As you all know, on May 2nd Canadians will go to the polls and cast our votes for Canada’s 41st Parliament. We will send 308 Canadians to Ottawa to represent us in the House of Commons. An election should be a question of what do you want for Canada’s future? What course do you want to put the nation on? Where do we see our country over the next four years, and beyond? More importantly…
What are our democratic principles?
This election is not about the economy, this election is not about coalitions, this election is simply about what we as Canadians see as our democracy. Peter Russell puts it quite well in the clip below, the current government has done anything in its powers to centralize power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), remove the authority of the Cabinet, disrespected Parliament, denied access to information, and alienated the Canadian people.
I posted some ideas on this in a previous post, but I’m going to post it again. I feel that these are issues that Canadians need to talk about, these are issues that we must face as our democracy changes, and cruel political games take precedence over “Good Government.” Mr. Ignatieff wants us to rise up, but he comes nowhere close to discussing any of these needed reforms. Mr. Ignatieff wants us to rise up, but he doesn’t inspire the Canadian people. Mr. Layton is not an ideal Member of Parliament, his communication with his constituents is sorely lacking, however he at least touches on a few of the following items, but usually in the wrong direction1.
Corporations shouldn’t be allowed to donate to political parties.(Chretien did this, hooray!)
- Clear and concise guidelines for the reserve powers of the Crown and how it can be implemented by the Governor General.
- Petitioning the Commonwealth to revise the Statute of Westminster to no longer show gender and religious precedence so that the Heads of State reflects the “Just Society” we have created.
- A democratic Senate responsible to the People, rather than the parties who appointed them, while still being distinct from the Commons. Whether the best bet is an independent Senate or term limits, I’m not sure, but a means to make the Senate responsible to the provinces they represent.
- Decentralize the government from unelected partisan employees in the PMO and return powers to the elected government Ministers.
- Clear laws on proroguing parliament, and thorough review of potentially undemocratic laws.
- Clear and enforceable laws governing when the Prime Minister can drop the writ.
- A better election system than First Past The Post, and a thorough investigation into the possible choices, along with clear and concise advertising to allow the general public knowledge on how the chosen system works.
- After a choice for Governor General has been thoroughly vetted, a vote in the Commons before presenting the choice to the Queen.
- Open and clear discourse with the Canadian People.
- Mr. Layton wants to eliminate the Senate, rather than reform it. [↩]
Funny. A Michael Moore fresh from sharing a stage with Noam Chomsky was inspired to make many of the same points just now on Twitter.
There’s something in the air…