Posted October 16, 2008on:
If I had to pick one word to characterize the results of the Canadian election, it would be “anticlimactic.” We’re basically in the same boat. These are the results (courtesy of the Election Prediction Project):
- Conservatives 143
Bloc Quebecois 50
(Numbers corrected per Katie’s comment below -I accidentally copied the Eleciton Prediction Project’s prediction, not the actual result)
And people are a bit pissed off at Stephen Harper for calling an election early. Straight from Katie’s blog (who is far more eloquent on it than I could be, for reasons you’ll see below):
I think it’s a bunch of crap that Steven Harper called this election, a full year before it was due, in the first place. $290 million tax payer dollars were spent on this fiasco, funding the slam campaigns, slanderous television ads, and incessant telemarketer style phone calls.
Well, yes. It was a year early. And probably a bad idea to call it. And I hate to say it, but it would have happened anyways. Harper got together with the other leaders, and they all decided they couldn’t work together. Depending one whose perspective you adopt (a) Harper got scared and wanted to reinvigorate his mandate, or (b) the opposition parties refused to work with the conservatives.
Either way, the answer leads to the same answer: there would have been a confidence vote at some point, likely in the fall, that would have failed. And then there would be an election anyways. The money would have been spent anyways.
In My Not So Humble Opinion.
I can’t say I’m surprised at the result. The day after the election was called, I said, “Its going to be another Conservative minority.”
And I’m happy about that. I like minority governments in the system we have. They provide another level of check and balance in our rather fucked up system (where one party can get about 8% of the popular vote and 51 seats – the Bloc – because they have the necessary concentration of votes and another party gets about 7% of the popular vote and can’t get one seat because they run candidates all across the country – the Green party). Minority governments, here, force the party in power to negotiate with the other parties and adapt their policies so that they get closer to meeting the needs and desires of the rest of the population.
Minority governments are a bit of an aberration here (and in England). They have a deeper meaning when they occur again and again: that the electoral system is screwed and needs changing; that the traditional parties aren’t meeting changing needs and desires. So why doesn’t anyone try to fix this?
Well, the BC Liberals tried to a few years ago by introducing a Single Transferrable Vote (STV) system for referendum on a provincial level. Other than sounding like a sexually-transmitted disease, what is an STV system? Simply put:
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) is a system of preferential voting designed to minimize wasted votes and provide proportional representation while ensuring that votes are explicitly expressed for individual candidates rather than for party lists. It achieves this by using multi-seat constituencies (voting districts) and by transferring all votes that would otherwise be wasted to other eligible candidates. STV initially allocates an elector’s vote to his or her most preferred candidate and then, after candidates have been either elected or eliminated, transfers surplus or unused votes according to the voter’s stated preferences.
STV is used in places like Scotland, Ireland, and New Zealand (clicky the link above for more detail – I’m not going into it here because that’s a whole other post in itself)
STV would have been a good thing – it provides a balance of proportional representation, without losing any votes. Its considered a happy medium between the first past the post system (current system) and proportional representation.
In BC in 2005, the referendum required 60% of the vote to pass. This is what happened:
A variation of STV known as BC-STV came within three points of meeting the 60% threshold the government had set for adoption in British Columbia in a 2005 referendum, but it will be put to the voters a second time in 2009.
People demand more representation and fairness in how legislative seats are allocated, then they vote down a change to the system designed to do just that?
Hello? McFly? Anybody home?
So BC-ites, next year when we go to the provincial polls, vote for whoever you want, and then vote YES for STV. Because it may provide an example to Ottawa of a way to fix the fucked up federal system.
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