Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Parliamentary Reform

From what I can tell, the people of Canada or Newfoundland and Labrador, are not interested in politics, and one possibility for why that is could be aspects of the current representative parliamentary system. As it stands now, citizens have little input into their democracy beyond voting. Participation is left fully to the people who are chosen to represent citizens, and worse, they are not held accountable when they fail to accurately represent those people. Parliament has failed it's citizens, and I think all that has grown from it, is apathy .

There are perhaps many potential parliamentary fixes, but to start off the conversation, I'm going to choose to focus on two main topics; Direct Democracy and Accountability / Transparency.

DIRECT DEMOCRACY

Keeping people engaged in the democratic process between elections is highly important, and should be considered so. Without full time citizen engagement, push button politics are easily used to control the populous. Combine that with the already present apathy, leaders of Government and Industry are freely able to do as they wish, no matter the consequences. Here are few suggestions which I believe we should immediately instate.

Representative Recall

It is absolutely essential that we hold our elected officials accountable, and not just during election time. An electorate should have an ability to remove anyone from office at any time, should they deserve it in the eyes of said electorate. Representative Recall is one option to help achieve that. This is a process whereby any representative can be recalled from parliament, forcing a by-election in the area they represent.

To force a representative recall I believe it may only be fair if enough of the electorate wish it to happen. One suggestion would be that a petition be started with stated valid reasons as to why the representative should be recalled. If that petition reaches the same number of people that it took to vote said representative into power in the fist place, then a recall should be initiated sparking an election. Whether or not this person should be allowed to run again is something that will have to be discussed. My suggestion would be no.

With regards to the Mixed Member Proportional Representation electoral system, nothing will need adjusting during this by-election (or any other by-election reason) with regards to needing representation proportionally. The proportional would shift organically whichever way voters push it.

Referendums

This is a fairly easy concept. Give the people a direct choice on important changes or additions. Give us a direct voice on direction, and thus shift the responsibility to the populous who's lives are directly affected. It only makes sense. There is absolutely no reason why more referendums should not take place. If cost is an issue, we should add the referendum questions to election ballots, as people are out to vote anyway. The US is a good example of how it could be done, though we have the ability to modify as we please. The key is to just give a populous an opportunity for direct involvement with direct questions.

Encouraging Engagement

At no point in any citizens life should they feel intimidated for getting involved with the direction of their world, country, province or community. Encouragement for discussion, action and any form of participation in one's democracy is the whole idea of democracy. The death of apathy should be fully encouraged.

Requesting Engagement

Representatives should take more time to directly communicate with the public they represent. The use of social media today makes this quite easy. It is more open to sabotage as well though, knowing the demons that exist online, so that is something to be considered. Open Forums out in the public is a great option however, and I believe the electorate should be able to request one at any point. It could be set it up as a sporadic event as well, sort of like quarterly updates from business. Being informed and engaged at all times is the key, whichever way is chosen.


ACCOUNTABILITY and TRANSPARENCY

Everything I've already posted can be considered accountability really, but when it comes to transparency, here are a few suggestions to help improve the current situation.

Free Vote for Representatives

Representatives should always be given a free vote on any new piece of legislature or any other topic voted upon within the house. Individuality should be paramount within parliament, and there should be no need for tactical voting from any party leaders. Encouraging free vote would only help serve to hold individuals more accountable to their own ideals, and free them to vote with as an absolute direct representation of the people they represent.

End Prorogations

Proroguing government is absolute mockery of parliament. There should be no reason why any leader need to shut down the house, and this tactic should cease immediately. To me, if a leader wishes to do prorogue government, they must step down as leader to do so. The house would then close for however long is needed to elect a new leader.

Access to info

Information from any Government is not a privilege, let me first say that. Every citizen has the right to acquire any information they so desire when it comes to Government activity. I would even go so far as to say that most information should not even have to be requested; it should just be made available. Information requests for items from the past perhaps, but everything involving current government affairs should definitely be made public proactively. We are in an information age here. People now have unbelievable access to any info they wish, and no Government should be in any way restricting the amount of information available when such means to do so are there.


So that's a start, and I know this can and will be developed further. The sooner we implement ideas such as these however, the better our lives will be; this I truly believe.

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