Tag Archives: Government reform

Irish Government

EndaKennyIn a vote 70 days after the General election in February the Irish Republic has a minority government.

https://federalistpartycanada.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/government-formation-2/

The above is a link to a post after that election detailing a different process on government formation. The fourth Monday after the vote the lower House of the Irish parliament meets to swear in the members and elect it’s speaker. The newly elected speaker puts the question to the House “who should the Irish President call upon to form a government?” Names comes from the floor and if they get 5% of the House (8) endorsements they get called upon to form a  government-designate of 7 to 15 members. If there are more then 4 such nominated individuals the House then votes to endorse one candidate for Prime minister with the four with the most votes getting endorsed. Tuesday the nominated PM-designates are invited by the President to form a government. All of this is worked out even before Parliament meets. On Wednesday, 27 days after the election the Question is put to the House “Who does this House have confidence in to form a government of the Republic of Ireland?” The 2 councils with the least votes form shadow councils in the House. The top two go to a second ballot and the winner becomes the Council of Ministers in that Parliament and the runner up the Council of Opposition. Thursday the shadow councils are swore in before the House and on Sunday the Council of Opposition then the Council of Ministers is sworn in to office at Government House.

A government is in office for the duration of Parliament with no confidence motions. A minister may be dismissed at any time by  a 60% majority vote with quorum. The Prime minister can be dismissed at any time by an absolute 60% majority (95). The House can trigger another government formation vote like the one at the start of each Parliament this takes an absolute two thirds majority vote (105). A new election happens ONLY by a motion of dissolution passed by an absolute three quarters majority vote (118).

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Senate letter

senateSent the following letter the Canada post kind to all the newly appointed Senators.

Reform of Senate membership (by custom and precedence)

Province / Territory

% of voters

Population

Equal

# of Senators

British Columbia

13.03%

4

3

7 (6)*

Alberta

10.89%

4

3

7 (6)*

Saskatchewan

2.98%

1

3

4

Manitoba

3.41%

1

3

4

Ontario

37.29%

12

3

15

Quebec

24.86%

8

3

11

New Brunswick

2.31%

1

3

4

Nova Scotia

2.87%

1

3

4

PEI

0.44%

0

3

3

Newfoundland

1.62%

1

3

4

Yukon

0.10%

0

1

1

NWT

0.11%

0

1

1

Nunavut

0.07%

0

1

1

Total

33

33

66 (64)*

*BC & Alberta limited to a maximum of 6 seats

House advisory council

Party

Liberal

Cons

NDP

Bloc

Green

Ind

Seats

184

99

44

10

1

0

Council

301

223

128

21

2

1

% Council

45%

33%

19%

3%

0.3%

0.1%

The House advisory council consists of the top two candidates in the last election for each riding. The Liberals are brought down to near their percent of the popular vote as a percentage on the council. The Conservatives and NDP are right on their percent popular vote. The Bloc is 3% to 6% and the Greens are just 0.3% on council to a 3% popular vote.

A reform of the Senate membership changed to 66 senators. Each province is granted 3 seats in the Senate with the three northern territories having one each for a total territorial representation equal to a province. This gives you 33 seats with a further 33 seats awarded to the 11 regions on the bases of population. Half the Senate membership of 66 is based on equal representation and the other half on population. When a seat goes vacant the top two candidates in a riding in that province or territory nominate someone for appointment. All the nominees go to a yes or no secret ballot vote of the House Advisory Council. It takes an absolute 2/3 majority (451) to get confirmed. If more then one gets the required vote then the one with the most is appointed. Membership is for 25 years or age 75 after which a senator becomes a senator emeritus. These senators can attend and speak in chamber but can’t sit on any subsidiary body and have no vote. When a senator retires to this position their seat as a voting senator is vacated. To start the membership all current senators stay as long as it doesn’t exceed the number of senators for that province or territory. Any in excess then the most junior senators voluntary resign their seats. Also any who have been there 25 years become a senator emeritus.

The Speaker of the Senate is appointed not on the advice of the PM of the day but a 2/3-majority vote of the Senate by secret ballot. By custom and precedence the Speaker doesn’t speak or vote in the chamber and by Senate rules a tie vote is a no vote. The Speaker also doesn’t serve on any committee. The Speaker serves until retirement, death, or removal. The most senior senator who accepts becomes Deputy speaker of the Senate. This person must be confirmed by a 2/3-majority vote by secret ballot.

The membership of the 18 standing committees is determined as follows. At the start of each Parliament the Senate elects by secret ballot the chairman and deputy chairman of the standing committees who will serve for the duration of that Parliament. The Committees are done in order of precedence set by the Senate. On the last vote for a committee the ballot has the final two candidates on it with the winner being elected as chairman and the runner up as the deputy chairman. These senators serve only on the one committee. All other senators serve on three committees. The senators in order of seniority are asked to choose one committee to serve on. Once all senators have chosen one committee membership the list is done a second time and then finally a last time for their third committee membership.

The current Senate of 88 would be 87 for membership on the committees with the Speaker being ineligible to serve. 36 senators serve as the chairman or deputy chairman on one of the 18 committees. This leaves 51 senators serving on 3 committees giving you (51 X 3 divided by 18) 8.5 members per committee. Nine committees will have 9 members plus the chairman and deputy for a total membership of 11 on the committee. The other 9 committees would have 8 members plus the chairman and deputy for 10 on those committees.

The Senate of Canada is solely a chamber of sober second thought. It is non-partisan and appointment is through a process independent from the Political Monarch (PM) of the day. All appointees can’t be members of political parties or association. They cannot donate to such organizations or attend any of their meetings. The House of Commons establishes a legislative session where any bills to be passed is voted on each week. This is to be Wednesday at 1 PM. The Senate’s legislative session would be Thursday at 1 PM where any bill that passed the House on Wednesday is voted on. If passed by the Senate the bill goes to the Governor General on Friday for royal assent. There would be no Government or Opposition leaders in the Senate. Its relationship to the executive would as the US Congress. It could summon Ministers and Opposition critics to testify and give information to the committees. The Speaker the day after a bill is introduced into the House summits it to the Senate. The bill then goes to the appropriate committee. When the bill is voted on is determined by when the House votes on it.

The Senate by a majority vote may send a bill back to the House with or without recommendations. The next week in the Commons the bill can be withdrawn, voted on, or tabled for revision. If the sponsor withdraws the bill, it kills it. The sponsor can have the bill voted on “as is” for a second time on Wednesday’s legislative session. The bill can be tabled for revision in which case the sponsor has 90 days to introduce a revised bill or the bill is deemed withdrawn from consideration by the House. The second time the Senate gets a bill by a 2/3 majority it can send it back to the House with objections. If the bill passes the Commons for the third time the Senate passes the bill and sends it to the Governor General. Thus the Senate at most can delay any bill by 2 weeks.

As long as the Senate is partisan-appointed and partisan in operation it cannot be a sober chamber of second thought. As long as it is not elected it has no right to block legislation passed by the House of Commons. A New Year and maybe Senate reform for 2016. I have sent an earlier version of this letter to all the “Liberal” Senators over the last 5 months and to any new Independent Senators, so now to you. Congratulations on your appointment to the Senate of Canada.

Sincerely yours,

 

Base Wage

queen-s-park

 

 

The Ontario public service wage act

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/toronto/ontario-sunshine-list-1.3505138

The wages of all who work in the public service whether in the executive, bureaucracy, legislature, or judiciary should be based upon what is happening to those who pay those wages, namely the taxpayers. The concept of the base wage is simple for the proceeding year calculate the average income of those who are not retired. This is to exclude those who work for any level of government. Figure out the average monthly unemployment rate to two figures for that year. Reduce the average income by the unemployment rate and divide by 52. This gives you the base wage for that municipality, province, or the nation.

From StatsCan I got the following figures for the province of Ontario for 2015. Average annual wage of $50,781 and an average unemployment rate of 6.8%. The equation is (50,781 – 6.8%) / 52 = 910.15. The base wage is the first number to two significant figures that is equal to or greater than that amount which in this case is $920.

All salaries within the provincial government of Ontario would be paid an amount that is a percentage of the Ontario base wage of $920. It is calculated for the proceeding year and takes effect starting the first pay check on or after July first of every year. If unemployment goes up the public wages go down and if it goes down then those wages go up. If the average income of the taxpayers go up so does the base wage and if it goes down then on July the first so does the salaries of all public employees, top to bottom. I would set an amount that the wages can not go below.

For example set the general office worker at 65% the base wage. After 1 year it’s to go up to 70%, after 3 years to 75%, 5 years in the public service 80%, 10 years to 85%, and after 20 years it goes to the maximum of 90%. The process being the wages for any job classification starts at a certain percentage and increase for experience and seniority to a maximum after a set number of years. Those that are a specific position like premier or MLA or deputy minister for transport is a set percentage that doesn’t change.

Government Formation

369px-Oireachtas_logo.svgIrish General Election February 26, 2016

On the fourth Monday after the election which in this case would be Monday March the 22nd you would have the swearing in of the Teachta Dála (members) and after that the election of the Ceann Comhairle (Speaker). On Tuesday the Speaker asks the members for nominees for Taoiseach (Prime Minister). You would need 5% of the Dail Eireann (House of Representatives) to endorse the nomination which is 8 members out of the 158. If you have more then 4 nominees the members are asked to endorse one with the top 4 with the most votes becoming a Taoiseach-designate. On Tuesday afternoon the President of Ireland invites these Taoiseach-designates to form a Council of Ministers of the required 7 to 15 members. They submit their Councils-designate to the President Wednesday morning and the President refers it to the Dail Eireann to decide which has it’s confidence to be the Government for the duration of that Oireachtas (Parliament). Wednesday afternoon the Dail Eireann votes on which of these councils becomes the government for that Oireachtas. Winner to be sworn in as the Council of Minsters the following Sunday and the runner up as the Council of Opposition just before the swearing in of the government. Any others become shadow councils in the Dail Eireann.

The process of government formation is a set procedure and the Party Leaders would have been in negotiations right after the election for support to win the vote to form the government in the new Parliament. Fine Gael and Fianna Fail could form a grand coalition government and have just with their 2 parties 99 seats out of 158. They could each form a council-designate alone and negotiate for the support of the other parties and from the 19 independents. If Sinn Fein doesn’t enter into a coalition council with the 2 main parties it could form it’s own council and be a shadow council in the next Parliament with or without voting one of the others in as the government. There is enough members for the 5 minor parties to come together to present another council choice and it also would become a shadow council in Parliament with or without voting Fine Gael or Fianna Fail in as the government.

Once a Government is elected by the House it stays in office for the duration of that Parliament. Any Minister can be voted out by a motion of dismissal with a 60% vote with quorum. The Prime Minister can be dismissed by an absolute 60% vote (95). Confidence and Non-confidence votes are abolished. A motion of government dismissal requires an absolute two-third majority vote (106). This triggers a new vote of government formation the same as at the start of Parliament. A motion of dissolution requires an absolute three-quarters majority vote (119). This will set a new election for parliament.

Using the government formation process for the Canadian federal election in October 2015.

The House meets the fourth Monday after the election. In the morning the swearing in of the members and in the afternoon the election of the Speaker of the House the Commons. The next day the House would have nominated Justin Trudeau, Rona Ambrose, and Thomas Mulcair as Prime Minister designates. No other candidates would have gotten the 17 endorsing votes necessary to get nominated. The Governor-General would have asked these 3 leaders to form a Government. In the government formation vote in the House the Liberal council would have won a majority on the first ballot with 184 votes, the Tories would be second with 99 votes, and the NDP third with 44 votes. The 11 votes held by the Bloc and Greens can’t change the result. The Liberal council gets sworn in as the Council of Ministers, the Conservatives as the Council of Opposition, and the NDP becomes a shadow council in the House of Commons.

Instead of the rigidity of a majority government or the instability of a minority government you have the Government elected at the start of Parliament and serving for the duration of that Parliament unless by super majorities the House votes to either have another Government formation vote or set another election.

 

Mr. Real Change

g3403

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/government-ads-liberals-1.3455529

As always with the change of government the new one promptly starts behaving like the previous government they criticized while in opposition. As with all these Political Monarchs (PM / Premier) “Some are better, some are worse, but in the end, they are all the same.”

There is to be created the Council of State which consists of the Council of Ministers and the Council of Opposition. This would include only those who hold the senior portfolios of the ministers of the crown as defined in an Act of Parliament and not the whim of the PM (Political Monarch) of the day. Equal number of members from both the government and the opposition of the day and presided over by the Governor-General. It would be this body that sets the rules governing the communications policy of the government of Canada and it’s departments and agencies. This requires a 2/3 majority vote of the council if introduced by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. If introduced be just one of them then it requires a three-quarter majority vote.

Also as a direct subsidiary body you would have the Federal Government Communication Office (FGCO) charged with overseeing the implementation of federal communication policy. Chairman would be the Minister of state responsible for the FGCO and deputy chairman the opposite number in the Opposition. Also included are the minister of public service, the minister of heritage, and their opposite numbers in the Council of Opposition. At the start of each Parliament the Council of Ministers and the Council of Opposition each appoints a member of the FGCO who would serve for the duration of 3 Parliaments. Half the membership comes from the government and half from the opposition. Half are from the cabinet and the opposition council and half are appointed members with long terms of office.

The FGCO would currently have 6 Conservatives, 5 Liberals, and 1 NDP. This would include 3 Liberal ministers, 3 Conservatives in the opposition council, 3 conservative members, 2 liberal members, and 1 NDP member. The approval of the FGCO would be required for any advertising by the government of Canada and this needs the vote of 8 of the 12. Control of the Government of Canada’s website would be under the jurisdiction of the FGCO. Non partisan and not run out of the PMO and doesn’t stand a chance of happening. Some variation of the same old is all we can expect.

US Judicial Appointments

scaliaAs I have posted before, a different way then how senate confirmation of presidential appointments are currently done. This idea occurred to me after the nomination of Judge Bork by President Reagan. The Senate has every right to confirm, every right to reject, but no right to not vote in a timely matter. What the Democrats did then and what the Republicans in an even worse way intend to do now is wrong! For good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason the Senate is to confirm or reject every appointment made by any President of the United States.

This should be the process. After President Obama nominates someone to fill the vacancy on the Supreme court created by the death of Justice Scalia the Senate holds a vote to determine when the Senate holds a confirmation vote. There are 5 set days, 20 days after the appointment, 30 days, 40 days, 60 days, or the first sitting of the Senate 80 days after the appointment. The default is the middle setting of 40 days or some 8 weeks after the appointment the Senate will vote to confirm or reject the nominee. By super majorities the Senate can advance the vote to 30 days after nomination with the vote of 67 Senators or only 20 days after appointment by a vote of 75 Senators. By minorities the Senate can delay the vote to 60 days after nomination with the vote of 33 Senators or till 80 days after appointment by a vote of 50 Senators.

All confirmation votes of Presidential judicial appointments will occur on the first sitting of the Senate that’s 20 / 30 / 40 / 60 / 80 days after the President nominates someone to fill a vacancy in the federal judiciary. The minority can delay a vote but not block it and super majorities can advance that vote but not ram it through. Each appointment gets confirmed or rejected no early then 4 weeks to no longer then 16 weeks after the nomination by the President. One change I’d make would be for judicial appointments to require a 2/3 majority for confirmation. For the federal bench a 2/3 majority of the Senate present and voting and for the Supreme court an absolute 2/3 majority or at least 67 votes to confirm.

House of Commons committees

commonsfloor“Real Change” does it again.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/house-commons-standing-committees-list-1.3425906

Here’s the letter I just mailed (Yes, Canada post kind) to my Liberal MP and see what Mrs. Marie-Claude Bibeau is going to be worth.

Dear Mrs Bibeau:

I was truly shocked to read a news article on how the Commons committees were going to be done. What you are supporting is fundamentally wrong. I propose a different way of doing the committees of the House of Commons then what “Real Change” is doing now.

24 committees with 16 seats on each for 384 committee assignments

Party

House

Committee seats

Final seats

Fixed

Assigned

Liberal

184

209.04

209

8 (192)

17

Conservative

99

112.47 (+1)

113

4 (96)

17

NDP

44

49.99 (+1)

50

2 (48)

2

Bloc

10

11.36

11

0 (0)

11

Green

1

1.14

1

0 (0)

1

Independents

0

0.00

0

0 (0)

0

Total

338

382

384

14 (336)

48

There are a total of 384 seats on the 24 committees and they are to be distributed to the Parties in direct proportion to their seats in the House of Commons. Independents are treated as another Party in the House. A Party’s House seats is divided by the full House and multiplied by the number of committee assignments (384). The remainder is dropped and any extra seats to get to 384 are awarded to the party with the highest decimal remainder. A Party’s fixed number of seats on a committee is the minimum they will have on all committees and within parentheses the total number of seats. Assigned is the number of seats their House Leader chooses to bring their number of seats up to their seat total. There are 2 unassigned seats on each committee to be assigned by the Parties for a total of the last 48 committee seats.

The unassigned seats are chosen by the Party’s House Leaders in order of their Party’s standing in the House with one seat chosen by each in each round. First round goes the Liberal House leader, Conservative, NDP, Bloc, and the Green. If there were any Independents the most senior member would get to choose a committee assignment. The second round would be the Liberals chose one, Conservative, NDP, and Bloc. For the 3rd to 11th rounds there would only be the Liberal, Conservative, and Bloc. The Liberals and Conservatives choose the twelve last committee assignments in rounds 12 to 17. Each Party can choose only 1 unassigned seat on each committee.

The process to determine committee assignments for the members is done similar to the choosing of the unassigned committee seats. The Parties, round by round, choose committee seats in order of their standing in the House. At least half of the Party’s seats on each committee are chosen by the members themselves in order of their seniority in caucus. The House Leader or Deputy House leader assigns the remainder. These positions are to be elected directly by the members of that Party’s caucus by secret ballot in the House of Commons chamber. The winner by majority vote becomes that Party’s House Leader and the runner up the Deputy House leader. The Leader assigns the majority of the remainder and the Deputy leader the rest. If it’s 2 seats then it’s 1 seat assigned by each.

Party

Committee seats

Members choice

Leader assigns

Deputy assigns

Liberal

9

5

3

1

Liberal

8

4

3

1

Conservative

5

3

1

1

Conservative

4

2

1

1

NDP

3

2

1

0

NDP

2

1

1

0

Bloc / Green

1

1

0

0

In the first round of choosing committee assignments the most senior Liberal member chooses a committee to sit on. Then the most senior members of the Conservatives, NDP, and the Bloc Parties choose a committee seat. The Green party has only one committee assignment so that goes to its only MP. This process repeats with the next most senior members choosing a committee to sit on until all the committee assignments that are chosen by the choice of the members are filled. After that when a Party’s turn is up in a round it’s that Party’s House Leader the assigns a seat to a member. The next time after that the Deputy leader assigns one then back to the Leader the time after that. This continues until all the 384 committee seats on the 24 committees are filled.

This idea has it’s basis on what I thought about the situation in the 1980s for the US House of Representatives where the Democrats had a higher percentage of seats on the House committees then they had in the full chamber. Again fundamentally wrong and every member of a legislative body should get to serve on at least 1 of its committees.

Sincerely yours,