Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Democratic Reforms

Yesterday the federal government announced a democratic reform package.

Here are my thoughts:

Fixed Election Dates: Probably a good idea, although it might not fit in a Parliamentary system whereby the government must have the confidence of the legislature. Still knowing ahead of time when an election is coming will certainly make it easier for us at the National Citizens Coalition to plot electoral strategy.

Fixed Terms for Senators: A good step in the right direction. I hope this will trigger some much needed debate on the future of the Upper House. The status quo is no longer acceptable. For the sake of the country’s democratic integrity, the Senate must be either reformed or abolished.

Here is my disappointment:

The government made no mention of scrapping the notorious election gag law.

The election gag law, which was enacted six years ago, makes it a crime for citizens or groups to freely and effectively express ideas or opinions during federal elections.

Without free speech you don’t have free elections and if you don’t have free elections you don’t have democracy.

It seems to me any true democratic reform package would have to include restoring free political speech to Canadians.

But hey maybe that’s just me.

1 comment:

Miles Lunn said...

I think the reason the gag law wasn't included is it has absolutely no chance at passing parliament in a minority situation. You don't try to pass a law that may not be popular (this can easily be spun as benefitting wealthy supporters, so don't think it is a vote winner, it really depends on how it is spun).

Anyways I agree with fixed election dates with off course making an exception for a non-confidence vote in a minority situation as well as I support senate reform, although my preference is to abolish it entirely.