SHOULD PARLIAMENT HAVE TERM LIMITS?

Former Liberal cabinet minister, Belinda Stronach, has come up with a bold proposal.  “I think the time has come in Canada for limits on the number of consecutive terms that a parliamentarian can serve.”  In the way our current electoral sysem is structured, the focus is almost entirely on the mechanics of getting re-elected once elected, and the time horizon for assessing the impact of decisions tends to be the immediate electoral cycle rather than what’s good for future generations of Canadians.  Stronach adds, “the emphasis must be on public service where politics isn’t seen as a career but rather as a tour of duty.  Term limits could encourage this fundamental shift.”

Term limits would also encourage more decision-making for reasons of the national good rather than political expediency.

Would party discipline suffer under term limits?  If so, is that such a bad thing?  Term l imits could create dynamic new conditions in the House of Commons where members would feel free to collaborate and make decisions based on what’s good for the country.

Should Parliament have term limits?

What do you think?

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7 Comments »

  1. 1

    We`ve seen with Stephen harper`s idea of fixed term elections , that unless an idea is put into the constitution , it has no force.

    If fixed terms for MP`s can be implemented without any serious legal work, maybe. But if it`s just a suggestion , then how serious is it ? If it means we have to delve into the legal framework again, then it won`t be worth it.

  2. 2

    I don’t like the idea of term limits. I believe in experience. It has always fascinated me that people can jump from Transportation to Health Care to Education without a modicum of experience in any of it! I would also like to see more people “qualify” for their positions/portfolio’s, just like in the real world. What would qualify a person to be in charge of Indian Affairs? (apparently nothing, judging by the results).

  3. 3

    Parliament needs so much restructuring that I don’t see much point in tinkering with it now. As it is, members vote “just as their party tells them to”, so why have so many? As Gilbert and Sullivan pointed out, though, “the thought of a lot of dull MPs all voting for themselves is what no man can bear with equanimity!”

  4. 4
    Neil McKenty Says:

    It’s sadly true that majority government is despotic goverenment. I really don’t think much can be done about that – at least in the short term.

  5. 5

    Before we tackle term limits, we need to tackle the party system and reform that. Putting a time limit on bad behavior does not change the behavior.

  6. 6

    I agree. The party system is a Nineteenth century device that has outlived its usefulness in the internet age! Nunavut’s parliament has no parties. It’s time we followed their example.

  7. 7
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil writes:

    “In the way our current electoral sysem is structured, the focus is almost entirely on the mechanics of getting re-elected once elected, and the time horizon for assessing the impact of decisions tends to be the immediate electoral cycle rather than what’s good for future generations of Canadians.”

    The only problem is that there are so many patronage positions to be filled in this country — ones the Prime Minister is responsible for appointing — that if term-limited MPs were no longer concerned about getting reelected their values would still be compromised because now they would be currying favour with the powers that be in an attempt to get the cushy patronage job.


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