Saturday, June 24, 2006

Drawing Lots by Louis Evan Palmer

When Rulers
are not

There have been numerous studies as to the make-up of various legislative bodies and they tend to reflect the same issues: not many women, not many minorities, not a range of ages, not a range of cultures, not a range of occupations.

There have been reasons offered as to the range of occupations - the main one being that not many jobs allow you to leave for 1-4 years at a time.

One of the occupations where a lengthy absence may not hurt you is the law and since being a lawyer is also a good background when making laws we have a goodly number of lawyers as Members of Parliament.

One way to make broader representation a reality is to go back to what the ancient Greeks, the founders of democracy, used as a means of broadening the roles of rulers and ruled. They drew lots, you then served for a year.

Canada could use the Senate as its place for these members. We could appoint the senate each year by lot to a one year term. They would get the same pay they would have received in their current job or a set minimum if unemployed. Provisions would be made to take care of various requirements such as child care, transportation, running households, running businesses.

But then we would quickly get a modicum of representation. Senators appointed in this fashion could run for Parliament later if they wanted to and could get sufficient support. So this approach would also draw new blood into the system and provide training and exposure.

Forget about electing Senators or the current system of appointing, use a lottery to give Canada a true mix of Canadians examining, discussing and voting on the laws of the land.

Copyright Louis Evan Palmer
Drawing Lots, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,


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