Electoral Reform

Published by at 2:28 pm under Governance

The socialist hordes are already beating the drums and parading in favour of Proportional Representation in Ontario.

After every Canadian election there are more or less strident howls for electoral reform because some candidates have been elected without the support of the majority of voters in their ridings. The howlers are right one of the fundamental principles of the system on which our country’s governance is based is that the representative of a riding in the Parliament should be supported by a majority of his/her neighbours. This fundamental principle goes back more than a thousand years to the Norse and Saxon Things and Moots that guided the evolution of our British-style parliamentary democracy. The multiplicity of parties in modern times has meant that only about one-third of candidates are elected with a majority these days.

The usual suspects favour some form of distributing seats to parties according to the proportion of votes received by each party. It is bad idea. Proportional representation is the antithesis of the democratic, representative, parliamentary system. Those who propose it either ignore or favour the fact that proportional representation elects party representatives, not citizens’ representatives. It takes the last element of control away from citizens and puts total control of the members of Parliament in the hands of party big shots.

We’ve already been subjected to many cases of abuse by parties ploughing under the rights of local boards by parachuting party-selected, “star” candidates into ridings. It’s also becoming less uncommon for parties to bribe sitting members to switch party affiliations thereby negating the will of a riding’s electors. We’re also seeing an increase in the frequency of sitting members being thrown out of caucus thus frustrating the right of that riding’s citizens to have adequate representation in Parliament. PR would just complete the job and turn our elections into choices among party-selected hacks.

It is clearly desirable for each member to have the majority of their riding’s electors supporting their positional authority in Parliament. A simple way to do this would be to adopt the common practice of runoff elections used in electing candidates, party leaders and many other positions – both public and private. It would be a simple matter of modifying election procedure law.

Let’s do our bit to prevent the PR aberration from being approved in October.