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Reforming goverment(Canada)
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Old 10 Jun 2010, 17:30   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Reforming goverment(Canada)

I considered SD&D for this but wasn't sure it was that serious.

I got thinking on this a lot lately after the whole Liberal-NDP talks rumours came out(It turned out to be nothing but still ahs echos in Canadian news). I'll save my thoughts on that for another thread but the reasons for why they were having said talks was basically the problem of the first past the post system of elections we have. Basically that the guy with the most votes, even if it's less than 50% of the total votes, wins. Not a good system to represent the voice of the people. Unless you’re in a two party system in which case neither side cares about what you think, only that you hate the other side more.

So let's start with the way we tally votes. An idea that someone suggested from Scandinavia was the idea of ranking the candidates on a ballot. That is that when you went to vote rather than choosing one candidate you rank them form the one you want the most to the one you want the least to represent you. Then when the votes are counted the first round counts all the ballots based on their first choice pick. Once that is done the candidate who had the least number of votes is eliminated. All the ballots that had them as the first choice are counted again, this time based on their second choice. Repeat again, the lowest count eliminated and their next choice counted till you have a clear majority winner.

What happens though if you have a candidate that seems weak but a party that you think has the right idea? Well, how about a page from Germany then? This get's a bit complicated, but in a rather elegant sort of way. First off you get to do a vote for each separately. One vote for the candidate for your riding, and another for the party you prefer. The Candidate that wins for your riding has his seat secure and will be sitting in parliament regardless how his party does. This is the base number of seats the parliament will always have. When it comes to the parties though they get a percentage of the seats based on a percentage of the votes they got. If they have representatives that got elected to seats, they get dibs on those seats first. If there is a difference between the number of seats won by representatives and the seats won by the party the parliament is expanded by the number of seats necessary to make the percentages work. Remaining seats are then filled with members of the party's choosing (in Germany this apparently is starting with the upper ranks of the party and working down).

Either or would be a change for the better I think and even possibly a mix of the two would be interesting. At the very least it would give a better representation of our people than what we have now. However we have another part of the government that has been a problem for some time; the Senate.

There really is a problem with using an elective system for the Senate. This is suppose to be the house of sober second thought and putting it's members in based on elections does represent a small problem. I think we can all agree that to often elected officials pander and think things in terms of what will get them back in next election. Considering the Senate is supposed to take the long view, having them looking to within the election cycle is not conductive to this idea. The current process though of government appointing senators though has made it a joke of rewarded retirees who too often do not do their jobs. More than once Canadian governments have had to threaten the senators to even get them in the chambers. So what to do?

Well, how about using a system called demarchy? I think the person I heard it from was making up the term but the idea is rather sound. Rather than electing people to office the process is done by drawing. Every person in the country of voting age and eligibility has the chance of being picked by random draw to serve in the Senate for a set term. Given current wage and privileges of Senators who wouldn't want to serve? It is random so you might not get the best people for the job, but at the same time you are likely to get a cross section of Canadian society, a true voice of the people. You also might get people who actually know what’s what and who actually give a damn about the country rather than just wanting the power that comes with the position.

So, that’s a quick rundown of how I'd change the way people get elected/selected for positions in our government. Anyone else have ideas and suggestions that might make our country a bit better?
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Old 10 Jun 2010, 18:24   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Reforming goverment(Canada)

We actually had something of a refferendum here in what I believe was the last provincial election over that Proportional Representation thing. People voted against it unfortunately, I suspect more from a "BOOO! CHANGE!" standpoint than anything :. I rather like the idea myself as it would ensure that the actual percentage of votes is represented, bringing things a lil closer to a true democracy. We have the technology now to actually do this without resorting to having a room full of people scribbling out calculations on a forest's worth of paper. The only problem I can see with that system is occasionally some nutbar party may actually get a seat, but in that case it'll still just be some maniac shouting from the back of the room, drowned out by the sea of other bickering old dudes. :P
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Old 10 Jun 2010, 18:55   #3 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Reforming goverment(Canada)

Yeah, that was at the provincial level in Ontario. I'd like to see that though nationwide. As to nutbars getting a seat...it would actually be less likely I think under this than the current system. At least with these suggestions he'd have to ahve a nutbar riding first, rahter than just a small group of nutbars and enough of a split between the other parties to get the seat.
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