┌────────────────────────────────────────────────────┐ │ PLATFORM FOR CANADA 2015 │ │ │ │ Island Tides proposes that all potential and │ │ nominated candidates should be prepared to │ │ declare their support for any or all of five │ │ elements of a ‘Platform for Canada 2015’: │ │ │ │ 1. No whipped votes. All Parliamentary votes │ │ (Commons and Senate) to be free votes. │ │ │ │ 2. The Prime Minister reports to Parliament; he is │ │ first among equals. His leadership may be │ │ reviewed, and he can be removed, by secret ballot │ │ of his caucus. │ │ │ │ 3. The Prime Ministers supporting staff is in the │ │ Privy Council Office (PCO). Staff of the PCO are │ │ civil servants and cannot do work of a partisan │ │ nature. │ │ │ │ 4. Nominations for election of MPs in the 2019 │ │ election must bear the names of 100 registered │ │ voters from the Electoral District (no change from │ │ present legislation). Nominees need not have the │ │ support of a political party, nor the signature of │ │ a party leader. │ │ │ │ 5. Develop a Proportional Voting system to replace │ │ First—Past-The-Post for the 2019 election. │ └────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘
Oct. 2 editorial: Not the usual stuff ... :
We realize that these ﬁve platform ‘planks’ are not the usual sort of thing that candidates say they will support. They don't put money in your pocket. They won’t make an immediate difference in our everyday laws. They won’t protect us as consumers, or improve our health.
But what they will do is improve our democracy and our government, which leads to happiness and wellbeing.
When Canada was first formed, our federal government was patterned, not surprisingly, on the British, or ‘Westminster’ structure, developed over many centuries from the Magna Carta. That’s why we have a House of Commons, a Senate, and a Supreme Court.
We have a Governor General who represents the Queen as Head of State. That’s why we do not have a President. In Canada, our Prime Minister is a member of parliament leading the majority party in the House of Commons.
We’ve always had political parties, but history, both in Britain and in Canada, has shown that individual Members of Parliament have had the freedom to represent their constituents, express their own opinions, and vote their individual consciences. Canada, and Canadians, expected them to, and trusted them to do their very best for the nation and the communities they represented.
But over the past forty years, the principles and customs of the House of Commons, along with the unique responsibilities of each Member, have lost our respect. This has happened under both major governing parties, and minority and majority governments. This has been accompanied by the increasing dominance of party leaders, both in the House and in the media.
Platform for Canada 2015 contains proposals to make our Parliamentary government more representative, more responsible, more open to ideas, and more effective. We think it will also nurture the talents of MPs recognized as the best leaders, listeners, and representatives from every part of the nation.
We think these proposals have the potential to increase our respect for the Parliament and its members, for the government, and for its leaders. We think they will also increase the participation and involvement of citizens throughout the country.
We think they are vitally important for the future of Canada. Please endorse them.
(Did you appreciate this editorial? Help IslandTides pay for news! Mail or phone in your contribution today 250-216-2267)
If Members of Parliament adopted Island Tides’ ‘Platform for Canada 2015’, the result would ultimately be a very different Parliament than the one we have now.
It wouldn’t have results immediately, but we should expect that: MPs would represent, in Ottawa, the opinions of their constituents, rather than representing Ottawa (or their party) to their constituents. This would happen not only in the House of Commons, but also in caucus meetings, committees, and to the media. MPs would be responsible for clearly expressing, explaining, and defending those opinions.
There would be more debate, and of a higher quality. Some Members may even change their minds as a result of debate.
Members would have a low tolerance for irrelevant Question Period answers (and questions) and would insist on good information because they, not their parties, were responsible for their own decisions. The results of Parliamentary votes, and the vote of any individual Member, would be known immediately.
After the 2019 election, proportional voting would increase the probability of minority or coalition government. Measures would receive more intense scrutiny, both inside and outside parliament.
Without the concentration of power in the PMO, corruption, either political or financial, would be more difficult to conceal. The opportunity for an individual MP to rise to a leadership position would depend more on his/her ability to perform in government, and less on ideological correctness or loyalty to a party or a leader. There would be open competition among members, even of the same party.