E-petitions will now count in Canada

It took three years for his Private Member’s Bill to come to fruition, but thanks to NDP MP Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby – Douglas), Canadians will be able to submit their signatures for petitions online.

The CBC reported that the House passed the bill by a narrow margin – 142 to 140 – and effectively kick started Canada’s petition system into the 21st century. It included a surprise vote of support by eight Conservative party backbenchers.

"For me, you know, when the prime minister voted against this … I thought that getting anything was going to be very, very difficult, so I'm really just tickled pink that we're going to get this today," Stewart said to the CBC, shortly before the bill was voted on.

Up until now, only paper petitions, with at least 25 signatures and a strict protocol, were allowed to be read into the House. The new system, which will be created by office of the Speaker of the House, will require 500 signatures, but allow for online participation.

Additionally, the CBC reported that the new online system will “give petitioners access to the official responses that the government is required to provide, which are currently simply tabled in the House, and made available only upon request.”

This is a positive move for Canada and Canadians – particularly on issues such as trapping, the cat and dog fur trade, and animal welfare, which a majority government had more easily been able to ignore.

What exactly this online petition format will look like and how well it will perform remain to be seen. But it certainly is a positive step forward for our country, and our animals.

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