Like most Canadians, we have been laying awake lately, tossing, turning, fussing and wondering how to fix Canada’s suddenly “broken” electoral system.
Searching for solace and sleep, we read Andrew Coyne’s series of commentaries on the same subject which, yes, is pretty dense stuff but important for those millions who, like us, can’t rest for worrying about it.
Indeed, the government views this file so seriously that the Prime Minister has placed it into the hands of rookie MP and now Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef who was 29 years old when she was elected to represent Peterborough-Kawartha on Oct. 19.
The good news is that Monsef, who is the first MP ever to have been born in Afghanistan (coming to Canada as a refugee from a series of other godforsaken countries when she was 11) has had a birthday since and is now alleged to be among the few 30-year-olds of her generation to have assumed the responsibilities of adulthood.
Her extensive experience as a “dedicated community volunteer, organizer and advocate” (it is unclear from a scan of her bios if she ever had a job of note) will be of great assistance in framing the future of Canadian democracy. Having won the Liberal nomination in her riding by fewer than 20 of the 1500 votes cast, she certainly knows something about the horrors of the first past the post system that has burdened parliamentary democracy and the LPC lo these many years.
The good news is, as a volunteer, organizer and activist, she’s open-minded on everything about democratic reform other than, well, subjecting it to the democratic will of the people through a referendum. Better to follow the prime ministerial preference for a preferential system which will force conservatives to create two parties just as liberals/leftists have two parties.
What amuses us most, however, is the – so far – laughably myopic Canadian nature of the debate. Perhaps someone has, but a scan of the discussion Coyne’s series has inspired indicates no one has noticed that a perfectly workable example of democratic reform already exists in Canada. We refer you to the Northwest Territories which appears to function quite efficiently via a consensus form of government. It is very straightforward. Each constituency – via a first past the post system – elects its representative to the Assembly. The members then elect a Premier. And then they elect a slate of cabinet ministers who are then assigned to their portfolios. The Premier then depends on the confidence of the Assembly to retain the position. There are no political parties and therefore no party caucuses.
We are confident, however, that this will never see the light of day because a) southern Canada can’t see beyond its own backside, and b) this would mean the end of the LPC, CPC and NDP and those, of course, must be saved. At. All. Costs.
We’ve lost track of how many attacks were undertaken over the last week by Islamic terrorists, but expect someone is keeping a tally. And we note that the PM’s Twitter account, shortly after express concern for the peril of Demar DeRozan as the Toronto Raptor’s player vies for a spot on the NBA All Star game roster, did justly condemn the attacks in Burkina Faso in which six Canadians were killed. And while we did note the heartfelt concern for Celine Dion following the death of her husband, we were unable to find any specific condolences for the family of Taha Amer–Ouali, the Canadian from Laval who was killed in the ISIS suicide bombings and shootouts in Jakarta.
So, this is life in the 21st Century. You can get strong words of support from your nation’s leader if you are standing at a bus stop when someone lets go with some pepper spray, but naw, not much of a shout out if you are sitting in Starbucks when someone wearing a vest packed with explosives, ball-bearings, nails, screws, etc decides he just can’t wait for those 72 virgins in paradise and, sorry pal, you’ve gotta go.
UPDATE: You have to admire the Cirque de Soleil-like contortions Canadian media have pulled off in – at least their early reports – to avoid mentioning that their compatriots put to the sword in Burkina Faso were Christians. The Ottawa Citizen here and the Globe and Mail here and the CBC here all make references to a “humanitarian mission” and that they were members of a “religious congregation” etc but not a hint of what that religion might be or that it might be relevant given Jihadists’ fondness for targeting Christians in Africa and a recent assault. So, who knows? Wiccans? Sabians? Gnostics? Who cares? No tweets, either, from Kathleen Wynne or Vancouver’s Mayor Moonbeam or anyone else mentioning that they might have been targeted for their faith or even what that faith might be. And, while earlier reports certainly indicated the Jihadists had a special fondness for killing white people, not a mention of the word “hate.”
As a follow up to our look the other day at the chaotic state of Alberta, we note that Finance Minister Bill Morneau was in Calgary the other day where he was asked by citizens and journalists if Ottawa was considering some assistance to jurisdictions hard hit by the stunning drop in the price of oil, particularly given that those jurisdictions have been propping up the rest of the country for a long time. More? He (pun intended) said no.
Meanwhile, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr was asked on Power & Politics what could be done to assist the nation’s largest industry – energy – through its crisis. Carr, who apparently hates the oil and gas industry, said that the solution was to create a green economy. He actually said that. This is equivalent to, hmmm, what? Oh, I know: Imagine if when the auto industry was in peril a few years back Jim Flaherty had been asked what could be done to help the industry and he said “we have to invest in public transit.”