Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dropping First Past the Post Voting Like a Phat Beat.

Okay it appears that during the next provincial election here in Ontario we’ll get the chance to vote on proportional representation. I do like the irony that the referendum vote for this to pass doesn’t require 50% +1 to be valid, but instead 60% total support plus at least 50% support in a minimum of 64 ridings. Chucking a political bone to the masses? Maybe, maybe not.

To be honest I’ve had too many arsewipes at the Green Party rave on about proportional representation for me to associate it with anything good and wholesome. It makes me think that we already have enough idiots in government, why add more? Just once I’d like someone with an actual PhD in Political Science to tell me why this is a good thing instead of random loud angry white guy number 12 try to prove me wrong because he read a book or knows someone who knows someone.

Okay, for the most part I tend to agree with proportional representation. I do think the arguments against first past the post are inherently weak. Whoever gets the most votes wins. Doesn’t get much simpler. Claiming a government doesn’t represent people because more people didn’t vote for the winning party than did is kind of like that vaseline on the lens effect that makes Luke Skywalker’s car appear to hover. You’re blurring what is there. It’s not like more people voted for one different party than the winner. We have more choice which is a very good thing but after experiencing party politics I don’t think simply starting a political party should allow you to have a seat in the legislature. That’s just what happens when you get more choice – you get more chances to dilute the system.

The big questions for me, is how do you run a by-election for a proportional seat? With a party list being presented to voters during an election, what happens if that proportional MPP steps down, for whatever reason? I don’t want the party to simply patch in the next person on the list – that’s a bit too open for flagrant abuse. Run a fantastic first person on the list, get him or her in then have them step down so person number 2 gets a seat? – no thank you. And just exactly who are these proportional MPPs going to be accountable to? Their own party or can we voters contact them?

I just find this a very boring subject so I’m probably not the best person to be commenting on it here but Adrian is in Berlin and Jan is in Edmonton, so I’m stuck watching the home-front. I do think that having governments that are forced to take into account different points of view results in much better governance. I actually like minority parliaments and think we should have fixed election dates whenever there is a minority parliament (provincially or federally) as that generally amounts to the same thing as proportional representation, except everyone there is accountable to the local voters.

I need to read a bit more of the proposal to know more about the system being offered, but I’m generally against anything that gives more insane people a public voice. Isn’t that what the internet is for?

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