from fair vote canada: end clown-car democracy

From :
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.


Skinny Dipper said...

This is off topic, but I clicked on the link for "Free Robin Long." Based on what I know from television, his 15 month sentence in a military prison is not like being in a regular prison. He will awake very early in the morning and perform bootcamp-type routines until late in the evening. He will probably be hounded by prison guards 6 1/2 days per week. He might get Sunday morning off for religious services if he attends which he probably would just to take a break. It won't be easy for him or others like him who return to the States.

laura k said...

Skinny Dipper, yes, I blog about this frequently. Robin was given a dishonourable discharge, which will follow him throughout his life as a felony conviction.

Based on what I know from television,

You can also read a lot more about this at Courage to Resist, the War Resisters Support Campaign, and on this blog.

It won't be easy for him or others like him who return to the States.

It's important to note that Robin didn't "return to the States". He was forcibly returned - deported.

There are dozens of posts on war resisters on this blog. If you are interested in reading more, click on the "war resister" category. Thanks.

John F said...

Keeping Elizabeth May out of the debate is an abomination. The media consortium should have told Steven, Jack, and Gilles where to go.

I feel like this election could be a real turning point for the Greens. At the very least, I'd like to see the MP who just joined them be reelected. And Elizabeth May defeating Peter "My Word Means Nothing" McKay in Central Nova would be a dream come true for me.

I live in the Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley riding, and will be voting for Bill Casey. He is a former Conservative MP who was kicked out of the party in 2007 for voting against a government bill. The Green Party has endorsed him, and will not be running a candidate in the riding. The Conservatives are parachuting in a party staffer from Ottawa to run against Casey.

John F said...

By the way, it looks like the debate controversy is over: http://www.torontosun.com/canadavotes/news/2008/09/10/6726606.html

laura k said...

Yes, that was a welcome announcement!

MSS said...

Well, presumably national embarrassments are less embarrassing than global embarrassments. Although, honestly, I suspect many more Canadians than Usans are embarrassed by these sorts of things (in percentage terms).