James Leroy Wilson's blog

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Canadians Get To Vote For What They Want

Wow. What a big day in Canada! But enough of Mario Lemieux's retirement.

I checked out Rational Reasons for a New Democrat's take on Canada's elections. Although the Conservatives are to the "right" and the NDP are further to the left than than the Liberals, Mike sounds optimistic:
Things that will likely get done (if I may be permitted to dust off my crystal ball):
- A federal Accountability Act will be passed.
- In order for the above, our next election will be based on Proportional Representation
- We will all get a tax cut. It will only be negotiated how we get it - will it be the tax cuts delivered in the mini-budget (as supported by the NDP and the Liberals) or GST cuts? Somewhere in between.
- Families will recieve an extra $1000 to $1200 per year for childcare as part of their child tax credit
- Mandatory Minimum sentences will introduced.
- In order for the above to happen, more federal money will be used for programs to prevent youth from entering the gang and crime cultrue in the first place
- The Ports police will be re-instated.
- Border Guards will be armed.
That's pretty productive if you ask me.

I'm most concerned about Mandatory Minimums. My hope is that such a bill, if passed at all, would restrict it to violent offenders. My fear is that people merely caught with drugs or loaded firearms will get hauled to the slammer for ten years. Worst-case scenario is that Canada's prison population will boom, destroying the lives of many young people who never hurt anyone.

I'm also concerned about new PM Harper's talk about bulking up Canada's military presence in the world. Such "humanitarian" or "peacekeeping" missions do nothing for the security and prosperity of that nation. Getting involved in the international stage has more to do with an immature masculine pride than it does with actual security. Few countries are better suited to a policy of non-intervention than Canada. The more heavily involved a country gets in foreign conflicts, the more likely it will suffer blowback, such as a terrorist attack.

In any case, the frustrating thing about Canadian politics, which has evolved into a "four party" system, is that its parliamentary democracy is actually better-suited to a two-party system, whereas the USA's Consitution can easily absorb a multi-party system which would include both regional and ideological parties. Canada's new government won't last more than one or two years. Indeed, there's the potential for minority governments as far as the eye can see. That can be either good or bad. When so many people are so dependent on the government's social services, the instability can be dangerous: the system could collapse with nothing being done to either "save" the system or transition to a free market.

The American system, with its Electoral College and a filtering device in the House of Representatives for choosing an independent Executive, doesn't require parliamentary party majorities for its stability. The American system would actually work better if, in addition to Republicans and Democrats, at least 20-25% of Congress was composed of members of, say, a Libertarian, a Green, and a Southern Party. Better chance for good bills to pass and bad bills to be defeated if it wasn't just a two-way partisan race.

And I suppose that's the hope in Canada right now, that the multi-party system will supposedly force Harper to govern moderately. Best of luck. If nothing else, I'm envious. People voted for the NDP even when they knew the NDP had no chance of "winning." People voted for the Bloc Quebecois even though that party didn't even attempt to field enough candidates to control Parliament, even though that party has no interest in governing Canada.

Far from seeing "third parties" squeezed out by onerous ballot access laws and other restrictions that protect a Two-Party Cartel, far from having to hold their nose and voting for the "lesser of two evils," Canadians actually get to vote for what they want. The Democrats and Republicans do their best to prevent Americans from doing the same.

There is, of course, some hope of grass-roots reform in the Democratic and Republican Parties, but there's really no chance for alternative candidates and thus no choice on Election Day. We can't realistically expect the Two Parties to give up their advantage and allow genuine opposition parties to the table.

The best hope isn't in working to replace the gangsters with saints. It is better to confront the gangsters directly and scare the heck out of them. It will not be elections, but an uprising, that will force change in America.

1 comment:

  1. "It will not be elections, but an uprising, that will force change in America." or a full scale economic collapse triggered by an atrtack on iran, a lack of confidence in the dollar and general ineptitude of the modern organization structure.

    Latticework is not what effects the structure - it is the structure. Look elsewhere for the mechanism of change. Did you see the piece on the brainworks of D/R partisan debate. What else is new. people are again to paying much attention to the hokus, pokus - smoke and mirrors. what are they trying to distract our attention away from?