Because all politics really is local.

We are coming into the season when arguments for proportional voting will once again be heard throughout the land. We will hear tales of the ‘wasted vote’ and the supposedly undemocratic nature of first-past-the-post voting. At every election there is pressure on politicians to change how we vote. The problem with which the politicians are faced is that they cannot come up with a better system.

In their haste to seek some method of gaining representation in the central government of a state or country, some voters want to give up the opportunity to have their neighbours and themselves represented. They want proportional representation instead.

In most proportional representative jurisdictions, the voter votes only for a party. The representatives of the party who will take the seats in the parliament or legislature are chosen by the party leader, sometimes with the help of the party. These politicians do not represent the voters, they only represent the party. They might not be from your part of the country nor need they necessarily speak with the same dialect or accent.

And if you were of a minority group in a small corner of the country, would you not want to have somebody represent you?

It was Tip O’Neill, the long-time speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who is credited for the quote, ‘All politics is local.’ What he meant was that elected representatives should be judged on their ability to reflect their voters needs and wishes in the legislation they are considering.

One of the reasons for the frequent demands for independence in some parts of these countries with proportional representation is that some local populations do not feel they are given enough say in how they are ruled. Canada gets enough pressures on its federation without adding more stress. One of the reasons Canada works so well is because we do have a country where people are most often represented by their local politicians who can speak for their needs.


Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to

Comments are closed.