A federal failure of FPTP.

It has been noted occasionally that first-past-the-post voting is not perfect. You get failures in the system such as has happened to the voters in the federal electoral district of Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. Our elected member of parliament is an embarrassment. We like to think of him as a failure in strategic voting.

Our MP is proof of gerrymandering defeating democracy. Instead of a Liberal representing the north half of Barrie, the rural voters of Springwater and Oro-Medonte gave us an embarrassment. He won by 86 votes in the recount—mainly because of the Conservative voters in the two townships who did not know him. Barrie voters had a chance to see him on city council. We considered him to be ineffective there.

On city council, we always complained that he would sit there and mumble. He has not changed.

Here is a guy who never seemed to hold a job for long in Barrie now enjoying at least four years of an MP’s annual salary of over $150,000 plus perks and expenses. You would think they would throw in some public speaking lessons. Not that we have to listen to much that he has to say but a friend and the writer were interested in an item on the agenda for his first town hall meeting since being elected last October.

When our friend attempted to suggest a change in the printed agenda, the answer was a blunt “No.” There seems to be no way this MP is interested in what his constituents have to say.

The meeting was in the rotunda of Barrie City Hall which has terrible acoustics and with about 40 people attending, you could only guess at what the MP was saying. And you could only clearly hear about a third of the speakers from the audience. Nobody had thought to use a sound system.

The MP tried to control the two-hour meeting without much success. The best part of the meeting was when he tried to explain his stand on electoral reform and decided it would take too long. He had only allocated 15 minutes for the subject. It was the most animated part of the meeting. Several in the audience had ill-considered opinions.

One chap even brought what looked like a grade six poster board project as a prop to explain his position. When noticing his board had all kinds of small plastic animals glued on it to represent the different party’s MPs, we asked him if some pigs were more equal than others? It turned out he had never read George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Regrettably, he also did not seem to be well read on proportional representation.

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Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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