Friday, July 05, 2013

Our idea is filtering through, cont'd

This week, I have to say, Maclean's editorial comment looks like a page from Christopher Moore's History News. They actually noticed the leadership change in Australia.
There are also some important strengths to the Australian system, not least of which is that it improves parliamentary democracy.
Putting leadership decisions in the hands of an elected caucus inevitably strengthens the position of backbenchers by giving them real clout. This is significant for Canada, since the biggest problem with our current system is the dramatic centralization of political power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Individual MPs have become entirely emasculated.
[....] Putting leadership-review abilities in the hands of backbenchers would dramatically alter the Canadian power dynamic. Backbench priorities would suddenly have real weight. And [in the Senate scandal] rather than the PM simply skipping town, it would have been possible under the Australian system for MPs to demand a more fulsome and immediate answer from their leader. The Prime Minister would suddenly be accountable to his caucus. 
The anonymous Maclean's writer does have a few blind spots. "Both the Canadian and Australian methods provide their own particular advantages," s/he writes. "Canada is better off for avoiding rampant outbreaks of Australian-style ambition."  Gee, you would think that Paul Martin/Jean Chrétien thing (that cost millions, took years, and destroyed the Liberal party in the process) never happened.  

And in the end Maclean's goes all Mackenzie King ("Never do anything by halves that you can do by quarters.") and plumps for a blending of Canadian vote-buying with a touch parliamentary democracy.  

But it's something.I wonder if any Ottawa backbenchers read Maclean's.

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