Wednesday, October 01, 2008

First Draft

I'm mildly depressed at the thought of simply spoiling my ballot this election (how does one spoil an electronic vote anyway?), so I've been mulling over alternatives. I would happily vote for the CHP if they had a candidate in our riding. Alas, no luck.

So then I thought, why not join them and help them get a candidate in our riding for the next election? So I went to their webpage, looked it over and went to the Join the Party page, which instructed me that I had to agree with the party principles. Rats!

On the one hand a party with clear principles is refreshing. But I can't agree with these particular ones. How so? Theologically speaking, I'm not clear how a Catholic can sign on to

The Holy Bible [is] the inspired, inerrant written Word of God and the final authority above all man's laws and government.
How are the written Scriptures "the final authority"? They need to be understood in context and that context is the community in which these Scriptures were written: the Catholic Church. So that principle is a deal breaker for me.

Philosophically speaking, the objection is in all five principles and epitomized in the name: effective politics in a multicultural secular society is about inclusion not exclusion. In our riding, there is a significant Sikh presence, as advertised by two major candidates being Punjabi. If your principles exclude all religious believers except Bible-only Christians, then you've started the race with both of your legs tied together.

I did correspond with an independent candidate in our riding, but his classically Canadian liberalism on life and family issues ruled him out. That got me to thinking, maybe I should run myself, next time. (Not seriously, you understand, only as a mental exercise to ease of pain of being disenfranchised in my own country.) So I looked up the rules for being and independent candidate. It turns out you need 100 electors from the riding and $1000, which is refundable if you supply all the proper forms by the deadline.

Then I thought, how difficult would it be to form a political party? And what advantages might there be to that? Now you need 250 electors, which you need to confirm every three years, plus annual notices of various sorts to Elections Canada. Gee, thinks I, 250 isn't that much more than 100. Maybe a new party is a better idea. In the unlikely event of actually getting 5% of the votes cast in a riding, you get 50% of your documented costs back. And surpluses can be kept by the party or redistributed to different riding associations, assuming we got all the way up to two candidates. (Independents who don't spend all their contributions have to turn the surplus over to the Solicitor General.)

Of course I started thinking about about the most important things first. For example, what colour scheme would our posters use? Is Purple too "gay"? Since the Natural Law Party of Canada has voluntarily de-registered, should we use that name? (The Natural Law refers in our name, of course, to the natural moral law of the Western philosophical tradition.) What is that is French? How does NLP work as an acronym? Nelp?

But then I thought about the CHP's principles, in a more admiring way. We should have our own founding principles, that do not exclude people of different religious backgrounds, but rather appeal to what we have in common: reason.

Sheesh! this is lot of work. If you've persevered this long, you deserve the adverted first draft, at last:

The purpose of Governments at every level is to foster the full flourishing of each and every human being that they serve. To that end:

The primary responsibility of governments is to protect each and every human being's life, from conception to it's natural end.

The next responsibility is to foster human flourishing by promoting and protecting stable, fruitful marriages, the forge of human character.

And Freedoms must be recognized and respected, especially those of Religion and Speech.

Life, Family, Freedom!

There we are, no colour, no name, but at least we've got started on our statement of principles. I've got to go pick up my youngest now. See you later.

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