U.S. election shows need for change

Like the U.S., Canada has an archaic voting system which repeatedly produces results shockingly contrary to voters’ wishes

Re: the editorial “Canadians can learn from U.S. election” in the Nov. 18 Saanich News.

Yes, we can learn – especially about how fundamentally flawed electoral systems produce undemocratic results. Like the U.S., Canada has an archaic voting system which repeatedly produces results shockingly contrary to voters’ wishes.

Over half of voters in our last election could have stayed home and it wouldn’t have changed the results one bit. With voter apathy a huge part of the recent U.S. election debacle, why would any democracy continue to use such outdated electoral systems?

The Trudeau government promised that the 2015 election would be the last one using our first-past-the-post system but hinted at backtracking on this key campaign promise. Disgruntled voters seem to have settled down, perhaps in part due to the near-absence of media coverage of this crucial period in our country’s democratic history.

A special parliamentary committee held months of public hearings across Canada, which included Victoria. In October, the minister of democratic institutions held a day of meetings in Victoria to hear from voters. These meetings resoundingly called for adoption of some form of proportional representation (PR), also supported by the recent P.E.I. plebiscite.

The vast majority of OECD countries use PR but sadly, not the U.S. nor Canada. It’s time that changed  but time is running out. With a report on electoral reform due by Dec. 1, voters must demand change now and hold Trudeau to his promise to bring in a fairer, more democratic electoral system.

What happened in the U.S. is not unlike the 1996 B.C. election which saw the second place party win power. We mustn’t let these lessons go by unappreciated or ignored. We ultimately get what we deserve, and we all have a responsibility for the outcome. Demand change from our politicians – federally and provincially.

Mark Jeffers

Victoria

 

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