Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Next Day Thoughts

This one is going to hurt for four years. What is there to say? The Conservatives managed to scare another 2% or so of Liberal support their way and increase their seat count by over 20. Such are the glories of FPTP. FPTP has given another minority government absolute power over the majority of Canada's citizens. It is a disgrace, but here we are. Now what?

I hope Liberals use this time in the wilderness to get over their psychic scars and really look at the travesty that is our electoral system. Perhaps the people in the party, who have been so hostile to the idea of electoral reform, are finally ready to see its necessity. I doubt it, but I can dream. Really, it's all I have today.

One bright note though, is the election of Elizabeth May. If there was anyone who could advocate for electoral reform, in an articulate way, it would be May. I hope she takes this on as her main project, during the next four years. I also hope the NDP uses the next four years to make electoral reform central to the next election.

The next four years are going to be tough and those who voted for Harper thinking they could ignore politics for the next half a decade, are in for a rude shock. We are going to get the reanimated corpse of Thatcherism stomping across the countryside and the villagers are about to get crushed. I doubt they are ready for it. I know I am not.

For those out there who are savoring your triumph, I say to you congratulations. What I am about to say, will, I am sure, sound like sour grapes, but it needs saying. Your party may control the government, but it does not represent the majority of Canada's citizens. If you abuse the power that our system has given you, you will be swept away. You have nowhere to hide now. No one to blame. It is all on you.
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  1. I'm getting really tired of hearing people blame FPTP for results they don't like. The Cons did it during the Chretien years, and now our team is doing it.

    Yes, the system is imperfect, and yes it introduces abberant results, but so does any system.

    If we had IRB, an awful lot of Lib voters 2nd choice would be Cons, and a lot of NDP supporters second choice would be Greens. The results would change, but they wouldn't magically become what we want.

    Proportional representation would be a diaster in as regional a country as Canada, where real regional differences exist. You can try to paper over those differences by diluting them only for so long before they bubble over and explode for not having expression.

    Yes, if we had changed voting systems and the parties strategies and tactics hadn't changed, the results today would be different. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a bus.

    The fact is the Conservatives did a much better job of getting their message out and their supporters out where it mattered. We can deplore that their methods worked, but there it is.

    Until we convince more Canadians that this stuff matters, and get them passionate about our issues, we will continue to lose. The details of how individual ballots are counted is meaningless compared to that.

  2. That's how the system works, Greg.

    If the government tramples on people, it gets swept away.

  3. Further from a previous post, yes Greg, my party called to encourage me to vote in the advance poll. If they hadn't, my guess is that Harper's majority might have been smaller or not there at all. Record advance voters, not affected by Jack's meteoric rise, almost every person in line eager to tell me they were voting Conservative. As for FPTP, I've said it before, PR is just the fair play rule that we use in kids athletics modified for mediocre adults.
    Get in the game, contribute, work, go door to door, call mambers to vote in advance polls and strive for success.
    Don't wait for the rules to change to play your own game.
    See ya in four years.

  4. Pedro, winning by FPTP is of course the only way to change the system and so that is the way it will need to be done.

    Ben, so don't trample the people.

    Jon, I have heard all of your objections to PR and I don't buy any of them. PR would be a cure for regionalism not a cause. For crying out loud, we had the Bloc for the last 20 years using FPTP. As long as we have majority governments elected with a minority of votes, people like me are not going to shut up. So, get used to it.

  5. A lot of the Ontario seats seem to have fallen to vote splitting rather than Harper picking up significant votes from swing CPC-Liberal voters. It seems that in many cases more swing NDP-Liberal votes moved away from the Liberals than swing CPC-Liberal votes. The latter have been moving for a while with high profile cases like Heather Reismann moving years ago. That has been a continual erosion as Harper has successfully tapped into some targetted groups who might have previously voted Liberal. I don't see what he did in this election as standing out in any way. What stands out is how well the NDP captured votes that might have previously been Liberal votes. That is the real story of this election, isn't it?

  6. Harper picked up 5% in Ontario and gained something like 19 seats.

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  8. "As long as we have majority governments elected with a minority of votes, people like me are not going to shut up."

    I'm not asking you to shut up, nor would I. I'm telling you you're wrong :)

    We need to *strengthen* local representation, not wipe it out.

    As for PR being a cure for regionalism -- do you really think Alberta is going to stop being different than (say) Ontario just because we count ballots differently? Or do you think maybe -- just maybe -- them not having a regional voice in parliament would _inflame_ tensions?

  9. As for PR being a cure for regionalism -- do you really think Alberta is going to stop being different than (say) Ontario just because we count ballots differently?

    No, I don't, but if the NDP had representation equal to its popular vote in Alberta and the Conservatives got its share of seats in Quebec based on its popular vote, the composition of the house would be a more realistic portrait of the national opinion and would end the false notion that Alberta is a monolithic Conservative stronghold. That would help, not hurt national unity, as the House came to reflect the true makeup of the country.

  10. By the way, there are several proportional systems that take local representation seriously. STV for example.