Friday, February 20, 2015

Canada Needs an Effective Senate

I believe that Canada needs a second chamber to balance the high population regions, represented in the Commons with membership that represents the regions equally. I don't think Canada should have a second chamber that is elected, as the Commons is because party politics would dominate as it does in the Commons and negate regional representation or worse, create the kind of political deadlock, that is experienced in the United States. I propose... The Crown appoints Senators from a shortlist of no more than 3 candidates, 2/3 approved by their respective provincial legislatures. This would result in truly regionally based Senators who have achieved bi-partisan support from elected representatives in their actual home province. I would like to see the resulting Senators caucus by region rather than by party. Each regional caucus would elect from among it's members, a caucus chair who would sit on an executive council, chaired by the only partisan Senator, the Government House Leader. It would be the job of the Senate's 'executive council' to steer government legislation through the caucuses and the wider Senate. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Property Rights - Literally? King in OWN Castle

Progressive Canadian Party of Canada favours the amendment of Canada's constitution to include protection of private property rights. This is not a new position for any party in Canada or, indeed throughout the western world. This concept dates back to as early as 1215 and the Magna Carta. Private property rights have been part of English Common Law for centuries. It was also entrenched in the United States constitution in 1791. It has been said that for the above reasons and others it could be argued that private property rights are already part of Canadian Law. David Johansen, in an October 1991 paper states that "entrenchment of property rights in the Charter would do more than simply protect those who own real property from expropriation without compensation." My question.... Is this discussion about OWNERSHIP of land? Most would say it is AND more! I think it would be interesting to ponder exactly what ownership means in the context of Canadian land. Who owns Canadian land? The Crown? What is the Crown? Is it the people of Canada collectively as I have argued it should be? Is it the personification of the Government of Canada, as most think it is? Is the Crown an office or an actual person, specifically the Queen of Canada? It seems to me that actually owning land means, for one, that you don't have to pay yourself rent as one does who is renting from an actual landlord. Right? What in actual fact is the government's legal justification for charging land 'owners' property taxes? Perhaps it is that land is actually 'owned' by some entity other than the man, woman, persons, corporation or group that has paid to be granted title. Perhaps the entire issue of private property rights is moot, in the context of a government that claims to actually own all the lands within it's borders.... or perhaps NOT. If someone does, in fact, actually own land AND it is an entrenched RIGHT in Canada's constitution, could that be interpreted by the courts as meaning that one is not required to pay property taxes? Does anyone even have durisdiction within the boundaries of your 'privately OWNED'lands? If the Crown does not own all of Canada then what authority does it have to exercise durisdiction over this land in the first place? I wonder.... is it possible that OWNING land that was previously OWNED by the Crown, corporate/government/office/personally means that sovereignty may also have been transferred AND with a constitutionally entrenched Private Property guarantee..... means..... One might actually be in FACT, literally King of your OWN castle!

Crown Must be Distinct, Resident AND Effective

My name is Rob Wolvin. I've spent a lifetime pondering my country's past, present and future. I don't have university or work credentials that would generally give weight to my constitutional suggestions BUT I want to share them with you...

Patriate Canada's Crown!

I am of the opinion that Canada has one of, if not the first, truly democratic and nation specific, fully codified, Constitutional Monarchy form of democratic governance. It is my contention that democracy is not defined simply by use of the ballot. It is the experience of a society that is governed for the people. Democratic societies work to provide for the enjoyment of, near universally accepted, human rights. Governance for the people ought to strive for equality of opportunity to reach one's full potential, regardless of impairments; physical, intellectual or socio-economic. This fullest possible participation in the life of society, is not only JUST but guarantees increased optimism, energy and innovation, resulting in a more robust economy as well as a richer cultural environment. To achieve this level of governance, responsible to the people, all the people, I believe we need a balance between forms of legitimacy in our nation's branches of authority. I believe in the ultimate supremacy of the Crown who's powers are exercised through Parliament and a politically aloof judiciary and law enforcement apparatus. I believe in a mix of legitimacy because most commonly, one 'dances with the one what brought ya'. That means that the exchange of favours is too prevalent in the electoral process to ever fully protect us from secret and ill definable favouritism. It's my believe that Canada's constitution rightly provides for legitimacy through inheritance, appointment AND election with the various branches of our system appropriately weighted. Unfortunately TWO branches, Crown AND Senate, have been permitted to atrophy since 1867, rather than reform with our changing needs. That has led, to various problems, most notably, the usurpation, entirely unconstitutionally, of power, by the Prime Minister's Office! A primary advantage of having a Constitutional Monarchy is that we are heirs to an evolving system that represents centuries of struggle, innovation and adjustments. It can be an organic structure, not only able to conform to a distinct society, but to changing times. This system, that Canada is heir to, can NOT be it's most effective, if it is static or perceived, accurately or falsely, to be governance from a foreign country!

Canada does not enjoy many, if ANY, of the advantages of our constitutional system of governance! The Crown has NO significant balancing effect to other branches of government. It is perceived by the public, to be without legitimacy. This is because the ballot is constantly promoted as synonymous with democracy, even though it is only one tool in that goal. Also, the Crown is seen as an antiquated relic, of an increasingly foreign, former colonial master! The Crown could function as a recognized guarantor of parliament's place in our democracy. The Crown ought to be able to function as a unifying symbol, with it's muti-ethnic heritage in an otherwise disparate populous. Well trained and well connected royals DO NOT advise new Prime Ministers or act as ambassadors, utilizing long acquaintances with statesman or corporate world leaders. Canada's current royals offer all those services even, condolences & celebrations of national significance, to the UK, exclusively! A modern monarchy MUST be seen to be part of, and serving the exclusive interests of, the nation in which they have leadership!

I propose... The Crown be patriated before the end of the current reign! I think the most legally sound and most historically honourable way to effect this change is an adjustment to the line of succession. Parliament should pass a succession change that requires Canada's Heir Apparent to be both resident in Canada and to renounce on behalf of him/herself succession to any other crown. I believe that the change could be effected seamlessly if, for instance, we went down the current succession list until we found one of the Queen's heirs willing to move here, renounce other crowns and commit to Canada. Where it seen to be the will of the Canadian people, to have our own Heir Apparent, I'd be very surprised, if senior persons in the succession, like The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge didn't immediately renounce their candidacy for the distinct Canadian succession! I don't believe it should be legal to renounce on behalf of one's heirs, like Prince George of Cambridge, for instance. I therefore think it would be appropriate for the next Heir Apparent, resident and unique to Canada, to take office as a Regent. This would also establish, in the Canadian consciousness, that Canada's Crown ought to be seen as governing on behalf of the Canadians, corporate, rather than as ruling or even reigning over us. The Crown in Canada deserves to evolve in a manner distinct to out needs and sensibilities. I suggest that a Regent of Canadians is more to our liking, with respect to an office that is the personification of the peoples of Canada and a guarantor of the rights of Parliament as the heart of a free and democratic nation!

What do you think?

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Democracy means governance by & for the people. Democracy implies equal representation, equal opportunity for individual expression and equal opportunity for economic advancement. Is this the experience of the citizens of the world's republics? Are the citizens of the world's republics more free than those living in a constitutional monarchy? I would say no!

Republics are based on the myth that everyone is born equal. Well guess what, not all men ARE created equal! Some are more equal than others because of the advantages they have inherited. Having money means better health, better education, greater confidence & a better network of contacts who can provide opportunity & assistance. Republics are more characterized by the survival of the fittest than equality. If society advocates survival of the fittest, as a virtue, altruism comes at a premium.

Altruism is a hallmark of civilization and accounts for the success of mankind as a species. Society suffers from the lack of contributions from it's less able citizens. How many great statesmen, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, inventors have been unable to realize their potential because of our system of inequality? For one thing, the social sciences are undervalued. A community that doesn't know it's history is more likely to repeat it. Civilization is built on the blocks of past achievements, experiences, shared through the generations. The arts are what enriches our life experience. Survival of the fittest reduces the human genome and therefore the variety that is the leaven of civilization, creativity, innovation.

It should not surprise anyone that republics are much more likely to experience dictatorship than any modern constitutional monarchy. Those who climb to the top and dominate are admired. This is viewed as success! As we move toward a completely secular, atheist society no one is answerable to anyone other than the gun or the wallet. I believe that a variety of forms of legitimacy for government can offer some balance.

A constitutional monarch can represent all the people, equally when they aren't beholden to contributors or a portion of the electorate. Peace, Order & Good Government is better for society than jolts from left to right based on the winds of the day. I would suggest that citizens living in the world's constitutional monarchies have enjoyed greater equality than those in republics. A constitutional monarch can present a more paternal/maternal, familial image of the state than the 'self made man' imposing his will on us until he is replaced by another. This more familial government has naturally been more likely to instigate programs to help the less advantaged in our society. Royal patronage of charities & educational institutions have resulted in better social equality in constitutional monarchies as well. Loyalty to a person or family is easier to instill in a multi-ethnic society than a particular philosophy. Canada's concept of monarchy from ancient times has been primarily of a familial, mutual responsibility style, rather than feudal. The absolute monarchs are as alien to us as any other dictatorship. Canada has always been multi-ethnic & had a variety of religious adherents. There is no social cohesion other than our mutual desire for freedom to be who we are and our respect for the rights of our fellow citizens to do the same. French/English, Catholic/protestant, common law/Quebec civil law, dualism has always been a feature of Canada. Our monarchy has, in part, made this possible. As we move away from our system, closer to the experience of a republic, there is increasing alienation of minorities, less populous regions & underrepresented polities. If Canada is to enjoy the kind of freedoms we once had & continue to evolve as a society, for the better, we must improve on the institutions we have.

A constitutional monarch can only be effective if they are seen to be a part of and working on behalf of their country. Canada needs our own, unique, resident, effective monarch. Lets have a royal commission study the best way to reform the succession to acquire our own Heir Apparent as soon as possible. Patriating our crown would be the logical final step in our historically peaceful, incremental move toward full independence, a process not dissimilar to the experience of each citizen.

The House of Commons can not properly represent Canadians in a first past the post electoral system. How can a majority of MP's represent Canadians when they are elected by a 40% of voters, themselves a fraction of the electorate? We need proportional representation and a system that encourages governments to incorporate the views of opposition members.

The Senate cannot be effective if it's members are appointed by the government of the day and organized into political caucuses. Senators would better serve Canadians if they where organized into regional caucuses, therefore providing an equal voice regardless of the population of each unique region. Senators should have terms long enough to span at least two government terms, say 10 years, but no longer. This would allow the members to provide that intended sober second thought. Electing a senator would encourage party politics in the chamber more so than we have now. It would create a competing house for the Commons and encourage legislative deadlock between the houses, each claiming legitimacy. I don't think this would be an improvement! Members should be appointed by the monarch from a short list approved by their respective provincial legislatures.

Democracy is only effective if the people are informed and active in that democracy. The federal government should use it's spending power to encourage national standards of education in government & Canadian history.

If democracy is government by & for the people then we need to limit the possibility of government by and for an individual & his coterie of associates. I believe the best chance for this is a variety of sources of legitimacy; elected, appointed, inherited, not unlike the organization of families & neighbourhoods. That system exists in Canada's constitution. Lets see what we can do to make what we have work better. We don't need to throw it out and adopt the system of some other country!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Monarchy in Canada

Democracy can only work if a public is informed, engaged & active in the democratic process. Constitutional monarchy can only work if a monarch is resident in and seen to be a part of the national daily life. When the Fathers of Confederation created Canada's unique version of constitutional monarchy, most Canadians felt a part of the greater British Empire and therefore recognized the legitimacy of a British monarch. That is not true today because of immigration from around the world and because of the efforts of successive Prime Ministers to remove the monarch from the Canadian consciousness. They have been successful by playing two cards, legitimacy based entirely on being elected & appeals to nationalism. Dependance on the ballot, as the only for of legimacy, leaves us open to what I would call 'tyranny of the majority'. We have a senate that is supposed to represent regions equally & a monarch who is supposed to represent ALL of us with equal regard. Legitimacy is based on the consent of the people, regardless of the form of selection. Voting, particularly first past the post, or 50% + one does not, in itself represent the will of the people, only that small number who voted for the elected members. I agree that in a modern Canada the British sovereign has become very foreign and has little involvement in Canadian daily life.

Canada's constitution is a reflection of the British North America Act of 1867. That document was negotiated by prominent Canadians for Canadians and was presented whole and approved whole by the British parliament to create our nation. It was written to include checks and balances on power to the various branches of government. The sovereign has executive power but must work through the House of Commons & Senate to exercise that power. The judiciary is supposed to interpret & enforce the laws of the land, independent of the government of the day. Anti-monarchy activism has been successful in the name of democracy & nationalism. The erosion of the legitimacy of the crown & the crown's representative, the Governor-General, has created a vacuum in executive authority. That has certainly been the intention of successive Prime Ministers! How can judges, senators & Governors be seen to act independently if they are dependant on the good graces of the Prime Minister's Office, who appointed them? This office is completely unelected, unconstitutionally sanctioned and operates with one purpose, to keep their boss, the Prime Minister, in power! This concentration of power in the PMO is DEFINITELY, NOT in the interest of Canadian democracy!

I believe that we need our own, resident royal family. It would make sense for that monarch to be a branch of our current sovereign's house. After all they inherited the authority of every sovereign house that has been associated with this land since before Europeans arrived. Even the First Nations and French Canadians have expressed loyalty to this same royal family at various times in our nation's history.

There is plenty of precedent for this evolution. For instance, Brazil gained it's independence and 80 years of economic & social progress when they took the heir to the Portuguese throne as their own Emperor in the early 19th century.

Of course Canadians would have to be more aware of the system we have and why it was designed that way. They would have to at least be aware that we currently ARE a constitutional monarchy & who the Queen of Canada is!

I recommend that Canadians, in defense of our heritage & our democracy lobby for the appointment of HRH Prince Andrew to the post of Governor-General of Canada. He's someone with an international reputation, experience and contacts that can help Canadian diplomacy & industry as well as a true representative of the Queen! After our royal heritage is reflected in our daily life for 5 years... Let's see then if Canadians want to reform or get rid of the monarchial system we have. We need someone who will defend the constitution from Prime Ministers who try to close parliament instead of facing criticism!

What if, when the current sovereign passes away, the new monarch was selected through a partially elective process. What if the only requirement to run for the office was to be a descendant of Canada's first Queen, Queen Victoria and be a resident of Canada? To keep the candidates above the frey, they could be required to have a group advocate on their behalf, in the election, rather than running actively themselves? The post would be for life unless resignation is requested. If the post becomes vacant then the same process could be followed or some other succession law could be enacted, with the consent of Canadians, after we have our own resident family.

This way Canada could get it's own monarch and that person or family would have the legitimacy of election as well as ancestral heritage.

Constitutional Monarchists' Declaration

I am a monarchist. I believe that loyalty to a person is more real & wholesome than an inanimate object like a flag. I believe that the monarch can symbolize a nation's aspirations and pride better than a money grabbing, manipulating politician. The world has become much less romantic and much less humane. Government is less personal and power so much more remote since monarchy was marginalized or destroyed. I am not in favour of an absolute monarchy. I am in favour of a constitutional monarchy. Spain's democracy would be gone without the dedication to democracy by their King in the 1980's. Politicians who serve rather than take from their people are few and far between. Someone who has committed their lives to serve a nation is an excellent example to their people. Presidents become the embodiment of a nation in the absence of a monarch, yet they are temporary and their motivations are more divided. They need to pursue re-election; that costs money and often unholy alliances with unseen interests, not answerable to the electorate. I believe that those who support a republic over a constitutional monarchy are not championing greater freedom for their countrymen. They encourage more inhumane domination by the backroom industrialists who control the campaigns of their politicians. A constitutional monarchy can balance and protect against power hungry, dishonest politicians and against a majority that persecutes or ignores persecution of minorities. When a monarch is not facing re-election they can represent all the people and not just the group who put them in power. It should be noted that a Constitutional monarch does not gain legitimacy, to take office from an accident of birth, rather holds office based on parameters, clearly defined, in a nation's chosen, Constitution! That means a constitutional monarch has legitimacy from all a nation's peoples, past and present, is answerable to them all for it's future legitimacy. This is NOT so with a political representative of a particular constituency, political ideology and/or group! When a politician knows that the power is not his/hers and the monarch knows he/she can only exercise power through the people there can be balance. All the power belongs to the monarch but that power can only be used by those elected by the people. A monarch can bring stability to a society that cannot decide between powerful groups in their country. A monarch can bring consistency to foreign relationships when governments change. A monarch can be a trained, experienced, confidential adviser to politicians new in office. All these benefits can be enjoyed with a Constitutional Monarchy. I believe that a constitutional monarchy form of government can offer the best chance for the freedom of it's citizens and is flexible & organic enough to be made to comfortably fit any human society.

Democracy is NOT 50% + One !!!

Somebody wrote on a democracy forum I read that monarchy has passed away. Monarchy has not passed away. This in spite of the best efforts of a couple of revolutionary republics and a couple of communist empires. The common view, especially popular in the American psyche, is that democracy & a vote are the same thing. I would argue that that is generally more like the tyranny of the majority. Democracy, as far as I am concerned is a society where every member has the best chance to pursue happiness in an environment of freedom, restricted only to protect his/her fellow citizen's freedoms. Absolute monarchy has almost passed away. Dictatorships do continue to pop up around the world, absolute monarchs by a different name. Some, it seems are hereditary, Syria for instance. As long as they don't call themselves royal they are palatable to America, France, China & Russia. It seems that "legitimacy" by virtue of military repression is acceptable as long as it comes with useful foreign policy & foreign investment regulations. Only when that falls short do the "great powers" start to grumble. All their talk of freedom & democracy. The only freedom that interests them is the freedom for their cronies to exploit fellow citizens and foreign populations. The only franchise in these countries is wealth, not the rights of mankind to equal opportunity & expression. I would suggest that the so called "democractic" experiment spawned by the enlightenment is as much a failed experiment as the communist experiment. America's dogged insistence on it's system as the only correct system not only endangers the development of freedom around the world but retards development of true freedom in America. 50% plus one is not the same as democracy! Legitimacy of authority is based on the consent of the people, not on the basis of one type of selection process. The arrogance of one community or system of thought to point fingers at everyone else as inferior is tedious. Especially tedious when discussing democracy and freedom of expression. It is for this reason that I am concerned about the sole reliance on the ballot as the only mode of legitimacy. I'm suggesting that to protect the interests of minorities in a society, there must be a mixture of selection processes for the components of government. For instance... hereditary monarch, elected assembly, appointed house. The details of how each of these groups is selected and for what purpose is unique to each society. The monarch represents all the people. The elected assembly represents the majority view and initiates legislation on behalf of all. The appointed body represents all identifiable groups equally to protect minority interests and has at least first veto on any legislated initiative. That is the best chance I see at true democracy. Wait a minute, I've seen this system around the world already. It's called constitutional monarchy and many countries to this day use it in some form. This type of system was not imposed overnight like the revolutionary regimes of the world. It evolved over centuries and is organic enough to evolve today, (an evolution that is overdue in Canada, Australia & Britain, by the way). To the best of my knowledge American republicanism has only been used by one other country since 1776. Even most people who have republics choose a parliamentary system similar to the system in a constitutional monarchy. Their presidents & prime ministers often build competing power bases that are obstructionist and expensive to national progress. Sometimes one of the two offices is irrelevant and therefore a waste of money. Austria elected a former Nazi as president but nobody really noticed because his office was easily ignored. A monarch in that position wouldn't create any more trouble, be properly trained, maybe facilitate confidential dialogue between different political camps and actually save millions every few years with no presidential elections. Monarchy has not passed away but I wish it was more prevalent.