By now we should all be tired of the naysayers who say Canada’s constitution is impossible to change. The facts are that nothing is impossible. The ultimate authority on how we are governed is the people. We can, in a referendum for example, call for a constitutional conference to assess the need for change in Canada. If change is determined to be needed, we can elect delegates from the federal electoral districts across Canada to exam possible changes and make recommendations. Any recommendations can be debated at large and then a referendum vote can be called to accept or reject any or all of them.
There are many possibilities for the delegates to a constitutional conference. First of all, they have to care about the questions. Some could be politicians who have something to contribute. A few might be political scientists with ideas to build on. Most would be citizens concerned about the future of our country.
Back in 2007 there was a group of lottery winners in Ontario who were asked to consider methods of voting. They came up with a convoluted mixed member proportional voting system for the province. In the subsequent referendum, the idea was defeated by about two to one. In a similar vein, British Columbia had three attempts at reform of voting and Prince Edward Island had one. The conclusion seems to be that there is continuing support for first-past-the-post voting in those provinces.
What we need to consider in the election of people to the constitutional conference is are we going to elect enough people with open minds? Compromise and consideration of the needs of others are important if they are going to make the process work for Canadians.
Though there are those who have a strange view of the subject. There was a writer to the Toronto Star the other day who thought the crown’s only constituency is the constitution. He wrote that the royals are only given their high office to defend the constitution and be the living embodiment of the constitution and are therefore not responsible to the electorate. I wonder if the writer knows that the United Kingdom does not have a constitution. They have lots of customs; no written constitution.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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