I am not so naive as to believe that all the promises will be achieved in the next year or more, or even ever, but the fact that they are trying thus far for that “open and accountable” government promised to us so many times before is to be supported and encouraged. The reinstatement of the census, the unmuzzleing of our scientists and diplomats, the freedom of our charities to express an opinion without fear, the invitation to all Partys and Provinces to join the delegation at the climate change talks all show a real desire to actually fulfil such promises.
Its not going to be all plain sailing, the very practical proposals for appointing Senators (something that must be done if we are going to have a functional parliamentary system) is already being criticized by some of the very people who would have an increased say in such appointments, namely the Provinces. In trying to ensure a non partisan Senate but still be able to introduce government bills to that chamber previous procedures will need to be changed and some Senators are trying to do just that but some outside the chamber are going to do everything they can to block any efforts to make such changes. The new opposition, who are now in the same position as the Liberals were just a few brief weeks ago, are naturally against almost any move to undo legislation or decisions forced through whist they were in power. I hope they will learn to be a little less partisan with their rhetoric and debate future bills upon their merit, but I doubt that will happen. Just trying to form parliamentary committees has already turned into a squabble as to who can serve on or attend meetings.
So here is my message for 2016. Let us support and encourage the positive change that the new government is proposing, let us ensure that they keep their promises of consulting with the Provinces on shared issues, let us make sure that that open and accountable thing does not drop from sight again and, yes, let us hope for more 'Sunny Days' ahead for Canada.
I will be back in January with some thoughts upon the choices to be made in bringing in Electoral Reform. As Peter Lowry says “What we really need in considering these questions is people with open minds. You simply cannot consider solutions to the voting system until you have a clear idea of why you want to change it and what really are the options available. This is not as simple as people think.”
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