Nobody has ever accused the Internet Intifada of being smart. Nor are all bloggers brilliant. The twits on Twitter can be quite antisocial and FaceBook denizens are like Adonis searching the vastness of the digital pool for their reflected self. And in all of these public venues uninformed opinions rage. Nobody seems to gain knowledge from experience. This comes to mind today in considering the arguments of people who want to change how Canadians vote. There is so much mealy-mouthed agreement among them that you would think that change is inevitable.
But it is not. Canadians like the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system we have and see no need to change it. We say this based on three province wide votes, two in British Columbia (2005 and 2009) and one in Ontario (2007). Those voters actually cast ballots to tell the powers to be to stuff it. A single-transferable vote system in B.C. failed to pass in 2005 and then was rejected by a full 60 per cent of voters in 2009. Ontario took one look at a simpler mixed-member proportional voting in 2007 and rejected the idea.
The only problem is that the losers promoting a ‘yes’ vote seem inclined to be insidious. We are being constantly bombarded by the Internet Intifada that continues to preach against our first-past-the-post voting. Organizations such as Fair Vote (originating in the U.S.) are relentless in seeking converts.
What is annoying is that these gremlins are so negative that you cannot get any dialogue going. Nobody is trying to tell them that FPTP is the perfect answer to all voting needs. There are times when that voting system can let us down. What we need to do is analyze those problem areas and address them in a spirit of cooperation.
At one time, we were leaning towards preferential voting in situations were there were large numbers of candidates. This turns out not to work in practice because it proves to be easy to manipulate. It is much fairer to have a run-off vote that allows all voters to reconsider their vote once the candidates with the least votes are eliminated. And with the growing acceptance of Internet voting, it has become an inexpensive answer to giving us winners that are the majority choice.
What people such as Fair Vote do is make flat statements that FPTP is unfair, or claim that proportional voting will elect more women and minorities. Their problem is that these claims are false. They have to realize that Canadians are well educated by world standards and do not accept claims without proof. They should get better arguments or get lost.
Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry
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