System of party politics drives citizens from process

Selfish ideals keep people away from mainstream parties

Re: Independent MLAs have a dream (B.C. Views, Feb. 13)

A report on democracy released last year by citizen engagement non-profit Samara Canada found only 55 per cent of Canadians were satisfied with how democracy was working in this country.

Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May’s perception – that Members of Parliament are simply mouthpieces for their party – is raised in the report.

Samara suggests refocusing politics, saying, “With the citizen at the centre, the political system would be both more representative and accountable, something that would contribute to citizens’ increased satisfaction with Canadian democracy.”

In the mid-1800s, educator and school promoter Egerton Ryerson rebuked the “partyism” which he believed endangered the very existence of the new Canadian nation.

Partyism drove able men from public life, he said, attracting in their place “partisans and sharpers,” who deceived and corrupted the people and plundered them “for their own party and selfish purposes. Government ought to represent justice, honour and virtue, but was deprived of all three when the people came to see it as the tool of party domination.”

How did Greenland deal with its financial crisis? They replaced corrupt politicians with community chosen representatives without a political background.

Will there be any community endorsed Independent representatives in this May’s provincial election? In a minority government, Independent MLAs can have an substantial influence on policy.

Was the HST something B.C. voters wanted? Are residents in favour of pipelines, oil tanker traffic, genetically modified food products or shale fracking? B.C. citizens have very little input into major decisions, as party officials must vote along party lines.

It’s time for a change.

Kerry Steinemann