Could Canadian politics above the municipal level be tackled without political stripes?
You know, vote for the person, the candidate, not the party.
It seems to work OK in municipal elections when we are voting for our neighbours who will be responsible for the policies most closely affecting our daily lives. We vote in our school board members — the ones tasked with providing the best educational experience for our precious children — based on what they say and who they are. We do the same for the folks who build our municipalities, including the programming and services that shape everything from where we live to how we work and play. For the most part, we make those life-essential decisions without discussing political parties.
Of course, there may be some agendas or shared ideas in municipal politics ... but when we vote for the next Elk Point council or the next Northern Lights Public Schools board trustee, political parties have nothing to do with it.
So why do we need them in the other two levels of government? Don't they divide us further?
The often-used expression that countries and populations are "polarized" is more related to political stripes than popular thought. Conservative or Liberal, Democrat or Republican, Peoples Party, Maverick Party or Pirate Party ... they all draw like-minded support, forcing ideals and ideas that are inbred and isolated. Why not open up our minds to having more independent representatives in our provincial and federal elections? More people who can carry our needs regardless of political affiliation. It's hard to be accused of following the party lines when there is no party.
Being able to vote for the person, as we do quite well every municipal election, takes away the group mentality, it takes away the 'us against them' mindset that is the foundation of that polarization.
This coming federal election on September 20 (and whenever the next provincial election is called) will get rid of a lot of useless people we feel are not doing their job to move our country forward. Unfortunately, it will also get rid of a lot of people who are genuinely trying to do right by their constituents, but because of the party they belong to, may not get the chance to continue.
Democracy is the voice of the people, not the voice of the party as it has become. Democracy grows by one voice at a time. What if those voices started to come from independent candidates we voted in?