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Canada Needs Direct Election Of The Prime Minister


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The constitution is not something we inherited from our antiquated broken model (sic)

Yes it is. The Constitution didn't just appear in 1982. That's only one of the later chapters of it.

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You obviously don't understand what you're arguing. All of the countries (red and orange) use a system that has

1 ) a powerful head of state that uses his power only on the advice of their ministers

2 ) a parliament constituted from elected public representatives

3 ) a cabinet that is made up of people accountable to that parliament

4 ) a head of government that is separate from the head of state, and accountable to parliament.

The fact that some have an elected head of state acting in a ceremonial role, and some have a hereditary head of state acting in a ceremonial role is a trivial difference.

Clearly you don't understand what you're arguing because while the powers of hereditary heads of state of mostly symbolic, the heads of elected heads of state are all over the map. Compare Germany, Italy and Finland. Elections confer legitimacy where heredity doesn't.

It's curious that monarchists seem to trip and stumble over that point that seems blindingly obvious to most.

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The Conservatives are about to lose power. Whatever sins they may have committed the electorate is about to make them pay for.

Yeah. Their punishment will be crippling. Lifetime parliamentary pensions and money-filled private sector careers. I feel sorry for them already.

And what other models are there? Other than a few real oddballs like Switzerland and China, there are two other major groupings; Presidential and Semi-Presidential. In both models, the President largely uses those vast executive powers with the legislative branch not having any direct ability to hold the President to account.

I don't know why everyone seems to think that we have to shop the globe and pick something another country is using. I would also caution that there are a lot of factors that make a country what it is. Canada is great in spite of our antiquated political system, not because of it.

When someone ends their criticism of the Westminster system by basically attacking voters, I lose a considerable amount of respect in their argument. What I really see is angry people who can't sort out why the voters elected a majority government after the opposition parties found the Tory government in contempt. Instead of examining their own parties flaws, they do what the Tory supporters are about to do; start blaming the electorate for not being as smart as we are.

The Westminster system works fine, as well as any other system, if not better. If MPs feel all small and hard done by, then they have the power to change it, without having to change a single word in the Constitution.

In fairness, the voters do own the ultimate accountability. People need to educate themselves and hold their representatives accountable. And that doesn't usually happen.

However, the parties are the real culprits, taking advantage of the peoples ignorance to instill power in the hands of unelected hangers on.

Besides we now know very well that the Tory caucus has been anything but a slavish pack of yes men. Part of the reason that Wright chose to pay Duffy's expenses was because of fear that the PM would face an incredibly hostile caucus if word got out that Duffy had been helped out in any way by the party, seeing as their own pension plan had just been altered to stop former MPs from collecting to age 65. We know from numerous reports from when the story broke in 2013 that the first post-revelation caucus meeting saw the PM forced to defend himself against his own backbenchers angered about what they perceived as PMO manipulations and fat cat Senators bilking Parliamentary expense budgets while MPs are held under ever tighter ethics rules that even mean receiving presents becomes fraught with potential issues.

Oh, lord - really? You're telling me that the cause of the Duffy scandal was that the PM was afraid of his caucus? hahahahaha. That's a good one.

And here we were believing it was because of incompetence and corruption in the PMO. Thanks for the clarification.

:P

And let's drop all pretense here. We can't even amend the Constitution in a relatively moderate way to reform the Senate, and you think literally creating a whole new kind of governing system is even the smallest bit possible?

Whatever happens, power will almost certainly be concentrated in the hands of the executive. That is the nature of governance, in republics or monarchies, in parliamentary or presidential systems. The singular advantage of the parliamentarian system is that the executive is directly accountable to the legislative assembly, and that, even if it happens only rarely, that executive must enjoy the confidence of the legislature to continue governing. The legislature doesn't have to schedule meetings with the executive, it doesn't find itself in a separate building or an entirely different branch of government. As 2011 contempt finding demonstrated, even notions like executive privilege, which you will find in one form or another in most presidential and semi-presidential systems, has no real existence in Canada

Don't get me wrong. I think system where the PM is accountable to parliament would be awesome.

We just don't have one now.

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Clearly you don't understand what you're arguing because while the powers of hereditary heads of state of mostly symbolic, the heads of elected heads of state are all over the map.

The powers of hereditary heads of state are all over the map too actually. What is shared between Constitutional Monarchies and Parliamentary Republics is the idea of the government needing to maintain the confidence of the parliament.

Compare Germany, Italy and Finland. Elections confer legitimacy where heredity doesn't.

That's simply your opinion. The prime minister of Canada isn't elected, after all.

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That's simply your opinion. The prime minister of Canada isn't elected, after all.

So, first of all, I'm waiting to hear you explain how Finland, Italy and Germany work almost exactly the same as Canada.

And second, you're right the PM isn't directly elected. But people think he is. And so when he acts like an autocrat, they don't see it as a problem.

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So, first of all, I'm waiting to hear you explain how Finland, Italy and Germany work almost exactly the same as Canada.

They have a head of state holding executive power. That power is exercised only on the advice (in almost all cases) of the cabinet, which is accountable to the parliament.

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How is it over-extended? The PM wields the Royal Prerogatives and other significant executive powers.

As to a Presidential system, yes, the US has made it work, but a review of all the failed presidential republics where the President's ability to use those vast executive powers to overwhelm the legislative and judicial branches tells me it is no firm guard against abuses, and may very well make facilitating abuses easier.

I really urge anyone wanting to fully understand the advantages of the Westminster system read Bagehot's The English Constitution. The final edition was published the same year as Confederation, and so some of its observations are a century and a half out of date, but still it concisely demonsrates the superiority of a government of Parliament and directly accountable to government, and demonstrates how the American ssytem has only worked because of American's "genius for politics".

Someone has to exercise the executive powers, and I'd prefer it be someone who has to stand up in Parliament and explain himself, rather than someone hanging out in an entirely different building commanding a cabinet that, while approved by the legislative branch, owes no allegiance to it.

The truth in Canadian political system is that the executive function and the legislative function weaken each other, the result is that the executive function heavily weakens the legislative representative function.

The Us political system is a far worse mess than ours. Why would you want to embrace that?

The three different branches of power in USA have been moved more efficiently.

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How is the PM's position unstable? It's completely unchallenged. Time and again political analysts have written about the concentration of power. You're saying it's unstable?

Constitutionally unstable, so the PM has to be strong unconstitutionally. Here is the core of the issue of Canadian political system.

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They have a head of state holding executive power. That power is exercised only on the advice (in almost all cases) of the cabinet, which is accountable to the parliament.

Really? You're just going to keep repeating the same nonsense hoping nobody will notice?

OK, in Finland, the president is directly elected, can order premature elections, appoints and discharges ministers (including the PM), acts as commander in chief, and needs to ratify legislation. Unlike Canada's GG, the president does veto legislation.

In Germany, the president is elected by a combination of the budestag and state representatives. The German president proposes the Chancellor to the Budestag, appoints judges, civil servants and military officers, concludes treaties and confirms that laws passed by the Bundestag are constitutional.

If you think these systems are indistinguishable from Canada's, great. I'd take either of them over ours.

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So, first of all, I'm waiting to hear you explain how Finland, Italy and Germany work almost exactly the same as Canada.

And second, you're right the PM isn't directly elected. But people think he is. And so when he acts like an autocrat, they don't see it as a problem.

Who thinks the PM is directly elected?

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The truth in Canadian political system is that the executive function and the legislative function weaken each other, the result is that the executive function heavily weakens the legislative representative function.

The three different branches of power in USA have been moved more efficiently.

More efficiently? Are you serious? The US hasn't passed a proper uncontested budget in years. Gridlock is the norm in the US, not just between the President and Congress, but between both houses of Congress. What's more, despite all of that, successive Presidents from Lincoln onward have shown great ability to stretch executive powers to extraordinary levels.

I have a certain admiration for aspects of the American system, but calling it efficient is absurd.

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Clearly you don't understand what you're arguing because while the powers of hereditary heads of state of mostly symbolic, the heads of elected heads of state are all over the map. Compare Germany, Italy and Finland. Elections confer legitimacy where heredity doesn't.

It's curious that monarchists seem to trip and stumble over that point that seems blindingly obvious to most.

Doesn't confer legitimacy to you. The UK has operated effectively under the same model for well over three hundred years. In fact, one of the key aspects of the system, the fundamental non-partisan nature of the ceremonial executive, is a feature that has been inherited by republics like Germany, where the President is required to even give up party affiliation.

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More efficiently? Are you serious? The US hasn't passed a proper uncontested budget in years. Gridlock is the norm in the US, not just between the President and Congress, but between both houses of Congress. What's more, despite all of that, successive Presidents from Lincoln onward have shown great ability to stretch executive powers to extraordinary levels.

The U.S. system was designed to be exactly what it is. Inefficiency and obstruction was an objective, and yet, it is easier to change than Canada's system based on failed attempts.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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Who thinks the PM is directly elected?

Well, I can't name names but there are a lot of them.

Half of Canadians (51%) Believe the Prime Minister is Directly Elected by Voters and Three in Four (75%) Don’t Know Who Canada’s Head of State Is

Now let me ask you a question. Can democracy be effective if most of the people don't have a basic understanding how it's supposed to work?

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Doesn't confer legitimacy to you. The UK has operated effectively under the same model for well over three hundred years. In fact, one of the key aspects of the system, the fundamental non-partisan nature of the ceremonial executive, is a feature that has been inherited by republics like Germany, where the President is required to even give up party affiliation.

The German President is expected to be non-partisan but the position is far from strictly ceremonial. Read the rest of the thread.

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The U.S. system was designed to be exactly what it is. Inefficiency and obstruction was an objective, and yet, it is easier to change than Canada's system based on failed attempts.

I still hold somewhat to Bagehot's prejudices, in that the US system didn't turn out quite like the Founding Fathers intended. The executive was to some extent modeled on how cabinet government functioned in Great Britain during the mid=18th century, although even by the time of the War of Independence, the Westminster system was becoming largely what we know today, with a government formed out of Parliament. The American system has more sophisticated checks and balances, though I wager there are times when more than one Congress wishes they could vote no confidence.

I will say this, that the American experiment worked incredibly well, but that the Presidential system hasn't worked nearly so well where it has been transplanted. All the Latin American revolutionaries, back in the day, were fervent admirers of the US system, but sadly their courts and legislatures all too often remained stunted, while presidents were able to do an end run around any checks and balances to effectively seize control. Not that there haven't been effectively dictatorial parliamentary countries; the German Empire, Italy and Japan were all modeled on the British parliamentary system, but were all effectively dictatorships.

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The German President is expected to be non-partisan but the position is far from strictly ceremonial. Read the rest of the thread.

The German president very rarely invokes his reserve powers, perhaps more than the presidents of more Westminster-like republics, but at the end of the day, the Chancellor in Germany is still the more politically powerful figure.

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