Electoral Reform 5 of 6
The claim is made that proportional representation is ‘more fair’ than first past the post because proportional representation splits the seats according to the percentage of the vote each party wins.
Under ‘first past the post’ voters decide directly who goes to the legislature because candidates obtain their seats by winning a riding. Candidates are most often known in the community/riding they seek to represent and should candidates be from outside the community/riding they face the need to meet, greet and convince to vote for them sufficient voters to win the riding.
Under proportional representation the party decides who will sit as members of parliament [legislature].
Isn’t direct selection of who represents you fairer than a political party’s decision behind closed doors?
Is it fair or intelligent to base our view of proportional representation on the experience of countries that lack Canada’s breadth and size [Newfoundland to Vancouver Island; Lake Ontario to the high Arctic] or its ethnic and cultural diversity?
Fairness can be clear – or appear to be clear. But that clarity is often in the eyes of the beholder or as a result of our choosing to ignore or not see conflicting points. Truly judging fairness often involves weighing conflicting points.
What is fair? Dictionary.com defines fair as:1) free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice; 2) legitimately sought, pursued, done, given, etc.; proper under the rules; 3) neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good; 4) free from blemish, imperfection, or anything that impairs the appearance, quality, or character.
From the definition determination of fair is in context to something. Thus fair is subject to change when the context changes.
For example if you narrow your focus down to election results in terms of seats won versus the popular vote then proportional representation appears to be fairer than first past the post.
But is that electoral fairness?
Is the primary purpose of an election to ensure seats are distributed according to the popular vote? Is having the distribution of seats reflect the popular vote of such importance that the consequences of proportional representation are acceptable?
The nature of proportional representation, the math and mechanics, result in minority governments.
Minority governments impair the ability of government to make tough decisions and deal with unpleasant, uncomfortable realities since the governing party requires the support of other parties who are unlikely to be willing to accept blame for decisions voters find tough, unpleasant, uncomfortable and unwanted.
Is it fair to ignore the effect of proportional representation on government in Canada when it prevents a strong central government and promotes regionalism, regional self-interest and regional conflicts?
Elections are about governing. The nature of Canada is such that proportional representation will, at best, have strong negative consequences on the quality of governance, making it impossible to make decisions and set policies to promote prosperity and Canada’s future.
There is a significant probability that proportional representation, in promoting regionalism and factionalism and denying a strong central government, would render Canada ungovernable perhaps unsustainable.
Is it fair to citizens to focus on the seats in parliament [the legislature] being distributed to reflect the popular vote and ignore the effects that proportional representation has on the government and its ability to govern?
No electoral system, the method by which we choose [elect] our government, can guarantee voters get good government. No electoral system, first past the post or proportional representation, is without flaws. All electoral systems have quirks and consequences.
Any electoral system is a tradeoff between the pluses and minuses that arise from the interaction of the electoral system and the specific realities and circumstances of a specific country.
You cannot say that this is what will happen if we do this because that is what happened in this [those] countries – unless the realities and circumstances of the countries being compared are identical.
The only statement you can make with reasonable certainty about fair, vis-à-vis the NDP/Green proposed change from our current electoral system to proportional representation, is that it is at best devious, if not out and out deceitful, and therefore unfair to citizens and the best interests of citizens
To be fair it could be that Hanlon’s Razor [Robert J. Hanlon} is correct “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
Whether the NDP/Green electoral change proposal is devious/deceitful or merely stupid it is clear that being fair to citizen’s best interests requires a NO to changing the electoral system as put forward by the NDP/Green collaboration.