Working With Government

It’s looking like voters might be about to elect a minority government. When no party wins the majority of seats in the House of Commons, it’s not clear who is going to be in charge. But that’s okay. The reality is that minority governments force politicians to work together, and address issues that concern a wider range of people. It’s true that sometimes legislation can’t get passed because no one will cooperate; but that is why we need to elect people who are willing to cooperate and collaborate with other parties. That cooperation could be in the form of a coalition, in which multiple parties govern together. It could be a confidence-and-supply agreement, where a party with fewer seats supports a party with more seats in exchange for particular demands being met. Or parties can just decide which other parties to work with on a case by case basis. 

Even in a majority government, most bills are a collaborative process. On a regular basis, MPs talk to one another and work together across party lines to write and amend bills. It’s very common, it just isn’t super exciting; the general public doesn’t hear about the process when things are working normally, especially when the bill in question is not strongly partisan. It’s often very easy for MPs to agree in those cases. 

Often, it is partisanship – not actual differences between platforms – that stops work from getting done in the House of Commons. Parties have voted and still vote against one another, even when their interests are aligned. Political parties are not sports teams. We don’t always have to be competing, and working against one another. I don’t want to see Canadian politics succumb to the type of hyper partisanship that brings government to a halt south of the border.

We need to elect representatives who are not so partisan. Elizabeth May is a great example of an MP who puts the work ahead of partisan attitudes. She has submitted more amendments to legislation in parliament than any other MP ever elected! One MP can influence policy if they are willing to work with other parties, and if they are ready to work tirelessly.

Sometimes voters ask me what I could really do if I end up as one of only a few Green MPs in a Conservative or Liberal dominated House. I could do a lot. The Conservative platform does not call for any meaningful action on climate change, but that does not mean Conservative MP’s would literally never support environmental legislation in a minority government situation. When it comes to tackling the climate crisis, there are many mitigating actions we can take in a non-partisan way. That includes reducing pollution of all kinds. Decreasing our use of fossil fuels can still be put forward as a way to protect air quality, improve health, and be fiscally responsible by increasing our energy efficiency. 

Adaptation to the climate crisis is non-partisan.The emergency preparedness we need to handle more extreme weather and forest fires is definitely non-partisan. Some more conservative thinkers are even recognizing the limitations of economies as we know them and are talking about regenerative, circular economies that can truly last. We want to support small businesses and put research into technologies to grow the economy – a green economy! Those things could still find Liberal Party support and even Conservative Party support if there are MPs who will do the research and writing to make legislation and amendments. 

The area that I am most passionate about, and where my expertise rests, is in AI, automation and data privacy legislation – areas which are also distinctly non-partisan. Everyone uses technology, and is affected by it. If a reasonable bill comes to the table which would improve data security, protect workers, and increase Canada’s economic potential, you’ll see most MP’s in the house voting yes right away.

I want to help make Canada a world leader in technological innovation by pushing proper legislation to make it secure and safe. Sure, China is way ahead of us in AI right now, but their systems are not trustworthy. A lack of careful regulation opens concerns around privacy, surveillance, bias, and other unintentional negative outcomes. Canada will be a world leader if we have good regulation – because we will be trusted. 

MPs need to be able to respect one another, even when we don’t agree on policy. Some MPs play weird games behind the scenes. Others are willing to work hard to get things done. Green party MPs will be better at working hard and working with others. That’s because the Green party values discussion and does not whip votes. Green MPs have to read every bill. They can’t just sit back and vote with their party.

A minority government is nothing to fear. It means that more people will have their concerns heard.  So vote locally. Look at the candidate you are voting for — not just their party. When we elect officials who are willing to do painstaking research, read carefully, and collaborate with others in a non-partisan way, then we will start to see the legislation we need to move us forward together.