McGuinty Government Takes Bold Action To Strengthen Our Democracy
Historic New Legislation Would Fix Dates For Future Elections
TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Michael Bryant, Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, today introduced legislation that would set fixed dates for elections, calling it an important step to strengthen Ontario's democracy.
"Elections do not belong to premiers, to use as they see fit for their own political agenda," said Premier McGuinty. "This legislation will strengthen democracy in Ontario and help engage the people of this province in the most ambitious democratic renewal process in our history. It will ensure that government works for Ontarians, not around them."
If the legislation passes, elections will be held on the first Thursday in October every four years, starting Thursday, October 4, 2007, and political considerations will no longer be a factor in the selection of election dates.
"Under the leadership of Dalton McGuinty, we're doing something today that no government has ever had the courage to do in the history of this province," said Minister Bryant. "We're doing away with the right of premiers to choose when elections will be called."
Fixing election dates is just one part of the government's broad and historic agenda to modernize democratic institutions by reaching out to Ontarians and engaging them in the most ambitious democratic renewal process in Ontario's history. Since taking office, the McGuinty government has:
- Introduced legislation that would eliminate the waste of taxpayers' dollars on partisan, self-promotional government advertising
- Given every government MPP a seat on powerful cabinet committees that help set policy
- Appointed Ontario's first Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal.
Premier McGuinty said fixed election dates will help restore people's faith in democracy and encourage voter turnout by making voting easier.
"With this bill, we are putting ownership of election dates where it belongs: in the hands of the people. In the future, all citizens -- not just the Premier -- will know when the next election is," said Premier McGuinty. "This is how government should work in the 21st century, and it's how government will work in Ontario from now on."