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 looked 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 elected their own fellow mice as representatives.
Projecting this 72 year-old anecdote to current politics today, by switching our vote back and forth between the red party and the blue party, for the past 150 years, has enthroned a supreme elite class, not necessarily serving the best interest of most ordinary citizens.
The trouble has not been the ideological demagoguery of parties, which always sounds altruistic, at least, during election campaigns. The trouble is that we the citizens give away our legislative power to political representatives and colourful institutions.
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 accepted the benefits of a “trickle down economy”, based on a cyclical success of exploiting labour, and natural resources from around the world.
2.3 – Yellow Ideology
Seen from the Far-Right, it appears Red, but it is Yellow.
The Yellow ideology tries to balance a perpetual tension between individual freedom and collective good. The liberalization of economic enterprise, religious freedom, and cultural rights is a compelling ideology.
Yellow ideology fluctuates 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 solid “right” nor revolutionary “left”, but tries for a pragmatic “centre”.
However, because our instinctual culture of 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 less motivating, the Yellow ideology eventually looses its balance and tilts to the Blue-Right.
The ideological Yellow-Centre inherently blends with the Blue-Right by a spiral effect of: business sponsoring electoral campaigns, business lobbying legislators, and ultimately business dictating policies which are often in conflict with the collective good.
2.4 –Orange Ideology.
The Orange advocates, similar to the Yellow followers advocate for a balance of justice between individual property rights and the commonwealth. In other words, a compromise between socialism and capitalism, as generally practiced in the Western World as social democracy.
Orange platform, similar to the Yellow platform, is often defined by the individual leaning of each representative. It is also influenced by the labour and business interests sponsoring the party. Thus, Orange has shades of Yellow.
2.5 – 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, that are eroding the planet.
Officially, the Green platform includes social justice concerns, but the popular perception about the Greens is Green ecological, Green economy and Green Jobs.
The only Green Member of Parliament, has stated that Right and Left ideologies, are arguments of the past and meaningless to Green policies.
2.6 – Red Ideology
Red ideologists claim that the environmental degradation and social inequality are a direct result of unfettered Blue capitalism.
Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists, and International Socialists, share the same ideals of common ownership of resources, participation on the means of production according to individual ability, and control of the distribution of goods and services according to need.
Christian communism is a two thousand year old theory based on the teachings of Jesus Christ according to the Book of Acts, Chapter 2 :44 ”And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
Although the ultimate goal of all Red ideologists is the same, their different ways 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 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, or temporarily closing it down.
2.9 – Changing the System and Its Distractions.
So far, the desire to reform the system of government 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 representatives.
All political parties, claiming that one electoral change or another would improve the proportion of their representatives in government, have considered enlarging the areas of political ridings in order to have multiple representatives per riding.
To this effect, STV – BC has been twice put to a referendum, in 2005 and in 2009, and it has been 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.
Legislation to this effect was put to a referendum in Vancouver, BC, in 2004, and failed the required support.
Some Oranges, but mainly Greens have considered improving their party representation according to their proportional overall (at large) support.
This electoral system may require appointing, if necessary, a number of unelected party member to replace a number of elected politicians, in some local ridings, in order to comply with (at large) party-proportionality.
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, in 2001.
Beyond Political Parties
From 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, people need to identify, campaign, and vote for social policies, rather than to continue giving away their political power to colourful representatives.