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

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!