Monday, January 19, 2015

LESS DEMOCRACY BETTER DEMOCRACY?

It has been a while since members of the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly had to brave the cold cutting winds of January to work in the legislature.

Premier Davis has recalled the HOA for this rare January sitting to have his majority rubber stamp his premature manipulation of the Electoral Boundaries Act 2006 under the very marketable guise of significant cost savings and democratic reform.

The Premier's announcement that he would like to reduce the size of the house during his short term of office comes with the clock ticking on a fixed election date in October.

I am looking forward to listening to the debate and learning if the government is willing to give the commission the ability to determine the final number of seats.

At this point, Labrador may emerge as the biggest winner, increasing its political power in a smaller HOA.  Reports say the government intends to ensure that the 26,000 people of the big land will continue to have four members in the legislature.

The Official Opposition has been proposing reducing the size of the HOA from 48 to 40. The government thinks 38 is adequate. At this point it seems certain that rural voters are going to have less representatives.

One question folks should ask themselves is simple - will these changes result in more effective representation?

I am not so sure.

Another question, can the process of consulting, drafting and implementing electoral boundaries be completed in 2015?

Of course not.

I agree with the idea that long term structural changes are needed to right size government expenditures but the public has to ask itself if silencing 10 voices is worth the democratic price. 

My gauge of the public mood is that they could care less how many people sit in the legislature. The political process and those that represent it are in disrepute. Where people should be marching in protest there is silence.

A government that has wasted billions on mega-projects and graft is now cutting representation in the legislature to save a few shillings.

I look forward to listening to arguments and watching the positioning of the individual MHAs and the parties.

It all feels so sleazy.


1 comment:

Dave Callahan said...

sleazy , greasy , you name the dirty word , this feels like that .