Individual MPs need more power and freedom in the House of Commons, says Liberal MP Paul Martin.
In his first major policy speech as a Liberal leadership contender, Martin said Canada's lawmakers are hampered by a system where power is centralized and where MPs must toe the party line.
He said reforming the House of Commons will help to buck this trend towards a "democratic deficit."
"Unfortunately, the authority of individual Members of Parliament has been allowed to erode, while power of the executive...grows," Martin said in a speech Monday at York University's Osgoode Hall law school.
"It's who do you know in the PMO...We must move to address this democratic deficit."
He outlined a series of proposed changes which include:
- Allowing politicians to vote as they choose not merely vote the party line as long as the vote doesn't bring down the government
- Introducing an independent ethics commissioner
- Having more independent parliamentary committees
- Renewing the system for private members' bills
Since then, Martin has made numerous public appearances and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.