Archive for : May, 2016

We need a referendum on electoral reform

The essence of democracy is the right to vote, electing a representative to govern. But that representative does not gain the right to change the rules by which he or she is elected. The right to vote is logically, morally and politically prior to the right to change the system by which we vote for a government.

Voting rights are the political and moral equal of constitutional rights. Indeed, a Constitution itself lacks moral authority unless validated by democratic vote. Parliament – especially a Parliament where the government was elected with less than 40 percent of popular support – does not have the moral authority to change the system by which it is elected. Only popular and democratic will, expressed in response to a clear question or proposition, creates the moral mandate to change the rules by which the democratic will is expressed.

When asked in referenda, Canadian citizens (in three Provinces) have refused to accept proposed changes to the system by which we express our democratic will. Our current federal government wants to avoid a referendum, perhaps because the referendum would be defeated. ‘That the referendum might be defeated ‘ is not an argument against a referendum, it is an argument *for* a referendum.

What are they afraid of? Let the people speak!