Peculiar Consensus Way Up North

 

Interior of NWT Legislative Assembly Building

Election Season Installment 2:  One of the more peculiar features of Canada’s provincial political culture has to be the consensus-type government in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.  Unlike the party-driven systems that are most typical of representative governments, in a consensus system — at least in those two provinces — all candidates are elected as independents to a legislature and those representatives then select among themselves a premier and cabinet ministers.  The remaining members, who comprise a majority, then act as a de facto loyal opposition by holding the executive leaders accountable.

The consensus system first developed in the Northwest Territories, partly due to the community-based traditions of cooperativeness and consensus decisionmaking  among the Inuit  and other northern peoples.  Consensus governing was naturally adopted by Nunavut shortly after that most-northern province  was split off from NWT. 

Purportedly, consensus governing is less about one-upsmanship and avoids the usual problems associated with the party that is then out of power continually seeking to regain a position of primacy.  It may work better in Nunavut and NWT because of the relatively small size of those two provincial governments as compared to that of the other provinces or, for that matter, the federal government as a whole.

Your Comments Are Most Welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: