Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FWG's Amazing Election Day Prediction: Dumb Canadians use Dumb Political System to Elect the Candidates They Don't Want

Canada has only one federal conservative-oriented party of any significance. They're the Conservative Party which were re-built from the ashes of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Reform Party, a project headed by Mr. Stephen Harper who now leads the new Conservative Party and is considered the Prime Minister thanks to a small minority of Canadian voters who cast votes for his party (those afraid of losing their privileged share of wealth and those afraid of the darkies, and presumably some other categories of voters of whom I've never made acquaintance) and thanks to a political system supposedly democratic but which empowers its constituents to the slimmest possible degree.

I should note that I once had a significant explicit conversation with an associate of Harper, a Reform Party candidate who was most thankfully never elected and who's messages were in no way indistinguishable from that of a Nazi. Somehow I resisted the urge to slit that monster's throat and for that negligence I apologize to you all.

There are four more parties of significance and they are all liberal-oriented parties. We have the popular Liberal Party who historically dominate power in this nation due to the popular liberal-thinking essence of the country.

We have the Bloc Quebecois who only run in the large province of Quebec and do so based on a separation platform that is somehow not considered treasonous (thank goodness - I don't like seeing people put to death). The Quebec public has twice rejected separation in provincial referendums but continue to elect it's proponents to office (not necessarily inconsistent, I realize)

We have the New Democratic party who have never held power nationally (though provincially on several occasions), who have become very proficient in the opposition role, who are probably more liberal than the Liberal Party in that they traditionally propose the progressive motions only later gobbled up by the Liberals, and who are probably more green than the Green Party given the independent studies that proclaim them so.

Oh yeah - the Green Party is the final element of the liberal-oriented community. They took the NDP's platform and slapped a green label on it and now help the conservatives by stealing votes from well-meaning but dunder-headed former NDP supporters.

Here's how it all works. A typical breakdown of an anglophone Canadian electorate might go like this:

party------------------------------ popular support
conservative-oriented Conservatives 23%
liberal-oriented Liberals --------- 20%
liberal-oriented NDP's ------------ 17%
liberal-oriented Green ------------ 4%
none of the above (no vote)-------- 36%

Result: A largely unpopular conservative minister goes to parliament.

If we voted with the same commitment to fairness as the leadership elections carried out by individual parties we would rank the candidates on our ballots in order to emulate the tiered system where supporters of cast-off low-scoring candidates would be reassigned to remaining candidates until one person gathers more than half the votes. In the above sample the Liberal would probably eventually inherit the support of NDP's and greenies and emerge victorious with about 40% on the above table or two-thirds of the vote.

At the last federal election we also had a referendum to decide on a proposal to change to a mixed representation system which was basically a compromise, which would have fallen short of fair representation but was at least unarguably more fair. All my most intelligent friends considered the proposal a no-brainer and voted YES to the proposal. Others had no idea what the proposal meant and voted NO because they don't want us participating in something they don't understand. They got their wish. Congratulations.

The same kind of insanity transpired, very tragically, in the nineties when we collectively downed an improved new version of the Canadian Charter of Rights by referendum. The new version was superior and more reflective of the current social environment than the old version in every way. Everyone I talked to who had bothered to read the damn thing overwhelmingly agreed with me but alas, we were the minority.

Many homosexuals axed it because it "didn't go far enough". Many Native Canadians axed it because it "didn't go far enough". And so on and so on. And the reward given to the clever "not enough" crowd is that they threw their $10,000.00 winning lottery tickets in the garbage because they didn't get their $1,000,000.00 grand prize. Too bad, so sad for all of us.

Canadian people are rarely considered politically savvy. It's no surprise how lazy we've become. We've been largely exempt for many years from the darkest consequences of humanity's political fascination; war, revolution, terrorism. We have no respect for the politicians who eventually play the political charade well enough to graduate into positions of consequence; we perceive them as actors and bullshitters. Each election a large share of voters bear the ridiculous discomfort of having to decide whether to make our preference known as democracy supposedly is to be celebrated, or to vote strategically in order to keep out the worst of the villains, meanwhile depriving their party of choice of the public support that would otherwise be useful for their future.

Oh yeah, my prediction (if anyone is still reading this mess, which I doubt): Another artificial conservative minority. The crippling left-wing vote-splitting combined with the Bloc effect - their localized popularity but absence at large - make it inevitable.

As for our non-political savviness and the low voter turn-out -- make room for me among the ranks of disinterested. I've never seen dynamic change follow a Canadian election. I've had it with the BS. This is probably my last time voting.

(Oh and don't forget to vote NDP or you'll make baby Jesus cry!)

4 comments:

Crushed said...

The best electoral system is STV. I don't know if you've ever loked at it, but it's what they use in the Irish republic.

It's the only system that approaches proportional representation, but where people are voted for, not parties.

Si ots good for independent politicians.

benjibopper said...

your prediction was bang on. in NS, NDP got the most votes but only 2 of 10 seats. we should throw a party or something, call it Democracy 250, celebrating that Canadian democracy was founded here. oh wait, that's already happened. but dammit, i was being sarcastic!

Automattic said...

Yeah I feel incredibly stupid for not voting YES on that referendum we had to change the mixed representation system.

I would say I couldn't be bothered to read up on it, and now I wish I had.

If it is any consolation, I voted for the NDP. I'm somewhat conflicted with this though, I wanted to vote Liberal so I could make Baby Jesus cry.

Claudia said...

My NDP'er Libby was a shoe in in this neighborhood. The Other candidates are NO where to be seen in this hood. She will always get my vote, unless she all of a sudden gets money hungry, which after speaking with her personally, and listening to her speak to my daughter (that made my kid HAPPY) I highly doubt that Libby will change her views any time soon. lol, she LIKES activists! She IS one!