Currently in Wisconsin we are seeing an almost miraculous expression of participatory democracy in the spirit of the Occupy movement. Many states, including Wisconsin, have a provision to recall the election with a certain number of signatures on a petition. That means that if the public collects a certain number of signatures on a petition, in this case I believe that it is one million, the voters can demand and election to challenge a governor or other politician with which they’re dissatisfied. And that is happening currently in Wisconsin.
In Canada, the only province with such a policy is, to the best of my knowledge (-hard to check today with Wikipedia down-) is British Columbia. Certainly the federal government doesn’t have that sort of potential. Imagine if it did. With a majority of voters having voted against the Conservatives (whose “majority” is an artificial artifact of our representative system), they might be a little less inclined to enact some of their more controversial legislation if they knew that the people could rise up against them and demand a new election. When it comes right down to it, the policy of recalling an election with sufficient popular support makes perfect sense, especially in a system with more than two parties and the potential for a minority government. Should any government attempt to enact legislation or pursue policies that so rile up the population that they can muster significant support and signatures opposing it, then that government, by all principles of democracy, should be held accountable and be forced to face another election. In a previous post I wrote about the nature of democracy and considered a few ideas to try to make sure that everyone was properly represented in a true democracy. This seems to be a very good safeguard. It may slow down the process of government, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At the very least it will force governments to better consider and respect all sides on an issue before making a decision.