Monday, September 17, 2007

Establishment comes out swinging in favour of status quo

First, we had the quintessential Establishment man, John Tory, lashing out at the Citizens' Assembly's recommendation for change last week at the National Post editorial board.

The Toronto Star last week printed the falsehood in a front-page story that province-wide candidates would be "appointed" to the legislature under the new system. No correction was printed.

Now today, the Globe & Mail has gotten into the action defending the unjust voting system which currently distorts voters' wishes at election time.

Globe columnist Murray Campbell certainly seems to be drinking the Establishment kool-aid.

While paying lip service to the injustices under our current system, Campbell spends most of his time attacking the Citizens' Assembly's proposal regarding province-wide list candidates.

The decision by the Citizens' Assembly to leave it up to political parties to decide how to nominate their province-wide candidates has become the focal point of attack from folks who like it when a party wins a majority government with only 38% support.

Says Campbell today of this provision: "[It's] an invitation for the parties to stack their lists with loyalists -- bagmen, if you prefer."

Parties can nominate such bagmen in ridings now under current rules. But they don't because backroom cronies rarely make popular election candidates. It's foolish to suggest a political party would deliberately alienate voters by nominating a province-wide list filled with backroom friends of the leader.

Parties will want to nominate province-wide candidates who will help increase their appeal to the broader public. That's what parties try to do during election campaigns: win popular support, not alienate voters.

Liberals For MMP is recommending that the Ontario Liberal Party adopt the most democratic and transparent process possible when drawing up its list of province-wide candidates, should MMP pass this referendum. Furthermore, we are recommending that all list members open constituency offices in their home regions so that ordinary voters can gain access to them more easily.

After acknowledging there's no proof that extremist parties would suddenly arise in moderate Ontario, Murray Campbell plays on public fears about Muslims:

"Could Mr. McGuinty have resisted the pressure to adopt sharia law if he had needed an Islamist party to govern? The inevitable creation of single-issue splinter parties would threaten the parliamentary tradition in which people with strong views had to find compromise within big-tent political parties. Balkanization would surely follow."

We can expect more of this kind of loaded commentary from the establishment media and their cohorts as this debate continues, no doubt.

No comments: