Posts Tagged ‘Election’

If Trudeau does not do what Harper did, we shall have an election on the fixed date in October 2019. We have just come out of an election in Alberta. It is a time to give pause, for there are a few fallacies that parties rely on:

  1. My vote does not count. It is an apathy that keeps people away from the booth. It is peddled and not fought against because it allows for two parties to court their base and get them out to vote to maintain the governance.
  2. There is only two choices. NO! Federally and provincially there is many choices, including independents. It is when we decide to vote against something, or to default to this logic that the best governance for the citizenship is lost. Government entitlements, human rights, Universal Health Care, were all policy planks of 3-whatever number parties. Due to their rise in popular vote (note not polls, but vote)…these policies carried chutzpah, and even though there may have been moderation, came to fruition.
  3. Strategic voting– is the ultimate B.S. that drives people out of voting. It is precipitated on voting against something, instead of for something. It allows for parties to wallow in the much, court the trash that is the extremist, have false arguments over food guides…it is about not standing on beliefs, and pointing to records. It is fed by the rabid base of both sides, and once more sidelines the importance of the candidate.
  4. Party over candidate. Especially this last round in Alberta with historic turnout (54% is historic, I weep for our democracy)–do you know how man folks are shocked about the investigations? Who did not know what the name of their local candidate was? That they were voting for “Leader” (unless you live in their riding, you are not voting for them. The leader of the party with the majority of seats forms the government, and becomes first minister. In the Westminster system said minister serves at the pleasure of the caucus, in Canada, we have lost this and made the leader all powerful–reclaim the power of the representative over leader/party). Know not only the party, and how their policies affect not only you, but the seniors, kids, neighbours…y’know think beyond the not my family, not my issue mental b.s. Authentically get to know the person and see if they have the character you think matters.

See candidates go through a vetting process. It is akin to a job interview when you put your name forward or someone asks you to run. There is usually an application, have to get some party support, win the nomination in a vote or by acclamation. Part of the process is biographical digging, resume, and interview. Lately it has also been the party wanting all access to a person’s e-mail and social media.

See it is no longer about a person who holds to the value of the party being able to speak from who they are in that context for their constituents or those they wish to represent. It is about, becoming a puppet of the leader, and the party line. See at its worst with Conservative Party of Canada candidates Federally, and United Conservative Party candidates, who literally re-read their leaders’ talking points or directly from policy manuals. They are not themselves among those they seek to represent. For it is leader and party banner over citizen.

Now, lefties, you are not off the hook either. For yes, there is some control on talking points, but what is even scarier (seen across the spectrum) is the sanitizing of social media. The idea that you have sold your very being to the party and they now can delete or close whatever they wish from your online footprint. It is a pristine person who only mimics the party line like a good parrot they want out there.

What is lost?

In this system we are growing, we have lost the importance of the local candidate. The idea that how their beliefs are shaped (religious and-or secular) matter. How they live in community. Communicate online and in person. The genuine person. It does matter, for what if the party wants to do something in power that harms the citizens, will this person have the guts to stand up and speak out? Or will they succumb to power/money?

Never admit past mistakes, default to no comment. If you can delete it.

BUT what if, we as a citizenship demanded different. We are okay with our candidates being human, like we are. Be authentic. I always joked growing up there was “happy black spaces” where I wasn’t too sure what the full story was, but I never did not comment when something was brought up, or challenged or questioned on a belief I had espoused. It creates conversation, discovery, and connection.

This is probably the biggest reason why the fallacy of Leader Branding perpetuates, then there is no actual connection with the diverse ridings folks seek to represent, the only connection is with the party War Room, and whatever Bizzaro type Rocky-Bullwinkle villain escapades they dream up to play gotcha games with instead of vision casting, and talking with us.

In these less than 90 days until the vote, demand better.

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties...

English: Pic for WikiProject Political parties and politicians in Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is our system corrupt? I would say no, but to appease some I know, we are not as corrupt as some nations. Yet out system still tends to lend itself to pork barrel politicking, patronage appointing, platinum handshakes, and she/he that can raise the most capital should win…

So what to do? (and note all these may involve re-opening the Constitution Act 1982, which can be tedious, but if done, we can then insert the Social Rights Charter so there is a win-win).

1) When it comes to hiring heads of government boards/agencies, what about a servant model where a hiring/search committee is struck using a representative from each level of the organization.

2) Abolish Party Leaders, I know heart palpitations, yes there can be a leader, but the idea being that the leader/president/chair of the party is not necessarily the one who becomes PM (for provinces/territories read Premier), once all the MP’s (for province’s territories read the local equivalent) are elected in the House of Commons, the party that forms the Government, their caucus elects the PM from a short list submitted by the opposition parties, and then the leader of “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition” is chosen from all opposition MP’s by a short list provided by the Government caucus. This provides a fostering of cooperation, but at the same time empowers the independent candidate in the campaign because they quite frankly could wind up in a key position. The role of deputy PM (again provincisal equivalent as well) is chosen much like the speaker, by ballot of all members of who would be the best regardless of partisanship.

3) Governor General/Lieutenant Governor still remains an appointment, yet online polls/phone polls (Empower Elections Canada/provincial levels to conduct this) are used by each party to create a short list of 3, these names are then put forward to elected members, where the 3 come into share their vision, and understanding of the role, then there is a vote.

4) The Senate…quite a temperamental hot seat. Yes it can just be abolished, but that is not a healthy solution for parliament does need a check, right now it is hard to show this to the public because they are appointees so the government in power  could stack the deck for the next in coming government, which just creates partisanship which isn’t healthy for this chamber. It could go elected, but we just need to look South of the Border for the canundrum that can create. Yet there is an elephant in the room. We have the atrocity of the Indian Act (which really needs to be abolished and replaced with the Kelowna Accord at the very least), we have colonized and desecrated a people. We make a show of reconciliation and apologies, but stop short of full inclusion to bring the nations together much like we have done with Quebec and the rest of Canada. What if, we removed the senate as now, and empowered the Indiginous/Metis/Inuit Canadians that there locally elected chiefs are the make up of the senate, with a proper budget to cast committees made up of the most prominent experts in Canada to define the needs of Canadians and how to do it. That they are also empowered as the second vote before Crown ascent to bills, so the bills must take into account all Canadians and care for our lands and people?

5) Electoral reform, there are many systems out there. The hardest thing though is getting the electorate out to multiple ballots. I propose a simple ranked ballot where the elector must make a 1/2 choice, this forces the voter to seek out information on candidates and parties outside of their own purvey (a fun thing would say that the indivdiual must campaign without their party colours or label, but that may be pushing it).

6) What about the 60% less of the vote? Simple, we need to have 80% of eligible voters vote in any election/byelection, amend the Elections Act that if this number is not reached in any riding then that riding’s seat is vacant. For the voters that did not exercise their Franchise a $300 fine is issued.

7) To quell it being a money machine: we have a public broadcaster, it is time to use it to educate the public (these rules hold for Civic, School Board, Provincial and Federal).

  • The CBC needs to become the election hub.
  • $8000 cap on local campaign spending
  • No buying of television ads (each candidate will be given 15 second spot to be used by that candidate and aired in their area on the CBC during the campaign, and posted to the CBC website).
  • 2 debates ran and recorded by the CBC for their radio/television for each riding, the challenge is simple, if you do not make the debates barring unforseen circumstances (death of close family/hospitalization) your name will not appear on the ballot on election day. One debate held in the first week of the campaign, the second in the 3rd week. The recordings put up on the CBC website so that any media source or voter can find what their candidate stands for.
  • Outlawing of Lawn signs, the candidate must campaign using more environmentally friendly methods ala bus signage, billboards, door knocking, vehicles with signage, however they wish to spend their $8000 maximum.
  • You can only donate to your local candidates
  • An individual’s donation cannot exceed $350
  • If the individual is not eligible to vote in the local contest they can not donate.

8) Fixed Election dates:

  • For every Canadian Election (Civic, School Board, Provincial, Federal)
  • All E-Days are to be on, May 15 or the closest Monday to the date.
  • One day the voter needs to turn up and be handed their ballots.

9) School Boards:

Simply put, abolish them as elected. Combine all schools receiving public monies under One public school board for the province or territory. Allow freedom that if population in an area warrants it (by petition of the parents stating they would send their children) that a charter school can be granted on religious, or other cultural grounds and be publically supported. But let’s be honest, religious educations should happen in the home, and within the religious communities so I would hope this caveat could be eliminated.

For proper efficiency to the school system (which yes I know this should be another post, but with electoral reform it just flowed) all private schools should be banned and brought under the public fold to allow for most maximization of resources.

This is just a quick thought list off the top of my head, some things I have worked within other parties on, but it is a unique thing to contemplate what could be a good system for us now.

What are your thoughts? Any articles you would like to share for the readers of this site? Feel free.

There is a black hole of ethics within Alberta Politics, and I am not sure if any party has been spared it. You see there is an ability for financing of campaigns to go unhindered, and to even have illegal donations made without so much as a blink by the governing party.

So what needs to happen?

What about taking financing of political entities right back to membership bases. Here is what I am thinking:

1) Ban any corporate or union donations

2) lower/enforce the cap on personal campaign donations to individuals of a voting age.

3) Cap spending per candidate campaign at a maximum of $5000, and that the provincial party can only spend $25,000. This makes for more efficient and targetted campaigns.

4) Instead of each candidate renting their own office, have each riding-zone a community centre in their area that the province will rent for all candidates to use as a central office so that citizens can go there to connect with all the campaigns.

5) Ban the unrecyclable lawn signs (pet peeve, and just environmentally unfriendly).

6) To be allowed to be on the ballot come election day a candidate must:

a. prove that they live in the riding their are running in.

b. prove an active campaign (not just be a name on ballot/flag bearer    of                  a party).

c. Attend 3 all candidate debates in the riding. Each debate to be held at local community centres/public schools.

d. disclose all donors the week before the election to the public.

e. If any of these requirements is not fulfilled, what happens is that there is a press posting at the ballot station informing voters candidate Y is no longer available for votes. Any votes cast for them will be counted as a spoiled ballot.

For parties, it is quite simple, if more than half of their candidates break the rules the party loses its charter and is unable to reform. Any elected MLA’s from that party become independents, if they opt to join another party they must resign their seat and run in a byelection.

If the party refuses to release all donors on election day (and in each public annual report) or is found to have received illegal donations they shall be disbanded and unable to run candidates or collect donations.

So Albertans? Does this sound like a plausible reform? and if so how do we do it?