Consensus Government is already here - in Canada's Far North, it has been practiced for over 60 years. Think of it as politics without political parties. Most Ontarians we have spoken with during the 2018 and 2022 Ontario elections say they would prefer this - but wondered how it would work. Here's how it would work:
Elections would be held on a fixed date every 4 years, with elections triggered on schedule by the Lieutenant Governor. ALL candidates would run as Independents in their home ridings. As a voter, you would see half a dozen or more independent candidates running to become your next Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP). You would have a ranked ballot, and you would select your first choice, your second and third and so on down the ballot.
ALL MPPs would then meet for the first time and be sworn in, to represent the interest of their riding. They would be seated alphabetically by riding name, and the seats would be rearranged from the two adversarial benches facing each other in the Legislature today, to a new, modern horseshoe arrangement. This should facilitate more professional behaviour among MPPs. Next, they would choose a Speaker and Deputy Speaker from among all MPPs. Once chosen, the Speaker would chair proceeding in the Legislature at Queen's Park - as is currently done.
The next order of business would be to select cabinet ministers - from all of the MPPs present. No longer would the premier select ministers. Consensus Government in Ontario is intended to take away power from the Premier and restore it to the MPPs in the Legislature - who represent all the people of Ontario. MPPs all have the opportunity to run for a single ministerial job, if they so chose. They would be able to stand for ONE position only, so they would likely focus on the one in which they have some background & experience - this is new. If they are successful, they become the minister overseeing and responsible for that ministry of the Ontario Government's operations, fully accountable to the Legislature, who are able to replace the minister for poor performance. If the MPPs are unsuccessful in seeking a ministerial post, they carry on with their normal MPP duties.
Final step: Selection of the Ontario Premier. Once again, all MPPs are eligible to run for this post, however, they cannot seek a speaker's job or a ministerial position. If they believe they are the ideal leader for the province, they must run solely for the Premier's position. All MPPs in the Legislature will vote to select the next Premier. She/he will hold the position only as long as they have the confidence of the rest of the MPPs - the Opposition.
As business begins, the Government will prepare its plans and estimates for the next year. MPPs will - through promoting the priorities of their constituents - discuss wants and needs and a Consensus will develop, giving each minister directions for what the people of Ontario want them to focus on beyond normal ministry operations.
When budgets, motions, and legislation come forward, all MPPs are sworn to represent the majority wishes in their ridings on each matter, issue by issue. The Government - the Ministers and the Premier - do not have enough votes to push through anything without enough support from a majority of Opposition MPPs. So they must focus on what the Consensus is, issue by issue, to get things approved.
Overall, it will provide a stable, accountable, and fair system of representation for Ontario's future. The big change is the removal of all political parties, even our own. The small changes involve how to select the premier and cabinet ministers, and how they are held to account by the other MPPs at Queen's Park, as well as the leveling of the playing field for candidates and the restoration of the equal importance of all Ontario ridings at Queen's Park.
Find out how Independent MPPs will stay on top of the issues of the day, each week, each month, and each year...taking the pulse of their ridings.
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