So what if the System is Broke?The title for my remarks today is "So what if the System. is Broke?" The title wasdevised under duress--I was given about three minutes during lunch with RichJohnston and Pat Rowantree and a Member of the Board. My title is perhapstoo alarmist, as a result.
I therefore feel an obligation to start by offering you some reassurance: my subject is not BC's or Canada's economy. My contention is probably just about as alarming, however, for I intend to talk about our political system.
Claims that there is something wrong with our political system are not new, of course. In fact, they have become rather trite. Most of the comments about what's wrong with the system, however, tend to focus on the institutions of democratic society. And most of the "solutions" or corrections therefore have to do with creating new institutions or patching up the old ones.
I am not come here today to talk about "parliamentary reform". Nor am I here to discuss the merits or failings of Initiative, or Referendum, or Recall, .or Proportional Representation. or an improved legislative committee system, or free votes in the House, or any of that esoteric stuff. I want, rather, to talk about politics, and how that system might be broken.
Allow me to avoid a definition of that term for a moment, if you will, and let me start by focusing on the dominant and salient perceptions of what's wrong with our system today:A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending the 40th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association .Conference held in Banff, Alberta. The first plenary session was entitled Parliament and People (making democratic institutions more representative, responsible, and relevant). There's no need for me to state the assumption embedded in that title, I am sure, but in case delegates weren't clear what was happening, the first panel session posed the following question:What steps can be taken to enhance the...