Author Topic: Electoral Reform  (Read 1457 times)

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Offline Zip

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Electoral Reform
« on: May 08, 2005, 00:20:58 »
We've talked about a triple E senate, various voting systems but are these really the root of the problem?

A friend of mine suggested that perhaps it isn't the way we get our elected representatives to the House of Commons but the fact that they pretty well have free reign once they are there.  Think about it. How many times have politicians been elected on "X" platform and then got into power and done nothing they said they were going to do? (does the name Dalton McGuinty ring a bell?)

Our current system is an enabling vehicle for cults of personality, and with no way of ensuring the promises made during an election are kept Joe Canada (the guy that makes up his mind in the polling booth, not those that think and really care about the issues) is left thinking that it doesn't matter who you vote for because promises don't matter and that he might as well vote (if he votes at all)for the guy that is "more priministerial". This cult of personality then moves into the new forum of the HoC where question period becomes a boxing ring where the only purpose is to "get" the opposition, accomplish something? Why bother, it's all about the optics, substance = slander, its poison politics.

So how to fix it. How do you make the politicians accountable? Yes I know that they are already accountable to the voter and if we don't like what they do then we can vote them out in the next election, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah blah blah, blah.  But really, isn't democracy supposed to be more than a series of elected dictatorships? Isn't handing over the reigns after the 15 minutes spent in the polling line supposed to produce government by the people for the people? "Man is free yet everywhere he is in chains"  ;)

The solution my friend suggested was this, in an election campaign the registered parties submit, in writing their platforms. These platforms become a first ballot, if you will.

When Joe Canada goes into that voting booth he selects his choice of solutions (as put forward by the various parties) for the important issues of the day. Some of these issues will be mandates, issues that must be resolved in the manner chosen by the majority of Canadians as per the ballot before the government's term in office is done. Others will not have this expiry date but are general guidance for the party that wins the election.  So our buddy Joe checks them off one by one.

Then on the second ballot he selects the candidate/party that he wants to implement these policies.

Once the winner is declared the government has a mandate and an order of business from the people. Should they break their word, i.e. go against the wishes of the population a recall of some sort would be instituted to force the government to comply or resign.

While it is obvious that this would create a great deal of accountability in government, and ensure that what the people get is what they actually voted for it could mean that a Conservative government would find itself implementing Kyoto or Gun Control or a Liberal government could end up saying no to redefining Marriage and yes to BMD.  The questions would leave the implementation of the mandates to the government and no doubt a conservative would implement differently than a socialist or a liberal but as long as the outcome achieved the aim of the original question that would be the test.

The more I think of my friends suggestion the more I like it. Imagine, politicians doing what they have been elected to, and in a reasonable amount of time to boot! No more waiting 12 years for Child care or campaigning on the increasing foreign aid to 0.07 GDP and not doing it.

This would also mean that we as citizens would (should) have to pay more attention to the policies that are proposed. This too would not be a bad thing IMO, Canadians should be engaged in the governace of the nation more than that 15 minutes on voting day.

Well, I'm starting to ramble so I'll end this here.  ;D

What do you all think, could this work? Why or why not.

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Offline TCBF

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Re: Electoral Reform
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2005, 01:45:12 »
Too complicated.  Merely instate the right of recall.  A minimum number of ballots to force your MP back from Ottawa to an immediate by-election.

That will keep their feet to the fire.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline Zip

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Re: Electoral Reform
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2005, 12:42:03 »
Too complicated.  Merely instate the right of recall.  A minimum number of ballots to force your MP back from Ottawa to an immediate by-election.

That will keep their feet to the fire.

But the problem is individual MP's don't set the agenda for the government, certainly not if they are a back bencher, the PM, PMO ::) and his Caucus do that.

This plan would provide a democratic contract between the people and the elected government which is responsive to the actual will of the entire population. It's government by referendum. The first ballot gives the government it's marching orders and if they don't follow it they are fired, en mass.

With a right of recall like you suggest you could recall an MP, sure, but that most likely won't change the overall direction of the government especially if the party in power has a significant majority.
Also, recall requires that "X" number of people sign a petition whereas this plan would be a legaly binding contract between the population and the government. If Ontario had had this in place when Dalton McGuinty had signed that no new tax paper and then turned around and instituted his health care premium he would already be out on his a$$. As it is we have to wait four years to express our distaste with his Fiberal party.
"I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man; nor ask another man to live for mine."
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Offline TCBF

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Re: Electoral Reform
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2005, 14:11:31 »
"With a right of recall like you suggest you could recall an MP, sure, but that most likely won't change the overall direction of the government especially if the party in power has a significant majority."

Not if the MP you recall is the PM, or a major member of cabinet.
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline PTE Bouchard

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Re: Electoral Reform
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2005, 23:42:03 »
The american model for the number of consecutive prime minister representative! only 2 !

And vote are need for elect senate.
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