A public and transparent online Proxy Voting system is set up through Elections Canada over the course of several years. This system is open to all Canadians for participation. All the votes and online discussions are public by nature.
Here’s the novelty that I really like:
The title “senator” -rather than being a guarded few lifelong participants- is now something that anyone can be. It’s voluntary to participate, and it has a testing and ID issuing system like Driver’s Licensing. After becoming a senator, you get a card with a picture of you that you can use in liquor stores or when buying pornography or cigarettes or going gambling and so on- that says YOUR NAME — SENATOR.
All you have to do is take a test to prove something like:
a) You can match the names of parties to their basic ideological backgrounds
b) You can do some basic/intermediate mathematics with a calculator.
c) You can answer multiple choice questions about Canadian History in and open book test format when provided an encyclopedia.
d) You can do IQ test style mind puzzles.
Testing is going to be a contentious part of this idea (whose idea of right and wrong are we talking about? whose version of history are we being tested on? etc.) There are chances of folly or fraud but the same goes for any democratic system.
The fact is, if I may use a driver’s license metaphor, that it is dangerous to let some people behind the wheel of a car. I am not suggesting we take away anyone’s right to vote. I am suggesting an expansion of the amount of senators, not a reduction of the amount of voters. I admit there are potential pratfalls in this idea, that is why like all ideas collaboration is needed at all levels of realizing it. The incredible potential that it has as a somewhat pragmatic large step towards real participatory democracy is something that I believe is well worth the risks involved.
The Canadian Senate is an equal body to the House of Commons and it carries many of the same rights. With direct collaboration between our elected representatives and our most informed and engaged citizens, we will build a better country. This is a suitable step in that direction.