Improve democracy! Here's one way (better voting systems). Here's another (control election expenses / funding).

We need better politics, better politicians. What's our problem?

We lurch from crisis to crisis, rarely noting that we attend to the details of each crisis, but ignore its fundaments.
      Actually, most crises are the same when you peel away the details.  Most crises exist because somebody forgot something, somebody didn't think something through, somebody did somebody a favour, somebody pulled a fast one, somebody lied, somebody didn't bother to check. Something happened that was not supposed to happen. Not thought through. By somebody.
      C.P. Snow (a wartime advisor to Churchill) pointed out in a brilliantly acid little book Science and Government that a key facilitator of many crises and shenanigans is the availability of secrecy.  I.e. somebody didn't know that the first duty of a public servant is to the public, and only secondarily by proxy to bureaucrats and politicians.
      Secrecy means: somebody could keep the cat in the bag so we would never know why this or that program was delayed or cost so much or didn't work or did gross damage. Why things went pear-shaped. And keeping the cat in the bag costs other facts, so that many problems just snowball because the cover-up renders certain truths inaccessible or unusable even by the decision-makers.

Obviously there's lots wrong with politics, and lots of reform needed and obvious:
    • Election expense reform (so we get more choice, and candidates who haven't had to sell something first);
    • limitations on ability of parties to use whipped votes;
    • an effective means of recall;
    • election promises regarded as contracts, rescindable in event of breach;
    • a requirement that any elected or appointed or employed official will provide a timely straight answer to any fair question
    • better voting systems to make democracy a process of real choice ....

All of those for one purpose: to get us representatives who can think, who will plainly explain what they think, who will not tolerate shenanigans, who will act for the national community instead of for parties and special interests---in short, to get us good democratic government. Too often, we get politicians who think of politics as a bus and all most of them want is to grab the steering wheel.

For a refreshingly wide-ranging and illuminating discussion of how the state of politics in Canada has changed, see Jian Gomeshi's interview of Elizabeth May, on 2009 Sept. 4.


Improve Governance: C.P. Snow's remarkable book "Science and Government" (1962)

downloadable action resources: 20120328 card to MPs and more