Thursday, August 20, 2020

History of leadership

When Chrystia Freeland became finance minister the other day, it was widely noted, not only by women, that there was one other job awaiting her, and that more and more it seemed she was better equipped for it than the guy still in the office.

But there was a wistful, if only, sense in those comments. Wouldn't it be nice if....

Nobody observed that what in Canada is a wistful fantasy -- changing prime ministers, just like that? Impossible! -- is the standard practice in real parliamentary democracies. Indeed, it is one of the bedrock practices of parliamentary democracies. When the leader of the commons seems not to be up to the job any more, the people to whom he or she is accountable have a meeting, and they make the change.  Who is the leader accountable to? The majority (or plurality) caucus. Really, no other system is compatible with a working parliament holding the government accountable. That is how they hold the government accountable.

If it did happen here, however, it would be understood as a coup d'etat. "Justin Trudeau, he ... he won the election, or something.   And before that there was a leadership convention, so it was, you know, democratic." You can  earn PhD's putting out that kind of talk.

People who think these disgusting membership-marketing schemes we call leadership conventions should be considered democratic -- well, they deserve to be asked to donate to Steve Bannon. 

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