Tag: Liberal

Electoral Issue: Electoral Reform

Electoral Issue: Electoral Reform

Good evening,

The next issue I would like to discuss is one that likely many Canadians are concerned about. When the Liberal government, along with leader Justin Trudeau, won a majority government in 2015, a major promise was that of electoral reform; a while later this promise was abandoned. Therefore the question is should there be a change in the way the Canadian voting system works?

The current Canadian electoral system is known as a ‘first past the post’ system. Each province is divided into provincial electoral districts, commonly known as ridings, and voters elect Members of Parliament (MP) to represent them. One candidate per party is allowed in each riding and the candidate does not need a majority of the votes to win; they simply need more votes than any other one candidate. There are also federal electoral districts which are generally the same as provincial, possibly with revised boundaries.

One of the major issues with this system is that it does not represent the population fairly or accurately. Since the candidate does not need a particular number of votes or over 50% of the votes to win, they do not represent the choice of most of the voters in that particular riding. This is a major problem since the official duty of the government is to represent the people and its interests; obviously this is not the best way of going about it.

In my opinion Canada should implement a voting system such that the elected humans best represent the people. If a particular party wins 37% of the vote in a particular provincial or federal election, then the party should have 37% of the seats allocated to them. This type of system is known as a Proportional Representation. I will not explain here exactly how it works nor the level of sophistication it requires to deal with particular problems that inevitably arise.

A voting system should be implemented close to that of the Single Transferable Vote (STV), a type of proportional representation. This would allow voters to rank all or some candidates according to their personal preferences. For the first round, all votes are tallied according to the voters first preference and if a particular number of votes is reached then that person is elected. More often than not the first preference will not meet the threshold; therefore, the candidate with the lowest number of votes received is eliminated.

Now, all those who voted for the eliminated candidate should have a second preference; these votes are redistributed among the remaining candidates. This cycle goes on until a threshold has been reached and a candidate has been elected. The elected candidate, for the most part, represents those living in the riding; even though this particular human may not be a first preference, enough voters liked them enough to place the candidate as a second or third preference.

Once all the ridings have an elected MP, say in a provincial election, the party with the higher number of elected officials gains control of the province. In federal elections, this translates to seats in the House of Commons for elected Members of Parliament, and the party occupying the most seats wins the election; the leader of that particular party is then elevated to Prime Minister of Canada. Ridings would likely need to have boundaries redrawn within each province to ensure that each has approximately the same number of people voting within it.

There are a few issues that would inevitably have to be smoothed out but the benefits would largely outweigh the costs; it would give a much better representation of how voters actually feel than the ‘first past the post’ system currently in place. This system could increase voter turnout since it matters a great deal more the way voters rank candidates and voters would have a greater sense of satisfaction knowing that their votes are bringing about real, high quality change.

-IntellectForSale

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Domestic Policy Issue: Drug Policy

Domestic Policy Issue: Drug Policy

Good evening,

The next issue I wish to discuss is one that likely has many people on both sides, as well as many firmly on the fence. The issue is should Canada decriminalize drug use and if so, to what extent.

I believe everyone has heard one story or another on how drugs have negatively affected someone in their lives or perhaps it has impacted them personally. Many humans start using drugs purely because they were introduced to them by a close friend or weird Uncle Joe and were looking to “experiment”, try something new or were just looking to break bad from their usual routines. Unfortunately, this can lead to heavy drug usage and addiction which may then lead to financial instability, destruction of personal relationships and possibly even death or a prison sentence. While most recreational drugs are, of course, not beneficial to the optimal functioning of the human body, many have been shown to have positive effects when used correctly by individuals who are well-educated on its effects and who are of a psychologically stable mind.

Most addicts start because of a preexisting mental health issue that they may or may not fully realize themselves, or because of social or cultural instability, broken family relationships, finances, etc. Drugs are used as a way to escape this reality; everyone has their own way of coping and while many may not personally agree with going this particular route, the individual made a conscience decision to start using drugs and instead of pointing out how disgusting and irresponsible they are, maybe helping them is a better option.

Canada is one of the slightly more lenient nations when it comes to drugs but not to the extent as others such as Portugal, Uruguay, Australia, Mexico and the Netherlands. Portugal is one such nation that has decriminalized all drugs with astounding results such as a decrease in deaths via overdose and a decrease in drug use altogether. While many in the United States, where possession of any drug, including marijuana, could land you a prison sentence more severe than someone convicted of rape (which for the record is disgusting), may find this ludicrous, we still cannot ignore the facts. Portugal views the drug problem as a health concern and not a criminal one, where those caught with a large quantity of any particular drug were referred to a mental health specialist rather than to a prison cell. This is a much better way to deal with the drug problem then simply throwing them in prison and letting the taxpayers look after their food, healthcare and so forth with no particularly good reason.

Canada should follow in the footsteps of Portugal, decriminalizing all drugs while making a better effort towards educating all Canadians on what drugs are, what they do, and how drugs impact the economy and individual’s physical and mental health. The reason for most problems in the world historically is a lack of awareness, understanding and logical thinking. I propose that the government should treat drugs in much the same way it treats food. Allow individuals to obtain licenses to open up specialized shops for the sale of specific drugs in specific quantities and at a much lower price than drug dealers on the street are willing to sell them for. Of course, there would be a minimum age and consumers would need to produce ID. This would create jobs not only in this area but in safe injection sites where drug users can go, without any judgement, to participate under supervision in their own recreational drug use. The workers at these sites could offer assistance in other forms such as referring them to mental health specialists, psychologists, and others to slowly wean them off the drugs and allow them to get to the root of the problem. There is also the issue of other ingredients laced within the drug that could be fatal such as the recent issue with fentanyl; drug users would not have to worry about the cleanliness of their drugs if purchased by government-controlled agencies and many deaths could be avoided, at the very least.

The government would be able to spend money on healthcare, education and public infrastructure rather than spending millions waging an unwinnable war on illegal drugs being shipped in from other countries or grown right here at home or diverting RCMP presence away from those who are actually in mortal danger, confronted by the real criminals. Of course, there are many other issues to consider such as enforcing an allowable quantity limit (possession), age allowed to possess drugs, proper handling, distribution and sale (and if these should then be taxed by the government), non-public usage of the drugs, ie. drug usage should be strictly private and not in public, and many others.

Perhaps the war on drugs should not be dealt with in this manner, there may be another more intelligent way of tackling it. Clearly, the way many nations around the world, including the United States, is handling the drug problem is not working and there could be any number of reasons for that. At least one thing is for sure and that is humans who want to use drugs always find a way and many will go to great lengths to satisfy their addiction, without any regard of the consequences. Innocent people pile up as collateral damage when there is no need for them to be and rather than punishing users, we can instead assist and educate for a more intelligent Canadian population.

-IntellectForSale