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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Party Politics in Canada

Hi folks,

With the federal election starting to cool off for Christmas (if it ever really heated up), I thought this might be a good time to look at options to the current parties and system of government in this Country.

It seems like most people have reached a point where they plan to vote for the party or leader they feel will do the least harm as opposed to the one they really want elected. That's a sad statement on the Canadian condition, but I believe an accurate one.

Over the past few months I, along with others have been listening to what people have been saying about the various issues and we have decided to begin drafting a platform document for a possible future party tentatively named the People First Party (PFP).

Over the coming days I will be posting portions of that platform for your review and comments. We hope that through your feedback we can develop a platform that is truly representative of what the public wants.

This represents the first installment of that document, Political Reform. Take some time, digest it and let us know what you think about it. Give us your feedback, suggestions and ideas. It is through your input that we will design the final draft.


The complete contents of this discussion draft can be found at: www.peoplefirstparty.blogspot.com/

Mission Statement:

The People’s Voice Party (PFP) a voice for all Canadians.

A voice for sweeping political and social reforms, PFP is dedicated to the principle of open and equal government through increasing power to provinces & territories while protecting our Nation’s social & economic values.

Political Reform:

The PFP is fully dedicated to the creation of a triple E Senate. This will allow each of the Country’s provincial partners to have a more equal say in policy and legislation regardless of their population base. We believe that the archaic practice of appointing senators is one that provides no real value to Canadians but instead serves to reward longtime supporters of individual political parties. In comparison, an elected senate will ensure that the public receives the sort of regional representation they deserve.

Although the details of a specific senate structure and processes will require much planning and development, the PFP vision is to implement a triple E senate that has the powers necessary to ensure that the needs of all province’s and territories are met. One option the PFP is currently considering is a mechanism by which legislation would require the agreement by a minimum of 60% of the senate, plus the agreement of a majority of the senators from at least seven provinces and/or territories, in order to be enacted.

In addition to the creation of a triple E senate, the PFP will undertake a review of the current system of parliamentary election. We are in favor of fully reviewing the current “first past the post” system that allows a party to form the government even though that party may have captured less than half of the popular vote. We believe that electoral reform must be undertaken on two fronts, a senate that provides regional representation and a Parliament that provides proportional representation. It is in this way that the voice of the people will truly be heard.

As a party, the PFP intends to work with the provinces and territories to ensure they have the freedom and powers they need in order to prosper. We believe that while a federal presence is a necessity for all Canadians it should not impede the development and growth of the provinces on an individual basis. The PFP believes that Canada is much more than simply the sum of its parts. We believe that by loosening Ottawa’s centralized grip on the nation, the individual parts will begin to flourish and in turn lead to an even stronger nation.

The PFP believes that much of the pomp and circumstance that currently exists within government is antiquated, unnecessary and overly expensive. A clear example of this is the current practice of maintaining a Queen’s representative in Ottawa and in each province (Governor General/Lieutenant Governor). This is an outdated custom that has no real value in the twenty-first century. We believe that while the office may provide a comfortable reminder of our history, its does not warrant the cost of maintaining it going forward and should be done away with.

The PFP vision of government is one that is open and responsive to the needs of the nation. In an effort to ensure accountability and sound financial practices the PFP would greatly increase the powers of the Auditor General by allowing the office to fully investigate spending in all areas of government. All members of parliament including cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister would be subject to the Auditor’s review. The office of the Auditor General would report directly to parliament in an open forum available to all, in essence making it accountable to the general public.

Although we understand that the plans outlined above will take time to implement, we believe they are a major first step in creating a more even handed government that will better serve all Canadians. Other changes will need to occur over time, but we believe that these steps will significantly improve how this country is governed.


Michael M said...

Great stuff. I'm from BC and I've been working for just this sort of reform for years.

Too bad we don't really have a party working for this kind of change in Ottawa. We elect them and they simply look out for themselves and to hell with the public that elected them.

Anonymous said...

You've got my vote!!!

Patriot said...

Well folks, someone asked a little while ago what we might really be accomplishing here. In esscence they questioned the fact that we talk and talk but do we really ever do anything to change things?

This contributor asked if anyone had the guts to actually stand up and make a difference. Well here is your chance.

I have decided to take the advice of that person and as a result have begun the process of looking for members to start a new party. This is obviously in the very early stages of becoming a reality, but this is your chance to get in on the ground floor and help shape the party and the policies going forward.

I guess we will see if there really are any of us who are willing to make that leap of faith and work for true change.


NL-ExPatriate said...

With reference to the Triple E senate

On the Equal PArt a way around the disparity Quebec is likely to voice over their French representation why no make it so that each and every province has to have equal french and english representation or French Native or English Native? Or it could be that each native group gets a senator to represent them? Metis, Innu, Mikmac, Cree, Ojibwa, etc etc.
We have something like 101 senators now so 13 provinces and territories which works out to 9 each for a total of 117.
Now the Chinese and other language speaking minorities will also want representation it shouldn't have to be entrenched mainly due to the fact that they aren't recognized as one of our two official languages.

Any and all federal jobs should be available to any and all qualified Canadians. If we are supposed to be a bilingual country then it is the responsibility of government to ensure that our schools graduate all of our youth with the language requirements to be able to apply for and be hired on an equal footing throughout Canada.

We can't as a government say we are a bilingual country but not ensure that all of our youth have the skills to fullfill any Federal government job without providing them with the basic language education to do so.

Institutionalized descrimination is what this amounts to.

Patriot said...

Good suggestions NL. We will need to look at ensuring that the senate is representative of the nations demographic make-up.

This may be difficult however since the public will elect the senate and we wouldn't want a situation where someone interested in running is stopped from doing so because they don't match the language, race or gender profile necessary to address a quota.

Any ideas on this one folks?

NL-ExPatriate said...

Like I stated in my earlier post regioal demographics should be taken care of for the most part by the elected option. IE Vancouver will more than likely elect some senators of Chinese descent etc Quebec will elect all french senators Ontario will elect some english some french, NB will elect bilingual senators.
The real problem in my mind is the failing of our education system to make everyone bilingual.
As for the Native issue personally I think they should have a seat irrespective of demographics.

The Senate should really be a the regional equalizer. IE nation building versus Empire building which is what is happening now in the Legislature, with Ontario having 1/3 of all of the countries seats. 106 out of 308.

Stephen Eli Harris said...

Myles, you speak of true change and I couldn't agree more with that. The bickering that has been going on with the Liberal Party and the Conservatives has truly exausted itself. I'm tired of the main issue of an election being who's better than the other when it comes to those two when no real changes are being made.

I commend you for supporting a new party and new direction. I've done the same thing by supporting what I believe to be the best choice for Canada (and the world) and put my back into building the awareness of the Green Party of Canada. I'm currently running as a Candidate in St. John's East and have a blog for the Green Party of Newfoundland (http://newfoundlandgreenparty.blogspot.com). I'd love to have your insightful comments on some of our issues.