As the saying goes, “promises are either kept or broken.”
The latter most certainly applies to rookie Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for breaking his massive election promises to restore electoral reform.
For months, the self-proclaimed leader of real change led us to believe he would be the one to save us from Canada’s long repressive first-past-the-post electoral system (FPTP).
Trudeau’s proposal to end the draconian status-quo was intended to make every vote count and give Canadians a stronger voice in Ottawa. Such a system would bring us up to par with the majority of advanced western democracies that have long been using some form of proportional representation.
This, of course, was music to the ears of voters that have long been calling for a new fair vote system. For way too long we’ve allowed ourselves to exist in a weak and outdated version of democracy that clearly puts the power of the party before the power of the people. How else can you explain a federal election that typically allows an average of seven million wasted votes and majority governments formed with less than 40 per cent of the popular vote? With stats like that, it’s easy to see how all those votes get wasted.
It also explains why only four of 16 majority governments since the First World War have won with over 50 per cent of the popular vote. It’s an all-or-nothing, winner-take-all, two-party system that completely fails the people in Canada’s multiple-party electoral process.
Trudeau defended his democratic deception with tales of ill consensus and fears of fringe voices rising up and taking over the country. It was a nice try, but that wasn’t the kind of transparency we were hoping for! From ‘sunny ways’ to the same old ways, Trudeau’s transition from campaign hero to prime minister zero has been remarkably disappointing and the biggest political let-down in years.
After months of waiting for the one thing that has the power to change everything, Trudeau decided that what was best for the party was best for the people.
I was one of the suckers who fell for the whole real-change thing, because I believed Trudeau’s pledge to make every vote count was far too big and sacred a promise for even a politician to break. His decision to stick with the same system that’s been wasting votes and providing easy victories for years is a huge slap in the face of democracy and one of the most shamefully cynical political powerplays we’ve ever seen.
There’s no doubt that making every vote count would create some much-needed incentive to show up at the polls and provide us the opportunity to elect our true candidate of choice, but it’s obviously too much a threat for Trudeau to keep his promise and give up the mighty powers of Canada’s FPTP voting system.
I think it’s about time we turned the tables on Trudeau and showed him just where the true power lies. Real change can only come from the people’s democratic will to hold their politicians accountable for all their broken promises and self-serving actions. All it takes is just you and me!
John Freeman, White Rock