Legault’s likely legacy?

Back in August, Babel-on-the-Bay ran a column discussing the anger of the electors that can result in poor choices in politicians. At the time, only Donald Trump was discussed but it was assumed readers could see how the disease is spreading. A few readers questioned me at the time as to whether we could keep these poor choices under better control with proportional voting.

Under proportional voting, Donald Trump would not be president of the United States. He would have come up short by around three million votes.  Nor would Douglas Ford be premier of Ontario, or would François Legault of the CAQ likely be sworn in as the new premier of Quebec. Both won by about 40 per cent of the total vote and, under proportional voting, would only be entitled to about 40 per cent of the seats in their respective legislatures.

The usual procedure in these minority positions is for the party with the most seats to make a deal with one or more of the smaller parties to give them a majority position and a chance to rule. What you are also doing is giving these small parties an inordinate amount of power to influence legislation.

And that influence is just one of the problems with proportional representation. The facts are that proportional representation encourages fringe parties. Why, for example, do you think Israel, a state that is otherwise secular, is shut down every Sabbath? It is the religious fringe parties that make a repressive Sabbath a standing condition of support.

Another major problem with proportional voting is how hard it is to get anything done in a country where no party can ever win a majority. If you thought Ottawa was slow with all its safe-guards and elitist senate, check out some of the Scandinavian countries with their many political parties.

Mind you promising the voters a proportional form of voting is just one of the mistakes Legault has made. What he needs to realize is that under proportional voting, he would have a hard time forming a government.

And like many autocratic, right-wing politicians, he also thinks he can casually override the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He wants to kick immigrants out of the province if their French skills do not come up to snuff. He needs to understand that abusing human rights is something you do at your peril—even in Quebec!


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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