Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lorrie Goldstein And The Way Ahead

Greg Staples points to an article by the Sun's Lorrie Goldstein, giving vent to the frustration building within the ranks of small "c" conservatives at a looming Liberal "majority" on October 10. Mr. Goldstein points out the central truth of the upcoming "victory" for the Liberals:
If the last 10 days of the Ontario election campaign go the same as the first three weeks, two groups of people are going to wake up the morning of Oct. 11 with an awful hangover.

The first will be the majority of voters, especially Conservatives, who, not having voted for the party that won -- the Liberals -- will be wondering how a minor promise by Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory to publicly fund a few more faith-based schools, became the elephant in the room that obliterated everything else. (emphasis mine)

The second will be Liberals, who will be wondering how, in victory, they became the party of religious bigotry and ethnic bashing.

What is coming is another false majority, created by a minority of voters, swayed by the fear campaign of the Liberal Party. The real majority of voters will be left scratching their heads, wondering how a party that has broken so many promises could win a majority of seats by using fear of Muslims as its main weapon. But if they take a moment to think about it, the answer to their confusion is right in front of them. It is our broken electoral system.

The upcoming election, like all of our elections using FPTP, will create a legislature based on a lie. That lie is the presumption that somehow the results are based on the will of the majority of voters in this province. As Goldstein points out, this is just not so. The majority of the voters will cast their ballots against the winning party in this election just as they usually do. Will this reality stop the Liberals from behaving like they have a true majority mandate, when in fact they do not? Our history show us that it will not. The Liberals will trumpet their "majority" as a sign that they have the absolute right to move this province in any way they see fit and the majority will just have to live with it.

This outcome seems to be inevitable. But even if it isn't -- even if John Tory were to make an amazing comeback and swing seven or eight percent of the voters his way, the outcome would still be based on the lie of FPTP. The lie would benefit a different winner, and that's all.

However, though the outcome of this election is going to result in a sham majority, we needn't bang our heads against a wall. Sure, the majority of voters will get the shaft once again. Nothing new there. It will sting like hell. But, we can ensure that this is the last election we ever have to suffer the realization that the majority of voters have been trumped by the minority. We have it in our hands to pass MMP and make sure that in all subsequent elections, the will of the majority will be reflected in the creation of the Legislature. It will be the end of false majority rule in Ontario. The real majority may "lose" this election, but passing MMP will ease our pain. Vote MMP.
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