Games – Political Games

Politics

Politics – it is not a game

and the winner is ……?
Fair Elections is the main discussion in politics this year. The election in 2015, although most likely over a year away at the time of writing this piece, underlies almost every conversation, legislation and procedure in Parliament with all political parties trying to gain one-upmanship upon the other. The newly introduced Fair Elections Act does near nothing to promote “Fairer Elections”. Many might argue that the bill sets democracy back.

and the loser is: the People of Canada? Once Again!

Regardless of the spin politicians spew out over the media, that is all it is, political spin, meant to be impressive but, in service to the public, – nothing – nada – zip.

A MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IS ACCOUNTABLE TO HIS OR HER CONSTITUENTS NOT TO PARTY LEADERSHIP
Brent Rathgeber, December 19, 2013

The seat does not belong to the Party and the Member of Parliament is not the equivalent of a delegate to the US Electoral College (though the parties would like to make them so).

Members of Parliament, Voters, and Democracy in the Canadian House of Commons Dr. Bill Cross (pdf)

If general elections do not provide an opportunity for voters to pass judgment on the views and performance of their MP (and her opponents), then there is little guarantee that members will use any increased power they may garner in the House of Commons to reflect the views of their constituents. Similarly, a party’s leadership is unlikely to cede authority to back bench members who lack a policy mandate from their constituents. The real dilemma then is not the role of the MP in the House of Commons, though this is certainly part of it, but rather the lack of opportunity for voters to first empower and then pass judgment on the job done by their MP. One way to rectify this problem is through reform of our electoral and parliamentary systems to allow voters to cast different votes for their preferred representative and preferred government.

When candidates are chosen by the party leadership and not local voters, it is impossible to argue that they have any mandate from their local voters separate from the party leadership. Similarly, when the governing party ensures the easy renomination of its incumbents, it provides little incentive for them to vigorously defend their constituents’ interests in their House of Commons’ work. Their renomination is automatic and their general election chances lie almost completely with voters’ views of their party’s performance and not with an evaluation of the job of the individual MP.

Constituency Parliaments: Connecting MPs to the constituency Samara

Latest suggestion for Redesigning Parliament to make it more relevant to Canadians: create a citizen-engaging deliberative body to advise and direct individual MPs. Vaughan Lyon, Professor Emeritus at Trent University outlines his idea for Constituency Parliaments to formalize the connection between MP and constituents, allow the MP to be truly representative and reduce the power of the party.

We can do just that, a Contract between Members of Parliament and their constituency

Who Do You Serve?

Democracy Above All Else.

We can not let it be diminished

It shall not be diminished

The one defining essential of democracy is the collective will of the nation. For that one needs discernment. Without the ability to evaluate and be considerate of the common interest, how can one represent. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for those who govern. Sovereignty, the power to rule, is invested in the people, that is democracy. Those who have been duly elected to rule are the servants to the people by whom they were elected.

The fundamental duty of those elected is to improve and maintain the equality, rights and freedoms of those they serve. To be of service is to practice helpful activity, to make fit for use, to supply with assistance, to provide the means for necessities or services. For that one needs to be humble. He/she without humility cannot effectively serve.

To be of service is to be a humanitarian. One must be committed to finding common ground, to building peace, to advocating for the rights of all and advancing human freedom. To be a member of government is to lead, support, and collaborate within a broad network of efforts, ideas, and organizations that seek a common vision for a nation and further more, a world free of conflict and injustice.

Chrystia Freeland, member for Toronto Centre states:

“…. there really is a cultural, social, political and even moral choice we need to make together about what kind of public arena we want to have.”

Not wanting to be cynical but, most politicians are not in politics for the right reasons and are strictly in government on the back of their political party. To be fair, most are good and meaningful individuals who have now found themselves in collusion with a dysfunctional political system. The question voters must ask each candidate for political office, “Who are you in politics to serve?

Bad Apple Syndrome

Political Party – the neighborhood gang!

Politics

Politics – it is not a game

Most all politicians in both Parliament or provincial Legislatures are well-meaning, honest, hardworking and conscientious individuals. Many have interrupted a far more profitable career to become involved in politics with the expectations of making a difference for the better. Why then, the mistrust, disbelief, doubt, suspicion, disenchantment, nonconfidence and skepticism by so many Canadians.

The Bad Apple Syndrome: “It is well-known that negative interactions have a bigger impact than positive ones, and that people tend to remember a person’s bad qualities more vividly than their good ones.” These observations were included in a recent Wall Street Journal Story entitled, “How a Few Bad Apples Ruin Everything.”

Is overall distrust the result of the “one bad apple”? Or collective bad apples? The public’s main access to politics is through the media. Whenever an issue in parliament or Legislature takes place the media at first covers the story with controversy. It is controversy that grabs the headlines. It is conflict that sells the news. It is the lie that becomes the story. The bad apple violates norms of equity, positive affect, and proper social functioning. The public very seldom have opportunity to see the work that is done away from the camera or reporter. Very few subscribe to politicians’ news letters.

Why have politicians allowed the adversarial aspect of politics win the day? Why do caring and considerate men and women band together to heckle and belittle a “rivals” message? Why do honest and reliable men and women cheer and pound their desks in response to a co-members pre-written party line? Which all to often is misleading and deceitful. Why is lying in Parliament allowed with little consequence. Why has bullying become the norm for the party in power?

It is very akin to the crowds children get mixed in with. Throw any group of kids together and they will always be reduced to the lowest common denominator, the bad apple factor or syndrome. Obviously there is no difference with adults, even the more learned ones.

What brings on the “Bad Apple” factor? The political party. That must maintain one voice, one message that stifles individual creativity and cooperative brainstorming resulting in serious implications for productivity. The same factor which limits the prospects of reaching the most honest, fair and appropriate legislation. All the while thousands are being turned off politics, turned off voting.

The “Bad Apples” gain the publicity wars therefore high levels of public skepticism may be here to stay. Democracy continues to suffer more and more. Only parliamentarians themselves can change the perception, but, they need the nudge. That is the reason for MYMPA. Become a member.

If parliamentarians won’t – the public must!

Parliament Must Reform!

Time For Reform Both House and SenateImage

This year could well be our last chance to introduce change in Parliament before the next federal election expected in 2015. Change must come from the grassroots because the truth is, Parliamentarians and political parties flatly outright refuse to bring about reform. They will talk about change, express their wish for change but, when it comes to acting on change, Nothing – Nada – Zip!

Last year, 2013, Samara Canada introduced their paper:
50 Ways to Redesign Parliament Read the full report here

Samara shines light on Canadian democracy and encourages Canadians’ participation in public life. We know there’s something wrong with our politics and we know people are opting out in growing numbers. So what can we do about it?

Amplify Citizens’ Voices
Decentralize power, refocus on citizens
Connect MPs to the constituency
Redesign Parliament to make it relevant to Canadians.

In 2003, The Parliamentary Library released their report entitled: The Parliament Canada Wants (pdf).
The following is an excerpt from the Preface:

Our country deserves a Parliament geared to the 21st century.  Canada and Canadians have changed dramatically over the course of the last century and a half.  By comparison, our parliamentary institutions have not kept up with the pace of change.  Today, Canadians rightly expect a democracy founded on the needs of the times, and the message has been received loud and clear.  Every political party represented in Parliament has, in one way or another, expressed its support for democratic renewal and parliamentary reform.

Citizens expect a greater voice and inclusion in public deliberation than is currently the case. Citizens want public engagement to be representative, informed and reflective.

Conclusion:
Our message, based on our consultations, is this.  In weighing the many options we have before us, and in making decisions on the future role of Parliamentarians, we should keep in mind that the reforms should aim to:

lead to more meaningful work;
look to the future, not the past;
enhance Parliament’s oversight of government activity;
enhance Parliament’s contribution to policy debates;
strike a balance between the adversarial and the consensual aspects of our democratic system;
focus on committees as an immediate priority;
make Parliamentarians knowledge-brokers; and
strike a new bargain between Parliament and the public service.
That is, in short, the Parliament we want.  Parliamentarians ask, and Canadians deserve, nothing less.

Why has nothing changed, nothing improved? 12 years and Parliament has digressed.

Time for the electorate to take the initiative.

Time for a Member of Parliament Contract with Canada

Time to get involved in your Constituency