December 02, 2008

There are better ways...

As fascinating as the drama on Parliament Hill is to watch, I can't help but think that it's like watching yourself step on a nail - it's certainly interesting, but it's not very pleasant and can only lead to more pain and suffering later on. You can be upset with the foot or you can be upset with the nail (you can also cheer for either one), but the end result is the same: an injured, bloody foot and a discarded or bent nail.

I have no doubt that the whole election/coalition/proroguing issue will lead to discussions in the media about parliamentary reform, so I'm going to throw my two-cents out while I have a chance.

Canadians should seriously consider adopting the consensus-style system of government. Both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut use consensus governments. If you don't know how the consensus system works, read about how it's applied in Nunavut in this Canadian Parliamentary Review article. (Thanks to Way Way Up for the link.)

Critics of the consensus-style system say it may work for small territories but that it can't work for a country with over three hundred Members of Parliament. Well, how well is the party-based system working now? You might try to argue that this is a perfect example of how well the party system works, but I ask you, is what we're seeing an example of the parties looking out for the best interests of Canadians?  Or are the parties only looking out for themselves?

The current system is based on party survival.  Because of that, I know that the consensus system will never be adopted at the national level.  After all, the people who would need to adopt the changes are the ones with the most to lose.  Still, with everything that's going on, you can't fault a guy for doing a little wishful thinking...

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