Comment 29719

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 25, 2009 at 15:33:49

I've never liked the idea of slates in municipal elections. While I agree that it makes for more homogeneity, it also ends up with people dividing along party lines, and unwilling to move from the "party position" despite the position of local constituents on the issue, or their own personal position.

Other problems with slates include the fact that our politicians seem incapable of performing as a minority government - as can be seen based on how little minority governments accomplishment, and how much discontent they create. Say what you will but it seems to me that Canadians prefer majority governments. Which is where we get one of the bigger concerns for me.

If you have a majority government in city council you get a situation where the majority engages in groupthink, where they refuse to acknowledge, or simply don't think about, the views of the minority parties. At the same time minorities being treated this way will of course do anything they can to disrupt, stall, delay, the council as a way of expressing their frustration with the majority forcing through their own agenda.

Slates will not help rural areas that were forced into amalgamation feel like they have any more say. If anything it risks creating an even more defined rift between rural and urban councillors since you can now vote for a separatist party (you know it'll happen).

It's sad that we really have to think about bringing in parties or term limits to "solve" our municipal problems. You'd think our councillors would all be interested in at least moving in a common direction. You also think that the people of Hamilton would pay more attention to the dysfunctional nature of municipal politics and decide to give some of the councillors the boot for their ridiculous actions.

I agree something has to be done, but I think we must realize that no system is perfect, and we would want to carefully consider the pros and cons of each proposal. We should also consider the various methods of implementing each proposal before moving ahead.

Unfortunately I think council has an interest in leaving things the way they are now.

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