While Canada’s feckless regent and his consort perform circus-worthy contortions for an adoring media audience, the topic of electoral reform has been knocking about in the Liberal echo chamber.
The Laurentian Despot of Canada Trudeau II and his Liberal Court wish to impose their vision of "electoral reform" on the country by fiat and will brook no disagreement with the scheme.
As they hold a majority in the House of Commons, they feel entitled to do as they please; no matter that their own regency was achieved under our existing "first past the post" election process.
The primary reform Mssr. Trudeau et Co. seek to implement is a ranked ballot.
In other words, the current requirement of selecting only one candidate per office on ballots in any given electoral district is to be replaced by assigning a ranking based on preference.
Such a system would presumably allow for candidates to win elections on their relative appeal and not simply by the gross number of votes they receive.
Unfortunately, such a system is not easy to deliver manually, and this troubles me enough to know that I cannot support it.
One person one vote, not one person with three (or however many) votes, is how democracy works.
Nevertheless, as electoral reform is on the table, perhaps we could broaden the horizon of our focus and effect other meaningful changes that could improve our system and quality of government?
Here is my laundry list:
1. Term limits
And not just at the federal level, though that would be a good place to start -leading by example and all that. Two terms in office, in any elected public service ought to be sufficient.
The first term is spent learning the ropes and working to get re-elected, and in the second (if won), working to effect legacy projects without worrying about self-promotion or trying to please everybody. If two terms is enough for a President of the United States it ought to be enough for Members of Parliament and all other stations.
This will ensure an ongoing churn of diversity and would share the responsibilities of governance among a wider spectrum of the population. Mostly, it will ensure that in second terms politicians will be able to focus on matters not related to their ongoing agency. Career politicians could still exist, but they would start off at the lowest rungs of elected office i.e. as school trustees, and assuming they were successful (twice) at every level, might expect roughly three decades of service throughout the hierarchy.
2. Banning the practice of contesting any elected public office while remaining an elected official at any level
Resignation from office to run for another ought to be mandatory for those who wish to seek nominations during existing terms.
Currently, unscrupulous types can hedge their bets and oblige taxpayers to not only subsidize their gambling on unbridled political ambitions, but to spend monies to elect replacements should they win and vacate an occupied position.
It is time to make this practice obsolete as it is a question of responsibility, commitment, and ultimately, integrity.
3. Removing party affiliation from ballots
If you don’t know who you’re voting for and what they stand for, and this is just a thought, maybe it is best you do not vote at all?
Election signage and literature bearing any Party affiliation cannot be within or near designated polling stations, so why should party affiliations be allowed to appear on the actual ballots?
4. Voting on a Sunday or declare a national civic holiday
If one goal is to increase voter participation, this would certainly make for a more equitable approach than expecting people to take time off work to exercise their franchise. If they do not vote it is not because they did not know or could not get the time off work.
5. Limiting financial contributions for candidates or parties to individual citizens
No corporations, organizations or foreign lobby groups ought to be allowed to donate monies or make in-kind contributions to any campaign or party. This should be self-evident but has somehow become an issue for some. If you can think of a reason why that is not crooked, I would love to know.
Lastly, and as an adjunct note, if there was one aspect of the Westminster parliamentary process that I have never cottoned to, it would have to be the secret ballot voting procedure.
Why do politicians vote eponymously but the citizens who elect them do so anonymously? Why must politicians be held accountable and responsible for their votes but not the people who elect them?
If public voting were not secret or anonymous, we would would have a rather more capable class of people representing us than the current crop of largely self-interested and corrupt muddlers, propped up by not-so-special interests.
I would like to think the reforms outlined above would be enough to lure competent people with real talents and skills, and who also make a living in professions outside politics, into the political arena.
Until then, as Plato stated, we shall have to be content with being governed by our inferiors.