Re: Popularity contest, Oct. 23 editorial.
Yes. Canada’s “first-past-the-post” electoral system is the simplest option available and it has served the country reasonable well.
But that was before Stephen Harper, the prime minister who wanted to radically change Canada did so.
I would suggest that a simple, straightforward voting system only works as long as the new government can be counted on to consider the general good.
A point often made while Harper was prime minister is that he thought of his opponents as enemies to be mowed down. Despite the cheating that went on during his election campaigns, Harper never even achieved 40 per cent of the popular vote. This did not stop him from treating non-supporters, the majority of Canadians, with utter contempt. Respectful dialogue about issues became a thing of the past.
Harper’s years in office also changed the traditional political spectrum in Canada. We no longer had the pragmatic and non-ideological party in the middle represented by the Liberals, the party of individual responsibility on the right represented by the Conservatives, and the party of social justice on the left represented by the New Democrats.
Harper was at pains to portray the NDP and the Liberal party as being recklessly extreme, while moving the Conservative party so far to the right as to put its commitment to democracy in doubt. The fact that Harper’s supporters largely followed him in his extremism does not bode well for the future, unless a means is found to restore balance.
I hope Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s parliamentary committee takes the idea of an electoral system based on proportional representation very seriously.
While it may be true that Canada will have fewer majority governments under such a system, this seems minor compared to the danger of another Harper-style coup d’état. In addition, minority and coalition governments can have the very positive effect of encouraging political parties to hold power which are most willing to act co-operatively.
David Anson, White Rock
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Your July 31 editorial (Cutting off the West) clearly described what was happening here – Prime Minister Stephen Harper closing down the RCMP complaints commission and the Coast Guard, and sending them to Ottawa, no doubt to francosize.
The question now is will our Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau, a Quebecois, restore them as he promised? With that, we should ask if a unilingual English-speaking person has the same opportunity in Ottawa with this government. From one comes the other.
Suan H. Booiman, White Rock