Wednesday, May 11, 2005

For Those of You Who Didn't Vote In The Last Election...

you probably were not aware that you had more choices than you thought. When I voted in the last election, my riding (Dartmouth-Cole Harbor) had six, count 'em, 6 parties with canditates running. It wasn't just the three official parties, there were also the Green Party (more on them later), the Marxist-Leninist Party, and the Progressive Canadian Party. Did you read that right? Some people thought it was the defunct Progressive Conservative party, and voted accordingly, and became upset about it later, mainly because no one has ever heard from them before, or interestingly enough, since. Sadly though, in our last election, our turnout rate was the lowest in well over a century. Forty-six percent of people didn't even take the trouble to vote for any of the "fringe " parties on the ballot.

Anyway, if you feel the need to make a protest vote, you have some actual choices. You could vote for the Marxist-Leninists (I'll give them the benefit of any doubt, they don't call themselves Stalinists and/or Maoists, my main complaint about them would be that they're a painfully dull bunch) and the Communist Party (could someone explain to me what the difference is?), the Socialist Party, who make it clear that they are not communists, and are most likely utopian socialists, and for those of you who don't see a difference, the utopian socialists and the scientific socialists (a.k.a. the communists) are completely different and incompatable schools of thought.

Moving along, you have the Marijuana Party, who seem to run on an extremely narrow platform. And if you live in La Belle Province, you probably have the fewest options, either the Liberals (aargh!) or the Bloc Quebecois (ptuie!, if you do vote for the Bloc, the best thing is not to tell me). Also, there's the Undecided Party, which is strictly a write-in party, and probably the closest thing at the moment we have to the old Rhinoceros Party. Also, it's the perfect choice if you if you still can't decide whom to vote for (and a far more realistic choice for write-in candidate than Alfred E. Neuman, well, I guess that's kinda old). Those are the only fringe parties I care to write about here, for more information you can go to BlogsCanada Political Index (see sidebar).

Creeping out from the fringes and into the mainstream is the Green Party, which in my humble opinion, are a sensible alernative to the New Democratic Party (hope I didn't offend any NDPers ;-) The Green movement is actually gaining considerable strength, particularly in Europe where members of the Green Party helped to form a coalition government in Germany. The thing is though, the Green Party of Canada does not appear to be very closely linked to other Green Parties in the world, probably because they are a little more to the Right than most of them, but hey, if it works in this country, why not? Do you actually believe that they could sweep to power, just like that unprecedented fluke of the NDP sweeping to power in Ontario? No way, it's just not happening, not under the First-Past-The-Post system which we have now.

If you still think that your vote doesn't really count, you're probably right. The electoral system we have is still one of the most primal in the free world and there is plenty of room to make parliamentarians more accountable to their constituents. There are many different systems of electing governments that make politicians more representative of the voters' wishes, such as proportional representation, single transferable voting (which is a hot topic in British Columbia right now), and a mixed-member voting, among others that have been tried and been successful. As it is right now, most of our votes are pretty much wasted, as evidenced by Sinister Thoughts here, and here. A good start of making the system more equitable is to sign an online petition at the Fair Vote Canada website.

I sincerely believe that our entire country is in a state of transition right now, and with an increasing vacuum of power that is being left by the Liberal minority government, now is the time for as many average citizens to act as possible, because we do have the power to make positive changes now. If you're like me and love a good fight, now is the time to seriously get involved, because unlike previous years, we now have a fighting chance. When we appear to have only one alternative for the next government (or two, depending on who you talk to) and our only choice is between the bad party and the worse party, it's time for all citizens to get off their fat, lazy behinds and do something, anything, about that. We live in a democracy, which means that the people are in effect responsible for the system that we have, good or bad, by our actions or lack thereof. With an election coming along the horizon, it is time for you to get out, get informed, get involved, and at the very least, vote. If you don't, you're going to be a total outsider and miss out on what promises to be truckloads of fun!
(en francais)

1 comment:

Kevin Brennan said...

The Progressive Canadians were a bunch of die-hard Tories who refused to accept the merger. They tried to call themselves the Progressive Conservatives first and when the court ruled against them came up with the second name.

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