I’ve had the joy a few weeks back of having to explain the current political weirdness to a Greek friend. Well I must admit that compared to the crisis in Greece our political problem seems like children arguing whom as the strongest dad. Still it made me think about the situation and I can’t help but conclude that it is a proof that our system is completely bonkers. We’ve got on one side a prime minister that has to ask for a unelected representative of a Queen for permission to stop the working of our government even though it is every arguable that she as the actual authority to say no. On the other side we had a coalition of two party with a third promising not to vote against them in non-confidence vote that wants to declare that the people of Canada have lost confidence in the government and that the prime minister should ask the same unelected representative of a Queen to give them the power (or to declare a 3 election in two years.) Considering that the crisis started mere days after the election of the government it is hard to believe that the coalition talk did not begin during the election campaign. It might just be me but I do not believe that such a situation should be possible in a democracy.
Furthermore I think the problem of Canadian government comes from the root of our parliamentary system. We build a system on the opposition of two view points, technically our government works by having a party in power doing just about whatever it wants and the opposition party trying to point out flaws in everything the party in power does. Sound like a receipy for disaster no? Not to mention that our voting system is also weird, we have in our constitution declared that no matter how the population is distributated in Canada some provinces will never have less then % of the deputy. In part that is logical, it makes sure that no province dominate Canadian politics but on the other hand that means that 1 vote in some province might be worth more then a vote in another province. Finally, our voting system work with the premisses that the elected representant is not the one that get the majorty of votes but the one that gets the most no matter how little of the people he actually represent.
Now as is the tradition in Quebec, someone is bond to say: yeah yeah you complain but you do not have anything to propose to solve the problem! Well actually that not true, I have something to propose, it’s rought for the moment but I belive it might increase the stability of Canadian governement AND make them more representative of the people of Canada. We first have to positively scrap the current system I’d keep just about nothing. I’d start by making the office of leader of the country (presently a prime minister in the future whatever you want to call him/her) elected separatly from the parlement. I’d even go has far as to demand that the people running for that position be outside the “parties” or at the very least that they cannot be the leader of any political party. This office would be determined on a multi-tour majority win baillot, i.e you cannot become the leader of Canada without getting the support of at least 50%+1 vote of all Canadian.
The second part would be a proportional vote for the party the citizen feel would better represent them in Canada. The proportional vote means that if say the liberal get 42% of this vote they would get 42% of the proportional deputy in parlement. There is no candidate attached directly to these vote you vote strictly for the party and the party choose a number of deputy from it’s member to represent them.
Finally, you vote for the deputy from your circonscription. This person task in parlement is not to represent the ideals of a party but to represent the people in his circonscription. In a perfect world they would not belong to any political party but I doubt such a situation is possible (at least at first).
Now it might seem like I would be increasing the number of deputy considerably, actually no. The first thing we need to realise is that large densly populated area of the country tend to work as a bloc (Montreal is a good exemple of this, you actually need only 2 deputy to represent the 2 Millions people of the Island!) This means that we can dramatically reduce the number of deputy in large city without loosing any representativity. Now before you start screaming that this would mean that a vote in Montreal would be worth less then a vote in for exemple Rimouski you have to remember the proportional section of the vote. There are hundered of thousan of more votes in Montreal then they are in Rimouski meaning that the population of Montreal proportional vote wills competly eclispe the regional vote. Restoring the balance in vote vs population by in a way associating the floating proportional deputy to large city.
The last part of the idea, is that the elected leader would have to go and ask the leader of the party with the most vote to be his prime minister and to form a governement representative of the vote from the people of Canada. Minister would have to be elected from the members of parlement and may be remove by the will of parlement. The leader of the country has no vote except to break ties in parlement, but he as more power to propose new bills and law and could have a limited veto power in the form of asking for a bill to require a strong majority to be accepted. I think that even if this system is far from perfect (or even ready to implement I’m sure they are a lots of thing I failled to take into consideration) it would still be more stable AND instead of being based on an adversarial fight between to idea it rest on ideas of cooperation toward the common good of the voters of Canada.