General Elections in Canada have devolved into a very expensive farce.
The concept is that the people of Canada vote for those they believe will best serve their interests to Ottawa. The actuality is that the vast majority vote for the leader who they wish to be the PM.
During the election, people are listened to in order to manufacture the promises that will appeal to people enough to get their votes. The realities have no bearing on what is promised, and the promises sometimes cannot be carried out, and often never were intended to be anything but simple vote catchers.
Once the election is over so is any pretense of democracy and we settle back into one man/woman, one party rule. The method of voting every 4 years is actually not relevant to this situation as there is no interest by the parties in changing this way of conducting the nation’s business. It is simply a means to obtaining that power necessary to line their future pockets by listening to the lobbyist.
The cost of running these elections is enormous and is of course paid for by those who are lied to and then cheated during the next 4 years, ie the people of Canada. Did you know for instance that all successful political parties have their expenses repaid by Elections Canada? Oh yes we are still paying through the nose for our farcical elections, even as some of us are denied the ability to vote – The “Un”fair Election Act of 2014.
So is there a way to bring democracy back or perhaps bring about real democracy at least?
Yes there are several ways, but the one I like best was developed by a friend and I over several lunches a year or so ago.
The number of ridings must be reduced to no more than 250 as 338 is way too many for every MP to have his/her say on anything. There simply is not enough time on any bill, and time seems to be the governing factor in both debates and committees. Thus the idea that there is better representation in numbers is simply ludicrous.
There must be a general election under any method, it really doesn’t matter which one.
On the first anniversary of that election there is an election on every week day in one riding after another, starting alphabetically perhaps, and lasting until every member has been re-elected or replaced. Every anniversary of the election of 2019 for example the same process is repeated. This only allows for 250 seats in the chamber if you factor in statutory holidays, which is more than sufficient for real representation, in fact 200 would probably be a better number. The Speaker would also be up for reelection and would be the only one with an election date when the house was not sitting so that he could electioneer in his/her riding. Should the speaker loose his/her seat then the first order of business the following sitting day would be the election of a new speaker. If this proved to be unworkable then the Speaker could be the only MP to be reelected every 4 years, unless his/her constituents demanded a chance to replace an MP who could not vote on their behalf.
Is this expensive? Not in comparison to the vast amounts spend currently by leaders flying all over Canada promising the earth and delivery dirt; not by the national media advertising by parties slamming the opposition and not by Elections Canada having to repay all those expenses. There would be a maximum that any party could spend on any seat yet to be determined, but the main cost of those elections would be borne locally by the local EDAs.(Election District Associations)
What would happen under this system?
For starters if an MP did not pay attention to his/her constituents rather than party demands they would not get re-elected. The people of Canada could very quickly realise that they had power with their vote, and the interest and participation could well get close to 90%.
As there is no intention of doing away with the party system under this proposal, all parties, particularly the governing party would also have to pay very close attention, because if they did not a majority of 30 for instance could be lost in 15 days, and indeed the ability to hold onto even a minority government could be lost in short order. Pay attention to the people of Canada or lose the ability to govern. (There is another wrinkle to this I thought of which I will expand in another blog)
How would a government fall? Simply by losing the confidence of the people of Canada and being voted out. Nothing changes except the speed with which this can be achieved.
In the event such a change does happen then a 2 week suspension of the House would take place for the change of power and rearrangement of the seats, but the mini elections would still continue during this time. Over a period of time governing parties have grown stale and we all know they need to be replaced, but this avoids waiting for 4 years for fresh ideas. In the event of a constant minority government and a vote of non confidence in the House, there would be an automatic suspension of the House for one month, during which the mini elections would continue to see if the people of Canada agreed or not and what the new alignment would look like. There would not be any mass national advertising by any party to try to influence the outcome of the mini elections. News media would be sufficient coverage.
Democracy means that it is the people who control government not the government that dictates to the people, and this system would certainly make that happen. Listen to the people and persuade them that an action is to their benefit or suffer the consequences. There will be no more hiding of actions and anything against the people would bring an almost instant reaction. The TPP, TiSA or CETA for instance could bring about a government change almost right away and send a very clear, in fact unmistakable, message to all wanna be governments that the people of Canada will not give their sovereignty to corporate board rooms around the world.
To those who say this would bring chaos, I say bring it on because out of chaos comes beauty and even perfection. Have you ever been entranced by a fountain or waterfall, or the rain drops on a puddle, or the wind’s actions in the trees and plants and grass? They all survive and indeed often thrive in such chaos. In the same way once the people of Canada – or any country that follows our lead – understand the power they should have and indeed will have under this system, anything undemocratic will simply not happen.
The other beauty of this system is that there will never again be a 4 yearly farce called a General Election, and every mini election day small registered Canadian parties will have a chance to prove their worth, and indeed could well get enough members in the House to be able to have some effect.
The more I think about this the more I like it, and the current way of doing politics in Canada is totally broken, as shown by the influence wielded by the corporate lobbies in almost every aspect of our lives.
Bring on chaos and bring on change. It is overdue.