Crawl Across the Ocean

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Take Your Future Into Your Own Hands, Islanders

If you're from P.E.I. I probably don't have to remind you of the string of lopsided results the first-past-the-post electoral system has produced. Currently 4 opposition MP's, 1 in the parliament before that, 1 after the 1993 election, and so on.

To really have a true democracy, you need to satisfy a couple of conditions which are currently being neglected. 1) The MP's in parliament should be a reasonable reflection of the voters preferences. If 45% of the province votes for someone other than the winning party, and that 45% is represented by one person, the system is broken.

2) There needs to be a credible opposition in the house which has enough numbers to effectively monitor government action. When one lone person is trying to do the job of holding government accountable for the entire Island, the system is broken.

The only reason we still have the inadequate electoral system we do is because it is in the interests of the politicians in power (who like only have one person holding them accountable) to keep the system as it is, and these same people are responsible for setting the terms of when and how the system can be changed.

Look no further than Premier Binns setting of an unprecedented 60% threshold for the vote against the wishes of the commission he himself set up and muttering out of one side of his mouth about needing a high turnout for the results to count and giving orders to cut funding for the referendum out of the other side of his mouth to see a politician who feels threatened by the idea of an electoral system where there will be a real opposition.

P.E.I. is a small province but it could send a big message to the rest of the country on Monday. A message that the people of P.E.I. are no longer willing to settle for democracy lite under an electoral system that almost the entire world has already abandoned.

Vote yes on Monday.


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