A lot of the people I talk to think the Harper Government is the biggest problem facing Canada. And while I strongly disagree with much of what this government has done, I think that the CPC’s behavior is really just symptom of the real problem: our winner-take-all electoral system.
This is an excellent little story I’d never heard, in a nice little film that I’d never seen. Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland introduces this allegory told by his grandfather, here set to animation. It’s well worth a look because it’s just as pertinent today as it was when Tommy Douglas told it.
[Thanks to Larry Wartels for pointing me to “Mouseland.”]
With a little help from us, the political parties that are currently shut out of Parliament will commit to the implementation of meaningful electoral reform.
The Green Party has long been committed to Proportional Representation.
The NDP voted to adopt Proportional Representation at their policy convention. Even better, the party is demonstrating its active commitment to PR as Craig Scott, the NDP Democracy critic stumps for meaningful electoral reform across Canada. Bravo! (Too bad Ontario’s NDP hasn’t worked with the LPO to implement open list MMP in Ontario… apparently both parties would rather gift the province to Mr. Hudack)
Having backed Alternative Vote initially, the Liberal Party seemed entrenched in its dismissal of Proportional Representation. Many Liberals have been working to change LPC party policy. I helped some of my Liberal friends make a film to support their resolution to reopen the electoral reform issue at their policy convention. And sure enough, their resolution 31 passed. While the Liberal Party has not actually committed to Proportional Representation yet, it has opened the door.
When some votes count more than others, but most don’t count at all, it isn’t democratic. Many of us have tried to push back against the inequitable system with strategical voting. The problem is that if we vote strategically instead of voting for the candidate we think will best represent us, we will never elect the candidates we want; this makes a farce out of our “democracy.”
But things are changing. Canadians are starting to see past the status quo propped up by the bulk of our mainstream media. That’s why Canadians across the country have been calling and writing their MPs, and delivering petitions to let them know Proportional Representation must be on the national agenda. Even some Conservative MPs are coming to the realization we need to modernize our First Past The Post system because they are discovering for themselves how frustrating it is not to have your voice heard.
Part of the problem we face is that nearly half of Canada’s eligible voters have become disaffected by the gross inequity inherent in our unfair system. If all the disaffected voters come back to the polls and vote in the next election — no matter who they vote for — all of our fractional votes would combine into enough votes to turn the tide.
Fair Vote Canada tells us that Ten Canadian Commissions, Assemblies and Reports have recommended proportional representation.
And although I expect Tommy Douglas would be pleased to see the NDP as Canada’s Official Opposition, I think he’d be happier still if Canada adopted Proportional Representation, so that the mice and the cats can finally be represented proportionally.
For information about what you can do to help Canada become a real democracy, contact Fair Vote Canada to find the chapter near you.