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Red House, Blue House


Polls are fickle things, but looking at the numbers as they stand right now, we could end up with a whole lot of Liberals in the House of Assembly, and not a heck of a lot of anything else. That is, unfortunately, the ebb and flow of politics in this province.

It's also not a very efficient way to run this place.
Why? Well, all you have to do is to look back at the last decade in the House of Assembly, a decade that saw the House filled with a whole lot of Progressive Conservatives. The majority PCs set their legislative agenda and basically moved forward with it, intransigent. What passed for debate was short, often changing nothing in proposed legislation and was, to all intents and purposes, useless. Motions made by the opposition Liberals or New Democrats were neutered, de-tuned or simply defeated. Questions were stonewalled or treated like jokes.
For majority governments, it's their way or the highway - and majority governments are all we have ever had provincially.
There are, however, other ways to run a government, One is the system used in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut called consensus government.
Here's how the Northwest Territories describes it on the territories' website: "The Northwest Territories is one of only two jurisdictions in Canada with a consensus system of government instead of one based on party politics. In our system, all members of the Legislative Assembly are elected as independents. Shortly after the election, all members meet as a caucus to set priorities for that Assembly. The caucus remains active throughout their term as the forum where all members meet as equals."
The caucus first gets together and selects a premier. After that, a set of cabinet ministers is picked by the Assembly.
"Members who are not in cabinet are referred to as regular members. They become the 'unofficial opposition.' They are responsible, through questioning in the House and the work of standing committees, for holding the government accountable and responsive to the people of the Northwest Territories," the website says.
Imagine the concept: a government where members answered directly to the electorate, rather than having to go on bended knee before their political parties or their latest leader for every last crumb. Where decisions are made by a majority among a group of elected members with no connection to official political financing machines.
Before the Internet, people used to point out the unreasonable power of the print media; getting into the business was unfathomably expensive, meaning existing players could have a lock-up on the business.
Now, it's political parties that have the lock-up on our governments. You don't really vote for the best candidate; you vote for the best Tory or Liberal or NDP candidate - and each of those people is already intrinsically tied to the goals of that particular party.
The stronger a potential Liberal majority can be, the better it will be for the Liberals and their supporters. There's a point at which, the larger the majority, the worse off we are as a functioning democracy - because the opposition is smaller and less effective.
Imagine if what we were electing was the best of all candidates, without them needing that precious party imprimatur and affiliation.
Makes you wonder if we couldn't use a better way.

It's also not a very efficient way to run this place.
Why? Well, all you have to do is to look back at the last decade in the House of Assembly, a decade that saw the House filled with a whole lot of Progressive Conservatives. The majority PCs set their legislative agenda and basically moved forward with it, intransigent. What passed for debate was short, often changing nothing in proposed legislation and was, to all intents and purposes, useless. Motions made by the opposition Liberals or New Democrats were neutered, de-tuned or simply defeated. Questions were stonewalled or treated like jokes.
For majority governments, it's their way or the highway - and majority governments are all we have ever had provincially.
There are, however, other ways to run a government, One is the system used in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut called consensus government.
Here's how the Northwest Territories describes it on the territories' website: "The Northwest Territories is one of only two jurisdictions in Canada with a consensus system of government instead of one based on party politics. In our system, all members of the Legislative Assembly are elected as independents. Shortly after the election, all members meet as a caucus to set priorities for that Assembly. The caucus remains active throughout their term as the forum where all members meet as equals."
The caucus first gets together and selects a premier. After that, a set of cabinet ministers is picked by the Assembly.
"Members who are not in cabinet are referred to as regular members. They become the 'unofficial opposition.' They are responsible, through questioning in the House and the work of standing committees, for holding the government accountable and responsive to the people of the Northwest Territories," the website says.
Imagine the concept: a government where members answered directly to the electorate, rather than having to go on bended knee before their political parties or their latest leader for every last crumb. Where decisions are made by a majority among a group of elected members with no connection to official political financing machines.
Before the Internet, people used to point out the unreasonable power of the print media; getting into the business was unfathomably expensive, meaning existing players could have a lock-up on the business.
Now, it's political parties that have the lock-up on our governments. You don't really vote for the best candidate; you vote for the best Tory or Liberal or NDP candidate - and each of those people is already intrinsically tied to the goals of that particular party.
The stronger a potential Liberal majority can be, the better it will be for the Liberals and their supporters. There's a point at which, the larger the majority, the worse off we are as a functioning democracy - because the opposition is smaller and less effective.
Imagine if what we were electing was the best of all candidates, without them needing that precious party imprimatur and affiliation.
Makes you wonder if we couldn't use a better way.

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