Monday, January 23, 2006

Election Watch '06: John's Guide To Electoral Reform

After watching all the Tweedledums and Tweedledumbers lo these last few weeks, I've concluded that Canada clearly needs some electoral reforms. To wit, I humbly offer these suggestions:

1. Whoever Wants to Be Prime Minister Should Be Automatically Barred From Seeking the Office
Clearly, the power associated with the office of a national leader attracts the wrong kind of people. One has to only look at our southerly neighbor to see the ultimate example.
Anyone who actually desires the office of Prime Minister is clearly not the sort of person we want running the country. As the famous philosopher Herman once noted: "The people capable of running the country are too smart to get into politics."
(And this goes along with the mood of most voters in the country. Very few actually want any of the current party leaders to be Prime Minister; either they feel they are left with little choice and must choose the lesser of four evils, or they are not voting for one party as they are voting against another one. I think we have to go back to the heady days of Trudeaumania to find the last time the Canadian populace was genuinely moved to vote for someone.)

2. MPs Should Be Chosen at Random from the General Population
To carry things one step further, anyone wants to be an MP should be barred from office. But then how would we choose our MPs? Via lottery. One citizen would be chosen at random from each riding.
This has the immediate benefit of a House of Commons that more closely represents and reflects the views of the national population.
For example: if 85% of Canadians are against the war in Iraq, it should work out that roughly 85% of our randomly-chosen MPs would be against the war.
If 52% of our population is female, then 52% of our MPs would be female.
If 4% of Canadians are lawyers, then the new House would only have 4% lawyers (as opposed to the 80% it seems we have now).
Parliament would resemble more of a municipal council or Territorial legislature, where various groups may form alliances for specific issues and votes, and a different set of alliances for a different set of issues. All votes would be free votes; there would no parties so no reason to vote along party lines.
Much like how the position of Speaker of the House is voted on by MPs, they would now also select MPs for Cabinet positions, including Prime Minister. (A single mother with two kids would be an excellent choice for finance minister. She would know how to balance the budget, as opposed to a millionaire business man who's so removed from real life that he's never in his life had to account for every cent. But I digress.)

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