Democracy Theatre

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In the National Post, Andrew Coyne asks:

“The economy is in good shape, so why is support for the Conservatives slumping?”

I’m making Mother’s Day cards right now so I don’t have time to read the article, but even having only read the blurb, I find myself disagreeing with Andrew Coyne’s conclusion.

The Tories have not gone out of their way to alienate anyone. They are simply doing the job they were elected to do.

The Harper governmenr is doing an excellent job of serving the only constituents they represent. Their party is legally empowered to govern in this way because our inequitable winner-take-all electoral system gives all of the power to the party that secures more seats than any other. 

Ours is not a democratic system. 

The problem with a winner-take-all system like ours is that a majority government is a dictatorship.

 flag smallThe rest of us don’t count any more than our votes do.

That is the reality built into Canada’s winner-take-all electoral system.

Only the elite whose votes elect the government secure representation in government.

The electoral reform Andrew Coyne supports is called “Alternative Vote” ~ although various spin doctors have rebranded it “Preferential Voting” (Liberal Party) or “IRV” (RaBIT). Some people like this alternate winner-take-all electoral system because they believe it will game the system so their party will get the dictatorial power currently enjoyed by the ruling party.

No matter how good the intentions, no matter how benevolent, a dictatorship is not democratic. Every time I hear people slamming Canadians for our low voter turnout it makes my blood boil. It isn’t that Canadians don’t care, it’s that each generation has learned that our elections are as meaningless as the elections in any banana republic.

When most votes don’t count, what you’re left with is really only democracy theatre.

I don’t think we can afford to pay the price demanded by anyone’s defacto dictatorship.

On this Mother’s Day, I reflect on why I write this blog: as a mother, I believe all of our kids deserve to live in a real democracy. But that will only happen with meaningful electoral reform to Proportional Representation.

All Canadians should be represented by our government. 

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5 thoughts on “Democracy Theatre

  1. Very True Laurel! It is just theater when we don’t have input. Sadly, we aren’t even allowed seats to see the play in real time. Often we have to wait years to watch the reruns, before we lear what the plot was.
    We have the tools for direct democracy. But, the government has no intention of surrendering the power.

    • Excellent point about the time lapse. We are fortunate indeed to have even heard about the Robocall scandal. But for a couple reporters filing Freedom of Information requests it might never have come out. Still, the veil of secrecy shrouding the Elections Canada investigation does not bode well.

      You are quite right about the possibility of direct emocracy, but before heading along that route we must first remake our system into something that is actually democratic.

  2. Democracy Theatre is a good name for it. I know a lot of people, good caring people, who don’t vote because they don’t believe that voting makes a difference.

    That needs to change (and I know I’m preaching to the choir, because we’ve talked about the in the past).


    • Yes:

      Government says: You have the right to vote
      Reality is: inequitable system makes majority of votes not count
      Media berates: non-voting electorate for electoral outcome.

      This political variant of “Blaming The Victim” makes me so angry.

      • As well it should. Someday maybe the media will understand that they are part of the problem.


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