Category Archives: electoral reform

Now we know why the Liberals aren’t running on electoral reform!

While desperately groveling for the “progressive” vote, Liberal hack Jason Cherniak unwittingly tells the truth about why the Liberals refuse to run on electoral reform, and, incidentally, why McGuinty did everything possible to make sure MMP didn’t come to pass in Ontario. Cherniak writes:

Progressive voters need to understand that the seat distribution in Canada favours the Liberals over any other party.

Oh really! Actually, what “progressive” voters need to understand is that the Liberals are NOT running on electoral reform, which, in my view, disqualifies them from any claims to the term “progressive.” Strategic voting is a symptom of the flaw in the system, not a cure!  In fact, if we’re going to play to a strength of the FPTP system (i.e. local representation) we should all simply vote for the candidate which best represents our interest and desires.

Actually, what “progressive” voters need to understand is that if the Liberals were at all interested in genuinely advocating “strategic voting”, they would be urging voters to vote for the “progressive” option (be it NDP, Green or Liberal)  that best stands a chance at beating a Conservative candidate.  Cherniak is advocating all progressives vote Liberal everywhere except, and this is a howler, where Liberals have been at 10% in the past. Then, and only then, vote freely for a “progressive” option. Give me a break, this is an insult to “strategic voting”, which is itself already an insult. 

Actually, what “progressive” voters need to understand is that the Liberals abdicated a fundamental responsibility in any democracy: that of the Official Opposition. Their arrogance and sense of entitlement to being the naturally governing party resulted in an Absent Opposition that is a breach of democracy itself. Gerard Kennedy has the audacity to publicly claim the Liberals sat idly by (while a mission in Afghanistan was being extended, while budgets slashing funding to literacy programs, women’s programs, to social programs were passed, while freedom to information and the court challenges program was attacked) for the benefit of Canadians.
Actually, what “progressive” voters need to understand is that it was the Liberals that put us in this position in the first place. A vote for the Liberals is a vote to reward the party that best stood a chance at stopping Harper for making sure Harper returns to government virtually unchallenged.  A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a selfish choice of leader (one which couldn’t have played better into Harper’s hands), a vote for a “professorial” uncommunicative leader who was unable to rein in the huge resentful egos that stood to his left and right nor do anything to heal the old rifts in the party.  A vote for the Liberals is a vote for a caucus in disarray.
Actually, what “progressive” voters need to understand is that Liberal governments and Conservative governments are much more similar than is commonly assumed!

Actually, what “progressive” voters REALLY need to understand is that the LIBERALS ARE NOT “PROGRESSIVE.”

FPTP is Whack Yo!

I think we could all use a refresher course on why FPTP is failing miserably in providing the right of representation which belongs to each of us. Below is an excellent piece entitled “This is Democracy?” from Fair Vote Canada. In brief, under FPTP, millions of votes are wasted, votes are not equal, election results are distorted often creating artificial majorities, and FPTP is associated with lower voter turnout as compared with countries using fair voting systems. (Click on thumbnails for full page)

Campaign to defeat the "Campaign to Defeat MMP in Ontario"

Now that the Campaign to Defeat MMP in Ontario has officially begun, I thought I’d start my own little campaign to defeat these fear mongering, opportunistic, dissemblers of misinformation. There are many reasons to vote in favour of electoral reform this fall and I’ve provided numerous links below, so I won’t rehearse what’s already been stated, but simply add a couple of points I haven’t heard mentioned very often.

First, we must recognize this for what it is: McGuinty paying lip service to democracy. While I commend McGuinty for setting up a Citizens’ Assembly in the first place, what’s transpiring in October is hardly a referendum. As far as I’m concerned a referendum requires 50% +1 to be adopted. The moment McGuinty unilaterally and without debate undermined the wishes of both Committee and the Citizens’ Assembly and imposed a supermajority (60%) condition on the referendum, he simultaneously undermined any pretense to fairness in this process. McGuinty wants to sound democratic but knows that he has stacked the deck to make it virtually impossible to make this electoral reform a possibility. And for good reason, his party benefits tremendously from the existing system.

Second, notwithstanding McGuinty’s hijacking of the process, I’m still thrilled that a Citizens’ Assembly was established, and from all accounts it worked very well. Any feasible and workable inroads into increasing participatory democracy is always fine by me. This leads me to something I hadn’t considered before and I don’t know exactly how to answer. What does a vote against the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly mean? I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be room for debate and dissent. In fact, these should always be encouraged, especially when done honestly and intelligently. Still, this is not just any proposal being put forward to the public. It’s certainly not a partisan proposal. Moreover, it was the culmination of a fair, long, arduous, and well-informed process. The Assembly was composed of randomly selected jurors, guided by competent people, and the assembly’s recommendation was that Ontario needs electoral reform, and that this can best be accomplished by MMP. So is a vote against electoral reform a vote against democracy? If so, was McGuinty’s failure to endorse the recommendation (let alone undermine it altogether) anti-democratic? Any ideas…

Anyways, onto some informative links:

Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform
Fair Vote Canada
Vote for MMP
They Call Me “Mr Sinister”
democratic Space
Blogging for Democracy
Idealistic Pragmatist
Andrew Coyne
Dr. Dawg’s Blawg