Giving Canadians two extra days to vote is all well and good, but that assumes Canadians actually want to vote.
Unfortunately, there has been a downward trend for years and unlike Australia, voting is not compulsory here.
There is nothing in the daily antics Canadians see on TV from the Hill that would inspire them to vote. Grown adults misbehaving in Question Period won’t offer any incentive. Committees that behave like kangaroo courts don’t inspire anyone either.
Knowing that whoever they elect will be essential muted by the respective Leader’s Office or PMO once they arrive in Ottawa, won’t result in long line-ups at the polling stations either. Why turn out to vote, if you are sending a “nobody” or “trained seal” to Ottawa?
Parliament has to earn the respect of voters if the Canadians are expected to turn out to vote.
It starts with the ability of your local MP to represent you. Yes, there are many times when a whipped vote is necessary, such as when it’s a nonconfidence motion and the government risks falling. However, there can many other opportunities from committee vote, to votes on legislation, to Private Members Legislation, where MPs can represent their constituents and should be allowed to do so.
That way, their constituents can hold them accountable, which is why they sent them to Ottawa in the first place.
Keith Beardsley is a strategist for True North Public Affairs and appears as a political commentator on television. He also contributes articles to the National Post “Full Comment” blog and writes a political column in the Cornwall Free News.
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