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Machjo

Would you support non-partisan democracy in your province?

Would you support non-partisan democracy in your province?  

9 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you support non-partisan democracy in your province?

    • Yes.
      5
    • No
      4
    • Maybe
      0


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You can read more about it here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-partisan_democracy

By the way, the idea is not so foreign to Canada. Here's a quote from the article above:

The Canadian territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut have nonpartisan democracies. The populace votes for individuals to represent it in the territorial assembly without reference to political parties. After the election, the assembly selects one of its number to form a government and act as premier. This system is in deference to the system of consensus government that predominates among the indigenous Inuit and other peoples of northern Canada.

The municipal government of the City of Toronto, Ontario (Canada) is the fifth largest government in the country, governing a population of more than 2.7 million. It consists of a nonpartisan, directly elected council. The public may have a general idea of the candidates' political affiliations, but their parties have no official recognition or privilege in the functioning of City Council. Councilors are free to vote on each motion individually, freeing them from party discipline.

Until the mid-20th century, a Canadian politician's political affiliation was not shown on ballots at any level of government. The expectation was that citizens would vote according to the merit of the candidate, but in practice, party allegiance played an important role. Beginning in 1974, the name of the candidate's political party was shown on the ballot.

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No, I like the idea of an opposition to hold the government to account. That's more difficult in a consensus system.

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No, I like the idea of an opposition to hold the government to account. That's more difficult in a consensus system.

Yet even in a non-partisan system, consensus itself must still be built. it doesn't just appear miraculously.

In fact, it might make the government more accountable. In a party system, party stricture ensures that party members will tow the party line; seldom does a member cros the floor to the other side. In a non-partisan system, the premier has no party to take for granted. Each member of the legislature is free to vote his own conscience. Clerly, that would keep any premier on his toes.

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In a non-partisan system, the premier has no party to take for granted.

That isn't completely true. The premier forms his Cabinet from the people in the legislature, and so then the Cabinet tends to vote as a bloc. I prefer the confrontational system that we have.

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That isn't completely true. The premier forms his Cabinet from the people in the legislature, and so then the Cabinet tends to vote as a bloc. I prefer the confrontational system that we have.

The Premier must be able to get the support of the house to remain so, and the cabinet must still work on establishing consenus among its members for anything to get done. And even cabinet still needs a majority vote to pass a law.

As for confrontation, we need to take some cultural factors into account too. Some communities raise their young to seek consnsus and not confrontation. Such voters are likely to be turned off by much of the partisan bickering that goes on in a confrontational system. It could be interesting to study the cultural factors that can play a role in determining voter turnout in a democracy too. Some people might also come to feel that there's no point in voting if parliament is just highjacked by party politics anyway.

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Another point about the party system. Since many vote for the party leader even if he's not even in their riding, this essentially means that the riding the party leader represents essentially has douzens, possibly well over a hundred, MPs looking out for its interests because they're all voting with the leader. In a non-partisan system, since we'd be voting for the candidate himself, each riding would thus have a genuine voice as it ought to have.

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If so, then there's no such thing as Nunavut and the NWT.

That doesn't follow. If Nunavut and the NWT were "non-partisan democracies", and there's no such thing as a non-partisan democracy, then possibly Nunavut and the NWT are simply not democracies. But I doubt that's the case. Rather, I think there's a confusion between a democracy that doesn't have political parties and a non-partisan democracy. Even in Nunavut, the individuals who run for election in the legislative assembly each have their own particular biases, and pit theirs against those of other candidates in order to win an ideological battle for majority approval. That's democracy, and it's deeply partisan.

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Even in Nunavut, the individuals who run for election in the legislative assembly each have their own particular biases

The Canadian Health Minister, for example.

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That doesn't follow. If Nunavut and the NWT were "non-partisan democracies", and there's no such thing as a non-partisan democracy, then possibly Nunavut and the NWT are simply not democracies. But I doubt that's the case. Rather, I think there's a confusion between a democracy that doesn't have political parties and a non-partisan democracy. Even in Nunavut, the individuals who run for election in the legislative assembly each have their own particular biases, and pit theirs against those of other candidates in order to win an ideological battle for majority approval. That's democracy, and it's deeply partisan.

Well, then it seems we have a different understanding of non-partisan. Here's how I'd understood it:

non- = no

parti- = party

-san = adjective

thus having to do with no parties, or not having to do with parties.

Sure condidtes must run for office and present each their individual ideas, but the ideas they present are their own, not their parties', thus allowing for much more diversity of ideas. Right now in Parliament, we only have 4 main blocks of ideas being presented:

Bloc, Liberal, Conservative, and NDP.

Sure different MPs might have individual ideas, but party stricture prevents those ideas from being expressed as openly as they ought to. So in the end, it's almost as if we have only four MPs in parliament: Harper, Ignatieff, Duceppe, and Layton, each with a different number of votes behind him.

In a non-partisan system, each MP can express his own ideas, some will be similar, but each with its own nuances, and each with but one vote behind it, that of tis original creator.

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And just another point:

Many today will vote for a candidate without knowing anything about him simply owing to his party affiliation. I remember one woman in her 60s I was talking too saying how she voted Liberal all the time because her dad had told her that Conservative governments always start wars.

Well, never mind that it was the Liberals and not Conservatives who'd first gone to Afghanistan, as we talked, I realised that ideologically she was quite conservative and would be repelled by Liberal ideas. So why did she vote Liberal? Because her dad voted Liberal. What kind of democracy is that?

If we went to a non-partisan system, then people would find voting to be more complicated since there'd be no brand recognition anymore. There'd be nowhere to go but to learn about your candidate, and that would thus reflect values more accurately.

Now I'm not saying this to promote conservaism per se, as I'm sure some 'Conservatives' who are quite socialist might vote in the same mindless fashion.

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Well, then it seems we have a different understanding of non-partisan. Here's how I'd understood it:

non- = no

parti- = party

-san = adjective

thus having to do with no parties, or not having to do with parties.

Yes, I think that's correct. However, "party" need not be so strictly defined as only a constituted organisation with internal structure and a defined membership. It can also mean merely a vague group of people who hold somewhat common views on a particular matter, or even one person on one side of a debate (ie. how the term is used in legal contexts to describe the individuals involved in a court case).

I know what you're getting at; I just think "non-partisan" is a completely misleading label for it. Then again... I'm not sure what's an appropriate one, either.

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Yes, I think that's correct. However, "party" need not be so strictly defined as only a constituted organisation with internal structure and a defined membership. It can also mean merely a vague group of people who hold somewhat common views on a particular matter, or even one person on one side of a debate (ie. how the term is used in legal contexts to describe the individuals involved in a court case).

I know what you're getting at; I just think "non-partisan" is a completely misleading label for it. Then again... I'm not sure what's an appropriate one, either.

Then how about "no-party"?

At least it would force MPs into co-alitions, and would also mean that those most skillful in building co-alitions are the ones who'd get their votes passed. But one essential characteristic of such a skill is to prove your point. This would also increase the quality of the laws passed as a result.

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I've been advocating a wholesale cutting of the strength of parties for decades. We elect a representative. If that rep is a gutless, mindless, integrity-less dog... then we get the party line and the party newsletter. If we've got someone who's there to actually represent constituents, then party corruption is defeated; fair play abounds, because no ones interests can be sold out for the benefit of the party; quality people are available to offer their suggestions....

basically it cures everything that is wrong with Politics.

Like-minded folk getting together is okay, but when it goes so far that it is pointless for quality people to even seek office... focusses all real power in the backroom strategists offices, and not in the hands of parliamentarians... then it has become 'the problem'.

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Another step in our march towards true democracy would be to have those vying to be either Premier or Prime Minister should be made to run at-large, instead of in their individual riding as is now the case. This is undemocratic since it is not the people who choose the leader but that task is now done by the party. Once elected the other representatives then become accountable to the leader, not to the people who elected them to office. Once elected they are dictated to by an unelected leader.

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It sounds like your non-party idea would eventually, through coalition-building between individuals, lead to the same situation we have now; `Parties' would develop.

Proportional Representation is probably the closest thing we could get to the ideal of non-partisan. But do you think the powerful parties want to allow this possibility?

Edited by Radsickle

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It sounds like your non-party idea would eventually, through coalition-building between individuals, lead to the same situation we have now; `Parties' would develop.

Proportional Representation is probably the closest thing we could get to the ideal of non-partisan. But do you think the powerful parties want to allow this possibility?

If the BC-STV debate in BC is any indication, absolutely not.

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I would support a system where the cabinet would be elected party-style and the house would be elected non-party, STV style. The cabinet would run the ministries, chair committees and prepare budgets but only the house could vote on bills.

That way, you could still get continuity and cohesion in terms of day to day operations and agenda setting but decisions would be done on a non-partisan basis.

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Another step in our march towards true democracy would be to have those vying to be either Premier or Prime Minister should be made to run at-large, instead of in their individual riding as is now the case. This is undemocratic since it is not the people who choose the leader but that task is now done by the party. Once elected the other representatives then become accountable to the leader, not to the people who elected them to office. Once elected they are dictated to by an unelected leader.

But in a no-party system, with each candidate running as an independent, the only way for any MP to become PM would be to be elected by the House... not to mention that the House could just as easily replace him too. This would thus make the PM not much more powerful than any other MP, not to mention that he'd always have to keep on his toew knowing that the only way to remain PM would be to keep the support of the House.

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It sounds like your non-party idea would eventually, through coalition-building between individuals, lead to the same situation we have now; `Parties' would develop.

Proportional Representation is probably the closest thing we could get to the ideal of non-partisan. But do you think the powerful parties want to allow this possibility?

Wouldn't proportional representation entrench the power of parties even more? I guess it depends on how we go about it. With STV, we're still voting for the candidate technically, but if we go along the list system, then it's pure party, and independents are shut out of the democratic process completely.

I'm not against STV per se, but if we do go that route, I think it's only fair to make voters aware that they are in fact voting for a candidate and not a party, that the candidate does have a right to change parties as he wishes, and as such, no party name should appear on the ballot so as to not mislead the voting public about this.

Edited by Machjo

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I'm not against STV per se, but if we do go that route, I think it's only fair to make voters aware that they are in fact voting for a candidate and not a party, that the candidate does have a right to change parties as he wishes, and as such, no party name should appear on the ballot so as to not mislead the voting public about this.

I assume each candidate would get one toonie per vote cast in their favour? I naively assume that the candidate will need money to campaign... does it become a gamble that only the rich can afford to take?

STV sounds worse than proportional representation but better than first-past-the-post.

Edited by Radsickle

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I assume each candidate would get one toonie per vote cast in their favour? I naively assume that the candidate will need money to campaign... does it become a gamble that only the rich can afford to take?

STV sounds worse than proportional representation but better than first-past-the-post.

With pure proportional representation, you are aware that independent candidates are completely shut oout from running, aren't you? All you have on your ballot is a list of party names. No candidate name even appears in a pure list system. Under such a system, the party then chooses its MPs, thus making the MPs totally dependent on the party to get anywhere, essentially transforming them all into strict party hacks.

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