Demo­cratic re­form, in­clud­ing eliminating par­ties, a draw for Con­sen­sus On­tario

The Woolwich Observer - - NEWS - FAISAL ALI

IT MIGHT SEEM STRANGE

to join a po­lit­i­cal party that in­tends to ren­der all po­lit­i­cal par­ties ob­so­lete, but that is close to what Dan Holt is at­tempt­ing in this June’s pro­vin­cial elec­tion. Elmira res­i­dents will rec­og­nize Holt for his bid for Ward 1 councillor in the last mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

Holt has now set his sights on Queen’s Park, lend­ing his sup­port to new and rel­a­tively ob­scure Con­sen­sus On­tario party. Holt does not ex­pect to win on the Con­sen­sus ticket, but he is keen to cham­pion the re­forms and phi­los­o­phy at the core of the party.

“I like the idea of con­sen­sus, I like the idea of democ­racy and rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment, I like the idea of not be­ing tied to a party boss who’s go­ing to tell you what to do,” he ex­plained.

At the cen­tre of the party’s ide­ol­ogy is the be­lief that lo­cally elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives should not be bound to the directives of a po­lit­i­cal party or leader, as is some­what the case for most of the ma­jor par­ties.

As it stands, most MPP’s have to vote the way their party re­quires them to vote on key is­sues, rather than fol­low the wishes of their con­stituents, and those that don’t can be pe­nal­ized in var­i­ous ways by their leader. It’s a sys­tem that of­ten forces elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to carry wa­ter for their lead­ers even when it goes against the de­mands of lo­cal vot­ers.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing, you know, I mean you have to be a party to be elected. And the whole pur­pose of Con­sen­sus On­tario is to even­tu­ally elim­i­nate par­ties, in­clud­ing Con­sen­sus On­tario,” says Holt. “The idea be­ing that the can­di­date would be in­de­pen­dent and elected as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of their con­stituency and their rid­ing, and not be­holden to a party or poli­cies gov­ern­ing a party.”

In that way, the elected mem­bers of the leg­is­la­ture would bet­ter re­sem­ble their coun­ter­parts on the mu­nic­i­pal level in that they would not be­long to any party. It’s one of the rea­sons he says the party reached out to him to run in the Kitch­ener-Con­estoga rid­ing un­der their ban­ner.

While Holt is not ex­pect­ing the idea to take off all at once, he is still keen for vot­ers to come out and sup­port him in the elec­tion.

“Well I’d like for them to vote for me, be­cause I’d like for the state­ment to be made that they’ve seen what Con­sen­sus On­tario is all about and they’re in­ter­ested and sup­port the idea. So I do want them to vote for me and I hope I get some votes, but re­al­is­ti­cally speak­ing at this point the way the par­ties are so en­trenched it’s very dif­fi­cult to break through that bar­rier and get peo­ple to the point where they will vote for some­one other than the party.”

On his fu­ture plans, whether Holt in­tends to stay with Con­sen­sus or run for Wool­wich Town­ship coun­cil, Holt is un­sure.

“I just don’t know,” he says. “I mean, yes I think the idea [be­hind Con­sen­sus On­tario] is good and I sup­port the idea, and I would want to see them grow and come to fruition. But I don’t know how much I’m go­ing to be in­volved be­cause I don’t know what’s go­ing on in my per­sonal life three or four years from now.”

Dan Holt

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