Prentice’s promises

Premier hopeful Jim Prentice wants to implement term limits for MLAs should he be chosen as the new Alberta

Premier hopeful Jim Prentice wants to implement term limits for MLAs should he be chosen as the new Alberta PC Party leader next week.

Last week, Prentice announced that he would put a new rule in place barring MLAs from serving more than three terms as well as prevent the premier from serving more than three.

Of course, the move has already stirred controversy, with some people saying such term limits may not be constitutional.

Prentice argues that the idea is not only constitutional, but very democratic, pointing out it is already done in other democracies.

Indeed, Prentice is right that other democracies do instill such limits and his idea is not without sound reasoning.

Putting limits on the number of terms served by MLAs and premiers would ensure there was turnover in legislature, it would ensure there would be constant circulation of new blood with fresh ideas.

It would also make it easier to get rid of unpopular MLAs and premiers.

It would make it so parties would not get complacent so easily, as the PC party evidently has.

However, there are downsides to the idea of course too. Three terms for MLAs and two for premiers. Is that enough time to get work done?

One could argue it might motivate MLAs to work harder and accomplish things faster. We can also argue whether or not MLAs currently make good use of the time they have to make policy.

In the last general election, several members of council in Lacombe and Blackfalds were elected for second and third terms, some more.

Many of them of them said that, not only were they happy to be able to serve another term, they were happy the length of a term had been extended to four years, because, “There is never enough time in one term to get things done.”

Indeed, each time a new term begins and a new council is formed, it takes some time to get accustomed to the new councillors before work can commence, many councillors have said. Can it be that different in legislature?

Furthermore, there is a reason that the veteran councillors currently serving were re-elected; we chose them to represent us.

Should Prentice become premier and enact these term limits, we would not be able to continue re-electing officials who we want to stay in office because they are doing a good job.

This is one of the many problems of politics.

When we like our elected officials, we want to keep them in office as long as possible.

When we dislike those in office, we can’t get them out of there fast enough. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, Prentice’s limits

would have should he become premier.