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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Canadian Fedral Election system - ridiculous

Yes it is. It's ridiculous. We scorn the English election system of the 17th century with its gerrymandering and rotten Burroughs but the Canadian Federal Election system could give them a run for their money. For illustration lets look at the fate of the Green party in the 2008 election.

Greens got 6.8% of the votes. In the Canadian 360 seat parliament this should have translated into 21 seats. What did they get. Nada, Zilch, Not a single seat. Of course the reason is that they didn't win a single riding. Wake up people. This isn't a local election where you vote for your municipal or even provincial government. This is an election for the Federal government which will run the whole country. The will of the people has been totally ignored by the powers that be. Its even worse.

Throughout the election, the green party was polling around 10%. Are the polls wrong. Not by this much. Did you notice the vote swapping that went on before the election over the net. Why was this. Because people didn't want to waste their vote so they swapped votes to make their vote count. Similarily, in a specific riding where, say, liberal and conservative have always been neck in neck, someone who wants to vote Green will realize voting Green is throwing away his vote. Instead he will vote for liberal or conservative party depending on which one he dislikes the least. If the popular vote counted so that you could vote for who you really want in the government, Greens would have got 36 seats. This doesn't even tell the whole story.Italic

Even during the polling, some people will report the strategic vote they intend to cast rather than the party they really want to vote for. Who knows, the Greens might have got 40 seats or more. The same applies to all the other minor parties.

Major parties and most especially the party in power always trots out the line "give us an absolute majority so we can legislate effectively". Nonsense. The last thing you want in a country in which pretty reasonable systems are already in place which work pretty well is a majority government that can do what it wants. The major party should have to talk, persuade, negotiate, consult and in short, take a lot longer to make any changes to the existing system. Precipitous changes without considering the all-to-often contrary-to-expectation consequences is a recipe for disaster.

When are the Canadians going to wake up to the fact that they are being 'had' by their major political parties.