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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Democracies should be republics

As Plato knew, mature democracies, even those with a parliamentary framework, need to be republics. We need to end our practical and legal ties to monarchy. No longer should be be subjects of anyone. The governor general should become an elected president with actual responsibilities beyond rubber-stamping and cutting ribbons. We pay a lot for something out-of work actors can do. And we can get rid of lieutenant governors altogether, unless we elect them as well. We need to dilute the power of the prime minister. With a so-called majority government and party discipline, this office has become dictatorial.

Our system has no real checks and balances in it. The constitution has placed the judiciary in the role of checks, but the balance is still tipped toward the prime minister, who can use legislation and the stupid "not-withstanding" clause to get around that. Our senate is supposed to be the balance, but it is appointed by the prime minister who can even add seats to further tip votes in his favour. They should be elected and independent from the prime minister, but both the Commons and the Senate should have prime ministers. Legislation would need the approval of both bodies, the President breaking any ties or deadlocks. The Commons could be constituted  using representation by population as it is now, with ridings and the like. The Senate could have an equal number of representatives from each province/territory. Both should be elected  using proportional representation  with ranked voting. Everyone gets one vote, every vote counts and is represented, mature coalitions and cooperation are encouraged rather than discouraged, and the one who can make the final decision and act as our spokesperson to the world is directly elected by those led. Our present system concentrates influence and power  in the hands of too few.

It's time to stop allowing others to rule us and govern ourselves. It's time to stand on our own and lose our colony mentality. It's time the people had a real voice in their country. We needn't throw it all away, just bring it up from pre-industrial revolution to the 21st century. It's time to modernize our country.

We can keep the queen on our money if we like.