Do you trust any politicians?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Who to Vote For in the Upcoming Election Part I: The Importance of Voting

Well you probably all know there is an election looming, at least for those of us in Ontario. I thought, that since the Amoralist Party of Canada has not candidates running in any riding (being as it is a fictional party) that I’d talk about who is running, what they stand for, and what it means to fellow Amoralists. Over the next few days I will publish four articles (five including this one), one on the Liberals, one on the Conservatives, one on the NDP, and one on the other alternatives. This article will focus on the election itself and why you should vote at all and the referendum that is being tied to this election.

As always, in most ridings it is a race between the Liberals and the Conservatives (who in Ontario, for provincial elections still use the Progressive Conservative name), with the NDP as the third option. In some ridings, such as the London-Fanshawe, the riding in which I reside, the NDP stand a good chance of being elected. Now I can’t tell you who to vote for (well I could, but that wouldn’t be right), however I can tell you a little about what each party stands for and you can make up your own mind. Of course the best way to vote is to find the candidate in your riding you can trust, believe, and has similar beliefs and vote for them, regardless of what party they stand with.

Voting is the backbone of the Canadian System, sure you’ve all heard this before, and you all know voter turn out is terrible. Voter apathy may be to blame, but apathy is no excuse. Voting is the only say you have in how this country is run, so many laws make the books because the people who don’t want them too never vote. If you want to affect change the only way to do so is to vote. I have met people protesting various issues who claim never to vote because their voice is not heard, to those people I say go home, your voice really isn’t being heard. Stand in front of parliament all day with as many signs as you wish, you won’t be heard until your ballot is cast.

This particular election is actually more important then others, because not only are we casting our ballot to determine who leads the province for the next four years or so we are also being asked our opinion about how the elections should take place. There is a referendum taking place along with the general election. This referendum is to ask YOU if the current system is fair, or if another system is better.

The referendum question is terribly worded, and most people will probably ignore in entirely. However it is an important issue and your voice should be heard. The question on the ballot will be:

Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature? / Quel système électoral l’Ontario devrait-il utiliser pour élire les députés provinciaux à l’Assemblée législative?

* The existing electoral system (First-Past-the-Post) / L’actuel système électoral (système de la majorité relative)

* The alternative electoral system proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional) / L’autre système électoral proposé par l’Assemblée des citoyens (système de représentation proportionnelle mixte)

As I said, a terrible question. It gives no information and many people probably won’t bother to learn what the “alternative system is”. So let me explain a bit.

The current system is a first past the post system. You vote for you local candidate who belongs to a particular political party. That’s not all you are doing however, you are empowering your candidate to a vote in who becomes the Premier. Basically this means which ever party elects the most MPP’s gets to chose the Premier. There is a catch however, the catch is the Premier must have a seat in the government as well. Now this catch is not much of a catch considering any party member may step down and be replaced without a bi-election by the party leader. What this means is that lets say you voted Joe Blow who is a member of the Amoralist Party of Canada, who’s leader is John Stone, now lets say John Stone loses in his riding, but the Amoralist Party still gets the most seats in the house, Joe Blow may be asked by the party to step aside so that John Stone can take his place. In the end you may not get the person you voted for as your representative, and you have zero say in this.

The system being proposed by the Citizens’ Assembly is a mixed member proportional representation system (wow that’s a real pain in the ass to say isn’t it?). In this system you get two votes, one for the party of your choice and one for the candidate of your choice. So you could vote for Joe Blow as your Candidate in your area, but the Conservatives as the party, this would give the Amoralists one vote and the Conservatives one vote for who sits as the premier. Basically 70% of the seats would be local members, the candidates you voted for individually, the other 30% would be what are called List candidates. The list candidates would be anyone the party that was voted for chooses, so if there were 39 list seats (which is what is being proposed) and the Amoralists won 20 seats they could then choose any 20 members to fill the seats. What this means is that they could have the party leader as a list member rather then a local member, and he no longer has to worry about winning his riding, and parachute candidates would be a thing of the past. Of course it is still technically possible for a party to win a majority with out getting any list seats and it may still happen that your local candidate get ousted, but the chances of that are so phenomenally small, basically if a party got 65 seats and zero list members then they could still form a government without a single list member, however in order for that to happen they would have to win in 65 ridings without any of those ridings also getting any votes as a party. Since most people vote along party lines this isn’t likely to happen.

So now you know why you need to vote, and what the referendum is all about, when the polls open, get out there and vote.

No comments:

Would you consider voting Liberal just to get an extra holiday?

Are you a membe of a political party?