Layton to crack down on absent MPs: Plan will dock pay of MPs who miss over half the votes

MPs who go AWOL should pay a fine to Canadian taxpayers, New Democrat Leader Jack Layton said today.

Layton proposed a plan that would cost MPs $1000 if they miss half the votes in a given year without a good excuse.

“Canadians expect their elected MPs to show up to Parliament and vote on their behalf. That’s why they send us to Ottawa,” said Layton. “Canadians are working harder than ever. They expect nothing less from their MPs.”

“It’s an insult to voters to consistently and deliberately avoid voting on the issues that matter to them. My proposal ensures that if you don’t show up, you will pay a price.”

Layton said that most MPs work hard and take their responsibilities very seriously. That’s why his proposal makes allowances for MPs who miss votes for good reasons.

Those include: Parliamentary and committee business, personal and family illnesses, and pressing constituency work.

“My proposal will help restore public confidence in Parliament,” said Layton. “As elected officials we have a duty to Canadians. It’s our responsibility to demonstrate that we take our obligations seriously and that we accept responsibility for not meeting it.”

Layton’s proposal is in addition to rules already established by the House of Commons for self-recorded absences.