Electoral reform – this week in the Low Down

One of my very favorite local papers decided to publish the below piece on electoral reform.  Head over to their site to check it out, or read it below. Snagging a copy of the Lowdown whenever you can wouldn’t hurt either! – http://www.lowdownonline.com/sorry-but-vote-reform-not-too-complex-for-canadians/

`I am writing in response to Michael Obrecht, who recently wrote the Lowdown in reference to the Canadian population wanting a referendum on federal electoral reform.  I am pleased that Mr. Obrecht has taken the time to voice his opinion, because electoral reform is an issue that is not being voiced, discussed or consulted upon by the Liberal MP here. How we elect our representatives is a critical aspect of democracy, and once again, Pontiac is seemingly forgotten by Ottawa.

The Liberals are planning to unilaterally change how all of us vote at the federal level, possibly to a voting system that would be most beneficial to keeping themselves in power.  This is being done without proper debate or consultation, to the point where even some supporters of electoral reform are largely unaware of the implications.

For example, it might be of interest to some that MPs elected under variants of proportional representation would not even be selected by local voters.  Rather, under this scenario MPs would be selected post-election from party lists, with the number of MPs allocated according to the proportional popular vote.  These MPs would not represent local communities like the Pontiac; – rather, they would be selected from the ranks of party insiders, bagmen and friends to the party leader.  Information on issues like this should be made available to our population for discussion. In Pontiac, this is not happening.

As Mr. Obrecht mentioned in his piece, there has been an established precedent set in this country by provincial Governments on electoral referendums; three provinces have had referendums on voter reform and each time their residents were allowed to exercise their right to vote. The Liberals are skirting around this precedent to not allow us the opportunity to voice our opinion, and their sham promise of consultations is a poor substitute for an actual vote.  Due to public pressure I believe a token electoral consultation will be undertaken by the Liberal MP here. Yet as other Canadian publications have reported, it appears there will be little in the way of actual substance discussed.[1]

Mr. Obrecht seemed to be echoing Liberal Party sentiments when he suggested that a change of voting system is too “complex” for Canadians to mull over and vote upon. I disagree, and this elitism, where our local population is regulated to an inconvenient afterthought, is a sad throwback to the Liberal Party of old.

There is no way of knowing how a federal referendum on electoral reform would play out – but not giving people the opportunity to vote because you’re afraid you won’t like the result is cowardly. I encourage all Lowdown readers to think about this important issue, regardless of what your preferred method of voting is.`