Is it the HOW or the WHO?

If the citizens of British Columbia are formally debating their referendum on voting systems, there is one resolution that needs to be debated. The question is “Be it resolved that it is more important to ensure you have the right people to elect than to worry about the mechanics for electing them.” I would like to debate for the positive.

At a time when fewer eligible voters are going to the polls, in North America, it might be wrong to suggest that it is the voting systems that present the problem.

Going back in history, we could look at what happened in the Weimar Republic in 1932. Hitler and the Brown Shirts gained control of the Reichstag with 33 per cent of the votes under a proportional voting system. That was the last free vote in Germany until after the Second World War. Does it seem fair to blame the voting system?

Is it not also a stretch to suggest that First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) has visited deceit, duplicity, corruption and decay on our wonderful country? It would seem we are using rhetoric instead of logic. People might to do that no matter how they get elected. It is far more likely that our safety net is the control we exercise over the political parties.

And we can control those parties best under a system that allows us to select the people running for election—call it a primary or nomination meeting—it is an opportunity for citizens to examine the qualifications of proposed candidates and make a selection. And citizens should also take part in the development of party policies. To allow a leader to just wing it with his promises through the election process, as has happened in the U.S.A. two years ago and more recently in Ontario, is risky.

If you believe in strong governments that can get the job done, I worry about strong governments that you do not know what they will do next.

To those of you who think you can solve the problem by never electing a majority government. I wish you were right.

Over the years, it has been said many times that the voters get the government that they deserve. It has also been said, more than once, that they did not deserve what they got.


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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