Doug Ford was elected Ontario’s new Premier with 40.6% of the province’s popular vote: 59% of the voters wanted someone else … and yet, Ford took ALL the power at the TOP.
And his Conservative party, under the first-past-the-post system, also captured 76 seats in the Ontario legislature, compared to the NDP with 40, the Liberals with 7 and the Greens with 1 … again, out of line with popular vote percentages.
Sounds like a perfect argument for proportional representation.
But it could have been even worse.
Imagine a political setup where someone gets only 16.8% of the vote but can hold a gun to the head of a Premier who garnered more than 40% of the popular vote!
That’s what we now have in BC.
Green leader Andrew Weaver’s party took only 332,387 votes … out of the total of more than 1.9 million votes cast in the last BC election.
And yet, it is Weaver who can decide IF and WHEN John Horgan’s propped up NDP government will fall: the Greens’ three seats being used after the ballots were counted to prop up the NDP’s 41 … keeping the Liberals’ 43 at bay.
Of course, let’s keep it real: the NDP is fairly confident the Greens do not WANT an election right now … probably because they know the government is not unpopular; the public doesn’t WANT an election; and the Greens can’t afford one …financially or politically. So Horgan and the NDP have been able to withstand (overlook) Green objections on several issues: Site C, LNG, bridge/road tolling, etc.
Nevertheless, the FACT remains: the Greens can topple BC’s government at the time of their choosing … a very powerful position for a party that won only 16.8% of the vote … and that 83% of the electorate did NOT choose.
And that’s a problem proportional representation would make even worse!
There was a time I believed proportional representation was long overdue: after all, every vote should count and every point of view supported by voters should have a voice in debating/deciding political issues.
But wherever p.r. has been introduced, the number of small, parochial, religious or ethnic parties has multiplied … and it can become almost impossible to form government without catering to, pandering and giving blackmail powers to sometimes several of them. It becomes a mess.
And yet, BC voters will soon be asked if they want to change to a p.r. system: in fact they will be offered THREE different types of p.r. systems.
BC could soon end up with not only minority parties like the Greens or Conservatives, but all kinds of small, fractured and fractious political, religious, ethnic entities, holding seats … and BC’s political REALITY would end up much differently: with small parties ending up with BLACKMAIL powers.
Just like we see now in Italy, Israel … and BC.
First past the post (the system we have now) is not perfect … but it provides much better stability and even some powers (ask the Greens) for minority parties … without the dangers and turmoil of proportional representation.
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