Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reagan Redux

"Jefferson" is a song I wrote for my old band back in the early 1990s, as a response to what I saw as the erosion of responsible government during the Reagan / Thatcher / Bush / Mulroney years. Alas, it's just as relevant now in Canada, where my fellow citizens seem inclined to re-elect a government headed by a man who stood in front of the nation during Monday's English language debate and recited the old mantra of Reaganomics: "We can raise spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget."

It was a lie in the 1980s, and it's a lie when Stephen Harper says it now. Here's hoping that we move beyond the "fish tail minds" that Harper takes us for, and demand better.

Paul Kimball

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reforming the Federal Government of Canada

How to make our government work better.

1. Replace the first-past-the-post system with a proportional representation system. It is absurd, and undemocratic, for a party like the Bloc Quebecois to hold dozens of seats, while a party like the Greens, with a national percentage of the vote not that far from the BQ's, has none.

2. Institute mandatory fixed election dates, every four years.

3. Institute term limits for Members of Parliament. A good number would be a total of twelve years served (the equivalent of three Parliaments) - when your time is up, you can't run again. That provides a balance of experience, but also prevents career politicians from roosting in Parliament for year after year.

4. Abolish the Senate. The Provinces already have representation, through Provincial governments. No need for the Senate, elected or otherwise.

5. Remove all ties to the British monarchy, and have a directly elected Governor General with the same powers and functions that he / she possesses now.

I have other ideas, but these are the "big five" that if put in place together would create a much more representative government - and one that I am also convinced would be more effective.

I also realize that #5 would be a tough slog, so I'm willing to drop that one for now - but no true democracy should be represented by a hereditary monarchy, so on principle I include it here.

Paul Kimball