With the electronic voting system being tested in the Calgary-Lougheed by-election, a new era of what can be true democracy is upon us. Therefore, the Green Party of Alberta is urging the Alberta NDP to create a new Democracy Plan for Alberta and in so doing so we can export such democratic leadership examples to the world.
Romy Tittel is calling for numerous upgrades to be enacted, with top priorities being proportional representation, the banning of all political donations, online voting of bills by the people who would like the freedom of choice to do so, and citizen initiated legislation.
If Alberta’s Democracy is not upgraded before the next election, we may remain stagnant in our current undemocratic system for decades to come if the Conservatives get back into power. The NDP must take advantage of their current opportunity for change.
It is recommended that the NDP adopt Proportional Representation before the next election and require a legally binding referendum after 2 elections to see if the citizens want to maintain it.
Election donations should be banned so that the less wealthy can no longer be politically “out gunned” by the wealthy. People who have lost their jobs or are unable to work cannot afford to “pay off” politicians to represent their views because they have to feed the kids and pay the rent. No one should be “out gunned” in a political system where fairness and a level playing field are required in order to have a real democracy. Furthermore, If the trend continues, those who will be able to afford political donations will be subsidized with over $4,000,000 in tax credits after the next election. These tax credits are subsidized by workers who do not donate to politicians for various reasons. The cost of the last election was $6.37/ registered voter without including tax credits. This will increase unnecessarily in the next election as Elections Alberta will have to spend more money to monitor more election donations, election expenses and associated tax credits. Investigation, Police and court costs are not included in the above figures for those candidates that cheat the election finance system.
Instead of political donations, political candidates should be funded using a fixed formula to reduce costs for Elections Alberta and the tax payer. Rather than giving out tax credits, that money should be used to fund all political candidates in the Province. This would reduce costs for Elections Alberta as it would not have to have so much administration in order to monitor election donations, tax credits and election expenses. Police and court costs would be reduced or eliminated as well. This would be a win-win situation for democracy and the tax payers. As the last election included about $3.7 million in tax credits, that is the recommended fix amount for funding candidates in the next election.
It is recommended that many election expenses be banned, such as mass media advertising. Instead, elections should only be run on candidate internet websites and at the door. Election flyers could be printed by the Provincial Queens Printer and distributed by Elections Alberta with other elections material such as how and where to vote. This would create democratic convenience for voters as they would receive an election package in their mail box that includes flyers from all candidates they can vote for along with information on where and when to vote. That would also create a fairer level democratic political playing field.
Freedom of choice online voting of bills by the people should be introduced so that people, not just politicians, make the decisions that affect their lives. Citizen initiated legislation should also be permitted using petitions requiring 25% of the vote in all ridings.
Romy Tittel will champion these same policies to be adopted in the Green Party of Alberta, but without a seat at the legislative table, we can only hope for the current NDP government lead the way to a truer democracy.
For a full read of the existing policy regarding Democratic Reform.