Log Cabin Chronicles

Royal Orr

Let's be a Republic


Let's have a President. Let's have a Great Seal.

Let's give ourselves the chance to think at least once a day, "How could a majority of my neighbors have voted directly for that imbecile?"

Let's have the President pick the best team he or she can find - anywhere - not have to choose from the sorry lot that just got elected.

Let's have a Senate. Let's elect conservative old men from our own Deep South, say Ormstown, who block all progressive legislation but do it with a slithery, antebellum charm. Let's have Senators whose power rivals the president's in their ability to get things done, like Lyndon Johnston in his prime.

Let's have independent assembly members like Bernie Sanders and contrarian senators like Jim Jeffords. Let's have a democracy with at least a few small niches for real citizen activism, not just the heavy hand of party discipline.

Let's have fixed terms in office so the leaders can't play with election timetables, wasting millions at the polls searching for a "clear mandate" years before their term ends. Let's be rid of a system that lets a handful of partisan activists select leaders who govern for years with no bigger plurality than having won more votes than their nearest rival in Come-By-Tickle riding.

Currently in Canada, four provinces are governed by such paragons of the democratic process - Newfoundland, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

It's not perfect, but there's a lot to admire in a republican system, especially with two legislative houses. A presidential system in Quebec would give us a chance to balance our instincts about who should govern us.

Choose the best man or woman to lead by voting directly for one party's candidate for president, but stack the Assembly with another party whose policies you like. Then vote with your heart for a Senator. It all works out, with at least three truly influential men or women beholden to you for your support.

I think the Quebec government is on to something important here. Something that could fit into the Canadian federation without much of a stretch and make democracy work better. Let's take a careful look before we dismiss it as loony.

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