Canadians for
Check Mark  Direct Democracy (CDD)

Direct Democracy -- the right of citizens
to hold referenda on any issue


 

Aims of Canadians for Direct Democracy

The following is the contents of a CDD pamphlet:

In Canada the people have a voice only one day every 1460 days - on voting day.

We have representative democracy. Government listens to Canadians only one day every four years, when we elect our MPs and MLAs. During the other 1459 days the government is in charge and is in essence a dictatorship that can do as it pleases until the next voting day.

Our elected representatives are powerless pawns.

Canadian governments are not made up of the many decent public-spirited people that we elect to parliaments. Governments are made up of a handful of powerful non-elected bureaucrats and deputy ministers, and elected cabinet ministers.
Governments routinely disregard the wishes of most elected representatives, the backbenchers - "trained seals" in the words of Pierre Trudeau.
The party whip ensures that party members vote the party line at all times. If they refuse they are kicked out of caucus and will not be nominated for the next election.

Like kings, cabinet ministers govern by decree (order-in-council).

For 3 or 4 months each year the federal parliament is not even in session; for 6 to 9 months each year provincial parliaments are not in session. During this time backbenchers don't vote on anything. Cabinet ministers govern by order-in-council and there are no checks and balances at all.

Canada's representative type of democracy suffers from a lack of accountability.

Unpopular policies such as the GST and NAFTA have been forced on Canadians. A tiny group of cabinet ministers and bureaucrats govern for 4 years at a time and it is only on voting day that they are accountable to the people. By that time policies like the GST are so firmly entrenched that it is difficult and very expensive to get rid of them. On voting day the people can remove the old government, but the new one will be equally unaccountable, and the bureaucrats are seldom removed.


Principles of Direct Democracy

  1. The Popular Veto - when 1% of the voters challenges a law or policy by petitioning government, a binding referendum vote (local, regional, provincial or national) must be held. If it passes, the law is struck down. This process happens about four times a year in Switzerland.
  2. The Popular Initiative - when 2% of the voters demands a new law or policy by petitioning government, a binding referendum vote must be held. If it passes, it becomes the law.
  3. The Double Majority - this means that a referendum must get more than 50% of the total votes; it must also get more than 50% of the votes in more than half of the designated regions.
  4. Strict spending controls - prevent one side from "buying" the vote. Quebec already has such controls in place.
  5. Proportional Representation - in its pure form gives each party the number of seats in parliament proportional to the percentage of votes the party receives.

Advantages of Direct Democracy


Questions about Direct Democracy


Summary of the Objectives of Canadians for Direct Democracy


CDD Founding Directors

Reimar Kroecher, President
Colin Stark, Vice-President
Linda Bagga, Secretary
Debb Blackmer, Kamloops
Ron Golbeck
Patrick Hogan
Chris Kroecher
Joseph Roberts
Ken Strongman


Curriculum Vitae

Reimar Kroecher M.A.
President

Reimar Kroecher is president and a founding member of Canadians for Direct Democracy. Reimar and Colin Stark played key roles, with Councillor Ernie Crist, in bringing a Task Force on direct democracy to the District of North Vancouver in November, 1997.
He retired as instructor in Economics at Langara College in 1998 to devote more of his time to CDD and his environmental interests. Reimar cycles, hikes, skis, pays tennis, and camps year-round.

He has three grown children and is a grandfather. His wife Chris is also a founding board member of CDD. Reimar and Chris are vegan.
He has been an environmentalist for 30 years, and first met another CDD director, Joseph Roberts, publisher of Common Ground, in the 1970s when they were both founding members of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.

He is an accomplished public speaker, has published several articles, and appeared on the Sterling Faux, CKNW phone-in program.

Reimar is available for speaking engagements on direct democracy.


Colin Stark, B.Sc., M.B.A.
Vice-President

Colin Stark is a vice-president and founding member of Canadians for Direct Democracy. He has been active in community and environmental organizations since 1990.

Scots-born, he immigrated to Canada in 1960. He has over 20 years experience as engineer, and operations and general manager in the building industry.
In 5 years as a financial planner, he also consulted with small business, created and led a course on money management, and has since progressively simplified his life.
He has a grown daughter, is semi-retired, teaches computers at night-school, plays tennis and badminton, and referees youth soccer.

Colin is available for speaking engagements on direct democracy.


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Page updated on March 7th, 2003

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