Monday, September 18, 2006

More at Stake in New Brunswick Election Than is Commonly Known

New Brunswick is the latest battleground in the fight for the wholly irresponsible electoral reform known as proportional representation. Today’s election could start a wave of electoral ignorance that engulfs the entire country.

     Good luck to my Liberal brethren in New Brunswick today, hopefully they can put an end to the horribly inept, mind numbing Lord regime once and for all. Also, I imagine this is Shawn Graham’s last kick at the electoral can and he would make a great Premier. Also I hope the NDP continue to be shut out of the New Brunswick Legislature. New Brunswick voters, unlike those of my home province Nova Scotia, are very smart in never having given the NDP more than 1 seat. Of course that’s 1 seat too many, but it’s still better than the pathetic 20 seats we gave them here. Oh well, if there’s one thing I learned from the last two U.S. elections it’s that the drawback of giving people choice is they frequently make the wrong one.

The Danger for Canada

     However, the far more important battle being waged is that over Proportional Representation. The Lord Tories have stated that if they were to win another mandate they would hold a referendum on PR sometime in 2008. If this referendum were successful it could start a chain reaction that would lead to the whole country being overrun by this inadequate voting method. Now as you can no doubt tell I’m a firm opponent of PR in the current forms I’ve seen for one simple reason: It gives small parties far more power than they should have. Using today’s election as an example a party that has never won more than one seat, and is currently polling at a paltry 7 percent would suddenly hold the balance of power for the entire province. Proponents of PR will say that this is democracy in action, and that it would force parties to work together for the betterment of their Province/Country, they will say that smaller parties will have smaller roles in coalition governments because of their having less support; but what I say is where is the guarantee of that? Where is there a guarantee that these smaller parties won’t use the government’s fear of being dragged in to an election to hold them hostage just like the NDP did to the last Liberal government? The answer of course is there is none.

Why not a Points System?

     Proportional Representation advocates ignore these concerns, or if they do address them do so in a cavalier manner. I’m much more interested in some sort of points based system where we keep the same ridings as we have now and rank our candidates according to preference. So for me in the last election it would have been 1. Liberals, 2. NDP, 3 Marxist-Leninist, 4. Green, 5. Conservatives. This way everyone would be able to make their full preference heard, and if their candidate doesn’t win their vote isn’t wasted. PR advocates by and large reject this proposal because most of them are supporters of either the NDP or the Green parties and simply want more power for their respective parties. There are however a few who don’t fall into this category, I regard them as well meaning yet ill informed.

First Past the Post Isn’t the Answer Either

     First past the post is flawed, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind about that fact, but replacing it with any of the methods of Proportional Representation I’ve seen would simply replace one problem, bigger parties getting a disproportionate amount of power, with another more serious problem, smaller parties getting a disproportionate amount of power.

More for my own Sense of Sanity

     I imagine I’ll take a lot of heat for this post; I always do when I bring up PR, but educating the public on this irresponsible course of action makes me at least feel like I did something to stop the idiocy. And in the end it will probably amount to the same as Sunday shopping here in Nova Scotia, I did what I could but the sheer number of uninformed voters more than nullified my efforts. But at least when the Green party rules the entire country with 5% of the vote I can look people square in the eye and with a strait face and say: “You can’t blame me, I tried to stop this.”

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