Friday, September 04, 2015

This isn't my Canada

I write this post as a Canadian who believes in and desires fair government.

There used to be a time, when no matter who was running the country, Conservative or Liberal, the ruling party listened to Canadians. They introduced legislation that was aligned with their own platform, their own ideology, sure. But they still had the decency to respect the opinions of others. When a law or bill was introduced, it was discussed. When a policy was being formed, all parties were invited to the table and their concerns actually taken into account. Even when the ruling party had a majority, they still listened to the opposition and they tried as much as possible to compromise. Bills usually saw some amendments, that took the needs and concerns of the other parties into account. Because when you get right down to it, the ruling party never has the support of every Canadian. In fact, they rarely have the support of a majority of Canadians. They only have the support of those who voted for them. And that support is conditional. It's conditional on the idea that a government, once elected, will do what is right for all Canadians, not just those who share the same ideology. Our country was great when this was the case.

Even more importantly, the federal government should be the power broker for the rights of its citizens. I expect my government to always create policy that will help ordinary citizens, not giant, profitable corporations. Most especially, not giant, profitable, foreign or multinational corporations.

Our current government does none of these things. When bills are introduced, they are given little to no time for discussion. When discussion is allowed, the time spent is extremely limited and the opportunity is pure gesturing. There is no allowance for a serious, thorough debate. Experts that might not agree with the party ideology, are not invited to the table. The government is not interested in compromise. They are simply interested in their way. This is not what governments are supposed to do.

I understand that majority governments have earned their mandate with a majority of seats, but that doesn't give a government of any political stripe, the right to ignore the wishes of the remainder of the people. In many cases, and especially now, the rest of us, those that didn't vote for the ruling party, make up the majority of the population. The current government passes bills that favour corporations, not consumers. Is this what government is for? No. Government is supposed to represent OUR interests first.

I believe it's time to send a message to Ottawa that our voices are not being heard. I'm not suggesting that you vote for another party. I'm suggesting that you hold your MP accountable to your needs and your opinion. It's time to stop voting with tradition. It's time to stop voting like your parents do or did. It's time to stop voting because of hatred, or because of something some party did 30 years ago, or because of something someone's dead father did. Elect someone with the same values as yourself who will truly represent you. But even more importantly, elect someone that will also listen to those who didn't support them in the last election.

I think it's time that Canada explore mixed member proportional representation, in a fashion similar to Germany. If you don't know how it works, you can read up on it here.  I find it interesting, that the only political party that doesn't feel that we need to explore a change, in the way we elect representatives of the people, are the incumbents. They even claim that Canadians don't want a change from first-past-the-post. Yet unaffiliated polls show quite the contrary.

This time, when you go to the ballot box, and I hope to hell that you make the effort to do so, don't vote based on family tradition or a dislike for something or someone that happened decades ago. And always remember, if you vote for something or someone new, and they don't work out, you only have to tolerate them for at most four years, before you get to vote their ass out the door. You might want to remind them of that when they come to your door asking for your support.

You always had the power.

Use it.

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