Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Was Wrong

Okay, so my prediction could have been a little bit better; the final results can be found here if you haven't gotten a glimpse of them, yet. It's my fault, really, for calling it based on the polls running up to the election; I should have called it based on the fact that the prairies are, by in large, polarized rather than scattered across the political spectrum.

As I drove home, last night, from an evening spent watching the election results come in at my friend's house, I heard commentators on CJAD (a local AM news station located at 800 kilohertz) declare that "the only wasted vote is a vote not used!" Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the function of the Canadian Electoral System knows that such a declaration is naïve in the extreme, the most glaring example of the fallacy of his statement being the polling results for the NDP and the Bloc Québecois versus those same two parties' seat results. With nearly ten percent more votes than the nationalist Bloc, the NDP somehow managed to gather 13 fewer seats.

The fact is that the First-Past-the-Post electoral system is broken, it yields shoddy results at best, and gives a party with less than a majority of the popular vote a carte blanche to do as it pleases at its worst. The fact is that anyone not voting with the majority in their particular riding is wasting their vote, because short of a small stipend paid to their party, the people they voted for can do exactly nothing with that vote.

Canada is not a democracy - as long as we have minority governments, it is close to one, but do not, for even one moment, think that we live in a country which in any way democratic. If we did, the liberals would have two thirds of the seats of the conservatives (and not a small fraction up from half) and the NDP would be a close third, with the BQ trailing far behind and the Greens a little bit behind them.

Oh, and we might have a minority that represented us, for once.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Hi Steven,

I thought that votes didn't count either however, I learned this election that they do!

Apparently parties recieve about $1.75 from the federal government for every vote they recieve. This means if you vote for something like the Green party, while they may not win, you are helping them out, however small.

The other way to look at the electoral process is you're paying for it, you might as well use it.

While the system is peculiar with most democracies having at least some form of popular vote in their electoral system, Canadians have chosen several times to turn it down (B.C and Ontario elections to be the most recent). I think this is probably because it starts to get confusing when you have a mixed representational system.

To quote Winston Churchill "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”

Dave Hamel