Humble Dogs

That they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts. Matthew 13:15b

Political Reform

There is a new Political party in Alberta called the Alberta Party. They are trying to attract new members and as yet they have elected no MLAs.

10 years ago a Joint Standing Committee on the Library of Parliament was given the task of formulating changes to Parliament regarding parliamentary reform. In the introduction of their report they stated;
“Canada and Canadians have changed dramatically over the course of the last century and a half. By comparison, our parliamentary institutions have not kept up with the pace of change. Today, Canadians rightly expect a democracy founded on the needs of the times, and the message has been received loud and clear. Every political party represented in Parliament has, in one way or another, expressed its support for democratic renewal and parliamentary reform.”
This formed the basis of the Conservative promises for parliamentary reform, open government, etc,etc. And as much as the Conservatives have strayed from their 2005 campaign pledges to run a cleaner, more open, more honest and ethical government, the Liberals and NDP fair no better.

Do we need another political party? On platform, each is relatively indistinguishable from the other, including the Alberta Party. I believe what the Alberta Party members desire is infusing ‘democracy’ into the legislature. Truth and co-operation, becoming the voice of the people. Without the backing of mainstream media, forming a new political party is an exercise in futility. The only way the Wildrose did as well as they did is they were the political formation of the Sun Media Group which controls 95%+ of Alberta newspapers. The reason they did not form the government is because of the endorsement from Harper and CO. who are on their way out federally. Politics are changing in Canada and here in Alberta but, they won’t change via political parties.

Political parties as they stand now have run their course as being useful to society. They only exist to get elected and their platforms limit their ability to represent the people to whom they serve. The laws of the land ensure their existence  Both financially, by favor of legislation, and promotion wise through mainstream media, political parties narrow the political debate and create an atmosphere of non-cooperation. It is the atmosphere of non-cooperation that political pundits thrive on, media depends on. Because of the media’s fixation with controversy, the electorate is more prone to vote against any particular party than for.

Economics and ecology go hand in hand. They are married, inseparable. You can’t have one without the other. They come form the same root word Eco meaning ‘House’. Actually there are three words or terms conjoined; ecology, economy, ecumenism. As with every family, we take care of the ecology, or our basic needs through economy, our fiscal responsibility while maintaining ecumenism  the unity and cooperation of all.

Our government representatives should be more than legislators. They must be willing to be role models and leaders. Examples of and to the community in which they reside. Politicians don’t need smarts or degrees, they need wisdom and compassion but, above all, the ability to listen to their electorate. Few have met the standard over the past decade or so.

In conversation with people I have found that there are many, such as I, who have no real place to cast their vote. For fiscal responsibility, effective social policies, and honest environmental protection, there is no place to have it all, therefore we have three choices, either; compromise, throw a dart and hope for the best or don’t vote at all. Sadly, many people chose the latter, not to vote at all.

“Why vote, nothing changes. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, the monies get spent on never-ending committees or media advertising while social problems and the environment continue to deteriorate. No one is willing to fix it – so why vote.”

Political parties need division, they depend on division, they promote division. They rely completely on debasing and devaluing the opposition. Even the terms of Parliament are divisive and adversarial. They make it near impossible to find truth. At best we get compromise. Even compromise is touted as a good thing. It is not! Compromise is a cop-out for non-cooperation, not being able to agree on the right solution.

It is politics that has divided not only Parliament and provincial Legislatures but, community councils, church synods, and many a worthy organization. It is politics that leads many a politician to believe they are entitled, have a right to rule instead of a duty to serve. Too few citizens truly appreciate what it means to live in a democracy and instead allow themselves to be governed according to the political whims of the party in power which is usually under control of those that hold the purse strings to their election campaigns.

The word “Democracy” comes from the Greek ‘Demos’ meaning the collective people – citizenry, communion, and ‘Kratos’, meaning power, force, strength. Democracy is power of people. The political party who gathers the majority of the elected is not given the mandate to rule and dictate legislation but rather, the opportunity to preside over the discussion for formulating legislation. How bastardized the word “Democracy” has become within today’s legislative assemblies!

One of the most absurd bastardizations of democracy is lobbying, allowing corporations, unions and other non-voting groups to influence legislatures behind the scenes. All lobbying should be done in open session with full legislature attendance.

The weakness of Canadian Legislatures is democracy. There have been many calls for democratic reform – remember the “Reform Party” – specifically limits on the abuse of omnibus bills, and the power of prorogation, greater proportionality in the electoral system, more power for parliamentary committees and more independence for parliamentary watchdogs. Everyone in parliament, regardless of party, knows it. Even the government’s own backbenches seek more influence over policy. All MPs of all parties have their talking points. Question Period is a charade, and MP voter turnout is abysmal. Politicians will not reform themselves, it is entirely up to the people of Canada to set before candidates a Contract of Performance and Conduct.

What the Alberta Party members are really looking for is honest government. I would propose changing from party to movement, a move to bring honesty and integrity to the legislatures via a Political Contract. Imagine if every candidate running for MP or MLA were asked to sign a Contract with their electorate in which they vow proper performance and conduct, vow that they be open, communicative, non-bias, and co-operative.

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