Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 04.17.03
Quebec City


Canada's Governance Options

Well, it's over and the Liberals will form the next government.

But once again, as so often is the case in Canadian democracy, the party that's taking home all the marbles didn't get a clear majority of the votes.

At least this time the winners got more than anybody else.

It's inevitable, though, that the call for electoral reform will continue.

And, ever mindful of my duty, I thought I'd take a look at the options.

First, would be just simple proportional representation.

That would mean each party got a share of the seats available according to their percentage of the popular vote.

Sounds simple but it would also mean Mario Dumont would hold the balance of power. And what would he hold out for?

It's not hard to imagine the Parti Quebecois working out a compromise to stay in power.

But we'd have to hope it didn't end up looking like the right turn on red light legislation.

That way we'd end up with a four-and-a-half day work week, a flat tax system everywhere but Montreal, and a reduction of the civil service but only between ten at night and seven in the morning.

You also have to remember as more parties share the vote we could very well end up looking like post-war Italy where coalitions came and went at the rate of about two a day.

Maybe we could opt for radical change. After all, democracy isn't the only way to go.

What about a theocracy? Government by God or his representatives.

No, on second thought, we tried that for the first three hundred and fifty years and it didn't work out.

We could try an oligarchy.

That's a government by a small group of people. It seems to work pretty well for Jean Chretien and his cabinet.

Then there's a plutocracy. That's where a small group of rich people run things.

Sort of like the United States.

But do we really want the people who run Nortel, Air Canada, Videotron, or Eaton's doing for the country what they did for their companies?

I suppose even if most Quebecers don't cotton to Elizabeth II, monarch of all the Britons and Queen of Canada, they might go for a home-grown royal.

There are endless possibilities.

I'm sure if he were asked Jacques Parizeau would put down his pruning shears and leave his vineyard in France once and for all.

If you wanted a brooding Richard III type, Lucien Bouchard is just a telephone call away.

But for my money, and that good old fashioned let-them-eat-cake attitude, why not offer the job to Brian and Mila?

It's just a thought.