Sunday, December 7, 2008

Parliament or Congress?

After the events of the past week, I have to ask as I have on several occasions whether our proximity to the United States is a bad influence on Canada -- especially those who are situated on the right of the spectrum.

Some of the expressions going around right now, including "going over the heads of the media, and speaking directly to the people" are inconsistent with Parliamentary traditions. So is the notion of "direct democracy." (Even in most countries that have referenda, other than the US, they're limited to a specific purpose -- say, the adoption of the Euro as currency -- and the consequences well defined for all to understand; and usually it's about the expansion of rights or contraction of executive powers, not the other way around on both.)

We also hear constant stories about how bad crime is in Canada and that we need "tougher" sentences, while not looking at some of the root causes of crime. Politicians are to blame for this but so is the media who is so influenced by what happens south of the border that they usually fail to look for solutions elsewhere in the world -- in the EU member states, for example.

It seems to me that if CRAP wants to jettison our Parliamentary system and replace it with a separation of powers system like in the States, it behoves them to say it as much, out loud. Otherwise, don't keep changing the rules on the fly. At some point, even your staunchest supporters will figure out your game and they'll lash back with a vengeance.

So, simple question for Harper: If you hate Parliament that much, why not propose a constitutional amendment to turn it into a Congress with a separately elected PM or President, and submit it to the people in a binding referendum (which would require 7-50 for the first, and unanimity from all provinces for the second)?

Or ... could it be ... you're just, chicken?

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