Sunday, 30 August 2015

Joe SixPack for PM.

Almost anyone can stand for public office.   You don't need a college degree to qualify although most go through a party nomination tussle and all must battle on the hustings to pick a winner.  You wouldn't pick a random passerby to fix your air conditioner. The inference is you must pick a candidate from an elite.  The question becomes: Is good leadership a diploma skill or is it native ability the voters endorse and bureaucrats are charged to support?  (In the US, Trump has the get-it-done skill and Bush has the "diploma").

In Canada, public office is open to any citizen over 18 years of age. (To which rule about a dozen caveats are appended).  Thinking back to the Magna Carta, the first votes were extended to lesser warlords with large estates, to crimp the power of the top man who collected their tribute.   About six centuries later,  Canada enters the picture with male, propertied, British citizens having the vote. Then citizenship extended to the British Empire and then migrated to our own Canadian brand with residency defined. Then asian voters and finally native indian voters were counted.   The threshold vote was 21 but is now 18.  Voters were male but now also female.  There's another dozen housekeeping rules addressing felons sentenced to more than two years,  legislators who want to sit in both provincial and federal houses, and so on.    In truth, almost any adult can stand for office.

The House of Peers in England is upper crust.  In Canada, the peers are fellow voters, a humbler bunch numbered in the millions.   In practice, elites screen for elite candidates but the door is open to anyone who wins the confidence of their peers.  Joe Six Pack probably won't be PM but I'm awfully glad he can have a shot at it.

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