Comment 62665

By DanJelly (registered) | Posted April 25, 2011 at 18:32:37

I know I'm dreaming a little here (what else is new?) but I'd love to see every single candidate respond to a formalised, publicly-vetted survey like this in order to even qualify to run. I realise the difficulties involved, but I think it's worth the pain. This would require the media, or Elections Canada, or some non-partisan government entity (does such a thing exist?) to develop or crowd-source a list of questions reflecting the concerns of the electorate.

The mix of questions should be non-partisan, with sections of the survey focusing on local, regional, provincial and national issues (where appropriate). The questions should also be reflective of all demographics, forcing candidates to speak to issues raised by groups that would otherwise be ignored. If there is to be any sort of mechanism to reject a question on grounds of relevance, partisanship, etc then that should be made open and transparent as well. If something is thrown out, we should know why, and by whom. If a candidate refuses to answer a question, they should have to give a reason. If they refuse to answer all the questions without good reason, their application should be rejected.

What would this accomplish? How many times have we heard about the biased media? How many have complained about the parties being evasive by limiting questions or excluding people from campaign events? I'm tired of hearing candidates answer good, thoughtful questions with "Visit my website", only to visit later and find a vague, milquetoast list of talking points with no specific answers. Take away the bias, the spin and the parties' control of image and information and open up the process. If the questions were somehow posed and vetted by the electorate and answers compared side-by-side, it would force the candidates to be clear and genuine. This process would make the election about real issues rather than marketing and half-truths.

Much like the RTH questions, the official survey questions would have to be answerable with a yes or no and/or explained in a few sentences. The questions would have to reveal something about the candidate's experience, knowledge, philosophy, or agenda, and would have to result in answers that could be held up against past track records. Once the answers were published, the candidates and parties could be held accountable and maybe we could be spared some of the intelligence-insulting rhetoric from all parties.

After all, we're essentially interviewing candidates for a job, and we want to make sure all candidates are treated equally, and given equal opportunity to succeed or fail.

Comment edited by DanJelly on 2011-04-25 18:34:24

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