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In pictures: How would you reinvent Parliament? Readers share their bold ideas

Thanks to readers for their great submissions

1 of 29

We need to reform the electoral system so that people's votes actually count. It's no wonder that fewer and fewer people bother to vote when the winner in their riding is a foregone conclusion, and votes for other candidates don't count towards electing anyone. Only an electoral system that doesn't waste up to half of all votes every election will result in a Parliament that truly represents the interests of Canadians. Julie Cook, Ottawa

2 of 29

Elected officials need to stop behaving in a way that would earn a 9-year-old detention. They don't even allow heckling in some comedy clubs any more! Lloyd Ravn, Sussex, N.B.

3 of 29

Our MPs are responsible for spending billions of dollars, but with a few exceptions most of them are just good talkers with big egos. They don't even have any ideas of how to solve big problems like those of health and education among our aboriginal peoples. We need to attract better managers to Parliament. Do away with their gold-plated pensions, but give them much higher salaries, similar to corporate executives responsible for that much money. That would attract a better quality of candidate. Max Anderson, Vancouver

4 of 29

I would change to an elected senate. This would make the senate more meaningful and important to the citizens in Canada and Canada in general. This is important because to be a senator all you have to do is be recommended by the Prime Minister and put in by the Governor-General. This is pretty easy to become one and get payed thousands of dollars.Sadie McTavish, Winnipeg

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5 of 29

I would put limitations on how government can lump important measures into omnibus bills. Important standalone issues should be in a separate bill so it can be voted for clearly and democratically. 400-page omnibus bills cannot be thoroughly understood even by the best legal minds let alone the average voter. Trevor Donald, Sackville, N.B.

6 of 29

My idea was to have something called a Question Box. We as the public love to be involved and have our opinions heard. We would place a Question Box in our Legislative, for public access. During Question Period our public opinions would we discussed and attempted to be solved. I think this is a great idea because by having their citizens' opinions they could take a closer consideration about the way things are being handled.Whitney Demianiw, Winnipeg

7 of 29

We should exactly copy the Australian system including the mandatory provisions! Tom Roach, Waterloo, Ont.

8 of 29

I want to change the fact that the MPs are running our country with such a negative attitude. They are no longer debating for the development our country, but for the sake of being right and getting more party followers. Though parties are supposed to debate against each other, they are also supposed to be able to work as a team to run our country. We can see that this is not the case. Many politicians have insulted their opponents in less than formal ways. Heated conversations have started, messages on blogs have happened, and inappropriate use of websites continue. Vanessa Fu, Winnipeg

9 of 29

I love the concept of being heard, as I am not being heard now. The opportunity to weigh in on debates at random times and actually be heard sounds excellent. Jodie Beaugard, Kingston

10 of 29

It's a very simple answer, and long overdue. No one is well represented unless the particular flavour of politics in power happens to be yours. Even progressive conservatives aren't represented; only far-right reformers are under Harper. If we need to merge parties for a hope of "winning," something is wrong. We need to catch up to much of the rest of the world and get proportional representation. Amanda Bolton, Fredericton

11 of 29

If it were up to me, I'd reform the Senate to actually be equally representative of the provinces as opposed to what we've loosely drawn as "the regions of Canada." The fact that New Brunswick alone, with its population of under a million, has more seats in the Senate than B.C. and Alberta combined is laughable; why even have 10 provinces? We as Canadians may make fun of American politics, but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me that our parliamentary system couldn't learn from the model of their state-representative upper house. Hadyn Domstad, Langley, B.C.

12 of 29

One thing to change: Outlaw political parties. How to implement: Each candidate will run their own campaign and each constituency will elect an MP who represents all voters in their riding. After the election, the MPs hold a leadership convention. The winner of the leadership convention becomes Prime Minister and the MPs who didn't support the PM on the last ballot become the Loyal Opposition. After that, every vote in the House is what we would today call a free vote. Every now and then, a confidence motion is taken to ensure the government has the support of the House. Peter Jedicke, London, Ont.

13 of 29

It is tiresome to see Parliament used as a forum to develop ideas on how to smear the vulnerable. Attacking vulnerable citizens only makes them more vulnerable. Parliament should concentrate on its role of empowerment. Social justice empirically stems from social policy and evidently the federal government plays a role in social policy. A conscious shift from oppressing the individual to empowering the country is necessary. Tyson Kelsall Saanich, B.C.

14 of 29

I would redesign all the rooms so that all meetings and gatherings could be conducted in a circle with each person facing all others - without a table. This would enhance empathy, compassion, non-violent communication and produce more effective and efficient meetings. Maureen Fitzgerald, Vancouver

15 of 29

Renaissance in voting. Change the system, by eliminating first past the post. Replace it by the vastly superior proportional representation. To enhance consensus building and reduce adversarial relationships. Guy Dalcourt, Vancouver

16 of 29

People who seek power are the last people we should have in politics. We should be asked to choose from a list of successful people nominated against their will - not career politicians who have managed to worm their way to the top. Jimmy Thomson, Vancouver

17 of 29

Canada is one of the very few countries in the world that still uses the winner take all first-past-the-post voting system. That is why a party that has less than 40% support from Canadians has almost 60% of the seats in Parliament, and therefore the ability to do anything it wants. Switching to proportional representation is the only way to ensure that the number of MPs in Parliament truly reflects the level of popular support each party has, and therefore the true will of the people. Proportional representation makes every vote count. Mark Batten-Carew, Stittsville, Ont.

18 of 29

The cause of most of our dissatisfaction with Parliament is our method of selecting the representatives. The first past the post (FTTP) method ensures that we leave ourselves vulnerable to two major problems: split votes, where multiple candidates share a majority of votes cast, yet a minority candidate wins the seat, leaving the majority of voters unhappy; and split, or minority, party rule in the House of Commons, or "majority" rule, where a party has the majority of the seats, but not a majority of the votes cast, which does not reflect the wishes of the electorate. Doug Begin, Toronto

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60% of voters in the last election voted for a party OTHER than the Conservatives, yet the Conservatives have a carte-blanche majority. A mixed-member proportional representation system would ensure that EVERY vote matters. Elimination of the non-confidence ending of a parliament, and fixed duration terms would force parties to work together to govern, taking the best ideas of each. Albert Ralph, Kitchener

20 of 29

Distribute senate seats as a percentage of the popular vote. This would be a more accurate reflection of democratic sentiment in the country, and a true check on parliamentary power. Parliament would still run day-to-day government business, but no single party would have absolute majority, so politicians would actually have to work together. Rather than have a separate ballot for Senate representatives, parties could appoint who would fill the seats -- not that different than the current situation. This plan would also address concerns of people who say their vote doesn't count at the local level. Richard Janzen, Calgary

21 of 29

The principle of representative democracy is undermined in Canada by the large gaps in what people vote for and the officials they elect. Only proportional voting systems ensure that the number of votes matches the number of seats. We need to fix the voting system so that 30% of the vote means 30% of the seats in Parliament. No more, and no less: that's fair democracy. A proportional voting system in Canada would enable women to transcend the 'winner-take-all' competition of our current voting system. Ashley Cederwall, Ottawa

22 of 29

Turn the Senate into the cabinet and shadow cabinet(s) based on proportional representation. Voters would get 2 votes, 1 for a party and 1 for their riding representative. Each party would publish a list of their top guns and these would get seats proportional to the popular vote. From this group, the executive would be chosen. Representatives could be elected as they are now or by some form of PR to be selected later. Steve Nickerson, Newboro, Ont.

23 of 29

I believe that political parties need their voices present in Parliament reflecting citizens’ values in the proportion as they are, and through this diversity the best ideas can be brainstormed into being. It is OUR government that should represent US, not just a small portion of us. Our first past the post voting system elects dictatorships and winners/losers, rather than officials working together for our best interests. It must be replaced with a truly democratic proportional representative system. That is how we make it "our" government, and therefore worth voting for. David Weber, Kitchener, Ont.

24 of 29

Representative democracy is supposed to provide all citizens with representation in government. But the reality is that most Canadians are not represented most of the time. The only part of our antiquated inequitable winner-take-all electoral system that might be called democratic is our right to vote. But how democratic is it when the majority of Canadians cast votes that don't count? In more than 30 years of voting, I've yet to elect an MP. Canada needs proportional representation so that all our votes count. Laurel Russworm, Waterloo

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It's simple. We shouldn't be able to elect federal governing bodies with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote. Let me rank my candidates instead of making my vote for less popular parties count for nothing.Kate Waddingham, Ottawa

26 of 29

Proportional representation would give voters a greater stake in Parliament, allow voters to vote for best candidate, enhance co-operation between parties, encourage greater civility in Parliament, increase the percentage of people voting, enhance more focus on the issues during a campaign and make MPs more accountable to their constituencies. Most importantly, it would avoid the current scenario where the government only has the support of 24% of eligible voters. First-past-the-post in Canada is anti-democratic and divisive. Leonard Sawatsky, Saskatoon

27 of 29

It's time to end "false majorities" and taxation without representation. I didn't vote for a "winning candidate" in my riding so my vote didn't count. I am unrepresented, yet I am taxed. So I pay out of my pocket to support advocacy groups to fight against policy of the current government. How is that fair? Let's get rid of our outdated first past the post electoral system and replace it with a fair one. Joyce Hall, Markdale, Ont.

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Harper got 38% of the vote and rules with an iron fist. We need more consensus, more input, and less didactic rule.Tom Trottier, Ottawa

29 of 29

Proportional Representation coupled with gender thresholds Or we could fill the House with 25% or fewer men, and 75% or more women - I'd be happy to elect the odd man over the next 146 years to rebalance history.Lisa Dale, Hamilton

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