Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Fixed Parliamentary Terms

I'm not much of a fan of this new law because I prefer the much older system in which the government was the cabinet and the cabinet was the government. I think that system (as opposed to the government being the party in power)provides greater room for good government, an easier way to bring in proportional representation, and retains the role of the Governor General in creating new government/cabinets when a lack of confidence issue arises in the house. Which is to say that if a Prime Minister can't keep the support of the house, a new leader is asked to create a cabinet/government from the ranks of the elected house members, and if that leader succeeds the new cabinet proceeds to govern until they lose the confidence of the House. An election in that system would occur only when the Governor General can't find a leader/cabinet that can hold the support of the house. Partisanship is the biggest problem in our parliamentary system these days because the 'party in power' has replaced the 'cabinet in power', so instead of focusing on policy the cabinet focuses on electability, and the party whips turn the rest of our elected representatives into 'step and fetch' voting blocks instead of into individuals serving their constituents. The four year term may create a certain kind of stability, but most of what it stabilizes are parties.
I don't mind using parties to contest elections, but I'd prefer a non-partisan parliament once elected, and a proportionally representative cabinet/government. That's how I'd create stability and accountability and flexibility.

1 comment:

Jerry Prager said...

Thinking about this post during the day I came to the conclusion that the four year term isn't a problem, it could still be used to create certain kinds of socio-economic planning stabilities, in which a governor general could still ensure a functioning house of commons
for as much of the four year term as possible using a proportionally representative cabinet-committee system of government.