This is the continuation of a previous blog about reforming all representative democracies to also have direct democracy, which really means more power for the voters and less power for the politicians in the executive and the legislative at all government levels.
Diversity is a great idea; let us push it further, to the beauty of cultural diversity let us add more territorial diversity. That is what the Swiss have done with amazing results.
Perhaps you thought I was crazy when I wrote about having 25-26 provinces out of what now is Quebec. Well, you may be surprised to learn that Quebec is already divided into 15 administrative regions.
This means the people of Quebec recognise, French-speakers are diverse among themselves, like non-French-speakers, are diverse. They are diverse because they live in different geographic areas. The people of each area are also different because of their economy, their natural resources, climate, history, etc.
Since Quebec already has 15 administrative regions, it should not be too difficult to turn them into provinces. They could be called regions, but would assume most of the power of the province. The province would keep the powers the people of each region, by referendum, decide they do not want to have.
I propose the Swiss model because Swiss model “pushes power down to the cantons (provinces) and the municipalities”. The Canadian federal government would lose some powers to the current province, just like the province will lose power to the municipalities and, this is key, all governments and parliaments will lose power to the voters; voters will decide issues and laws, not just elect representatives.
Do not fear too much government if we divide countries into much smaller units where voters have decisive decision-making powers, it will not happen under this system.
You will have fewer politicians because we are also bringing direct democracy. Direct democracy needs fewer politicians, or needs less time of the politicians, because voters are far more involved in decision-making. In Switzerland, most politicians are part-time politicians, even in the Swiss national parliament. Direct democracy makes life easier for the politicians too, they do not have to bear the burden of making the decisions; the people will assume that burden whenever the people decide. The system frees them from the lobbies “breathing down their necks” all the time.
Because lobbies lose a lot of power, business groups, lobbies of various sorts, do not have to spend time and money lobbying the politicians because the politicians govern for the people, they have no choice.
But there is something even more interesting in Quebec; the people of Quebec already recognise they also have 28 natural historical regions. This goes way beyond the 15 administrative regions and even beyond the 25-26 I mentioned in another post.
It should not be too difficult to give the people of each of the 28 regions the power to run their own affairs. Perhaps in Quebec the logical step would be to create 28 new provinces or regions, each with autonomy the Province of Quebec has now, or more; let the people of each region decide that by referendum. Let Quebeckers organise themselves the way they want to; no need to follow what the colonial powers decided, or what the politicians, in Quebec and all of Canada, decided long ago.
The approach will result in most new provinces being unilingual French, a few would be unilingual English, unilingual Native Canadian language, and some bilingual.
This approach would also mean the creation of unilingual French provinces in other of the current Canadian provinces with sizeable French areas. Like wise in the case of native Americans.
Here you have the 28 historical regions of Quebec, to give you an idea. You can look at your country along similar lines.
Abitibi-Temiscamingue. 150 000 people. 57 000 sq km (22 000 sq miles)
Lower Saint Lawrence. 197 000 people. 22 000 sq km (8 500 sq. miles)
Beauce. 106 000 people. 4 000 sq km (1 500 sq miles)
Bois Francs. 242 000 people. 7 000 sq km (2 700 sq miles)
Charlevoix. 27 000 people. 7 000 sq km (2 700 sq miles)
Chateauguay Valley. 1 700 000 people. 57 000 sq km (22 000 sq miles)
North Shore and Lower North Shore. 92 000 people. 300 000 sq km (116 000 sq miles)
Eastern Townships. 300 000 people. 10 000 sq km (3800 sq miles)
Gaspesie. 140 000 people. 31 000 sq km (12 000 sq miles)
I could go down the list; Lac-Saint-Jean, Magdalen Islands, James Bay, Lanaudiere, Laurentians, Mauricie, Monteregie, Montreal region, North of Quebec, Nunavik, Ottawa Valley, Outaouais, Pontiac, Quebec City region, Rupert’s Island, Saguenay, South Shore of Montreal, Timiskaming, Ungava District.
In case you may think some are too small to be viable as new “provinces”, remember the smallest of the 26 Swiss cantons has 14 000 inhabitants. Many cantons have less than 100 000 inhabitants.
It is interesting that the Swiss decided to turn their representative democracy into a direct democracy when they got fed up with the way elected “representative” politicians handled another pandemic… does it ring a bell?
They pressured the politicians until they had no choice but yield. The result is the creation of the best governed and more prosperous country humans ever developed; direct democracy and small territories with lost of autonomy; diversity at work like nowhere else.
Other representative democracies; the US, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, etc., can also reform themselves along the lines of smaller units, with more autonomy, and direct democracy at all levels.
Representative politicians in representative democracies, in your country, do not like these reforms because they will have less power to decide, but the people will decide more, will decide issues and laws, as it must be in a real democracy.
Note: Data about Quebec regions from Wikipedia.