Odd Thoughts: Buy into a better system

We have some of the best politicians that money can buy.

I know. It’s an old, old joke. It probably goes back to Henny Youngman. Or the stone age. Maybe even before I was born.

But sometimes it’s too true to be funny.

We need to know who’s been doing the buying.

Prime Minister Trudeau, The Second of his Name, is threatening to improve our democracy. So far, indications are that he hopes to keep politicians true to their constituents by changing the way we vote.

But it’s not the way WE vote that’s the problem.

The real problem is the way our representatives vote after we’ve done our allotted share of voting on Election Day.

Before him, Prime Minister Harper instituted a change that we in B.C. first enjoyed – or endured, depending on your point of view: fixed election dates.

His idea was that by taking the choice of when tp hold elections out of the prime minister’s hands, it would be harder to manipulate voters into sticking with the incumbents when they vote.

On top of creating a whole host of extra problems – like endless election campaigning – Harpo didn’t even wait for the first “fixed” election date to change it.

And in any case, it missed a point similar to the one that seem to be slipping past Trudeau No. 2: it’s not when WE vote that’s the problem.

There are two simple ways to address the real voting problem. We, the initial voters, need a way to control how our representatives vote for us.

One way is to restore the parliamentary system to something closer to what it was when Canada was a mere child learning to walk through democracy, a concept that itself was still relatively young at the time. That would mean more free votes in Parliament – and the prime minister relinquishing some control. And that, folks, ain’t gonna happen.

So here’s another way.

When you go to the race track, you see cars and drivers festooned with the logos of all their sponsors.

How about if politicians were required to wear jackets loaded up with the logos of the corporations, unions, and other special interest groups that bought their allegiance… er, I mean… sponsored their election campaigns.

We’d have a better understanding of who they’ll really be representing when they vote on “our” behalf.


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