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  1. "The problem with Parliament is that it has ceased to be a legislative body. It provides a public forum for venting reaction or venting ideas, but doesn't have much to do with governing the country." - Stephen Harper, Prime Minister "The Prime Minister used to be described as 'the first among equals' in the cabinet, or as 'a moon among minor stars'. This is no longer so. He (she) is now incomparably more powerful than any colleague. The Prime Minister chooses the ministers in the first place, and can also ask any of them to resign; if the minister refuses, the Prime Minister can advise the Governor General to remove that minister and the advice would invariably be followed. Cabinet decisions do not necessarily go by majority vote. A strong prime minister, having listened to everyone's opinion, may simply announce that his (her) view is the policy of the government, even if most, or all, the other ministers are opposed. Unless the dissenting ministers are prepared to resign, they must bow to the decision." - Jean Chretien, former Prime Minister "A Canadian Prime Minister can appoint judges, ratify treaties, send Canadian men and women into war, negotiate trade agreements, make patronage appointments, set the date of elections to suit his or her political advantage, determine when Parliament will be prorogued, when it will be recalled, and appoint the most senior public servants, all without reference to the MPs Canadians have elected to represent them. This is a parliamentary dictatorship and it must be brought to an end." - Bill Blakie, MP "Parliament is not working and has not been working for a long time" - Joe Clark, former Prime Minister
  2. Students Need to Vote Are you a student with no interest in the political scene? Can’t see the point in voting when nothing is going to change? There is a third way. Political reform should be the issue in the election. So get involved. Read each party’s platform, talk to all of your candidates and ask how they and their parties are going to make Canada more democratic so you have a real voice. If they have nothing substantive to say about reform beyond vague promises consider the ‘third way’, voting a blank ballot; the ‘none of the above’ option. Your ballot blank on May 2 will send a clear positive message that Canadians want democratic reform and that none of the choices are acceptable. We want every Canadian to do their duty and vote. Voting a blank ballot is perfectly valid and Elections Canada counts and reports these ballots in the same way as ballots for candidates. So get involved and make an informed decision. Say no to the status quo. Lets fight for something we can believe in!
  3. Consider a blank ballot vote; it is a valid 'none of the above' option.
  4. Since the Canadian Constitution states that Canada is to have a government similar to that of the UK, if the UK adopts PR should Canada not be required to adopt PR. FPTP would become un-constitutional.
  5. I like to think that we agree in theory, your objections are that making the changes is not do-able. I tend to agree with you ToadBrother. It could be that making Canada where citizens have a real voice in government is a doomed project. Unfortunately we have come to the point where the system cannot evolve but yet is not practical for the 21st century. It remains to be seen if eventually there is some kind of crisis, such as very low voter turnouts or a province or region breaking away from the country in order to seek greater democracy. For our part the Atlantica Party is at least trying to make a difference at the provincial level.
  6. Yes the leader of the nation was given the boot privately by a small group of people. Well if there is a 'political' problem why not fix it with a structural change? Otherwise it is likely to keep cropping up. No there are other problems as well. You have not addressed the PM's de-facto control of parliaments voting, unless you don't have a problem with it.
  7. 1+2. It has nothing to do with PR just lets us vote for our PM directly at election time for a fixed term, they then form a cabinet that is 'our' government, preferably not from other elected party members. Since the PM is directly elected he/she's attention will be on the people, not party powerbrokers. 3. By political you mean we just have to somehow get 'nicer' party leaders(which is a problem since we don't pick) and then hope they stay nice in a highly partisan environment. Rather than hope why not do this. You can't get rid of party discipline, and in cases it is a valid influence. We just need to introduce some 'structural' changes to move us in the direction of free-er voting, Recall, CI taking the government out of the legislature will help. 4. Why not just introduce Recall and CI, why hope for a 'political' solution. Isn't that just playing into the old 'trust us' mantra we always get from the status-quo? 5. I already answered above
  8. Feel free to point out my errors. Parliament is not the boss (you must be thinking of the US), a PM with a majority (the intended scenario) is the boss. He/she can initiate national policy (like putting people of the armed forces into war zones) without even having to alert the cabinet let alone backbenchers. "Parliament is not working, and it has not been working for a long time" - Joe Clark
  9. 1. Exactly we do not directly select them. If we don't who does? Parties select our leaders and parties dump them, all without our permission. 2. In Canada the legislature picks governments (its called Legislative Sovereignty versus Popular Sovereignty). If the PCs don't get their majority we may have a PC government or a coalition, who knows? Point is we don't get to decide. Real democracy gives the people these decisions to make themselves. 3. Representatives are required to vote the party line else they are cashiered. 4. With every channel mediated then parties have all the control. They are private organizations that operate out of self interest. The citizen is essentially a hostage to them politically, if an issue say is a good idea but hurts the party it is a dead issue. Without means to circumvent them on occasion they can block and manipulate our national politics. So there is no surprise that none support Recall legislation because that represents a loss of control, even if it is a modest and good idea. 5. Parliament is hostage to the executive, that is what the Westminster system dictates (as opposed to the separation of powers in the US). As a result the PM essentially runs everything (and is far more powerful than any US president) especially if a majority is present. Without a formal ability for Parliament to block the executive you have too much power in one place and that not only is corrosive to democracy (witness Chretian and Harper) it leads to poor policy formation over time. Lets face it our system is left over from a time when powerful elites made sure they controlled politics and kept the 'mob' out.
  10. Hey Toadbrother, 1+2+5 has more to do with rights and freedoms and aspects of civil society, separate from democracy. 3+4 = yes, we do have free elections (although the FPTP is flawed). 5 Yes we have that right. Ok, so Canada is not a total loss but free elections does not democracy make. We have almost no ability to influence politics. Consider: 1. We do not select our leaders. 2. We do not select our government. 3. Our representatives do not represent our interests. 4. There is no way to influence, petition, or direct our political system without it being mediated by a party or government. 5. Parliament is not able to counter and restrain government (which is what it is for). I think until we can address these flaws then we should restrain ourselves from saying that Canada is a model for democracy.
  11. I asked earlier if Canada's democracy was a poor one. I got three rapid nos from Toad Brother, g_bambino, Mr. Hardner. So I was asking why they thought Canada's democracy is not poor.
  12. Toad Brother, g_bambino, M. Dancer please explain why there is a high degree of democracy in Canada.
  13. That's fine. I am just trying to get a definition of democracy we can use to assess Canada. You pick one then.
  14. Ok, here is Wikipedia's definition. "Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal (and more or less direct) participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law." Is this ok?
  15. By 2026 Nova Scotia's population is expected to shrink by about 5% according to a study by Dalhousie University
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