June 23, 2016

Electoral reform? Canada needs term limits — and the end of secret ballots

Sam SotiropoulosRebel Blogger

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.

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commented 2016-06-27 04:17:05 -0400
This was a very nice post.

Two things, to add, however:

First, many countries around the world have their elections purposely on a Sunday;
Second, the party affiliation on Canadian FEDERAL ballots is relatively new, as it only dates to the 1972 election. Before that, candidates had their occupations and addresses on the ballot paper.
commented 2016-06-26 01:08:08 -0400

Because I already live in an almost conservative free paradise – Canada. I get along fine with the reasonable conservatives.
commented 2016-06-24 16:35:43 -0400
Michael Mann, the sum of intelligence in the world is a constant. Only the population is increasing. Like many mothers have said, “if everyone else jumped of a bridge would you jump too?” Apparently the Liberals would and are. Case in point- Sweden, Holland, Germany, Belgium…..Why are you here when you could be living in a conservative free paradise with one easy flight?
commented 2016-06-24 01:47:32 -0400
Michael Mann i am a proud conservative and personally i do not care who knows it, but left wing losers are lowlife pigs and they do ignorant things to those who disagree with them. We can see there intolerance all the time, from people like you.
commented 2016-06-23 22:56:01 -0400
How about one half term in Ottawa and the other half term in the west —say Calgary
I think Spain does that
commented 2016-06-23 21:07:34 -0400
I disagree on making the Senate an elected body. If they are to remain a house of sober second thought,they cannot be tied to public opinion. I agree they should not be in a political party. Instead, I think they should be appointed by the provincial governments, in proportion to their respective populations, and tied to the fortunes of the provincial government. Whenever there is a provincial election, their term is up. They can be reappointed, within the rules regarding term limits, and serve the provincial interests at the federal level.
I don’t see any problems with how they select dates for voting currently. As the dates are known well in advance, it is possible to plan any international trips around the dates. Also, with the advanced voting option, there isn’t really a need to take time off. Also, freedom involves sacrifice. It is not convenient, nor is it easy to obtain and maintain. It requires effort on the parts of the citizens. If you are unable to make time for something as important as voting, I respectfully submit that you are not worthy of the freedom you have to do so
commented 2016-06-23 20:41:10 -0400
Sounds to me like the Youth and most other people … Have absolutely NO idea about — Conservatives - evil Liberals - love everybody NDP. - give me your money , don’t worry Maybe —it is time to explain it.
commented 2016-06-23 20:41:10 -0400
Sounds to me like the Youth and most other people … Have absolutely NO idea about — Conservatives - evil Liberals - love everybody NDP. - give me your money , don’t worry Maybe —it is time to explain it.
commented 2016-06-23 20:09:39 -0400
I find it interesting that some of you acknowledge the fact that if people knew you were a conservative – it would impact your life negatively, such as being fired from your job.

Is this because you acknowledge that the vast majority of Canadians are liberal in varying degrees and you would essentially be deemed a freak and anti-Canadian, if the people in your life knew.

Sounds to me like you don’t shout loud and proud that you are conservative.
commented 2016-06-23 18:49:22 -0400
‘Term limits’ is the Big one for me.

If Obama was able to run for President again—-there is a good chance that he would win .
With the MSM whitewashing everything that Justin dreams up and the Unions tossing their money and Power behind him—-
We could be stuck with this idiot forever.
commented 2016-06-23 18:44:16 -0400
So how do non-anonymous votes work elsewhere? Thugs threatening you since they will know how you vote. No thanks. Some of the others aren’t bad ideas but this one is lunacy.

Actually I think we should get rid voting completely and have a jury system. Your name comes up and you serve as MP for 4 years. You get well paid but there is none of the vote buying BS because you have no idea who will get in. We couldn’t do any worse than the infants we have now.
commented 2016-06-23 18:39:07 -0400

TERM LIMITS FOR ALL POLITICIANS, FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL: Limit all MP, MLA, MPP and Senate seats to two terms maximum, with a mandatory hiatus of at least one term before running again. Politics should be viewed as a service, not a career.

MANDATORY EXPERIENCE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR: Politicians who have never built a business or had to hold down a full-time job that actually contributed to the infrastructure or material needs of society should not be considered qualified to tell the rest of us how that society should be built or run. (length and type of experience to be determined)

ALL ELECTORAL DISTRICTS SHOULD REPRESENTS THE SAME NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS: Each electoral district should represent, as nearly as possible, exactly the same population. That would mean that electoral boundaries would have to be very fluid, and may fluctuate from one election to the next, depending on shifting populations.

DIVIDE PARLIAMENT IN TWO: I propose that a more democratic parliament would see half the seats filled by the winning candidates in each electoral district, and the other half filled by party representation in direct proportion to the popular vote. In other words, half of the seats would be filled by appointment. The number of appointed seats allotted to each political party would depend on that party’s percent of the popular vote. If a party received 30% of the popular vote, they would receive 30% of the appointed seats. That way, in ridings that were very close in the election, the second place candidate may still get a seat in parliament. Also, seats allotted in that manner would more closely represent the actual will of the people.(total number of parliamentary seats to be determined)

A NON-PARTISAN ELECTED SENATE BY REGION, WITH LOCAL VETO POWERS: The Senate should be elected, with the same term limits as those of Parliament. Senate seats should be distributed, not by population, as with Parliamentary seats, but by Senatorial Districts within Provinces, defined by geographic, commercial and socio/cultural ties; in other words, communities (to be defined). All Senate seats should be non-partisan, with Senators owing no allegiance to any political party, but solely to their district constituents. The function of the Senate should be, in some ways similar to the current function – sober second thought, but their allegiance must be first and foremost to their Senatorial District and those they represent. To that end, each Senator should have the power to veto the implementation of any legislation, but only within the confines of his or her Senatorial District, and only when given a mandate through referendum to do so by their electorate. Cost of the referendum should be borne solely and completely by the Senatorial District. This veto power must be limited, in that the courts and/or an appointed committee of provincial and federal representatives must have the authority to overrule the veto and develop alternatives that address and resolve by negotiation the issue(s) that triggered the veto. But this power to overrule must also be limited. The specific conditions under which the veto may be overruled are: a) if failure to implement said legislation within the specified Senatorial District is deemed to be detrimental to the National interest, or b) it was determined that failure to implement would adversely affect neighboring Senatorial Districts. (number of Senatorial Districts to be determined)

SUPREME COURT DECISIONS MAY BE OVER-RULED BY ELECTED BODIES: Ideally, all Higher Appeal Court Judges should have to be elected but, barring that, where the Supreme Court declares that legislation, passed through both the Parliament and the Senate, violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and strikes down the law, a combined vote of both the Parliament and Senate will have the power to over-rule the Supreme Court by a vote of 50% plus one. The final word on legislation must be in the hands of the elected representatives, not an unelected body.
commented 2016-06-23 18:38:25 -0400
Public voting? This is as insane as anything Turdeau would come up with: do you know how many of us Conservative voters would likely get fired if it were known publicly how we vote?

This is a problem that would affect us a LOT more than Liberals or Dippers.
commented 2016-06-23 17:25:53 -0400
Ban whipped votes…do away with political parties….select candidates from a voter list just like you select a jury.
commented 2016-06-23 17:14:08 -0400
These are great points I’ve often thought all democracies implement, On #3 I would go further and say that people should be required to take a test to be eligible to vote. The test doesn’t have to be hard but it should illustrate that you have basic knowledge of the country, the parties and candidates involved, this could solve the whiney leftists who think 15 & 16 year olds should be allowed to vote (because they know they’ll vote left due to indoctrination in our schools) moreover, If you are not paying taxes, i.e Income Tax, you should not be able to vote. Another one I strongly believe we need like our American counterparts is a Naturalised Citizen clause, currently Canadian Citizens of 18 years old could potentially become Prime Minister. I believe that one must be born in Canada in order to be eligible to become Prime Minister, one should also have lived here for at least 25 years successively. The age eligibility should be raised to at least 30 years (and that’s me being Liberal) We need to start Electing our Supreme Court of Canada Judges & Justices, they should run campaigns like MPs and MLAs. Appointments need to end. The Senate needs to become an elected Senate. We need to take our final step toward Canadian Solidarity and abolish the Crown, as it is a complete waste of time and money and I could go on with the Crown but I won’t……
commented 2016-06-23 16:54:44 -0400
WHAT about " recall /stripping of title" legislation??? Someone or something has to be in place to protect Canadians , Canada and our freedoms ,democracy and futures. We haven’t had any protection for decades now and Trudeau has absolutely no respect for any of it much less parliamentary rules, system of government , the history of this nation and it’s governments and so on.