Enough of Clown-Car Democracy
The crude attempt by four of Canada's political parties to exclude a fifth from the national leaders television debate "reveals the clown-car aspect of Canadian democracy," says the president of Fair Vote Canada.
"It's obvious why the politicians fear fair competition on television," said Barbara Odenwald. "Canada's voting system is so wonky that shifting a few votes in a few ridings could drastically change the national election result."
If Canada had fair voting the media consortium would not even consider excluding Green Party leader Elizabeth May from the debate, said Odenwald. The Green Party would already have the dozen or more seats in Parliament its supporters deserve based on the votes they cast in 2006.
"Personally I'm tired of politicians pretending that 37 or 36 or 35 per cent of the vote justifies a majority government, and I don't think I'm alone in that," Odenwald said. "They try to fluke into a phony majority, call it a mandate, and lord it over the country for four years. What's democratic about that? Nothing."
"It must be a mandate from God they'll be claiming, because it's sure not a mandate from the majority of a democratic people."
"The voting system is a continuing national embarrassment," Odenwald said. "The sooner we insist that Parliament make it fair and democratic – allow every Canadian an equal vote and equal representation – the sooner the politicians will be able to stop making fools of themselves and of us."
"It's time to put aside the ridiculous partisan gamesmanship and make Canada a democracy of which we can all be proud," Odenwald said. "Democratic voting is what we need more than anything now on offer."
It's hard for me to imagine Canada's system as "a continuing national embarrassment," given the global embarrassment where I come from. But it is still wrong. We need more voices, not fewer, and we need elections that reflect every vote. I'm disappointed that Jack Layton and the NDP joined the Conservatives and the Bloc on squashing the Green Party out of the debates. I understand why the NDP fears the Greens politically, but it's the wrong thing to do. Plus, the could end up losing more votes as people are turned off by their strong-arm tactics.
With Dion supporting Elizabeth May's right to debate, and May supporting Dion for Prime Minister, perhaps the Liberals will come out ahead.