Quote: Originally Posted by Tonington
Well first I'd like to say congratulations.
I think federalism is a good platform. You mentioned electoral reform as part of a better federalism, but was that only for seat allocation amongst the native groups? I have to say I like that idea. Do you have any thoughts about a mixed member proportional. While cities and municipalities are underrepresented, I think there is also a problem with under-representation even amongst the federal parties. Ontario tried the referendum, but was unsuccessful. I think that may have been due to the sudden nature by which the option was presented.
If you break the voter statistics down, we see that some parties need fewer votes to guarantee a seat than others. A better dichotomy would be hard to find than the gulf between parties like the Liberals/Conservatives and the Green party.
Further complicating things is the elections themselves. What are we electing? An MP, a party, or a Prime Minister? The platforms are largely outside of the MP's power, and they really represent a central message in the voting campaign. Add in that parties will fund advertising in ridings with the national message, which has caused some controversy in Parliament.
On the fiscal reforms, I was wondering where you would draw the extra funds for municipalities from. Would they receive municipal transfers at the expense of the provincial transfers? Or would you evaluate other federal spending for some wiggle room?
Thanks for the congratulations.
I’m glad you liked my idea of creating reserved political seats for the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. As to my thoughts on MMP, I did vote for it in the Ontario referendum. However, while MMP would be an improvement for granting greater representation for traditionally underrepresented parties such as the Green party, MMP is also systematically flawed. The main problem that I see with this system is that it creates a closed-list ballot. By voting for a party rather than for a person, the party has complete control over who they make MP. This closed-list system is seen around the world as being less democratic. For instance, in Kosovo the closed-list ballot system was recently abolished, as it was deemed to be undemocratic. The second problem with MMP is that unlike in the current electoral system where MPs represent constituents within a riding, the reserved seats would not be based on a riding. This begs the question of who the MPs holding these seats are to be held responsible to. At least with granting the Aboriginal peoples of Canada reserved political positions, it is clear that they are to be held responsible to the narrowly defined communities that they are to represent (for example the Cree, the Metis, etc) So while MMP is an improvement in terms of granting greater representation to traditionally underrepresented parties, I think it brings with it new problems. MMP was also not successful in Ontario because it was not properly promoted to the public. To guarantee this kind of democratic reform, MMP would have to be taken back to the drawing board (or at least another citizens committee) to address these problems, it would then have to be properly conveyed to the public longer before the election.
In terms of fiscal reform, I would redirect some of the federal funds from the provinces to the municipalities. The reason for this is that the provinces are already allotted funds which are to go to the municipalities, but often get put into other provincial programs. Thus, to redirect some of the funds to go directly to the municipalities would not financially hinder the provinces, it would just reduce the middleman, so to speak, giving greater direct representation to the municipalities. However, I would also, as you suggest, re-evaluate the entire federal budget so as to grant the municipalities greater funding.
Hope this answers your questions, and I’m glad to have this discussion and to debate these issues.
For the contest however, it would be very helpful to me if we could have this debate opened up on my YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UdJyZfU_HQ
. The judges of the contest are looking at how I can respond to exactly these kinds of questions. So, if you have any more comments and/or questions, I would love it if we could continue this debate on YouTube.
Thanks for your support,