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Democratic reforms should be a key package of Liberal platform

I was watching Paul Wells and Andrew Coyne muse at Macleans about the imminent federal election. One part of the conversation that caught my attention was Mr. Coyne stating that the Liberals couldn’t just come out swinging at Harper about contempt of Parliament and other abuses of power without having some substantial proposals of reforms for the democratic system. Otherwise, the public would tune out or be reminded of recent past Liberal indiscretions while they were in power.

I agree. I’ve been one of those out here in Liberal blog-land publicly and privately pressing the Liberals to come to the public with something in their election platform that deals with that matter of trying to curb abuses of power and the contempt for the Parliamentary system that Harper has done since he was first elected. I have been told by one Hill Liberal more then a couple times of late that there indeed would be a democratic reforms package brought out, and that person even predicted I would like it.

That person cautioned that electoral reform and democratic reform are two separate issues, and it would be more focused on the latter then the former. That disappointed me a bit, but I’m heartened to hear a democratic reforms package is going to be be key platform plank of the party. It had to be, really, when the Liberals decided that ethics and attacking the abuses of power by Harper was going to be a key strategy (evidenced by the wording of the non-confidence motion that will take place on Friday).

I just hope it’s more then symbolic measures. It needs to be substantial with a series of proposed reforms. It needs to be substantial enough that it can be rolled out as a major plank in the first couple of days of the campaign, that can make the news media organizations talk about it as being a major series of reforms, not just window dressing.

I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised (or better) when this democratic reform platform plank gets rolled out.


17 comments to Democratic reforms should be a key package of Liberal platform

  • kwittet


    well you are way off the mark but are entitled to your opinion. I guess by your post i am not?
    Actually over the last few months I have actually switched alliegance to another party that although relativivly unknown right now could actually have a chance if more people knew of them. I wont tell you because its obvious you yourself are a Iggy..past Dion..past whomever liberal clone. I am no fan of Harper but i am going to stick my neck out here and say I think that by forcing this election when the polls say you are so far behind that this could be possibly the biggest blunder in Canadian election history.
    It should be interesting.
    And if you are going to ask who i support now dont bother. Do your own research.
    I did.

    Oh…Scott…it was good to see you at my grandmothers funeral. Say hi to your folks for me.

  • Windsurfer (T. Nimmo)

    To Kwittet – thanks for the input. You sound like a Harper clone. “Nothing to see here, move along.”

    What is the number of that line in your playbook?

    Let me guess – #63: always dismiss any legitimate expression of democratic will after conditioning the sheeple to close their eyes.

    Please go back to Blogging Tories.

  • kwittet

    Here we go again wasting another 400 million on an election that most polls suggest Canadians dont want.

    Same polls suggest we are going to have the same result.

    Oh well…back to work. Have to work overtime to fund this nonsense.

  • TofKW

    ridenrain wrote:
    your own leader was not democratically elected under your own party constitution

    If your dickhead leader didn’t almost lose government by playing hyper-partisan games, which also resulted in throwing the country into a constitutional crisis when he prorogued to save his ass …the Grits would have had that proper leadership race that was already going on at that time. Think of it. There would have been lots of juicy sound-bites from that convention you could have used in attack ads right now.

    Also the only two other leadership candidates dropped out on their own accord due to the prorogation and resulting crisis. How is it against any party’s constitution when there is only one person running and by default get acclaimed?

    And since when are you an expert on the LPC’s constitution?

    Seriously, [email protected]#&-off already you stupid troll!!!


  • ridenrain

    I question how you expect voters to accept your democratic reforms when your own leader was not democratically elected under your own party constitution. It’s going to be an even less popular sell when the coalition of losers comes out of the woodwork after the election.

    In any case, do try and read that book though.

    • Greg

      Ridenrain, we still don’t know who bankrolled Harper’s leadership. Release the info and then we’ll talk.

  • rww

    On the Fifth Column today I wrote about “Democracy Election”.

  • TofKW

    Just An Observer:
    …there has been a concentration of power in the PMO’s office dating way back to Jean Chretien and even Mulroney before that coupled with the shenanigans of the Tories for the past five years…

    The trend goes back to Trudeau. He was the one who changed the PMO from a secretarial body to one which provided partisan policy advice and support. He also greatly expanded the PMO’s office over time to a staff of over 100, and used it to exercise centralized control over government (reducing the relevance of his individual MPs).

    This modern version of the PMO has, to varying degrees, been continued by subsequent prime ministers; and each has taken their turn in strengthening the role of the office and concentrating their power over government. Mulroney, Chretien, and most especially Harper over the past 5 years.

    …why should a voter believe that the Liberals will be any different?

    Reducing the PMO’s power, at least back to Mulroney-era levels, would be a good start. Ultimately it would be wonderful to go back to the Diefenbaker/Pearson era of a purely secretarial role for the PMO, but sadly I don’t think that’s possible anymore.

  • Anon ABC

    Absolutely agree that Libs have to come up with serious proposals for democratic reform. They should address transparency and accountability. First, it pays Harper back with his own coin. Second, it totally fits with the framing of the contempt of Parliament motion. Third, it just might attract some soft NDP votes.

    Would love electoral reform too so that there is more fairness to the NDP and Green party supporters (in terms of their representation in Parliament). I am not sure though if this is the time to fight this fight. It is something that can be taken up if the Libs/NDP win.

  • Just An Observer

    March 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

    “The Friendly Dictatorship” by Jeffrey Simpson.

    Scott Tribe
    March 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

    As opposed to the “snarling dictatorship” we have now.<<

    Awesome. So we get just another dictatorship like we've had under successive Tory and Liberal regimes. Gotta love that democratic reform.

    Proportional Representation is the ONLY way to ensure we don't have a repeat of the BS we've been seeing from the usual suspects over the past 25 years.

  • ridenrain

    “The Friendly Dictatorship” by Jeffrey Simpson.

  • Just An Observer

    I’m all for democratic reform, but given that there has been a concentration of power in the PMO’s office dating way back to Jean Chretien and even Mulroney before that coupled with the shenanigans of the Tories for the past five years, why should a voter believe that the Liberals will be any different?

    • I think that will be evidenced by how substantial the proposed reforms are. If it’s just “window dressing”, then I agree that the public will tune out, as Mr. Coyne has said and which I concur.

      Some more substantial proposals will show the public the Libs are serious.

  • Pamela allard

    I totally agree Scott. Democratic reform is badly needed and it would be very good for the Libs. to make this an important part if their election platform.

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