Saturday, February 5, 2011

l'Association pour la Revendication des Droits Démocratiques

The ARDD is contesting the constitutionality of Quebec’s FPTP voting system before Quebec’s appeals court. This hearing will begin February 8th. This is the best thing I have heard in a while. While I was living in Vancouver the provincial elections featured a referendum to accept a single transferable voting system in 2009 in BC. The campaign was known as BC-STV and was defeated with only 38.82% in favor of implementation.  
Our current system obviously does not properly represent the desires of the population. In the 2006 election the Green Party received 4.5% of popular vote, 0% of seats in parliament; the NDP received 17.5% of the vote and 9.5% of seats in parliament; the Bloc Quebecois received 10.5% of the vote and 17% of seats in parliament; the Liberals received 30% of the vote and 33% of the seats; and the Conservatives received 36% of the vote and 40% of seats as well as the position of Prime Minister. This does not represent a healthy electoral system.

Electoral reform to me is very important for several reasons.

(1) the engagement of citizens relies on their perceived ability to affect the outcome of political discourse in favor of some beliefs they may have. In Calgary recently the voter turnout jumped from 30% in the 2007 municipal elections to 50% in 2010 (in 2004 it had been only 18%). I do not think it is trite or to say that this voter turnout was due to viable candidates representing both reform and the status quo. Naheed Nenshi won, seemingly a very progressive choice for Calgary.

(2) I feel like at this particular time it is imperative to challenge the status quo and the invested interests that manipulate our democracy. Obviously we do not live in the United States, and I think it is fairly obvious that the levels of influence special lobbies play in their government do not exist within our political culture. However I think that for this to remain true we need pursue policies that allow more direct participation of the voters in Canada.

It is impossible to disown regressive policies simply due to some innate aspect of their nature, this would necessitate a belief in the objective truth of the progressive agenda. No such truth exists. My desire to live in a socialist country stems on a belief that more egalitarian societies are better places to live in. So I do not want insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, the industrial military complex, oil companies, tobacco companies, the industrial food complex or corrections companies to control my government (or the Koch brothers).  This requires participation of the citizenry, which needs to be facilitated by the government.


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