Forget senate reform. How about reforming the House of Commons?
What we always suspected has been made transparently clear: MPs have no role in the legislature – they are simply jotted marks in a party leader’s ledger of support (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/31/andrew-coyne-mob-rule-versus-mark-warawa/).
I’m not saying MPs do nothing. They move around a lot and words come out of their mouths. Some of them – Scott Armstrong, for example – are very effective at bringing treasure back to their ridings (most of the voters seem to like that a lot, even if I don’t). What isn’t clear, though, is what purpose (if any) is served by having them sit in Parliament. Forget calling them MPs. Let’s rename them community ombudspersons. They can sit in their constituency offices and compile the complaints of the locals for a report they can send to Ottawa which may or may not garner attention from the handful of people who can actually sign cheques.
Let’s be very clear about this: What we have in Canada now is only the skeleton of democracy – a desiccated, spare framework missing all of the meat that gives life to democracy. We are still protected by the rule of law and enshrined rights, but freedom in Canada trudges along out of force of habit, not because it has staunch, vocal defenders.
My hope is that voters will remember the silencing of Mark Warawa when it comes time to vote again. This isn’t a call to punish the Conservatives specifically, rather a suggestion voters rethink brand loyalty, period.
What does it mean to be a Conservative or a Liberal, an NDPer or a Green? Are these parties guided by principle? What are the motives behind politicians who assume membership in these groups, arguably subsuming the nuances of their own beliefs for the credibility of big names and marketing campaigns?
Politics has always been theatre. Maybe it’s always been theatre of the absurd. But if we’re not going to have democratic representation, we shouldn’t have to pay for it. Forget MPs. Let’s just have a single vote for prime minister once a generation and save the money. Freedom will be dead, of course, but it’s been dying for a long time. I’m sick of looking at its decay. Let’s have the funeral already.
Or, crazy idea, let’s start voting like we actually give a damn.