12/02/2012 11:55 EST | Updated 02/17/2014 09:59 EST

Elizabeth May: 'Why Don't We Get Rid Of Political Parties Altogether?'


Elizabeth May has an admittedly "radical" idea: "Why don't we get rid of political parties altogether?"

In an interview by #FAQMP that recently resurfaced on Reddit, the Green Party leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands expressed her dissatisfaction with a change to the Canada Elections Act over forty years ago.

"When they decided to put the names of the party next to the name of the person on the ballot, that's when Election Canada's laws were changed and they required the leader of every political party sign the nomination papers for their candidates," May said. "That created the situation we are now in where the leader of a party actually has a big stick with which to threaten the people in their caucus."

According to Canadian law, a candidate can also run as an independent or have no designation on the ballot. Due to another change in 2001, candidates' political affiliations can be listed on the ballot even if they don't belong to a registered party, as long as the organization nominates at least 12 candidates.

"I am going to be putting forward a private members bill to get rid of that power for federal party leaders to sign the nomination papers for their candidates," May continued in the interview, saying the existence of political parties in Canada is "an add-on."

Citizens actually vote for individuals rather than particular parties, although "most serious candidates belong to political parties, and generally only representatives of the dominant parties are elected," according to a paper on the Canadian electoral system published on Parliament's website.

May also noted Canada's political party process also decides who will serve as prime minister.

"The only people we elect as citizens in Canada is our own member of Parliament. We do not elect a prime minister. So Stephen Harper was not 'elected' prime minister," she said.

Do you think Canada should scrap political parties or at least remove their names from ballots? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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