Over the years, I have spent a fair bit of time complaining about the electoral process, I've listened to others complain, I've listen to promises by various Federal Governments to repair the representative deficit... on and on.
Paul Martin once said "If at the end of my tenure, Western Alienation still exists, I'll have failed in my term as Prime Minister"... or something to that effect.
Preston Manning touted the triple "E" Senate, and was laughed at for his trouble.
Stephan Harper found the lack of representation so alarming at one point that he helped pen the "Alberta Firewall" solution.
Attacks on my province, like the NEP, the Oil taxes of the early 70's, the continual interference in the internal doings of Alberta, all this and more made me scream in frustration.
To the point that I now realize there is only two options on the table, especially in light of the remarks made by the likes of Mark Holland. (Maybe he was mis-understood, maybe he wasn't, doesn't matter because in the end, it's clear that the Liberals, and central and eastern Canada as a whole, don't necessarily understand what makes Alberta, and the nation tick. Nor do they understand the dilemma behind statements like "we have to control the Oil Sands, and the oil companies will comply or there will be consequences.")
Now before you bash me for bashing Liberals, I don't blame them solely, I also blame the system itself principally. We are all of us forced to choose a side in this nation on just about every item that shows up on the horizon.
Have you ever asked yourself why that is?
My opinion is that we have been forcibly intellectually regionalized and segregated from each other by what I like to think of as the vestige of Oligarchical rule. Power in the hands of a few, coveted and guarded jealously and callously at the end of the day. By pitting us against each other, we are distracted by these people.
But what of the two options?
Well, I'll throw it out there because being the good ol' boy I am, it is expected, and true:
Firstly, Alberta can choose to say "screw the rest of the nation, we are going it alone". This is not a very big leap of faith or logic for most Albertans, never kid yourself about this. Nor is it my prefered route.
As I've mentioned to readers who know me, my family has been part of this nation for 450 years. The only thing more Canadian than us is the First Nations peoples. So before anyone decides to rant and rave at me for being "Anti' Canadian, you'd best stop and think a moment.
You want to question my patriotic spirit, you had better have a better pedigree to hold over me.
But I digress...
The second option is to do what most Albertans want, is all they really ever asked for, and is the least you yourself should expect from your country, your politicians, and your own sense of fairness. Fix the democratic deficit, once and for all.
This isn't just for Alberta, this is for the nation as a whole. The Constitution as set out is discriminatory, unbalanced, and will be the single biggest reason for Alberta to actually separate.
It has to do with self-interest and power.
The Constitution was a legacy which PM Trudeau wanted to leave to the nation, but the divisiveness it created forced him to compromise in order to gain passage. In fact, to this day Quebec is still not a signatory.
In reflection, Premier Lougheed gained Provincial jurisdiction over resource revenue, and traded away representation in the process.
It is my belief, and the belief of others assisting me in this task, that the nation is at a crossroads. We must decide whether we are a nation united, or a conglomeration of nation-states.
Alberta can stand up and say "we are for the nation", but where is the rest of Canada when we do so? Where is the united front presented to the world?
It doesn't exist. It can't exist under the current structure, and it won't exist unless you and I are willing to wrest power away from vested interests for the common good of the nation as a whole.
Alberta and BC combined now total more residents than Quebec, yet still we flounder in basement with regards to representation in our Parliament.
Our combined populations total roughly 7,686,215 contrasted to Quebec's 7,651,531 people.We have 64 seats in the commons compared to 75 for Quebec... but we are whiners when we complain about the unfair distribution of power.
Where is the rest of Canada when an injustice such as this is perpetrated against fellow Canadians? Where is the vaunted Liberal Party, the party that knowingly allowed and bartered grandfather clauses into our Constitution? Where is the Conservative party who represent Albertans knowing full well we are second class citizens in our political system?
I would mention the New Democrats, but they will never have the center stage, so it falls to the mainstream parties to do something about this.
We can bash through finance bills like their merely toilet paper for the morning constitutional, but we can't get electoral reform and even Senate reform off the ground.
Why must Alberta, BC, and Ontario wallow in under-representation, requiring anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 more votes than 7 other provinces to elect a single MP?
Do you, the leaders of national parties who purport to believe in equality and social justice, believe that democracy is alive and well in this country, when fully half of the nation is under-represented to the point where an MP in PEI has 4 times the weight of voice than one from Alberta, BC, or Ontario?
When will this dismal and embarrassing state of affairs end?
Soon I hope. Especially since I've decided that if there is one thing I can contribute to Canada, it is to help it get on an even footing in regards to the democratic process.
It's bloody embarrassing. To think that a nation like Canada, has the least democratic system in the Western World... and it ranks below many, many third world nations as well. How can we go out to the rest of the world and say "WE ARE THE IDEAL YOU SHOULD SEEK TO ACHIEVE", when we aren't a democratic nation ourselves.
As long as we allow representation to be unequal, and regionalism to flourish, we are doomed to a series of relatively useless minority governments, or vote pandering to more populous or better advantaged provinces in relation to seat count in the commons. We end up with a freely elected dictator, with virtually no checks or balances otherwise.
Others may not see it this way, and that's alright. This is my opinion, and one I think is founded on strong examples through-out Canadian history.
Trudeau, Mulroney, Chretien, Martin, and now Harper, all have played the regional card to gain seats in seat rich provinces, at the expense of the nation as a whole.
There not only has to be an answer, there is an answer, and all we have to do is make sure Canadians are educated about the current state of affairs, and the options to fix the situation.
I don't need to trust a Prime Minister, or an MP, or a Premier, or even a Mayor, I just need to know whats right, and whats wrong. That's all you need too. We are Canadian, we are a noble nation, a noble people. It's time to set aside our differences and work towards making this country work for everyone.
This site, my efforts, the efforts of those who are helping me, or will in the future, are all dedicated to one simple item, asking you to recognize the wrongness of the situation today, and asking you to decide whether to fix the issue of the democratic deficit in this nation, or whether you'd rather cling to illusions of power to the ruin of your nation.
It's time for this country to walk the walk, or shut the hell up to the rest of the world.
So to this end, I am pleased to announce that "Democratic Canada" is currently raising funds for educational awareness, monies to be spent in every riding, every school system, every city, town and community, specifically to draw the blinders off of Canada.
In a short two weeks, we've already receive close to $30,000.00 dollars in commitments for donations, and our goal by year end is to raise 100 times that amount.
This organization will never have a political affiliation, it's director's to date have renounced all partisan memberships. All monies raised are specifically for the adoption of a proper electoral process, nothing more, nothing less.
It is being registered next week, and an icon will go up shortly afterwords if you should like to make a donation, or membership information, which will be posted at the same time. It's mandate, administration, stated mission, and structure, will be published in due course. It will provide an audited statement of account quarterly, with full-disclosure.
At this point members who actively work on the movement will not be paid. It's pure altruism if you decide to sign on.
Before we can go out the door and educate, we must first have an alternative solution. I will update this blog from time to time for the next little while, but as we will be creating a new website for the movement, which should be ready sometime in Mid-April (Special thanks to Harold for donating the time and effort to create a website, fund the server and rack space, as well provide two years of bandwidth... your a good man with a good heart!), it will eventually have a redirect and a much more in depth look at democracy.
Trust me when I say there is literally a few thousand years worth of thoughts on what a democracy should look like.
To start, I have posted my personal thoughts as to what Canada should do to reform the system as it exists today, and feel free to disagree, or agree. All I ask of you the reader is that if there is a point you don't like, or don't agree with, or think could be better, please add your opinion and what you'd suggest otherwise to the comments.
A warning here, baseness or "Trolling" is forbidden. Your post will be deleted with an explanation as to why directly below it. Once the website is up, forums will be available, but in the meantime, conduct yourself like your going to meet the Queen.
Each week for the next 6 weeks, I will post a series of articles, detailing how other nations in the Western World work politically, with a small critique of my thoughts on the post. Then it will be your turn. Tell me what you like, and don't like about the system being highlighted. At the end of each post will be a link to my perfect world, which you can then seek addition or deletion to. The goal is to have a framework done up for the website, which will then spend the remains of the year seeking opinion, advise, and attempt to create a workable political system that we can then promote to the country.
So then, lets begin the fun (I've posted this thought in the past, so if you've seen sorry):
If we went by the standard of PEI, the House of Commons would have roughly a 1000 or so MP's, so obviously (given the puerile attitude pervading the commons today) that's not the way we'd want to go. Plus I don't think there is room in the building.
Instead, I would suggest we use Quebec's standard of 75,000 constituents to decide distribution?
The seat distribution would look like this;
NFLD - 7 MP's
NS - 13 MP's
NB - 10 MP's
PEI - 2 MP's
Quebec - 101 MP's
Ont. - 169 MP's
Man. - 16 MP's
Sask. - 13 MP's
AB - 45 MP's
BC - 55 MP's
Territories - 3 MP's
Total - 434 MP's.This provides for representation on an equal footing based on population.
Then create a Senate based on the triple E philosophy:4 Senators representing each province, each from a corner... South, West, East, North. Give the Territories 4 each as well. This is not about population or demographics, this is about a country that's 7000 miles wide and 9000 long (well, thats not very accurate, but its a bloody big country).
This creates regional balance.
I believe a Senate should not create legislation, only amend or ratify. Hold elections on the same basis as Australia and the US, one third every 6 years.
I can see some problems already, but I want you to have at it and pick this apart, or help build it up to make it stronger.
Remember, be constructive, or don't bother... thanks kindly.