It seems that too often we are looking at voting methods instead of examining the entire electoral process. There is much more involved in Canadian politics that the voter should be concerned about. We could go a long way to improving our democracy. Start with our candidates for political office. Why should we have more than 100 candidates show up for a municipal by-election? What does this prove? Wouldn’t we do better to have some vetting of these people before we waste resources on the selection?
A simple approach is primaries. Primaries are used in the United States for nominating people to be president and can be different from one state to another. The basic concept can be for political parties to choose their candidate. People who register as supporters of specific parties are invited to vote in their electoral district for the individual they think should be the candidate for their party.
The impact in Canada for this process would be to take the selection of candidates away from the party leader. The power could be left for the political party to object to a candidate for reason. Registration of voters could be left to the political parties as they would benefit the most from this change. It could be a year-round opportunity for them to proselytize and gain new members.
The major reason people want to have a change in voting is because they consider it wrong to be elected without a majority of votes. With the advent of safe Internet voting, the cost of holding a vote will drop considerably. When that is assured, we can have a run-off vote a week later such as the French have for their presidential elections. If the leading candidate has 40 per cent of the vote and the second has 35 per cent, a run-off vote can be held with just the top two candidates.
In any reform in voting or the role of political parties, the objective is to improve our democracy. We should ask that question in any change. I would suggest to you that the power over candidates, presently held the party leader, works against democracy. We want our representative to represent us.
Democracy can only be measured by its effectiveness for the people. If the leader has to much of power, the people are losing. The more power held by party leaders, the less is held by the people.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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