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article imageOp-Ed: Are term limits the answer to U.S., Canadian government woes?

By Andrew Moran     Nov 1, 2012 in Politics
Toronto - A Toronto politician is reigniting calls for term limits in municipal politics. But what about at the provincial (state) and federal levels? Term limits won't solve all the issues facing Canada or America, but it's a step in the right direction.
Should nations have career politicians? When an individual decides that they would like to run for public office, whether it’s at the local, provincial (state) or federal level, it’s meant to be a short-term gig and something done on a part-time basis.
Unfortunately, we have become a society where certain people think they should feed from the public trough for 30 years. This mantra is completely unacceptable and there are many examples to show that term limits may assist in stopping some of the problems Canada and even the United States face.
Councillor Doug Ford speaking to the media.
Councillor Doug Ford speaking to the media.
When City Councillor Doug Ford floated the idea around for term limits, this humble writer had a huge grin on his face.
One week prior to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s announcement that he was stepping down as Liberal leader, I had a discussion with an acquaintance that we should start having term limits. Of course, it should be noted that term limits aren’t certainly the nepenthe to proper and respectful governance – it’s the philosophy of what the role of government ought to be that needs to see a revision. However, it could avoid complacency and constant scandals.
Since 1990, McGuinty has served as a Member of Provincial Parliament. He became premier in 2003 and was on track to serve 12 years as premier. What did the Ontario taxpayers deal with? Numerous scandals, endless tax hikes and budget deficits.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper served as a Member of Parliament from 1993 to 1997 and then again from 2002 to the present time – it should be noted that during the five-year period he was still involved in law and politics.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was a councillor for 10 years and is now a mayor. Councillor Joe Mihevc has been in public office since 1991, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has been in provincial and municipal politics for 22 years, Toronto Budget Chief and Councillor Mike Del Grande has held some sort of public office since 1994.
In politics, there are a lot of dinosaurs still taking (stealing) taxpayers’ money. Whether it be liberal (Democrat), New Democrat or conservative (Republican), term limits should be imposed on all political walking life.
The idea of running for office was to benefit the community, perform an honourable citizen duty and also maintain a part-time job. Fast forward to today, career politicians, who are usually lawyers, just run to inflict even more laws and find other ways to run our lives because we’re too irresponsible and incompetent to do it ourselves.
In the United States, term limits were enforced on the president after the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt (see 22nd Amendment). Congress deemed that when President George Washington stepped down after two terms, it signified that the founders intended for presidents to serve only eight years.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Deposting Letter
President Roosevelt is shown depositing a letter into the side of a Highway Post Office Bus
This is a good amount of time. Why not a maximum of four terms for congressmen and two terms for senators? In Canada’s case, why not a maximum of two four-year terms for councillors, two four-year terms for MPPs and two four-year terms for prime ministers?
Maybe a nation doesn’t even need term limits, but instead Warren Buffett’s sublime suggestion that generated support amongst those who are disgusted with Washington.
“I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," said Buffett in an interview with CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.”
Whether this is in New York City, Edmonton, California, Prince Edward Island, Canada or the U.S., this is a fantastic idea. Indeed, most long-term politicians would be opposed to the initiative, which automatically proves that it’s a far superior proposal than a politician running perpetual roughshod.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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