Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Voter’s Manifesto

Don’t Jump to Conclusions about What I Mean when I Vote

On May 2nd I shall go to the polling place and cast a ballot.

On that ballot I shall put my mark beside the name of the candidate I choose for Member of Parliament for the Electoral District of Parkdale-High Park. Perhaps you may ask what this means.

Directly and absolutely it means only one thing: that I think this candidate is the human being best suited to stand for all the human beings of this electoral district in the Parliament of Canada, and by his or her intelligence and wit to speak and make decision by conscience on the issues that come before that Parliament.

That is the ONLY thing I will be asked on this ballot. I am not being asked me who should be Prime Minister or which party should form the adminsitration and act as advisers to the Crown.

Nonetheless, there is a reasonable assumption—but only an assumption—that I would like the party of which the candidate I choose is a member to form the Government of Canada. It is quite possible, however, that I am choosing this candidate for some other special reason (even for his charming smile) and do not entirely support the party. Be careful, I have voted this way before. Please do not jump to conclusions or make assumptions about my intentions

It is NOT a reasonable assumption, even if in general I want a particular party to form the Government, that I support all of its policies. I do not give consent to their claim to have a mandate for any particular policy. For there is no party I can entirely support. I am not completely on any party’s side, since as far as I can tell no party is completely on my side.

I believe that the House of Commons, and not the ministry that has its confidence. is the elected body that represents the people of Canada. I expect the House to hold that ministry accountable, and that ministry to show respect and deference to the House to which it is answerable.

If a party with a plurality of seats should form an administration but later lose the confidence of the House, I would rather see another party or group of parties attempt to form an administration than see an election before the term of Parliament is ended. (Yes this means a Coalition is OK).

For Parliament has a term; the government does not.

For all that their position depends on the support of the elected House, and for all that the Prime Minister and Cabinet are elected Commoners, their posts as Ministers are appointments of the Crown, not elected offices.

I do not believe that any Prime Minister or Cabinet chosen to advise the Crown directly represents the people of Canada. The Administration serves the people by being responsible, that is answerable, to House of Commons, the people’s representatives.

I neither expect nor wish the government to pretend that it can appeal to Canadians over the head of the Commons except by way of an election, for Canadians speak through that House.

Finally, If you become Prime Minister, do not ever claim that I voted for you; I did not, unless you ran for the seat in Parkdale-High Park.