Canada Needs Recall Legislation

Petition e-980 calls for putting power back in the hands of the Canadian people

In theory, our political leaders work for us. In practice, they take our money and then do whatever they want in between elections.

In most cases, they become disconnected from the people who elected them. In the worst cases (as with Justin Trudeau) they pursue an agenda that goes against the interests of those they are supposed to serve.

The incentives in our system make it easy for politicians to forget about Canadians, since once they are elected, it’s almost impossible for them to lose their seats until the next campaign.

Petition e-980 (available on the Parliament of Canada website – aims to change that.

The petition is clear, and gets right to the point. Here is what is says:


  • There is currently no election law at the federal level that allows elected politicians to be removed from parliament; and
  • The Liberal Party of Canada election platform in 2015 was to have electoral reform.

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to pass a bill that allows for recall referendums.

This is a big step in the right direction.

Recall legislation would re-balance the power relationship between public servants, and the public.

After all, the word “servant” in public servant is supposed to actually mean something. If a government or elected member completely betrays the promises they made to get into power, and if they act in a way that is totally incompetent, the people must have the right to recall them from office.

British Columbia – the only Canadian province with recall legislation – provides an example of how a nationwide system could work. Here is what the Elections BC website says about recall:

“Recall is a process through which a registered voter can petition to remove a Member of the Legislative Assembly from office. A voter can only petition to recall the Member for the electoral district in which they are registered to vote. The voter must collect signatures from more than 40% of voters eligible to sign the petition in that electoral district. Applications for recall petitions cannot be submitted to Elections BC during the 18 months after the Member was elected.”

Quite reasonable. It provides time for a politician to establish themselves, and sets a fair threshold for recalling them.

A nationwide recall system would lead to much better governance, because our leaders would remain focused on listening to the public at all times. It would also give the voters great leverage – even when it wasn’t being used.

Consider what would happen if a Prime Minister forced an extremely unpopular agenda upon a country: Under today’s system, MP’s would just meekly go along with it. With recall legislation however, MP’s would fear for their jobs more, and would thus be much more likely to push back against dictatorial leadership.

The Canadian people would be stronger, and the politicians would be weaker. That would be a very good thing for Canada.

Unfortunately, the current system works in the exact opposite way. The politicians are powerful, while the people have been dis-empowered.

What we see today is that politicians get elected, push their own agenda for 3 years, and then listen a little bit in the last year before an election in the hope that everyone will forget all the deception.

We must do better than that.

We must put our government back in the hands of the people. That means bringing in recall legislation to put the politicians and elites on notice that they work for us, not the other way around.

Click here to sign Petition e-980

Spencer Fernando