In this commentary, based on a talk delivered at an AIMS Luncheon Briefing in Halifax, Stéphane Dion, Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent-Cartierville, discusses three major topics concerning the future of Canada’s political system: the realignment of federal political parties, the possibility of an elected Senate, and the re-balancing of demographic representation in the House of Commons.
Regarding the House of Commons and the possible re-balancing of the seats, Dion suggests that the government should bring the House of Commons more in line with representation by population, but while maintaining the 308 seats, as opposed to adding more, as the Conservatives have suggested.
Dion comes out strongly against the idea of an elected senate in discussing Bill C-7, the Conservative government’s senate reform bill. In a decentralized federation like Canada, it is important that there are federal institutions that can work quickly to draft legislation and make decisions for the common good, without the kind of structural impediments and ritual rivalries such as in the US, where they have an elected senate.
In The future of Canada’s political system, Dion praises the role of “parties of the centre”, while conceding his own biases given his belief that his party is that party in Canada. Nevertheless, he argues that centrist parties are generally freer from dogmatism and can borrow bold policy ideas from the left and the right.
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