The pride in losing.

The submission by Fair Vote Canada to the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform recently claimed that 9 million voters in the 2015 federal election were unable to make their votes count. This assumption was made because they voted for losing candidates. And they did not even get a lollipop for their trouble.

That is how it should be. Frankly, voting for a losing candidate can be a badge of honour. You might be surprised at the number of times this writer has wrestled over determining just which candidates on the lists of municipal candidates would be losers. At one time we actually went through lists of up to eight municipal offices requiring a vote and carefully voted for a loser in every category. It felt good. There is a pride to standing against the mob.

And we are hardly the first person willing to show disagreement. We used to have a vote for local hydro commissioners in the Toronto area. The way to get elected to the job was to have a P.Eng degree after your name. They finally got that business stopped.

But there is one important item on which Fair Vote Canada (not to be confused with the original Fair Vote organization in the United States) has erred. They worry about the voters who feel frustrated because they live in a ‘safe riding.’ They should stop worrying. There is no such thing as a ‘safe riding.’ Never as long as there is more than one candidate.

Over-confident candidates can often find themselves to be losers. You face new voters in every election. The young come of age and new residents move into the electoral district. District boundaries are redrawn. The incumbent often has an advantage but that can be reversed by a smart opponent.

The concerns for what the detractors of first-past-the-post voting call our democratic deficit include such areas as demographic diversity, pandering to voters in swing ridings, hyper-partisanship, unrelenting party discipline and policy lurches when new governments undo what a new government considers the excesses of the previous government. Why these problems of partisan politics would be different under proportional representation is never really explained.

But what kind of wimps are we encouraging today that we do not want anyone to lose. This writer wants right-wing ideologues to lose. People who do not care about our environment should be losers. And people who attempt to impose their rigid ethos on others should be prepared to lose.


Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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