Backbench Revolt or Parliamentary Reform?

The Churchill Debate on Parliamentary Democracy with a keynote by the Hon. Michael Chong, MP


Title text image and graphicDetails: The Churchill Debate at Hart House is one of the country’s premier public debates, co-hosted by the Hart House Debates Committee and the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy. Four of Canada’s top university debaters will debate whether Parliament should pass the Reform Act, a bill that would strengthen the power of backbench MPs, weaken the power of party leaders, and empower local riding associations. The resolution to be debated is “This House Would Pass the Reform Act”.


The debate will be followed by a keynote speech by the Hon. Michael Chong, MP for Wellington—Halton Hills and author of the proposed Reform Act.



When: Tues., March 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm
Where: Music Room, Hart House
Cost: Free


About Michael Chong

Michael Chong with PM Harper

Michael Chong was first elected to Parliament in 2004 and represents the riding of Wellington-Halton Hills. As cabinet minister, Michael served as President of the Queen’s Privy Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister for Sport.


Prior to his election, Michael acted as Chief Information Officer for the National Hockey League Players’ Association and as a senior technology consultant to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority for the redevelopment of Pearson International Airport. He has also held information technology positions at Barclay’s Bank and Research Capital Corporation.


Michael co-founded the Dominion Institute, now known as Historica Canada, an organization committed to raising Canadians’ awareness of history and civics and currently sits on its Board of Governors. He is also a former board member of the Elora Festival and the Elora Festival Singers, as well as a member of the Corporation of Trinity College, University of Toronto. Michael also attended Trinity College at the U of T where he obtained a degree in philosophy.


About the Reform Act

The proposed Reform Act is a private member’s bill that aims to restore a system of checks and balances that would shift some power back to members of Parliament and away from party leaders. The hope is that this process with strengthen Canada’s democratic institutions by empowering elected members of Parliament and allowing them to better represent the people that voted for them.


The Reform Act itself would have three main focuses:

  • Restoring local control over party nominations.
  • Strengthening caucuses as decision-making bodies.
  • Reinforcing the accountability of party leaders to their caucuses.


About the Hart House Debates Committee

Since 1924 Hart House formal debates have been the premier forum of debate and discussion at the University of Toronto. The debates are led off by some of the best student debaters in the world and also provide opportunity for all in attendance to express their views. The debates conclude with a prominent guest speaker, often newsmakers, journalists, or academics, providing their perspective on the resolution.


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