Our nation is faced now with a prime minister who has realized that the way to power is, like the pols in the US to be constantly attacking any credible response to his rule. He uses the work of the Canadian government and tries to sell it as the work of the Conservative party. He endorses all sorts of dirty tricks and if not outright illegal he endorses attacking politicians whether or not there is an election running.
The hacks he has assembled around him find no reason not to go along because we the population have rewarded his tactics. In parliament obfuscation and coverups of what is really going on is accepted. Scapegoats whether purely political or as in the past few weeks the unemployed are held up to ridicule, harassment and intimidation.
Instead of letting parliament look at and honestly debate policies to try and find the best solutions for Canada he loads completely unrelated matters into omnibus bills to limit the amount of time the opposition can debate the matters.
All this is being done by a man and a party that have never won a majority of the votes cast in an election. That particular fact is of course not new to Harper. Our election system was structured centuries ago when the forces in parliament were primarily arrayed in two groups. Those who supported the powers of the crown nobility and landed class and those who wished more authority and power for the mercantile and business groups starting to dominate society.
When used to vote the choice between only two alternatives our first past the post system does a fairy good job of creating a parliament that reflects the wishes of the population. Today however we have multiple parties. For most of my life there have been 3 major national parties. Conservatives, Liberals and NDP. there have been and are now many other more fringe groups based on religion, ethnicity, economic theories you name it, and of course for about 40 years now we have had the Bloc Quebecois, a very definite power but with only 1 major desire which is not unfortunately the best governance of Canada. The old days of a 2 party Canada are never coming back and yet the election system is designed to select from only 2 choices.
We really need to start looking at a better way of creating parliaments that reflect the wishes of the population. Some adjustment to first past the post needs to be created in order to allow the will of the people to actually show up on parliament hill. We are after all supposed to be a democracy.
At present some talk is going around about getting the progressive parties to co-operate in the next election and try to oust the Conservatives by running only one opponent against Conservatives in ridings where the NDP and Libs combined have more votes than the Conservative but neither have enough to win. Of course if they could do this effectively we could ask why the 2 parties don’t just amalgamate, as the Progressive Conservatives and the Reform party did. THe reason thye don;t want to do that is because as soon as one or the other ousts the Cons they want this same flawed system to ensure they can maintain power.
The main players here have very little reason to look to more proportional election systems. The splintering of the electorate is a way for the main players to continue their domination. Look at how many votes the Green party gets in every election but still can;t elect people. Based on the number of votes they garner nation wide they should have several members. Other smaller players like some of the religious backed parties should also have representation but with a winner take all system getting over the threshold to actually elect a member is restrictive.
Our system supposes that the local member of parliament will go to Ottawa adn actually, actively promote the best interests of their riding. In reality the party discipline is so tight and so important that these member seldom if ever actually vote for their constituents they do what they are told by the party whip. Most of us dislike the idea of a party slate put in place merely by the % of votes the party receives and still cling to the idea of the worth of the individual member to do good for the home town. There are systems which combine our old local representative ideas along with ensuring proportional distribution of seats based on party voting trends.
One thing is clear, our present method favours the established parties and further works to the benefit of a man like Harper who uses everything and every moment to ensure his re-election rather than working for the benefit of all Canadians in the time between elections.
Who ever wins the Liberal leadership, Or Mulcair as NDP leader will have to realize the same thing and if they will not work to reform our electoral system they will have to get used to our political process being more and more Americanized to the point that the electioneering never ends. The fund raising and the constant, on message, posturing looking only for votes at the expense of “good” governing will be the necessary way of the future.