A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Voting for a New Voting System.

Of late there seems to be an increased interest in bringing forward a new way of electing our 'representatives' in the House of Commons no doubt brought on by the possibility of the Harper regime winning another majority with a minority vote in 2015. Given their expertise in spinning the truth, using taxpayers money to beat their own drum and fool most of the people most of the time this is a real possibility.

There is little doubt that both electoral and parliamentary reform is needed and that the debate about what is needed and how to accomplish it will be difficult and divisive, it has been already. Even those that agree that First Past the Post must go cannot agree upon what should replace it. In my view any of the alternative would be preferable but as opponents of the various choice will point out all have their flaws and the devil is in the details. In previous provincial efforts to select a new voting system there has been one major flaw – the vote to perhaps remove the FPTP system with a more democratic system was presented as a FPTP choice, voters were only given one alternative which naturally was not supported by the partys who thought they had disproportionate chance of being elected by the old system.

The whole debate is a little silly in that the chances of any party elected via FPTP would have any great incentive to put a new system up for consideration to the voters, something that would in all probability not happen until the NEXT voting cycle. In other words it aint gona happen anytime soon!

That said there is a way to eliminate at least part of the dilemma if and when we can persuade a government to actually ask us what we want, and that is to give us a variety of choices and vote upon them using a ranked ballot. That is – your choices are FPTP, MMP, STV, AV etc - now rank them in order of your preference and if, as is probable, none get 51% of the vote then the second and possibly the third choices come in to play. This is of course the system (Alternative Vote or Ranked Ballot) that many are now proposing as a compromise system for elections until such time as we can agree upon a more proportional system, there will no doubt be those that would prefer just a choice of their preferred system verses FPTP. Such a choice of one or the other hardly seems democratic to me!

Lets get the various political partys who are talking about this voting method or that voting method being the one they might support if we ever got that far stop, and have them all agree that if elected they will give us a chance to vote for change by presenting all the various viable choices to us. Should that ever happen the challenge will be to educate the voting public as to the various advantages and disadvantages of the various choices something that the various supporters will no doubt have lots to say about.

The point I first made some four years ago or more still stands....
All the electoral reform in the world, everybody getting out and voting, more partys represented in the mix, even a better quality of representative will not make one iota of difference if the current “if he said it, it must be wrong, If I say it, it must be right” confrontational, non co-operational, my job is to prove the other guys wrong attitude remains unchanged. We need a quantum change in attitude from both our representatives and the partys that they purport to represent (damit, they are supposed to be representing us!) before we can wrest what is left of our democratic processes out of the hand of the politicians and their corporate lobbyists and back into the hands of our citizens where it belongs.

This is reflected in the Conservatives report on Canadas Democratic Institutions way back in 2007 where those few who had a say in this 'National Survey' were much more concerned about what our Representative were doing than how they were elected. Little has change over those 3 years except perhaps the 'parliamentary dysfunction' has increased! I am increasingly leaning towards that view myself, whilst electoral reform MAY change the outcome of any election the question remains will it change in any way the partisan nature of our Parliament that is stifling free debate and producing flawed legislation. As Elizabeth May says we need to Save Democracy from Politics.

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