Thursday, December 21, 2000

Straight thoughts 55

December 21, 2000

Needed election reforms are difficult, because of two reasons:

  1. The party in power is generally not enthusiastic about changing the system that brought them to power.
  2. Many different proposals have validity, but it is difficult to achieve consensus.
    Perhaps, small changes could be more readily accepted.

One of the first proposals could be to elect our leaders, provincially and federally, according to popular vote.
In Ontario, the Premier would represent ALL of the province, and not just a particular riding. This would reduce allegations of favoritism.
The Election Act would be changed to elect as MPPs in the Ontario Legislature (in addition to the 103 regular MPPs) the leaders of those parties that obtained more than 5% of the popular vote. As a result we would have a few more MPPs voted-in as leaders of their party. This would ensure that the views of large minority parties are represented in the Legislature at least by their leader.

Another major advantage would be the following:
Currently people know that voting for a candidate with no chance of winning is a vote lost, so they tend to either follow the trend (vote according to the polls) or vote strategically: that is, they vote AGAINST the candidate they do not want, instead than FOR the candidate they like.
However, with the above proposal in place, ALL votes cast for any party would count, at least to elect that party's leader. Thus people would vote more and more according to their own convictions and less according to hearsay: Even if their candidate or party is not expected to win, they would still go out and cast their vote according to their choice.
As side effects, the interest in learning all political views would grow, attendance at the polls would increase and voters' apathy would decrease.

Finally, the addition in the Legislature of a voice for parties with solid popular support across the province would improve the democratic dialogue and add content to it.