Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Electoral reform - we need it - how to make it happen

I still think there is hope for electoral change. The Green Party has to work to win with the rules the way they are.

It is telling that we don't hold referendums on going to war, changing tax structures, creating or changing the constitution, adjusting federal / provincial powers or any of the contentious issues of the last few years - capital punishment, abortion, gay rights. The government chooses not to be encumbered by the people in making its decision, claiming that the electoral system has imbued it with the will of the people.

Then, instead of asking people, "should we make the electoral system more proportional or not", and then leaving the details to experts at Elections Canada and parliamentary committees, we instead task uninformed citizens to form an assembly and make a complex recommendation which most people don't understand. Then we ask them to vote on something which resembles legislation. If people had to vote on legislation, such as the last budget, for example, most (a) wouldn't bother or (b) reject it because it was too complicated.

The referendum is simply a process to stall change and continue to entrench the power of the two parties that have ruled this country since Confederation. They know a good thing when they see it.

My suggestion: Just do it. The government is empowered to do everything else, why don't they just do it. Answer: They don't wish to bite the hand that feeds them with our money and our power.

It won't change until we make it change. We need to push and push and push until the voices of the people are truly heard in the corridors of government.


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