How Consensus Government Would Operate
How Consensus Government Would Operate
Consensus government is nothing new to Canada. In fact, our northern territories have been using this party-less provincial legislative system for a century.
The benefits of a party-less system include better, truer representation of ridings in the legislature and strengthening of all MPPs voices in that they are now all equal.
Under our current party-based system, MPPs of small parties - and indeed backbench MPPs of larger parties - have their voices muted by the party. Parties control who speaks, when they speak, how long they speak, and what they can and cannot ask or say in the Legislature. Parties in most situations use their Party Whip, House Leader and Party Leader to coerce MPPs to vote the way the party wishes them to. The ultimate threat is that the party leader will refuse to sign the MPP's nomination papers when he/she is ready to run for re-election.
Under a Consensus Government, elections become a matter of voters answering a single question: Which candidate in my riding will be our best representative? No more the worry for voters as to which party they have traditionally voted for or against, and no more will the personality of the party leaders factor in to the voters' decision. The simple question is who will faithfully represent the majority view in our riding, issue by issue?
Once the election is over MPPs would meet for an inaugural session. That session would see a Speaker and Deputy Speakers elected, cabinet ministers elected, and ultimately the Premier elected - all MPPs are elligible to stand for any of these positions. Those with the most support (consensus) in the House would fill those positions.
Once the first meeting is over, the premier and cabinet ministers form Her Majesty's Government. All the remaining MPPs form Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. The beauty in the Consensus Government system is that the government cannot do anything without sufficient support from the Opposition...meaning a consensus has been achieved. No omnibus bills and budgets under Consensus Government. Each bill is presented and discussed and amended until consensus is achieved. And when a cabinet minister or premier or speaker lose the support of the legislature, they are forced to run for re-election to that post if they wish to retain it. They could be replaced by the Legislature. No elections are needed other than once every four years.
MPPs would be tasked with determining the majority view in their riding on the issues and responsibilities of the provincial government. This is best done through our Random Voter Priorities Survey as well as MPP's constituency budgets. This information would be published in the media so that the MPP's direction from his/her constituents is well known. We would introduce legislation to allow for Recall of MPPs who do not faithfully represent their ridings. They would be required to stand for re-election in a by-election in which they could be replaced by someone else who would do a better job as that riding's elected representative.
When needed, such as when deciding larger issues that affect Ontarian society as a whole, we would want to use binding Referendums. An example would be regarding the legalization of and retail method chosen for marijuana. Consensus Government ensures that government actually does only those things the people want them to do beyond regular day-to-day operations of government services. In emergency situations Government can still pass Orders-In-Council when a very quick decision is required, and it would afterwards be up for re-approval by the Legislature if that special decision needed to extend beyond 30 days.
The current party system sees all three major parties having had a turn in government, and all three having done a poor job. Further, when one party replaces the other, they stop pet projects of their predecessor and launch their own. When they get tossed out of power, so too do their initiatives. And so on it goes! A colossal waste of time and scarce tax dollars.