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Electoral Reform Part Three

Web posted on September 22, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Candidates must never be parachuted into a riding just for an election. I would never vote for that candidate on general principal alone. How can someone represent a riding without a long term connection to that area? A candidate must have resided in the community for at least three years. Obviously I am not referring to riding redistribution. This can cause some awkward situations but allowances could be made as required. I would be prepared to make an exception when a sitting member steps aside for a new party leader. Of course, that person must run in their home constituency in the next election.

Candidates must be picked though a transparent nomination format, not just announced as the person running. There is nothing wrong with the Powers That Be encouraging an individual to consider putting their name up for nomination. If that person decides to run, they must go through the nomination process without any outside interference. Under no circumstances should a party leader be allowed to appoint a candidate. I would find it impossible to vote for a candidate selected without democratic process just to fill a politically correct agenda as decided by the party leader. There must never be any artificially set quotas for who is running (or who ends up in cabinet). This appears to happen far too often with some parties. Any party setting quotas does not get my vote. The best candidate as selected by a vote of that party's local membership must be the nominee. If no person from a desired demographic steps forward to run, then go with the best available individual. I can respect that. The only consideration must be to get the candidate with the best possible chance to win. I am all for diversity but it must come from the grassroots not from the party leadership. The local riding associations must have more power. There used to be a time when all the parties had advertised nomination meetings. These days too may candidates are appointed not chosen.

All local campaign literature must be printed in the constituency, and web sites hosted by local service providers. Money raised in the community should stay in the community. Exceptions could be made for ridings in the north if necessary.

The penalties for tampering with election signs need to be increased. Anyone convicted of tampering must lose the right to vote. They should also get the goose or dog poop picking up community service, and a serious fine plus restitution.

Any party to be considered federally must run candidates in all ridings. The party must also get at least 5% of the vote in all ridings. If a party did get members elected, without candidates in all ridings, they would be considered independents with no party status. This would also determine who would take part in any leaders debates in the next election. While it may seem unfair towards one alleged party in particular, it is meant to cover all fringe or local groups.

Chances are pretty slim that any of these changes will ever be made, let alone all of them. Yet I believe that these changes would be far more likely to bring out the jaded voters. The shenanigans of all of the parties are turning people away. Professional politicians of all colours are making the thought of a predetermined Best Before Date more palatable every year. No matter how good or beloved a politician is, there comes a time when they wear out their welcome. I think that the really good and honourable ones know when it is time. Others seem to want to stay in office no matter what. There are term limits for president in the United States (two terms) and Mexico (one term), and they seem to work. Do we need term limits for all politicians? This is something that needs some very serious thought. I am mostly undecided, but leaning very slightly towards some type of term limits.

Dirty American style campaigns seem to be here to stay. They are still relatively clean and honest when compared to what is happening down south. We need to keep it that way. No party should be allowed to bring in foreign consultants for an election.

It is the actions of far too many elected officials of all colours, at all levels that makes a large portion of the electorate tune out. Be it cancelling power plants to get re-elected, robocalls, questionable Senate appointments, selling off utilities, making promises that are never kept, or doing things not promised, and dubious expenses claimed, it all adds up. It would be nice to have an Elected Official Accountability Act that could be used to keep them honest, or send them to jail. As if that is ever going to happen. Something needs to happen because no matter what they promise about accountability, they never deliver. Perhaps a recall process is needed. If enough voters sign a petition a bye-election must be called. The colour of the government has made no difference at all. Once elected, they do what they want and by the time the next election comes around too many voters will have forgotten. Our elected officials must he held to the highest possible standards, and must be accountable for their actions.

As I said when I started this series, these suggestions are far more important than changing how we vote. Let's have some meaningful changes that will encourage more people to come out and vote.

Just as a post script, did you notice that Tim Hudak (the character who gave us She Who Must Not Be Re-elected on a silver platter thanks to his horrendous election platform) has resigned his seat to be the CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association? From what I gather, the organization can be considered a lobby group. I rest my case.

Stephen Harper has stepped down as an MP. Yes, I can hear some of you cheering. He is starting a consulting company on international relations. As long as it has nothing to do with any level of Canadian government for five years, I wish him good luck. He has also signed on with a major law firm which seems to have a lot of former politicians on board. This adds his name to a very long list of former politicians who are double dipping and working for companies that do business with government in Canada. I realize that they will never vote to outlaw this practice, however, the more I think about it, the more I feel that if any retired politician goes to work for any firm or organization that has any contact with government MUST lose their pension. Like I said earlier in this series of columns, there are many things they can do after retiring. I understand that Mr. Harper is a fairly decent musician. Perhaps he could form a band and go on the road.


Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at news@thefountainpen.com

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.


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