Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Platform: Electoral Reform

The fact that you can be optimistic about a majority government in Canada with only 40% of the vote means that far too many Canadians are going unrepresented in Parliament under the first past the post system. In addition to that cynicism about Government is not only rampant but in too many cases justified.

Some form of mixed proportional representation is needed to insure that all Canadians are represented in the parliament. I would, and already have suggested one system that I think would improve representation and encourage greater voter turnout.

Beyond fixing the size and shape of the parliament I think it's vitally important to increase the independence of Members of Parliament. Voting your conscience or voting with your riding rather than your party should be your prerogative as a member of parliament and not something given as a gift by your party leader. Harper promised and failed to deliver a free vote on almost every issue. There should be a free vote on every issue. If a party leader cannot command votes from his or her own party based on the merits of their case, perhaps they should not be leader. Just as the PM needs the confidence of Parliament the leader of each party should have the confidence of their MPs - without threats or coercion.

Finally there is the issue of cynicism and corruption. Breaching the ethical rules of the Canadian government and bureaucracy and/or breaking the laws that you are elected to make and enforce should be listed among the most serious crimes in Canada. If people do not have faith and confidence in their government and public servants the country cannot, on any level, function as it should. In other words peace and order are dependent upon good government.

I would propose a set of laws covering breach of public trust that would cover criminal actions as well as serious ethical breaches. These laws would be applicable to elected representatives as well as bureaucrats and all government employees or contract workers. Being convicted of a breach of public trust, all by itself, would mean that that individual could never again run for office, be appointed to office, lobby the government, be employed by the government, seek government grants or contracts or work in a leadership position with any company that worked on government contracts. Additionally being convicted of a breach of public trust in relation to an actual crime would result in a doubling of the sentence in addition to the above mentioned restrictions. Sentencing for public officials should be in keeping with sentencing for other individuals involved in similar crimes. If these measures sound harsh they are, and are meant to be. As I said this should be one of the most serious matters in Canadian law.

Next up on the list is education, which is vital not only to the Canadian economy but to Canadian democracy as well...coming soon

My Platform: Introduction
My Platform: Arts and Culture
My Platform: Poverty
My Platform: Business and Industry
My Platform: Crime
My Platform: Carbon Tax
My Platform: Labour and Workplace Reform

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