2 – Political Ideologies and type of Governance in Canada
2.1 – The Story of “Mouse-land”
Tommy Douglas in 1944 narrated the story where mice, by switching their vote from: a white cat, to a black cat, to a grey cat, did not improve their lot. The trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cats. The trouble was that mice were giving away their power to cats, and cats naturally have a political ideology that looks after their own interests.
Tommy Douglas explained that one day the mice got enlightened and stopped giving away their political power to cats of any colour. Mice started electing themselves, their own fellow mice.
Projecting this 72 year-old anecdote to current political ideologies, by switching our vote back and forth between the red party and the blue party, has not brought social equity, but has enthroned a supreme elite class.
The trouble has not been the political ideology of corporate parties, which always sounds altruistic, at least, during election campaigns. The trouble is that we the citizens give away our legislative power to charismatic representatives who are subordinated to efficient marketing institutions with demagogic platforms.
2.2 Blue Ideology
One of the main political forces in Canada is the conservative ideology, which is not necessarily synonymous with conserving the environment, but is primarily focused on conserving the economic status-quo. That is protecting private property and maximizing profits. The economy is personified and prioritized.
This hierarchical ideology benefits, above all, financial investors and private property owners.
Under this ideology, the relative economic success of the working class becomes dependent on paid employment and on the cyclical market economy.
Blue ideology appears beneficial to ambitious workers and selfish consumers.
Blue ideology believes on the benefits of a “trickle down economy”, based on a cyclical success of exploiting labour, and exploiting natural resources from around the world.
2.3 Green Ideology
The Green Ideology is an environmental movement transformed into a political party.
Green is a blend of Blue and Yellow of many shades.
Green ideology is mainly concerned with alleviating the ecological symptoms, to prevent the climate change that is eroding the environment.
Officially, the Green platform includes social justice concerns, but the popular perception about the Greens is Green industry, Green economy and Green Jobs.
The environment is seen as independent from Right and Left ideologies. Communism and Capitalism are seen as arguments of the past and meaningless to Green policies.
2.4 – Yellow Ideology
Seen from the Far-Right, every thing on the left appears Red.
The Yellow ideology tries to balance or fluctuate between universal human rights, and individual freedoms; it also intends to manage a mixed economy of free-enterprise and the welfare-state.
Yellow ideology, in principle, is neither monolithic “right” nor revolutionary “left”, but tries for to be a pragmatic “centre”.
The liberalization of economic enterprise, religious freedom, and cultural rights, in perpetual tension between individual freedom and collective good, is indeed a compelling ideology.
However, because free enterprise is based on competition which promises rewarding profits, most people get attracted, and addicted to the challenge and the possibility of winning.
And because the not-for-profit, co-operative system of the welfare state is less challenging, and in our culture, communitarian projects are less motivating, the ideological Yellow inherently looses its centre of balance and tilts to the Right.
This off balance generates a spiral effect: business sponsor electoral campaigns, business lobby legislators, and ultimately business dictate policies which are often in conflict with the collective good.
2.5 –Orange Ideology.
The Orange affiliates, similar to the Yellow followers advocate for a balance of justice between individual property rights and commonwealth.
In other words, a compromise between socialism and capitalism, as generally practiced in the Western World, also known as Social Democracy.
Orange ideology, similar to the Yellow ideology, is often defined by the individual leaning of each politician.
The Orange agenda is also influenced by labour unions and business interests sponsoring the party.
As we can see in the colour spectrum, Orange has shades of Yellow and red.
2.6 – Red Ideology
Red ideologists claim that the environmental degradation and social inequality are a direct result of unfettered Blue capitalism.
Christian communism is a two thousand year old theory based on the teachings of Jesus according to the Book of Acts, Chapter 2 :44 ”And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; 2:45 “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
Christina and secular communists, Marxist-Leninists, International Socialists, and Trotskyists share the same ideals of common ownership of resources, participation on the means of production according to individual ability, and communal control of the distribution of goods and services according to need.
Although the ultimate goal of all Red ideologists is the same, their different approaches of how to establish a communist society, divides their efforts.
2.7- Government by Parliamentary-Monarchy
The Dominion of Canada is governed by a lingering Imperial Monarchy.
According to UVic Professor James Lawson,
the Queen, through her Governor General, continues to exert sovereignty over parliament’s decisions, by “sufferance”,
in other words, the Queen is sovereign, as long as her subjects do not object to it.
2.8 – Governor General and Prime Minister
Have Supremacy Over All Members of Parliament
While the citizens of Canada elect their representatives of Parliament, citizens do not elect their Prime Minister. The Governor General of Canada, has the constitutional power, given by King George VI under the “Letters Patent”, 1947, to select and to dismiss the Prime Minister of Canada.
Greg Felton, a Vancouver reporter, launched a unsuccessful petition, in November, 2013, asking Governor General David Johnston to fire Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was allegedly governing undemocratically or illegally by Proroguing parliament, that is, temporarily closing it down.
2.9 – Changing the System, and Its Distractions.
Competing representative parties, in order to maximize the number of their elected representatives, debate about changing the conventions of what constitutes majority, and the logistics of party proportionality,
Alternatively, the electoral changes, among supporters of direct democracy, are focused on citizens having the right and the ability to vote on social policies by referendum, rather than in changing the methods of electing representatives to legislate for all people.
So far, the public desire to change the system of government in Canada has been neither to abolish the Monarchy, nor to abolish the representative system. Instead, Canadians have been distracted with reforming the operational system of electing party representatives.
All political parties, claiming that one electoral change or another would improve the proportion of their representation in government, have considered proportional representation, PR, by enlarging the areas of political ridings in order to have multiple representatives per riding.
in 2005 and in 2009, a form of PR, STV – BC was twice put to a referendum, and it was twice rejected by the people.
Also aiming to democratize representative governance, some municipal councils, have proposed reducing the “at-large” municipal areas, represented by multiple councillors, into smaller wards, represented by single councillors.
In 2004, Legislation to this effect was put to a referendum in Vancouver, BC, and failed the required support.
It must be noted that in order to increase a party’s representation according to their proportional overall (at large) support, other parties would have to give up some seats.
It should be noted that it will require appointing a number of unelected party member to replace a number of elected politicians, from some ridings, in order to comply with (at large) party-proportionality.
In 2001, a Citizen’s initiative for proportional representation, failed to collect the minimum of 10% signatures of each BC riding, as required by the BC’s electoral system,.
One of the promises by Justin Trudeau, during the 2015 elections, was to make electoral changes.
Advocates of PR were not thinking of direct democracy, where you and I get a say in new legislation.They were interested in enlarging the number of their representatives of their parties, in proportion to the overall number of their party supporters.
After a Standing Committee hearings that toured across the country, in 2016, the government realized that under PR, they would not have gained majority mandate, because the same number of sits gained by smaller parties, would have been lost by the bigger parties, so they politely but decisively put the rhetoric of electoral reform to sleep.
Beyond Parties into direct democracy.
From the Tommy Douglas’ Mice Story, we can interpret that to transcend above the tradition of changing party colours from Blue to Red and all shades in between, which is what we’ve been doing for 150 years, we might consider identifying relevant social policies like: LNG industry, Site C Dam Project, Medical Service Plan financing, etc. and demanding from candidates of any colour to implement a non-binding plebiscite system where we can register our choices, rather than to continue giving away, unconditionally, our legislative power to a representative of any colour.
The next chapter focuses on some fatal contradictions between the few supreme representatives in government, and the majority of des-empowered citizens.