I’ve been thinking about the upcoming Federal election. It is hard for me to get excited about it. I am not connected to any movement with the strength to hold elected officials accountable. I am not a member of any political party or a part of an organised political tendency. I do have major concerns about issues ranging from lack of decent, safe and affordable housing to the destruction of ecosystems, but none of the political positions being expressed by the various parties running candidates in the federal election engage or inspire me. And one of my major concerns, that of effective governance, does not even seem to be a part of the political discourse.
We seem to expect less of those elected to a national legislative body, in terms of the ability to actually do the work of participating in a deliberative body that sets budgets, policies, laws, etc., than we do of those elected to sit on the board of a non-profit. We would not tolerate directors of a co-operative behaving in a meeting the way we accept Members of Parliament behaving while in session. We would not tolerate the degree of conflict and convergence of interests on the board of community centre that we accept in our legislatures. We expect better chairing, and greater respect for a chair, at the meeting of a rate payers’ association than we accept from our legislators. I accept that the partisan nature of legislative bodies undercuts efforts to find common ground on issues, but it should not result in a destruction of effective governance.
There are major initiatives to change the voting process in Canada. I am more interested in better decision making by those elected—real parliamentary reform.