Tag Archives: tyranny

Why Are We Still Squabbling About Electoral Reform?

Why are we still squabbling about electoral reform when a majority of Canadians already want it?

Political parties often have several ballots to come up with a leader who has more than 50% support from members/delegates/whoever.

The BC Liberal party just went through a leadership race where party members voted for at least two candidates in preferred order. Their votes were weighted so each of 85 ridings had identical influence.

Next month the BC NDP will have a preferential ballot leadership vote as well.

Then both parties will fight a first-past-the-post provincial election some time in the next 2 years or so.


A plurality of support for a party leader is insufficient. But it is ok for general elections?

This simply has to stop.

Last month the federal NDP introduced a motion to create a House of Commons committee to “engage with Canadians, and make recommendations to the House, on how best to achieve a House of Commons that more accurately reflects the votes of Canadians by combining direct election by electoral district and proportional representation” because we have “a House of Commons that does not accurately reflect the political preferences of Canadians.”

The first-past-the-post stopped being really useful around the end of the 19th century once more than two parties starting fielding candidates.

Those who blame non-FPTP systems as being inherently unstable need to see that the earth hasn’t stopped spinning for the almost 7 years that Canada has been without a majority government. While some don’t like the lack of ease of legislation, I like how parliamentary committees mean something now and that debate and votes suddenly matter like never before in recent memory.

But then again, people wonder if the time isn’t yet right for Canada’s political culture to accept a change in our electoral system. If only a majority were already interested in a change. If only 62% of Canadians and almost 70% of decided Canadians supported a system of proportional representation. Maybe then I’d really have an argument here. It turns out that 62% of Canadians already support a PR system. Harper’s two proroguements helped cement that support. And CuriosityCat has already done the heavy lifting on the poll numbers to show a reasonably likely scenario of how this could play out in the next election.

Democracy is a muscle. We’ve been exercising it for most of this last decade and we’re starting to get good at it. I think we need more practice. And I think parties need to start entrenching progressive, democratic and truly representative electoral systems so our whole democracy gets a boost of efficacy.

Our declining voter turnout certainly indicates the need.

It’s time for leaders to act.

The “Harper Government,” Soft Fascism, Coalitions and ProRep

We mock and joke about Harper changing the “Government of Canada” to the “Harper Government”, and that’s fine, but we need to remember he’s not kidding and he needs to be stopped.

Heather Mallick hit the right balance of ridicule and warning in her piece yesterday:

Harper has always been a spiteful man, a yeller at work who was forced to tone it down in public.

But he cannot help himself. The terrorizing of officials and the rewriting of language are revealing the malevolence that lies beneath Harper’s hair. It is ungood, to use Orwell’s Newspeak. It is crimethink.

via Mallick: Harper re-brands the government out of spite – thestar.com.

I remember way back when Harper was first elected. He wouldn’t speak to the press. He buttoned up his ministers and their civil servants. He centralized and micro-managed words and power. He was the “Harper Government.”

He even changed the name of the government from the “Government of Canada” to “Canada’s New Government” and declared that the servants of his new government use his newspeak. Except when a GSC scientist emeritus named Dr. Andrew Okulitch called the phrase an “idiotic buzzword” he was informed that doing so was his de facto resignation from the emeritus program.

These aren’t acts of rhetoric in the fascist vein, but they do stray into soft fascist territory because they disrespect and negate the icons of democracy for personal, partisan gain.

But if you think Harper is a champion of democracy and not just a champion of his base, read up on some more extensive research into how much he has undermined democracy in Canada here: Harper’s Hitlist: Power, Process and the Assault on Democracy.

Then last summer he killed the long-form census after helping kill Copenhagen and public respect for other sciency and truthiness things like the evidence supported by thousands of scientists around the world on climate change.

Then he helped kill Cancun.

I’ve been hearing about the federal NDP and Liberals possibly talking about non-competition pacts to ensure no Harper majority. I’ve been thinking for many years about proportional representation.

We’re already somewhat past the tyranny of 19th century majority parliaments, having had minority federal governments for almost 7 years now without the earth stopping spinning.

All I know is that Harper has governed like he had a majority, enacting his ideology with a gun to everyone’s head by threatening an election through confidence motions on all sorts of things, thereby triggering a [perhaps] reluctant Liberal coalition.

I’m tired of the Conservative-Liberal coalition. And with almost 7 years of minority governments, it’s time reasonable Canadians started seriously investigating something more effective than the obviously useless first-past-the-post electoral system.

Tomorrow? Some of why electoral reform should be obvious now.