Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Canadians don't like elections: force them to have elections

Amid all the ado surrounding the potential election last week, one phrase kept being repeated: Canadians do not want a summer election. Come to think of it, Canadians never like elections. Fall is a bad time because the school year has just started, winter is bad because it's Christmas, spring is bad because who wants to think of politics when everything else is in bloom, and in summer it's quite difficult to vote when you'd rather hang around the barbecue.

It would seem that Canadians never want an election. This is paralyzing politics in this country as the reason constantly given for not going to the polls is that no one wants an election. Ignatieff's sad capitulation to Harper over EI and other issues was due to advice that centered around Canadians do not want election.

Now, this of particular concern to Liberals as whenever voter turnout is low, there is a greater probability of a Conservative majority. However, the facts remain that each party uses it, the Conservatives even to their advantage. In fact, this is integral to their attacks on the Liberal party.

So the solution is pretty clear. To avoid all this strategic pandering to Canadians' adversity to elections, we can eliminate that adversity, or rather, circumnavigate it. In other words, force Canadians to vote, by enacting such a law. Not voting would become an offence.

This is a system that is used in in other regions worldwide, to quite significant success. In such systems, voter participation, such as in Australia, exceeds 90%.

Maybe, if we had had this reform, we would have less strategic fear mongering in Parliament. And Ignatieff would have forced an election.
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  1. Wow totalitarianism here we come. Forcing people to vote goes against their inherent right to not be part of the political process. Also people aren't opposed to elections people are tired of voting every year, when the results turn out to be extremely dubious. What we should do is inact a mixed/member proportional system, whereas everybody gets two votes one for a party in their riding and one for their party of choice. They do it like this in New Zealand and it has been met with great success.

  2. That is another option. If you go into my archives, you'll see I support MMP.

  3. What enviralment said. NOT voting looks increasingly like a protest movement. To make voting mandatory takes away the people's right to show their displeasure with the system. To force every eligible voter to participate in a non-democratic electoral system is itself undemocratic. Keep voting as a right; don't make it a responsibility. There are plenty of other things we do that, in the end, are far more important than showing up at the ballot box for 15 minutes, once every four - or three, or two, or one - years.

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  5. It is not a totalitarian move or an attack on democratic rights. It is a responsibility to participate in one's government.

    There are many alternative ways to show your not voting is a protest vote. You can spoil ballots for instance. Like that, it is an actual, definite protest, instead of a vague no-show.

    And Chrystal Ocean, there may be other things that are important, but this is one of absolute crucial importance. Few things are more important than selecting your government. When we realize the power of government, it can change many aspects of our lives.


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