The other day, Ontario premier Doug Ford announced his conservative candidate in Durham for the June election will be a long-time law partner of health minister Christine Elliott. The gentleman, so named, made all the right noises at being so honoured. What he might possibly contribute to the well being of voters in Durham did not seem important enough to mention. He becomes just another ghost candidate.
And this is why people who know Canadian politics are deeply concerned about the constant erosion of democracy in this country. It is part of a growing pattern of less and less consideration of the needs of the voters in the electoral district. It is taking us towards a form of proportional voting where you only get to vote for this party or that party. The voter only gets to hear from the party leader. And that is for whom the votes are cast. It is a system that works very well for countries with a high level of illiteracy.
But the problem is that the system is just one step away from totalitarianism. The only safeguard to the system is when there are enough strong parties to ward against any one party winning a majority in the country’s legislature. And even that is no guarantee.
There are those who think that preferential voting would help preserve our democracy. Preferential voting is where voters number their preferences on the ballot. There is an illusion of fairness as you eliminate the candidates with the least votes and then count their second, third, fourth, etc. choice until someone has more than 50 per cent of the vote. What you have really done—especially when there are a large number of candidates—is drilled down to the least offensive candidate. And that is not what the voter wants when there are problems to be solved in the particular jurisdiction.
Canadians should realize that we have a marvellous system of government where we are able to choose the person to represent us in local, provincial and federal governments. We should be sure to question that person we choose. And we should be certain that he or she has our needs and wants in mind and can effectively speak for us. Ours is a democratic system with many safeguards. Let’s keep it that way.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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