Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Three Choices

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The three choices:

This doesn’t refer to Stevie, Tom, and Justin. The three choices are a reform of the government formation process. In a tight three way race it is not inconceivable that the party that has the most seats in a minority situation is the party that got the third most votes in the General election or worst yet a majority. What if the incumbent PM refused to step down even though their party has the third most seats but argues they got the most in the popular vote? Anyone remember December of 2008? It is all left to a patronage appointee the Governor-General to decide the issue and with the incumbent PM right there insisting they must do what ever they say or overthrow our democracy. The three choices set out clear rules what is to be done after each election.

Largest: The leader of the party with the most seats is called upon to form a government. If the seat count is equal then the one with the larger popular vote. No non-confidence motions, no vote can bring down a government. This is replaced by a motion of dissolution. By an absolute majority (170 / 338) the House can dissolve Parliament and trigger new elections. It can’t replace a government only trigger new elections. The PM can’t ask the Governor-General for early elections. It’s fixed the next election is on the set election day or an early election triggered by a motion of dissolution passed by the Commons.

House election: At the start of each Parliament the Speaker after the members of the House of Commons are sworn in asks “who should the Governor-General call upon to form a government”? The four most endorsed candidates are invited to Rideau Hall and asked to form a council-designate, a government-in-waiting. After each leader forms a proposed government of say 16 to 20 members the Speaker puts the question to the House “which of these councils-designate has the confidence of this House”? The two with the least are dropped from the second ballot. The Commons votes a second time with the winner becoming the Council of Ministers and the loser the Council of Opposition. As with the above no vote in the House triggers an election only an absolute majority passing a motion of dissolution can trigger an election before the set election day. No vote can replace the current government with another. The Council of Ministers is the government for the duration of that Parliament.

Separate election: The same as a municipal election namely a vote for a mayor, the executive election, and a vote for the councillor, the legislative election. In this case a vote for an executive council to be the government in the next Parliament and a vote for your Member of Parliament. The executive and legislative elections are separate and institute a preference ballot. If on the first count of the ballots a candidate got a majority their elected. No candidate got a majority, count the ballots a second time with only the top two being counted and the one with the majority is elected. In order for an executive council of again say 16 to 20 members to get on the ballot they must be endorsed by the candidates for the House of Commons in the last election. Each candidate has votes equal to their popular vote. The four most endorsed executive councils are on the ballot. In this there is no early elections. Parliament just like municipal elections has a fixed term and set election day.

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