Changing Politics- Part 5, When diminished accountability increases our democratic deficit

In today’s political world, the roles of an elected representative have become increasingly clouded and often unclear. Voters generally assume that our elected representatives have a clear understanding of their jurisdictions’ priorities. In reality, that assumption may be false as often as it is true. Further analysis of our elected representatives demands that the elected member’s personal character adds credibility to their authority as a lawmaker-not detracts from it.

Electoral recall is a policy that has been used in recent years as a political gimmick. Many incarnations of Recall have been floated in front of voters only to discover that the conditions of the proposed policy make it unrealistic for citizens and voters to enact in any effective way. Gridlock checkmates Recall over and over again until voters advance a better idea. .

Unfortunately, our Westminster-based parliamentary system has changed very little since 1848–171 years ago—when it was first implemented in Britain and subsequently in each of the provinces entering the Canadian federation. Legislative authority without necessary checks and balances comes with a host of consequences that have been costly to Albertans. Prior to the 2015 election, and including the campaign itself, the first-ever-in-Alberta NDP government did NOT tell Albertans about their intended carbon tax. Yet shortly after taking power, the NDP levied this new tax on Albertans to the tune of $1.34 billion in 2018 approximately $500 annual per family of four, increasing annually with higher taxation per tonne of carbon emissions.

In any system of direct democracy, no government has the right to impose taxes or policies which contradict direction by a majority of citizens and voters. In a system of consensus government such as that used in the NorthWest Territories, any member of the Legislature can table a motion to remove a Cabinet Minister or the Premier from their position upon approval of the majority of members. If such a system of government ruled in Alberta, the carbon tax advanced by an NDP Cabinet would have been defeated. Further, those politicians advancing that despised legislation would have been subject to recall in short order.

Direct democracy is not a system of government that is defined by a 12-hour window at election time once every four years. Alberta’s political system has not kept pace with the technological and democratic needs of the province. Many, many Albertans are already convinced it’s time for real political change to a new, more democratic structure that puts power back into the hands of citizens and voters BETWEEN elections.