Re: Graham Lang’s April 23 column, “In defence of first-past-the-post.”
So let me be sure I’ve got this straight, Graham. You fully understand the grand flaw of the “false majority” inherent within the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. You clearly see that the legislature created by this system is not “reflective of the popular vote.” And, even by your own analysis, you deduce that the proportional representative (PR) systems do more closely reflect the true outcome of the vote. And you choose the FPTP system and see its flaw as a “strength.”
Wow! Shocking, but frank, nonetheless, Graham. However, the antithesis of fair play should never be seen as a “strength.”
The granting of all parties representation in the legislature proportional to the percentage of the vote they received is not a “fracturing of the legislature.” It is giving a representative voice to a wider cross-section of the electorate. Isn’t that what democracy is all about?
That minority governments are fractious and lead to more elections is a long standing myth, purported by our powerful political parties for so long that it is accepted without question as fact and perpetuated by persons like yourself. It is nonsense!
Many studies, including one recently from Fair Vote Canada, have shown that there is “little difference in the length of time between elections in countries using proportional voting systems versus those using winner-take-all systems.”
You state that “the majority government is guided by the platform, meaning ... the electorate know what they are getting.” Say what? It would seem to me a party can say whatever it takes to get elected, and then, from the security of their false majority, ignore their election promises and dictate whatever agenda they truly had in mind. Does not the actions of our Yukon Party, by their dastardly usurpation of the wishes of Yukoners represented in the final recommended plan for the Peel fit exactly that scenario?
You know, it’s bad enough to be so openly cheated in any area of life, but when it happens in our politics, well that’s everything, man. It affects us all. Democracy is too important to be flouted so blatantly, and the “stable political environment” that you see within the FPTP system is exactly that. It is undemocratic by most anyone’s definition (including Webster’s), and even dictatorial.
If your only measure of a government is a “stable political environment,” well then the tight economic ship run by Augusto Pinochet in Chile becomes admirable. And let’s not forget, the trains ran on time in Mussolini’s Italy.
A better measure of good government is how closely do they reflect the will of the people? Do they listen and consult, and incorporate that will into direction and policy? Are they an integral part of the workings of civil society? And on that measure, our FPTP Yukon Party fails miserably, and the systems of PR, by their very definition, win hands down every time.