A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
Contact us at democracyunderfire@gmail.com

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Minority Coalition Parliaments

As one of the 'leaders' trying to become our next prime minister shows his true colours by spouting lies and false information I urge those of you who have yet to vote to be very careful what you wish for, or more correctly who you vote for. I will not tell you who to support but will repeat my belief that it should be ABC if for no other reason than the recent false information spread by said conservative 'leader'.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, probably the most ethical MP in the HoC recently corrected Mr Scheer as have numerous academics who have knowledge of the subject.
She said Scheer is knowingly "misleading" Canadians about the country's parliamentary traditions.
"The convention is quite the opposite of what Mr. Scheer is telling people. I'm not advocating it. I'm explaining what the rules are. The convention is the party that held power before the election has first crack at seeing if they can hold the confidence of the House ... Mr. Trudeau, gets first crack at it," she said. "We elect 338 MPs and they have a right to decide who should form government at the end of an election."
In Canada's system of Westminster parliamentary democracy, the prime minister and the cabinet must answer to the House of Commons and they must enjoy the support and the confidence of a majority of the members of the chamber to remain in office.

It is instructive to examine the recent history of the New Zealand Parliament where they have had stable minority governments since 1996 when they switched to a Mixed Member system of electing their government.

They have in fact had a coalition (there is that word that our current leaders of all stripes have been studiously avoiding) government of one sort or another continuously ever since. For those readers who are not familiar with the NZ parliamentary system I will simply say that it is a Westminster System based upon the UK tradition, the same as ours is, with the proviso that their native Māori population have had some reserved seats since the mid 1800s.

Seems like they are WAY ahead of us and both our parliamentarians and the general population should be taking note as this pivotal moment in our governance arrives.

A few more details of their system follow, will we ever adopt such a system …. not anytime soon the way things are going but I suspect that we are about to get a taste of coalition governance whether we are ready for it or not. Let the games begin.......

Mixed-member proportional (MMP) era
45th Parliament 1996 election Fourth National (in coalition)
46th Parliament 1999 election Fifth Labour (in coalition)
47th Parliament 2002 election
48th Parliament 2005 election
49th Parliament 2008 election Fifth National (in coalition)
50th Parliament 2011 election
51st Parliament 2014 election
52nd Parliament 2017 election Sixth Labour (in coalition)

The New Zealand Parliament was established in 1854 and is one of the oldest continuously functioning legislatures in the world. The New Zealand Parliament is consciously modelled on the Westminster system of parliamentary representation, developed in the United Kingdom.
New Zealand had representatives of the indigenous population in its parliament from an early date. Reserved Māori seats were created in 1867 during the term of the 4th Parliament; Māori men aged 21 and over, whether or not they owned property, could vote to elect four Māori members of the House of Representatives

A member of Parliament is a member of the House of Representatives, which has a minimum of 120 members, elected at a general election for a three-year term. There are 70 electorate MPs, of which seven are elected only by Māori who have chosen to be registered on a separate Māori electoral roll. The remaining members are elected by proportional representation from published party lists.

Finally for those who may be still considering voting for a Conservative representative I offer the following links that highlight the mindset of such people as shown by past and current 'leaders' within those partys.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019

Advanced Polls are open.....

I will be driving the few miles to the polling location shortly to waste my time voting for a candidate who will not be elected, its more of a protest vote against the 'party' of the fellow who will almost certainly get in in this traditional conservative riding. I have nothing against the individual, or for that matter no great affection for any of the others, I dont know them, have never met them and know very little about them. Therein lays part of the problem with our system of governance, we hear much about the 'leaders' and their 'platforms' (aspirationial lies?), a little about the more high profile individuals and 'close' riding's but considerably less about our local candidates unless one attends an 'all candidates' forum if and when organized. It matters not anyway for even if elected the chances of 'your' MP having any great influence in any decisions is minimal, are they a member of the 'winning party', are the part of 'cabinet' within that party, how much influence do even cabinet members have upon the 'leader' and his inner circle of unelected advisors.

How many of us actually vote directly for the individual as opposed to the political party they represent (they supposedly represent us but.....) or indirectly for the leader of said party?

Many of us continue to mourn the failure to adopt a new voting system in Canada and I would hope that at some point that whole idea is revisited but the greatest danger I see with such change that I see is adopting a system that is worse than the one we have now. For now we are stuck with the system we have and it looks like it will bring us a minority government (which is almost certainly what any more proportional system would bring us regularly) the question then being can our elected representatives of all stripes work TOGETHER for the benefit of all Canadians or will they be so busy fighting each other that NOTHING gets done?

Me cynical, you better believe it, and getting more so daily as the BS gets deeper each news cycle.

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