Lament for democracy in Ontario.

This is not to initiate an academic debate on the nature of democracy. We all know democracy is ill defined but we certainly know what it is not. It is not, for example, a form of government where all the decisions are made by Big Brother. It is not a form of government where the princes of the church choose the anointed one from among them to be leader. It is not one that makes a mockery of leadership by the people through orchestrating a pseudo democratic election of delegates to a convention designed entirely for the purpose of titillating the gawking, squawking news media.

The only vestige of democracy in the process of choosing delegates to the Ontario Liberal leadership convention is that there is a secret ballot. It is the choices offered on the ballot that are antidemocratic. Voting for a delegate who has listed their choice of leader for the first ballot is a violation of the concept of a delegated convention. Delegated conventions are a hold-over from days when it was technically impossible for all members to vote at the convention. At that time, you chose your representatives based on their representing your values and concerns and not necessarily your selection of possible candidates. Despite the ready availability of technology today to allow all party members to vote for their choice of leader, the party has opted for this out-of-date, antidemocratic solution.

But, in this case, the party has further controlled the outcome by using antidemocratic representational voting. Instead of those with the most votes, the representatives are forced to comply with a matrix based on age and sex. And, even if you reluctantly agreed with the age and sex requirement, you are further constrained by fitting into a matrix of candidate preference. Good luck in being the right age, the right sex and liking the right candidate. There is an option of choosing “independent’ for the candidate but no place to mark yourself as “confused.”

And good luck to Big Sister when she is chosen on January 26. The lame duck Big Brother and his cabinet are busy fouling the nest for her. The Minister of Health has promised every senior in Ontario a family doctor. The Minister of Finance has promised LCBO kiosks in some super markets. The Minister of Education has promised retribution for teachers who go on a one-day strike. You would think the bunch of them would know to shut up when a leadership race is nearing completion.

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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