Presently, municipalities and counties, the form of
government closest to the people, are creatures of the
province and can be collapsed, amalgamated, or expanded with
the stroke of a legislative pen and three readings. In
addition, their responsibilities, funding, and financing
dangle on the threads of whatever partisan wind is blowing.
Giving them constitutional recognition would free major
municipal governments from this faulty master/servant
An elected upper house is recognized as a requirement where
diverse populations reside in large geographic jurisdictions.
They exist in Australia and other successful Commonwealth
countries, and in the United States. In fact, many Canadian
provinces, including Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Quebec,
originally had provincial Senates. They were discredited and
discarded, however, because they were appointed, not elected.
A provincial senate representing communities of interest,
with staggered elections by preferential ballot, would
ultimately reduce the number of flawed and unpopular Bills
passed, preserve and respect regional diversity, and
mitigate, not replicate, the failings of the lower house
elected on the basis of population.
The priorities of
Ontario's urban politicians and bureaucracy are bans and
restrictions, and they are out of sync with the people of
rural Ontario. This has resulted in Ontario going from first
to worst in economic performance, a painfully dismal record
in health care, high taxes, a ballooning bureaucracy,
deficits, reduced individual responsibility and freedoms,
and have-not status. This dismal performance is a reflection,
not of coincidence, bad luck, or external factors, but of
the wrong priorities. In a democracy, people, politicians,
and governments are the authors of their fortunes, good or
bad. But institutions matter as well as personalities. An
improved bicameral political structure is needed so that the
urban drum is not always the loudest.
Ontario is too large and
diverse to be represented by a single legislative house. The
North, South Eastern, South Western, and Central regions are
significantly different than the GTA and indeed from each
other. Our political system ought to mitigate these regional
differences instead of exacerbating regional divisions.
A glance at the electoral
map shows that the current system is not doing the job. It's
time for a bicameral provincial government to check and
balance parliamentary majorities that show little regard for