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Posts Tagged ‘Electoral system’

I can’t believe a small part of me actually believed it was possible that our wonky, undemocratic and downright dangerous electoral system would be replaced by Justin Trudeau and his band of smiling hacks.

The government has announced it is abandoning one of its main election promises.  A promise spoke in no uncertain terms: “2015 would be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post system.”

I can’t say I am surprised that the party that has benefited the most from the undemocratic, non-representative first past the post system has decided to keep it.  Why not?  They more than any other political organism have benefited from its erratic outcomes where less than 40 % of the popular vote can win you a majority government which in Canada, as demonstrated under Chretien, Harper and now Trudeau gives one absolute unchecked power.

Canadians now, more than most western ‘democracies’ will continue to be at risk of a Trump style populist wave gaining unchecked power in this country and remaking it however they, a small extremist group, choose.

Justin Trudeau has failed Canada and all Canadians in the name of his own political success and power.

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“Canada’s electoral system and government structures make it susceptible to ‘hijacking’ by radicals who could, with a majority in the house of commons, make fundamental changes to the country.”  I remember the remark hanging in the lecture hall at Catherine Parr Trail College.  I paid this point little attention, thinking, “I guess anything is possible.  Likely? That’s another thing altogether.”

Canada’s single member plurality electoral system produces twisted, malformed results that do not match the sentiment expressed by voters.  Thirty eight percent of the vote means over fifty percent of the seats and absolute power; ten percent of the vote meant zero percent of the seats and so on.  Candidates represent ridings where sixty percent or more did not vote for them.  An extremist group could take absolute control of the country with only twenty five percent of eligible voters depending on voter participation rates.

It is disconcerting to think that we have chosen to arrange things so that over sixty percent of those who do their civic duty end up with no voice.

Canada has now found itself in the exact situation warned of in the lecture mentioned above, hijacked by an extremist group that was not forthcoming about their plans for the country, took over an established political brand with a history in power, mounted a multi-million dollar attack ad campaign when there was no election under way to smear opponents, played cynical wedge issues to divide the country and used fear to stampede as many votes as they could.

I am not saying that past Liberal or Progressive Conservative governments have not prospered at the expense of electoral accuracy.  This is, however, a very different scenario with a right wing movement that would put Utah Republicans to shame being given a majority government.

The election of the Harper Conservatives in May of 2011 does not represent a growing conservatism in Canada, nor does it mean that a majority of Canadians agree with this right wing extremism.  Canadians would never have voted for the Conservatives in May if it were not for many key factors, many of which are rooted in deception and assumption.  When we consider that only 61% of voters actually cast a ballot and apply this to the Conservative percentage of the votes (39%) we see that less than 25% of registered voters cast their ballot for the Conservatives.

I think it is important to understand just how Stephen Harper of the National Citizens Coalition; The Canadian Alliance and the Reform Party became Prime Minister.

The number one factor for this series of posts about the extremist Harper regime success is Canada’s single member plurality electoral system, which allowed a well organized minority to take control of the country’s levers of power.  I will add to the list of factors which led to Canada being taken by a fringe group of radicals that do not reflect the fabric of Canada, they will work hard to change that fabric so that it reflects them, or at least appears to.  “Canada’s values are Conservative values, The Conservative party is Canada’s party.” (ahem, 39%)

I plan to continue with the factors that led to this situation over the next few posts.

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Okay Stephen, tell Canada what your vision for this country is.  Go on tell them, they won’t laugh, go on…

 

Stephen Harper believes that a socially conservative transformation will be good for Canada, even if Canadians don’t agree… yet.  Stephen Harper is diligently playing the moderate, running out of things to say (have you noticed?), while he waits for the absolute power that will arrive with a majority government.  He believes, and rightfully so, that once he gets one of those easy Canadian style majority governments (all you need is 40% of the vote and you get like 80% of the seats), he will be able to do what he wishes to this country.  Once he has gained power by acting the moderate he can impliment his privatizing, slashing, socially conservative agenda.  A Canadian Prime Minister with a majority government wields tremendous, deep running power, power to do whatever he chooses, no matter how radical.  

 

Canada would be an excellent country to hijack, with our antiquated electoral system which spits out wonky, lopsided results, often the absolute power, majority government, type of results.

 

Make no mistake Stephen Harper is a right wing conservative even by American standards.  Mike Harris?  You ain’t seen nothing yet…  

 

He is also the most controlling, secretive PM this country has ever seen.  Telling Conservative candidates that they are not to speak to the media, muzzling his MPs, controlling press conferences.  Does this not ring anyone’s alarm bells?  Why can’t the guy relax his strict control of the message, or lack there of?

 

Will Canadians wake up in time to prevent serious damage to the country we have all worked so hard building?  Stay tuned…

 

 

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