They are after our voting method again.

It is a knee-jerk reaction after every election these days. It is when people realize that the winning party did not get 50 per cent of the vote. They complain because they think all parties should get seats in the legislature according to their share of the vote. And, of course, they do not.

It is because we North Americans still believe in a voting system that is called First-Past-the-Post. It is a very old and democratic system of electing representatives to represent us. We have not found a replacement for it that people understand as easily, or can meet their needs as well. It would be great to have run-off elections in some circumstances but nobody seems to want to pay for that.

The basic problem with the complainers is that they want to vote for a party instead of a candidate. In First-Past-the-Post, you can do both. If you do not have the time to meet or hear what your local candidate has to say, you can simply vote for the party of your choice. Our system is very accommodating that way. There is a widely held belief that in some ridings a party can run the village idiot and this person will win, simply because of the party he or she represents. That is the voters’ right.

Frankly, it has always been our impression that if all the voters in Babel met and talked at any length with the current Member of Parliament, he could not be elected dogcatcher. He has served repeated terms because of his party and name recognition and not because of his contribution in our nation’s parliament. He has never done anything in Ottawa worth the expense of sending him there.

And why should we send anyone to Ottawa just to vote for every stupid, ideological action of his or her political party?

And that is why we have been so opposed to people proposing proportional representation for Canada and the provinces. We need better representation in Ottawa than proportional representation provides. We need people chosen by the voters, not by the political parties. We need people who think about the needs of the voters, not the needs of their party. We desperately need people in parliament and our legislatures who represent the voters, not a party and its leader.

Democracy is a fragile form of government and we have got to protect it. We have to fight any threatened encroachment of our rights as citizens. We can trust no one with our rights and freedoms but ourselves.


Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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