Yukon needs electoral reform

Jim Borisenko I found myself in a rare moment of agreement with the Yukon Party, when Resources Minister Scott Kent, while defending his party's decision to frack in the Liard region, stated that the people need to know where their government stands. Un

by Jim Borisenko

I found myself in a rare moment of agreement with the Yukon Party, when Resources Minister Scott Kent, while defending his party’s decision to frack in the Liard region, stated that the people need to know where their government stands.

Undeniably true, but that would be a recent epiphany for any Yukon Party member, for it certainly didn’t apply to their “stand” on the Peel while campaigning.

The Yukon Party’s decision to proceed with fracking is in complete opposition to the expressed will of the people and exposes the consultative process as a sham. But then, is it not becoming abundantly clear they do not care in the least what we really think? (Currie Dixon: “the numbers don’t matter;” Brad Cathers: “I’m not going to protect an area the size of Nova Scotia;” Scott Kent: “we stand alone.”)

Yes Mr. Kent, your government truly does stand alone. The stand the NDP and Liberal member have taken against fracking shows they understand the mandate of their position as elected representatives within a democracy. They are responding appropriately to the expressed will of the people – the voice of civil society.

I find it difficult to imagine going into politics, getting elected by withholding my true agenda from the electorate because I know it would be detrimental to my being elected, and then imposing that agenda against the wishes of an undeniable majority of my fellow Yukoners, because I know better than them. What arrogance! What an insult to everyone and the democratic process itself!

Can anyone recall a more clear display of this tremendous problem inherent in our first-past-the-post electoral system before? It is certainly the greatest misuse of a false majority that I have ever witnessed.

Shouldn’t this shocking degradation of democracy by this government be the catalyst for a move to an electoral system that will generate governance that more closely reflects the wishes of the people?

Even a layman like myself can see that the hole of the false majority is immediately plugged within proportional representative (PR) systems. No government can run away with their own personal agenda – or “stand alone,” as Mr. Kent so euphemistically put it.

The problem of the false majority has needlessly crippled our electoral system for centuries. Quite simply, it is an antiquated system that does not work for our beautifully expressive multi-party system. We entirely have the right to extricate this flaw from our electoral system for good, and begin to reap the benefits of a more inclusive and representational form of democracy.

I encourage everyone during our next election campaign, to call upon our political representatives to state their position on electoral reform, and if they would initiate the move to a system of PR if elected. We can do this folks, so let’s get on it.

As Justice J.C. Hennessey once said: “The antiquity of a rule is no measure of its soundness. It is time to re-examine the grounds upon which this ancient rule was laid down.”

Jim Borisenko lives in Tagish Lake.

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