5.1 – The Story of “Mouse-land” as told by Tommy Douglas in 1944, is still relevant today. He suggested that 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 they were cats, and cats naturally looked after their own interests. Projecting this anecdote to our era, 2012; switching our vote from one party to another party, for the past 145 years in Canada, has not served the best interest of most people. The trouble has not been the ideological intention of the parties, which is always altruistic during elections. The trouble is that all parties need to hoard the most power, if they want to dictate their own agenda on us.
Tommy Douglas suggested that the mice should elect, not cats of any colour, but their own fellow mice to office. Advancing that thought further, we suggest that, if all the citizens were the mice, we all would become our own legislators instead of giving our political power away to cats, of any party.
Party labels do not always represent their party ideologies, and electoral ideologies may not always be practiced once the party is in power. Let us look at some of the most prominent political ideologies.
5.2 – 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 of maximizing profits. This hierarchical ideology benefits, above all, financial investors and private property owners. Under this ideology, the cyclical economic success of the working class becomes dependent on paid employment and on the market economy. Conservative ideology also appears beneficial to the majority of citizens who become dependent on the trickle down economy. However, that hierarchical , cyclical success is based on the exploitation of labour, swindling of the commonwealth and ravishing natural resources from around the world.
5.3 – Another main political force is the progressive-liberal ideology which is based on balancing individual freedoms and the collective good resulting in a mixed economy. Liberal ideology, in principle, is neither monolithic “right” nor revolutionary “left”, but pragmatic “centre”. The liberalization of economic, religious and cultural rights is a compelling ideology.
However, because of the current political system, of representative democracy, legislation is influenced first by the personal bias of the few elected politicians, rather than by the will of most people; and second, the progressive liberal intention gets tilted towards the dictates of the corporate lobby which are often in conflict with the collective good.
5.4 – The New Democratic Party, NDP, similar to the progressive liberal ideology predicates a balance of justice between individual property rights and the common walth. In other words, a balance between socialism and capitalism, as practiced in Northern European countries.
NDP’s ideology, similar to the social minded liberals, is often lost under the political representative’s individual bias, the organized labour and business’ support, and the party‘s main drive to gain power.
5.5 – The Green Party is an environmental movement of Conservatives, Liberals and Socialists, singularly concerned with the ecological survival of our planet. Because of the Greens’ multilateral diagnosis of environmental concerns, the Green agenda, to alleviate the ecological symptoms, needs to include all ideological-isms: “green-blue“ capitalisms, “green-red” liberalism, as well as “green-orange” socialism.
5.6 – In the field of electoral reform, all political parties have considered enlarging the areas of political ridings in order to have multiple representatives per riding. This change, claiming to bring more democracy, was twice proposed by STV-BC, on the referendums of 2005 and 2009, and it was twice defeated.
5.7 – All political parties, also aiming at advancing democracy, have tried the exact opposite change, that is, reducing the at-large municipal areas, represented by multiple councilors, into smaller wards, represented by a single councillor. Legislation to this effect was put to a referendum and also failed in Vancouver in 2004.
5.8 – NDPs and Greens have considered empowering their parties according to their proportional overall (at large) vote. This would imply 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. This reform is exactly the opposite to the city’s “wards proposition” for more local representation. A Citizen’s initiative to this electoral reform, failed to collect 10% of electoral support, as required by the BC’s electoral system, in 2001.
5.9 – To transcend changing political parties from blue to red to orange to green, like in Tommy Douglas anecdote, we need to clearly identify our individual and collective priorities, independent of hierarchical political parities.
Identifying and building consensus on PDD ideology is the topic of the next chapter.