Monday, January 16, 2006

Thoughts about STV

At the start of 2005 I was responible for running the Yes to STV campaign. I was happy in one respect that we managed to do as well as we did, but ulitmately we fell short of the mark. Yes, there will be a second vote in just over 1000 days, but I am worried that the mood of the public will have changed by then and we are unlikely to see the people vote for STV.

I also find it discouraging that not a single major party in Canada is willing to go and promise the introduction of STV federally. The fit between Canada as a nation and STV as the electoral system is perfect, there is no possible better way we could effectively translate public will in representation. But it is not really an issue. And to many people keep thinking that proportional representation has to be some manner party list system and give yet more more power to the political elites.

It depresses me that all these people keep enthusing about the German model of elections. As some that has very keenly and closely watched German politics and elections, I can without a doubt say that their electoral system has been failing the public for a very, very long time and no one is willing to address the issue.

In a week's time we are likely to see a government in Ottawa that is supported by about 35% to 40% or Canadians. On Januray 24th, close to 2/3s of Canadians will have their perferred political choice not in government. I for one will be happy if it is Stephen Harper as PM.

People may disagree with him, but you can not fault him for this ethics, honesty or willingness to not pander in the typical way. He is not a power hungry multi millionaire that is utterly out of any ideas as to why he should be PM.

I have hope that the Conservatives will finally bring in some manner of electoral reform. I hope that they choose to go the route as in BC and use a Citizens Assembly to define what model we should move to. This alone is enough to make we support the Conservatives. But beyond that I see them as the only party is seriously changing the unrepresentative mechanisms in Ottawa and create some real accountability for the Excutive. I also like the idea of giving provinces more powers . The Conservatives are also talking about something that should have happened 100 years ago or more - electing our Senators.

And finally, the Conservatives are talking about giving more seats to the growing provinces. BC needs 7 more MPs to return to some manner of realistic levels of population per riding, Alberta needs 5 more and Ontario needs 15 more.

From my point of view, the only party interested in improving our democracy in Canada are the Conservatives, that for me is the most important reason to elect them.

Meanwhile, I hope in 1000 days we will finally pass STV and change BC for the better.

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