Time for real democracy

Time for real democracy Ryan Leef states Bill C-10, the Omnibus Crime Bill, was one of the party platforms he ran with in the election, and that he will uphold his support for the passing of this bill. That's reasonable and respectable. The reasoning in

Ryan Leef states Bill C-10, the Omnibus Crime Bill, was one of the party platforms he ran with in the election, and that he will uphold his support for the passing of this bill. That’s reasonable and respectable.

The reasoning in the article continues that as Leef won the election, Yukoners have expressed their will and they support the bill.

In part I agree. However, the majority is a false majority. Leef’s Conservative Party won with 33.8 per cent of the vote (approximately 67 per cent voter turnout).

Of course, it would be false to infer all other voters do not support this bill. If this question was put to referendum, I wonder what the outcome would be?

As with many other questions, which are important to us as Yukoners and as Canadians, as citizens of the North and of the world, I wonder what the outcome would be if a fully informed and educated population were to vote on important issues?

Let’s use the crime bill as an example: even a referendum is not ideal, as what if say 46 per cent, or even 54 per cent of Yukoners voted against the crime bill?

Well, we just did away with a whole lot of work, and we just took away the voice of those who support the bill.

One voice should not lose to the other Ð they should share a voice, find a common voice that meets the needs of each party, they need not be mutually exclusive.

It is possible to change, it is not just the Utopia of a political philosopher. It seems more reasonable to me we spend the time and put the effort into reaching consensus among political parties, and between people.

Consensus does not mean everyone will get their way, the process will take a ridiculous amount of time, and the process will be so arduous we will wish back the old majoritarian-style voting system.

One of the reasons I was drawn to working toward electoral reform is that deep within my gut and intellectual person alarms ring there is something fundamentally wrong with the fact an elected official, such as an MP or a prime minister, can speak on behalf of his or her people as a whole “Yukoners,”“Canadians” with only having received 33.8 per cent of the vote, or 42 per cent of the vote, or whatever false-majority percentage you wish to use; and that so many people can loose the right to effective representation.

I drive a hard bargain, a true majority in my big dreamer mind would be nothing short of 88 per cent.

I want to see coalitions, members of the legislature and of Parliament elected proportionally, and working together.

I want to see consensus-based politics, wherein we could pass a crime bill that is a version that reflects the will and needs of all, and not a false-majority of Canadians.

The fundamental principles of democracy are being violated and vulgarized by the majoritarian, first-past-the-post electoral system and this does not sit well with my sense of ethics and democracy.

This is not a partisan statement. It is to say it is fundamentally wrong for a minority of the people to have 100 per cent of the decision-making power, regardless of which party is the one with the most votes.

This is a statement to say more interests and perspectives need to be reflected in our legislation. The dissidents have a voice, but not the power in the legislature, and this is in violation of important principles of democracy.

I wish to finish with a quote from an article I really like, by Vernon Bogdanor in PR Myths: The facts and the fiction on Proportional Representation.

“No political issue attracts more fallacious arguments than proportional representation. Perhaps the most foolish one is that a proportional system would be too difficult for the voters to understand.” There are many other myths out there surrounding proportional representation Ð such as “coalitions don’t work, are ineffective,”“parties will multiply like rabbits,”“PR lets in extremist parties,”“the tail wags the dog” (small parties will control the agenda), and so forth.

No electoral system is perfect, yet no system is as effective at producing ineffective votes as is the majoritarian electoral system.

I believe in a better democracy, that a proportional electoral system is both possible and feasible, and that the territory, and the country can be run effectively and efficiently, with no one sector or group suffering, if we work together Ð as partners and no longer as adversaries.

Let’s break down and do away with the left-right debate, let’s take the wind out of the sails of the stereotyping of the environmentalist versus the miner, the granola versus the redneck, the right-wing conservative versus the communist, and all the other stereotypes we have nurtured over time and that we use to pit one against the other.

Let’s bid good riddance to first-past-the-post and get a proportional system into place, an electoral system wherein the seats in the legislature more closely reflect the popular vote. Let’s be proud to have a territory and a country wherein an elected official can stand up and make a statement on behalf of a very high proportion of the people, and not a false majority of the people. We are capable.

My father likes to remind me that we have come a long way, and to be happy with the progress Ð at least we are not burning each other at the stake in the town square anymore, he says!

I was told by a wise friend that thick skin and a sense of humour are the two key ingredients required for sanity and continued energy with regards to persevering with such a grand task as wishing to change electoral laws.

I think we can do better, so I will do my best to keep my skin nice and thick and to keep laughing as I, and others, advocate for change.

Danielle Nadine Daffe

Whitehorse