What Liberals need to recognize about political parties

Unnecessary hurdles. Difficult decisions. Long timelines. Those words apply to one of the most contentious issues the country faces today — money and voting rights.

The answer has been around in one form or another for many years. The rich use their wealth to purchase politicians and elections. And whether you like it or not, that powerful group has the collective leverage to cut deals and change law. We must be able to contest decisions made by this group, using our vote to hold governments accountable. The current system of power structures must be reformed. It’s time to bring fair representation to Canadian political parties.

More than half of Canadians have no say in who leads them. Only a tiny fraction of Canadians, less than one per cent, vote. The current federal government does not allow groups and groups of people to form associations and have a vote. That’s dumb. Most Canadian provinces and territories allow people with knowledge of public affairs to register as associations, just as we can form associations for choir groups, rights groups, farmers’ organizations and more. So why not political parties?

Political parties are representative of the people. So why not let citizens form groups and vote?

Let’s talk about this rationally. All political parties and their nominees should be required to register as a party for a set time period and give Canadian citizens the chance to vote on whom they would like to represent them. That’s why today people go out to organize campaigns. That’s how groups emerge, like associations. If we replace partisanship with the power of association, we will see parties that represent different interests and interests different ways. We will witness truly different political parties. They will not have to buy a room in Parliament, steal money or launder cash. The parties will be democratic, not corrupt.

An association will not be a vanity project like a party. It will act as a forum to further the interests of members and prevent backward approaches by politicians. An association will be representative of all its members, not just the people who vote for it. Parties will have to provide concrete solutions to problems and not party-line opposition.

The current rules take a hard line against Canadian associations of good faith. In the last federal election, the Canadian Border Services Agency blocked Canadians from obtaining visas to travel to the United States because they were not registered as political parties. In Canada, one person can spend more than $180,000 to run a national campaign. That amounts to more than $1,200 for every Canadian citizen. Imagine the kind of advocacy that can come from Canadian associations that have deep pockets and massive support of the public. Of course it would be better if individuals could run, but we must also recognize the reality that the extreme amount of money required for a successful campaign discourages the participation of minorities and the poor.

Closing the loopholes that have kept Canada’s democracy strong makes sense. If we let small groups of people form associations and vote for their preferred candidates, there will be more representation for the public.

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