NDP bill would allow online petitions in B.C. legislature

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      The B.C. New Democrats want MLAs to be able to present petitions other than those of the paper variety in the legislature.

      Jane Shin, the NDP MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed, today (March 24) introduced legislation that would see online petitions gain acceptance.

      "Thanks to modern technology, we now have an opportunity to enhance this tradition of petitioning with increased accessibility and efficiency. Electronic petitions can serve as a low-barrier entry point for our citizens, especially the youth, to communicate their concerns to this House," Shin said in the legislature, according to Hansard

      "Signatories will provide their name, phone number, mailing and e-mail addresses to validate their identities. E-petitions can improve the aspect of legitimacy more than their paper counterpart with built-in authentication measures against invalid or incomplete entries."

      At time of writing, the text of Bill M 205 (Electronic Petitions Act) wasn't available on the legislature's website.

      Currently, petitions must be in print form since they require physical signatures.

      According to an NDP news release, the U.K., the U.S., and Quebec already accept online petitions. The release didn't say whether the party would post an online petition in support of the bill.

      In January, the House of Commons tasked its Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs with recommending rule changes in order to establish an online petition system at the federal level.

      A motion by Kennedy Stewart, NDP MP for Burnaby-Douglas, asked the committee to consider the "possibility to trigger a debate in the House of Commons outside of current sitting hours when a certain threshold of signatures is reached".


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      Mar 24, 2014 at 7:54pm

      Isn't this just a copy of NDP MP Kennedy Stewart's federal e-petition bill?
      Good effort, but.... is this really from the heart?
      A resume full of misleading and changed information... and now copying....


      Mar 25, 2014 at 9:20am

      "Signatories will provide their name, phone number, mailing and e-mail addresses to validate their identities."
      And where will these petitions be stored? How securely? Will they ever be turned over to the police or any other body without a court order? The Cannabis Petition failed because some people were nervous about signing it and the police knowing about it.


      Mar 25, 2014 at 4:46pm


      What, pray tell, is your point? That good ideas in politics should never be "copied"? By that logic, Saskatchewan's original Medicare plan of 1962 should never have been emulated by the other provinces.

      Unlike Motive, I doubt the supporters of Kennedy Stewart's admirable federal petition bill will resent Jane Shin for proposing its application to the provincial level in BC. Why would they?


      Mar 25, 2014 at 4:57pm


      You overlook an important fact: petitions are public documents. Anyone signing a petition does so to air his or her grievances about the content or application of the law and, as often as not, to demand redress. In a free society, petitions are a public declaration by citizens of a position they share with like-minded citizens. Most petitions end up in a public registry of some kind, regardless of whether they are delivered in paper or digital form.

      If you sign a petition expecting to be anonymous, you should think twice about signing.