As the Canadian federal election looms on the not too distant autumn horizon we are daily being barraged with juvenile attack ads, obscene anti-abortion leaflets, and solicitations for party donations.
Most people I speak to about federal politics in Canada have one of three responses to what is going on:
- apathy … something along the lines of: politicians are the same soul-less, narcissistic, self-serving jerks out to line their own pockets and those of their friends, so what’s the point in even voting?
- Anyone-but Harper.
- “I’ve always voted ______, so has my wife/husband/parents/grandparentswhole town etc.
All three of these responses are missing the point for me. They focus on the party choices and not the policy choices, which is where most people would be truly interested if they actually had a real say.
I don’t like party labels, and I hate being talked down to by politicians who think I, like ‘most Canadians,’ all ‘Canadians,’ the ‘Middle Class,’ the ‘Working Class,’ ‘young Canadians,’ ‘Canadian Women’ automatically think a certain way, want certain things, or believe that only a certain political party ‘understands me’ or has my ‘best interests at heart.’
I like to actually read about the policies being planned, the money being spent, and how it affects me, instead of being dictated to, or treated like an idiot (those attack ads are just insulting to all viewers, we are not so stupid as to fall for that!)
I have no party loyalty and you shouldn’t either.
So here is what I propose:
Get rid of political parties altogether. Vote in individual representatives with sufficient passion, capacity, and life experience to effectively represent their constituents. These representatives must be given the tools to actually put forward and advocate for the interests of their constituents and not be bench-filling ventriloquist dummies with no opportunity to think, speak, or vote independently.
Lets go a step further:
Implement online voting and have individual Canadians actually vote on the federal budget, healthcare policy, tax policy, education funding, environmental regulations, marihuana legislation. We all have smartphones and the technology cannot be that difficult to implement. The government would form committees to collect and review information which will then be shared with Canadians to allow us to make our own informed decisions. Once we collective agree on a national general policy direction, our voted representatives, in conjunction with the public service, and experts in the relative fields can implement the specifics.
Perhaps an effective civics curriculum could be drafted to provide Canadian youth with the tools to think critically and engage actively with their own government.
This would make for a much more alive civil society, and would do much to alleviate voter apathy, a split centre-left, Anyone-but-Harperism, mindless party loyalty, and other problems that plague Canadian politics. Instead of the illusion of democracy, we could have actual choice and real involvement.
Well, who’s with me?
Hello out there?