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voting - Musings of Unayok — LiveJournal

2006 Jan 12


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Date:2006 Jan 13 - 23:53 (UTC)
I have someone to vote for. Green leader Harris. I don't buy that we're voting for individuals. The vast majority of Canadians reach their decisions based upon leaders debates, the media, and party platforms. Even if individuals are what we are "supposed" to be voting for, that's just not the way it is. The party and it's policies are paramount, and while the individuals are important, they are a distant second in most Canadian's minds. Take Newfoundland. Newfoundland goes Liberal, and it's never close. And it's not because the liberal incumbent is always somehow incredibly more charismatic or wise. It's because he's liberal. Furthermore, the policy of a party is going to shape Canada far more than any one incumbent. So I vote for a party and a policy first, and a candidate second. This election, my vote will go to a platform and a candidate I can support. But I definately cannot vote for a party who's policy I don't believe in, and if all my choices were unacceptable in that way, I would not vote for any of them. And it's not "any" disagreement that turns me away, but even one major point will do just that. I cannot, for instance, support the Liberals or NDP this election because of their support for reverse onus conditions for bail. As many voters would, I'd much prefer to see proportional representation. It seems to me that it's more in line with the way Canadians want to vote: for a leader and a party, not for a member of parliament. Shouldn't five percent of the vote count for something? Those 500,000+ votes didn't elect any green MPs. But less than 500,000 liberal votes elected 22 MPs in Atlantic Canada. And what better way to fight voter apathy than to have a process where every vote counts. Frankly, if you live in Newfoundland or another similarly one-sided riding, why bother?
Date:2006 Jan 13 - 23:53 (UTC)
It ate my spacing of paragraphs it did!
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Date:2006 Jan 14 - 15:47 (UTC)
I think you're trying to disagree with more than we actually do. I did say the original intent was for voting for individuals. I also said that this is largely not how it actually works, due to the very strict enforcement of party discipline in parliament. Parties have been the dominant feature of Canadian elections for a long time. I further only mentioned examining the individuals after examining the party policies.

Your mention of proportional representation comes a bit out of the blue. I didn't say anything about changes to the electoral system that should be done. My screed was purely on dealing with the situation we have now.

However, if you want to go off on that tangent, that's fine, too, I suppose. Personally, I prefer a mixed proportional system. I don't want to see a purely proportional system, because I also want to maintain that no matter where I live in the country, there is someone (even if I didn't vote for her) who is legally my conduit to the parliament. A purely proportional system removes any vestige of that connection.

You ask "why bother" voting in a one-sided riding. Critical mass. I've said it a couple of different ways, but I'll try yet another way: someone has to be first. If everyone waits around for someone else to start change, it's either not going to happen, or it's going to be dictated by someone else.

I believe you yourself said in one of your earlier entries, that vote counts as a couple of additional dollars to support the party you voted for next time around. That doesn't just apply to 'winning' votes. It works towards the future.

Change doesn't come instantly. I know that doesn't sell well in the instant gratification society we live in now, but that does not alter the statement's veracity. But if one doesn't start, and if one doesn't persevere, the desired change will not occur at all.

Nitpick: Oh, and Newfoundland does not always go solidly Liberal. St. John's is often enough Conservative. This time around, both of the St. John's ridings have Conservative incumbents. Two of the other ridings have switched between PC and Liberal several times. Perhaps you're thinking of PEI, which has been solidly Liberal for the last 20 years or so.