It’s time for Canadians to take back their political system. Here are ten reforms to our parliamentary democracy that are reasons for Canadians to march on Parliament Hill and Occupy Ottawa!
1. Governor General – No longer exclusively appointed by the Prime Minister. The Governor General can be elected for one ten year term at the start of each new decade by a majority of the members of the House of Commons and Senate and sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
2. Political Parties – Abolished. All Members of Parliament can be independents and have free votes on every issue. No need for party discipline.
3. Prime Minister – Elected by the members of the House of Commons by a secret vote. A directly elected President like the USA requires big money and is inaccessible to most citizens.
4. Cabinet – Once the Prime Minister has been elected by the MP’s, the Prime Minister will have the power to select his or her cabinet from members of the House of Commons or Senate.
5. Senate – A new equal, elected, and effective Senate can be established. Senators can be elected for a maximum of two seven year terms.
• Provinces – Six Senators can be elected from each province with three men and three women being elected from each province.
• North – Six Senators can be elected from the North with two Senators each from the Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut. One male and one female Senator from each territory can be elected.
• Aboriginal – Six Senators can be elected to represent the Aboriginal population with two Senators each for the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit. One male and one female Senator each for the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit can be elected.
6. Elections – Fixed election dates for the House of Commons every five years and every seven years for the Senate and ever ten years for the Governor General.
7. Terms – MP’s can serve an indefinite number of terms, Senators can serve two terms, and the Governor General can serve only one term.
8. Confidence votes – Abolished. The MP’s and Senators will vote on each issue on a case by case basis. Most issues will require a simple majority to pass. The goal is to have stable government in between elections. The Governor General, however, can retain his or her reserve power to dissolve Parliament if necessary during periods of crisis.
9. Campaign financing – There is a way to make federal politics more democratic, competitive, and accessible for citizens. This five step campaign finance reform plan attempts to create a level playing field for all political candidates.
• Candidates can pay a deposit to a private bank in exchange for a campaign loan.
• Candidates can submit their campaign receipts to the bank after the election.
• The elections office can reimburse banks for all official campaign expenses up to a pre-set maximum spending limit for all candidates.
• The elections office can produce an elections website which would list the biographies, community experience, and qualifications of all the candidates. This would provide an unbiased source of information for the voters to quickly compare candidates.
• Citizens can also make a tax deductible donation of a maximum of $500.00 per year for political candidates. Donations from corporations, unions, or any other third parties would be illegal.
10. Supreme Court – The Minister of Justice should appoint an equal number of men and women to the Supreme Court over time and appoint at-least one Aboriginal judge at any given time since the justice system whether fairly or unfairly is overrepresented by Aboriginal people. The Supreme Court should not be influenced by partisan politics and additional steps may have to be taken to preserve the court’s independence.
Alex Sangha is a Registered Social Worker and Author of The Modern Thinker.