Once again I’m going to question Canada’s Parliamentary system, where a political party can hold a majority government when more people voted against it in the most recent election than voted for it. Also, in current polling, only 32% of the population say that they approve of the government, while the NDP can claim 33%.
Any governing party that does not represent the majority of Canadians should not have unrestricted power to inflict their ideology on a country. But how do we compensate for a democratic system flawed because it is designed for two parties, and where seats won, not popular vote, determines the balance of power.
I’ve made the recommendation before that, since we’re wanting to reform the Senate anyway, why not do it in a way that will provide a more equitable distribution of power. Leave the House of Commons the way it is, albeit flawed, but balance the system out by changing the Senate. Have the Senate consist of 100 members, appointed by the various parties based on popular vote. Appointments would have to be revised after each election. That way, if the popular vote resulted in 45% of the vote going to the Conservatives, they would only have 45 seats in the Senate. If the Green Party had 8% of the vote, they would get 8 seats in the Senate. This would insure that a party that does not represent the majority of Canadians would not be able to ram through offensive legislation, taking maximum advantage of an opportune but unjustified majority situation. Legislation would have to compromise, being more accommodating to the full spectrum, or else it would get sent back by the Senate. (The Senate powers might have to be tweaked a little so they become more than a rubber stamp.)
Not only does the current Conservative government not represent the will of the people, but it has more extreme right wing elements within it that threaten to dominate the party and exercise power. These more extreme elements represent less than 20% of the Canadian population, but the only restriction on their power is the Conservative’s awareness that if they allow them obvious gains, they’re likely to feel the wrath of the more central conservatives, of which we have many more than do the U.S. Our Parliamentary system requires more in the way of checks and balances. We don’t have the vetting process that we’re seeing in the U.S. leadership races, where a lot of issue debate comes to the surface.
Balancing out the government with a Senate appointed according to popular vote would be an interesting way of improving the current system.