It is the job of a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly or of any governing assembly to work for the people. Certain undesirable characteristics or shortcomings of a representative chosen during a political contest may not surface until well after Election day. The electorate often have no recourse to terminate the elected individual until his or her term is complete, usually 4 – 5 years later. The Manitoba Party would seek to enact a Recall and Initiative Act through which the people of Manitoba can fire their MLA if he or she is doing a poor job representing them.
Recall is a process by which a registered voter can petition a governing body for the removal of their representative in the Legislative Assembly from office. To succeed the petitioner must obtain a certain number of signatures of registered voters in that district. In places where the measure is employed, recall standards or formula do vary.
One proposed standard is that the petitioner must collect signatures 75% + 1 of the number of votes the member received during the election from eligible voters within that electoral district. Applications for recall may not be submitted to Elections Manitoba during the 18 month period following the election. For example, an individual MLA was elected with 10,000 votes in their riding. The people of this riding can then petition to recall him or her once they have collected 7,501 signatures from eligible voters within that riding.
In Canada, the recall process is unique to B.C. – no other province or territory has a system in place for removing elected representatives from office between elections.
Some have suggested a further proposal to allow the citizens of Manitoba to recall their government by collecting 75% or more of the amount of votes the party received during the election.
For example, suppose the political Party in power were elected with 200,000 votes. The people of Manitoba can petition to recall the governing Party once they have obtained 150,001 signatures. This gives the electorate the power of a non-confidence vote and puts power back into the hands of the people between elections.
The Manitoba Party thinks a recall mechanism for wayward representatives a worthy proposal. More discussion is needed but we think it a step in the right direction.