Manning's latest idea, is to move Canada to an open primary system, something I wholeheartedly agree with - not just for nominations, but for leadership races too. I'm not convinced it would work unless coupled with some sort of voter registration system, but I do like the idea in theory. It's hard to see how anyone who watched the US primaries last year couldn't.
Often it takes a crisis of some sort to create opportunities for reform. In Britain, the recent scandalous abuse of expense accounts by members of the House of Commons from all major parties has created precisely such a crisis and opportunity.
In order to bolster public confidence in its candidates for the soon-to-be-held general election, the British Conservative Party has become willing to experiment with democratic innovations.
One in particular is being introduced in the constituency of Totnes. It should be watched closely by Canadian politicians and parties.
The Conservative MP for Totnes, Anthony Steen, was recently forced to “stand down” when it was revealed that he had claimed more than £87,000 over four years in parliamentary expenses on his country home.
Rather than choosing a candidate to succeed him by the conventional method of a constituency nominating meeting in which only card-carrying Conservative Party members can vote, the party has decided to experiment with an “open primary” in which every voter in Totnes will be invited to help choose its candidate for the next general election.