Proportional Representation is Not a Panacea. One blogger, commenting on Michael Chong’s new Reform Act seems to think that it is. This was my response to his assertion.
I agree that Proportional Representation (PR) would be a good thing for Canadian Democracy. For example if we had PR we wouldn’t have Free Trade because the Progressive Conservatives under Mulroney brought in Free Trade with only 43% of the popular vote. All other parties opposed Free Trade. That means the will of 57% percent of Canadian voters was ignored due to our present deficient electoral system.
The point I want to make is that Canada’s main problem with politics and political parties is not just who represents them as a party, but how Canadians are being represented. What is the huge benefit in getting the party in that you wanted when all the party leaders tell their MP’s (our representatives) how to vote. When I vote, I vote for the representative to vote for what we believe in the constituency; we do not vote for what the leader wants or what their party believes.
To refine the idea, do we want our opinions considered or do we want to have someone think for us? To elect someone to think for us is to say we want the status quo of a Parliament of leaders representing peasants. In the dark ages the leaders had education and the peasants had to have someone to think for them because they were too ignorant to think for themselves. Do we want a modern democracy where we, the electorate, are smart enough and informed enough to give our input to our representatives and they take our wishes to Ottawa, or do we want to stay as ignorant peasants that need someone to think for us?
I once told an MP that I expect a representative to ask the constituents what they want and vote in Parliament accordingly. She said to me, “I was voted in to make the hard decisions for my constituents”. I asked her if she thought that I and the other constituents were too stupid to think for ourselves. She saw the corner she had painted herself into and so she said “the constituents do not have all the information like I do” at which I answered “So whose fault is it that your constituents are not being informed?”
It is not which party is representing the People that is the problem, the problem is HOW we are being represented, and the attitude of those that representing us, and the Party System that both allows them to misrepresent us.
Other articles that you might enjoy:
The Party System – An Illusion of Democracy
Is Your Representative an Elitist or a Democrat