Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Whatever Happened to Democratic Renewal

Anyone who read this blog during the Ontario election knows that I am no fan of electoral reform or more accurately electoral reform when it is synonymous with some system of proportional representation. However, that does not mean we don't have to take efforts to restore interest in the democratic process. Something has changed in this country. Okay, a lot of things have changed in this country, but something has made people decide that voting isn't important. When a centre-left newspaper is publishing editorials like this, it is time to reinvest in citizenship. What does that mean? Well, here's one way to do it. Here are some ways to get more attractive candidates. However, beyond my ideas, I think this is a discussion we need to be having. The only thing I'm not willing to listen to is that the only constant in the last 50 years, our electoral system, is responsible for the decline in participation.


Scott Tribe said...

Young voters from 18-29 are the least likely to vote now. Allowing 16 and 17 years olds to vote isn't going to change that - all that will do is increase the # of eligible voters and decrease the turnout rate.

Red Tory said...

Let's add even more uninformed and profoundly apathetic people to the potential voting pool. Gee, that's a great idea! I'm sure the average 16 yr. old will have a lot to say about devolution of powers or marginal tax rates, etc. Oy.

Linuxluver said...

People don't like to waste time on activities or functions they regard as unproductive, futile or irrelevant to them. With that in mind, whether or not people vote is an indication of how they perceive the value to them of doing so. Not everyone has the same view. Many (not all!) young people, as Red Tory suggests, have no interest (or knowledge) of the issues that might lead them to cast a vote.

Others, of any age, will see voting as a futile act and therefore and irrelevant waste of time. I'm very much in this other group where the existing voting system is concerned. In London-Fanshawe, where I voted, 23,000+ people did NOT vote for the Liberal party incumbent who won the seat with 13,000+ votes. More than 60% of the voters in London-Fanshawe did not want him, but he won anyway.

Why on EARTH would I or anyone else among the 23,000 who didn't support the "winner" waste any more of our valuable time on an electoral system that is that utterly screwed up and broken?

I also am able to vote in New Zeland under their MMP system. I know first-hand that the No MMP case in last year's referendum was dribbling nonsense, unsupported by reality. Under MMP, my local vote may be wasted as it was in London-Fanshawe, but my party vote will definitely count toward representation for the party i prefer. It's worth my time to go down and vote and I always do. Because it matters and does have an effect on the outcome.

Canadian voter apathy - even antipathy - can be easily traced back to the apparent lack of effective accountability that the present voting systems make possible. London-Fanshawe voters voted - by a super-majority - against the incumbent....but he won anyway.

Voting in Canada? A complete waste of time in "safe" seats like that one......like most of them.

I'm sharing my view here, based on actual experience and practice. Please don't insult me by telling me how I'm "wrong". Thanks.

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