member’s bills introduced in the past, including amending the Criminal Code to provide for the offence of committing mischief in relation to a war memorial, prohibiting the sale of bulk water across international borders or making it an offence to wear a mask or other disguise to conceal one’s identity while taking part in a riot or an unlawful assembly.
"Whether it’s the oil industry or the agricultural industry, greater educational opportunities to name a few, we have a whole plethora of ideas out there in the region," Maguire said. "It can only bolster the value of democracy and I can’t think of a better way of reaching out."
The last private member’s bill to come out of this federal riding was in 2013, when Conservative MP Merv Tweed’s law to decrease postal rates for rural libraries passed — a bill first introduced six years prior.
The template can be accessed and the ideas submitted online at larrymaguire.ca/strengthen
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 22, 2014