Strengthening Canadian Democracy Essay, Research Paper

Thomas Bateman

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Political Science 104

Buffalo bill Thompson

April 2, 2001

Strengthening Canadian Democracy

The positions of Canadians

In the study by Paul Howe and David Northrup titled, & # 8220 ; Strengthening Canadian Democracy: the Views of Canadians & # 8221 ; Policy Matters 1:5, Canadians attitudes towards authorities including inquiries about electoral system reform, representation and the rate of veter turnout. ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) After reading, this study it is clear that many Canadians find many issues of their authorities to be unacceptable. One of the most baleful concerns is in the signifier that authorities attains office. The vote procedure, the signifier in which Canadians are represented by their Members of Parliament, and the first past the station method of election.

The argument about electoral reform is non a new issue it has been discussed for rather some clip, but with the recent surveies, & # 8220 ; Concerns about the relationship between a party & # 8217 ; s portion of the popular ballot in an election and the figure of seats it receives & # 8221 ; ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) has been given more attending. The first past the station system has continually elected authoritiess that display grossly unjust party representation. & # 8220 ; The most dramatic grounds was provided by the Progressive Conservatives, who captured 16 % of the national popular ballot but merely won 2 seats ( 0.7 % ) in the House of Commons & # 8230 ; In Quebec, the sovereigntist voice of the Bloc Quebecois was amplified & # 8230 ; when 49.2 % of the ballot garnered 72 % of the provincial seats for the Bloc & # 8230 ; & # 8221 ; ( Weathering the New World p.177 ) .

Howe and Northrup pointed this out to Canadians during a study, inquiring if they felt that this was acceptable or unacceptable. When there consequences were compared to the same study taken ten old ages ago, the consequences showed some really of import displacements in Canadian & # 8217 ; s sentiments.

Canadians have shown an addition in their disapproval of this electoral system, every bit good as an addition in those who have voiced an sentiment. The grounds presented shows that over half ( 63 % ) of Canadians with an sentiment on the electoral system in topographic point, experience it is unacceptable. However, when asked if they were satisfied with the electoral system in topographic point in Canada, the consequences showed that an overpowering 72 per cent were satisfied with the first-past-the-post system. Canadian & # 8217 ; s feeling of unacceptableness towards the present electoral system, should be plenty of a concern to at least do a consideration of reform.

The electoral system in Canada straight correlates with the type of representation that Canadians receive. More specifically the representation that adult females and seeable minorities receive in parliament. & # 8220 ; Women, seeable minorities, and Aboriginal peoples continue to be significantly under-represented in the ranks of elected politicians at all degrees of government. & # 8221 ; ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) It is obvious that sufficient representation by authorities agencies that everyone in Canada must be represented. There has been an addition for females elected to parliament, nevertheless it is elusive. In comparing to other states, Canada is in the center, ranked 29th worldwide, in this country. ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) Canadians do experience that something should be done to flush the playing field by taking as many female representatives as they do males, much like the Reforms taking topographic point in France. Measures have been taken to rectify this state of affairs, with Bill C-2. This Bill suggested that parties with at least 20 per cent female MPs would be granted a larger sum of reimbursement for their election disbursals, and an even larger refund for those parties with 30 per cent female MPs. ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) Canadians support the thought that parties should be required to increase the sum of female campaigners.

Visible minorities are besides under-represented by authorities. In 1997, seeable minorities accounted for small over 6 per cent of Members of Parliament. An addition from 1993 when this group made up 4.4 per cent, and 1.7 per cent in 1988. ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) With seeable minorities doing up 11 per cent of the population, the under-representation of seeable minorities is every bit serious as that of Canadian adult females. However merely 35 per cent of Canadians feel that this is a job, but about half feel that parties should be required to elect more seeable minority campaigners. ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 )

Canada & # 8217 ; s Aboriginal people are a group that has been grossly under-represented by authorities throughout Canadian history. & # 8220 ; As the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples reported, of the appro

ximately 11 000 MPs elected since Confederation, merely 13 have been self- identified as Aboriginal.” ( Howe & Northrup, 2000 ) The Lortie Commission’s proposal to this job was to put aside seats in the House, specifically for Aboriginal representatives. A solid bulk of Canadians ( 57 per centum ) ” ( Howe & Northrup, 2000 ) thought that was a good solution for this obvious debatable mis-representation.

This grounds shows that the representation that all of Canada & # 8217 ; s minority groups receive a disproportional sum of representation in Parliament when compared to the remainder of Canada. It is besides clear that most Canadians feel that something should be done to let and guarantee that the House of Commons is more diversified.

Voter turnout in Canada is besides at the head of Canadian democracy. Many Canadians feel that democracy does non function its intent if it is non being used to function the whole of a state. & # 8220 ; In the 1997 federal election, merely 67 per cent of registered electors cast a ballot, the lowest figure in a federal election since 1925. & # 8221 ; ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) Canadians feel that there are many grounds for this. Many non- electors believe there is merely a deficiency of pick on the ballot and that all parties are much the same.

The plurality system has frequently been said to deter elector turnout because of deficiency of & # 8220 ; existent & # 8221 ; pick, and has turned people off political relations. A good solution to this job would be presenting the relative representation ( PR ) system of vote. Offering more picks and the power to hold those ballots count would increase elector turnout to where it should be. This would besides present a multi-partied authorities, which would guarantee parliament represented all of the positions throughout the electorate. A better representation of Canadians in legislative assembly would engender new thoughts and attitudes into parliament, which would profit everyone.

Many politicians whom favor the plurality system argue that relative representation provides excessively much chance for a minority authorities to organize because more parties get seats in the House. The plurality system is thought by its advocators to increase the opportunity of a bulk authorities, which is of import to the procedure of regulating. However Canada has had minority authoritiess formed 6 times since 1962 and they have all been merely every bit effectual as the bulk authoritiess Canada has since that clip.

Proportional representation has a good repute around the universe and has been implemented in many states. Most of these other authoritiess are run by alliances which some fear lead to a weak, unproductive authorities. Eventhough these states have enjoyed stable alliance authoritiess and in Scandanavia some of these multi-party alliance authoritiess have survived decennaries and passed statute law more efficaciously and expeditiously than Canada & # 8217 ; s authorities. ( Cassidy, 1997 )

Canadians throughout the past 10 old ages have non changed at that place views excessively much, and most do experience that alterations do necessitate to be made to many different facets of Canadian democracy. They would besides back up a authorities willing to reform these countries. However, many Canadians speak in ignorance. After stating that all of these jobs occur within the Canadian authorities, & # 8220 ; 71 per cent of Canadians indicate they are satisfied with the manner democracy works in Canada, and more than half with authorities and politics. & # 8221 ; ( Howe & A ; Northrup, 2000 ) Reports like Stregthening Canadian Democracy should be taken earnestly into history, to steer political and institutional alteration for the simple fact that a democratic authorities & # 8217 ; s aim is to function its people. Reports like these should function as a review for authorities and as a voice of the people. However I fear it will non because the huge bulk of Canadians are excessively inactive in the political sphere, and believe that acceptableness, is merely defined as, being better than the options seen around the universe. Canadians seem to be satisfied with an imperfect democracy, and that is what Canadians will hold to digest until as a population Canadians stand together and make up one’s mind that it is no longer acceptable.

1. Howe, Paul & A ; David Northrup. Policy Matters Strengthening Canadian Democracy: The Views of Canadians vol.1 no.5. July, 2000

2. Roger Gibbins and Loleen Youngman Berdahl. & # 8220 ; The Institutional look of Multiple Identities: The electoral Reform Debate & # 8221 ; Weathering the New World, Readings in Contemporary Politics. ( 2000 ) : 176-186

3. Cassidy, Michael. & # 8220 ; How Proportional Representation would Improve Canada & # 8217 ; s Electoral System & # 8221 ; , Paul Fox and Graham White, Politics Canada, 8th edition McGraw-Hill Ryerson: 398-412