Sunday, September 21, 2008

Orphan "Please, sir, I want some democracy!"

Fair Vote Canada has recently launched a timely new site called 'Orphan'.

Who are Orphan Voters? The site defines them as: "The neglected and democraticallly abused [Canadian] citizens who find the doors of Parliament slammed in their faces because their votes elected no one."

The site estimates that over 7.5 million Canadians cast votes in the last election in 2006 which had no effect whatsoever on the make-up of the Parliament. That was 51.2% of all voters who took the effort to cast a ballot, yet their vote essentially counted for nothing.

Check out the site when you have the time and take part in the contest guessing how many orphan votes will be cast in this 2008 election.

The site looks great. Congrats to Fair Vote for getting creative in their messaging and their ongoing campaign to keep this issue at the forefront.

With all the talk in this election of how Harper is flirting with a majority government with only 38-40% of the vote, it begs the question: Why do we put up with our archaic, anti-democratic voting system?

40% is not a majority anywhere else in life. Why is it a majority in our Canadian elections? Do the majority of Canadians really want Harper's policies shoved down their throats? No. Could it happen anyway because of our archaic First-Past-The-Post system? Yes. Do we need to change our voting system as soon as possible? Yes!


Chrystal Ocean said...

My question is how committed is the LPC to reforming our electoral system - per the voters' choice, not reform as the party may prefer?

I would ask - and have asked - the same of the Greens and NDP.

The Conservatives one can ignore. Our present winner-take-all system fits right in with their ideology.

Carrie said...

I'm alarmed at this information. Good God, what is the point in voting at all? Over 50% of votes didn't count!?

Do you know, if our electoral system had been different in the last election, who would have won? Who would have the most seats? I need to know that to determine if what the parties want to change the vote to is a fair system.

Lizt. said...

I would be willing to try the way Australia votes, but not New Zealand..something has to be done.

Matt Guerin said...

This site is not affiliated with the LPC or other Liberal parties. There are many people in the LPC who favour moving to a fair voting system. Dion has talked about supporting moving towards instant run off, which would be an improvement as it would ensure MPs are elected with 50% of the votes in their ridings, rather than the current plurality rules. But the best alternative is a fair voting system like STV or MMP.

In the last federal election, the Cns got 36%, the Libs 30%, the NDP 18%, the Bloc 10% and the Greens 5%. That translated into Cns 40% seats, Libs 33%, BQ 17% and NDP 9%.

There are many better alternatives to our current system. The important thing is to keep this issue alive and convince more Canadians that the status quo distorts voters' wishes. Once Canadians believe there is a problem, there will be more support for change.

Wilfred Day said...

When Dion was running for the leadership, he was qute clear:

"He confirmed that yes, he is personally in favour of a reform toward a system that would involve two-thirds of the seats being elected as they are now and a further one-third through "compensatory proportional representation," adding that he would want a "five percent threshhold in every province" (meaning that a party would have to attain at least 5% of the vote in any given province in order to gain seats there).

Also, the reason Dion gave for his support for this reform is one of my own main reasons for favouring proportional representation: he wants to "guarantee that each region of our country is not marginalized," i.e., to make it possible for, say, a Liberal government to have MPs elected in areas where they tend to be weaker, so that one region of a country doesn't dominate another.

That's quite similar to the Law Commission of Canada's model.

Now, has he repeated this since winning the leadership? Maybe, I don't know for sure.

Wilfred Day said...

Posted on "babble:"

"plenty of Libs want it. Gerry Lenoski, the local candidate in Burnaby-New West has been an advocate of PR for quite some time."

His website says "He is particularly interested in democratic reform and improving Canada’s electoral system." Doesn't specify PR, though.

Wilf Day said...

Carrie asks above what the result would have been if our electoral system had been different in the last election.

This was one of the points discussed Feb. 21 at the sold-out forum held in Toronto, at which Marie Bountrogianni was the keynote speaker.

One of the presenters, Prof. Henry Milner, told participants about various models that could be used other than MMP with closed province-wide lists. One was MMP with open regional lists, much like the demonstration model in the Law Commission's Report but with smaller regions. The results under it are summarized in my blog.