Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Harper Won... Plan B, Anyone?


Well, the election's over, and what I figured would happen did: most Canadians who bothered to vote at all, didn't support Stephen Harper, but he still got in because the opposition vote was split among the Liberals, NDP, Bloc Quebecois and the Greens -- sort of. In fact, we wound up with almost exactly the same standings that we had before this big prick-waving fight. BUT, I'm not blaming those people for the mess we're in now. I'm blaming the system that jokingly passes for democracy in this country to begin with. It seriously needs to change.

You see, the wacky thing about how we vote both nationally and provincially, is that for some strange reason we can't vote directly for the leader. We can only vote for our immediate representative in Parliament. Between this and what's called our "first past the post" system, it means that just because a party wins in your area, doesn't automatically mean they will form the government. It would be like Americans trying to elect the next President but only being able to vote for their Congressman. It's no wonder a lot of Canadians feel like their votes don't count -- to a large extent, it's the truth.

So at the very least, what needs to be changed is that an extra piece needs to be added to the ballot; in addition to voting for our Member of Parliament, there should be a second section that allows us to vote for the Prime Minister. It's a fairly simple thing. But it probably won't happen, because this country doesn't like to change things.

Another idea that's been kicked around is proportional representation, meaning that every vote does directly count towards how Parliament is made up. The way things are now, you can win half the seats in Parliament with a third of the popular vote, but with this other system, half the vote means half the seats. Period. This was included in Ontario's election last year in a referendum, but unfortunately some idiot or jerk at Elections Ontario decided to phrase the question in such a confusing way that if you didn't read the news very carefully you wouldn't have had a clue what they were talking about. So quel suprise, things didn't get changed. And that's why I doubt it would change now.

So barring that, it seems that the only other way for change to happen in this country is for the opposition parties and their leaders to clean up their act and work together. First of all, Stephane Dion, please grow a backbone; stand up to Stephen Harper when he's clearly out of line, or stand aside for someone who will. Second, everybody please focus on the matters and watch your tempers -- especially you, Jack Layton -- a huge reason why the public doesn't like some of you guys is because they think you're dull, extremist, or way too obsessed with one issue. If you can't do that, then once again, you should make like responsible leaders and stand aside for better people. By the way, it didn't help that at least some of these party leaders spent more time attacking each other than Harper, or for that matter, explaining to people why they should vote for their party. Another thing is that since a lot of the opposition parties actually have more in common than is generally believed, they should strongly consider merging parties. Hell, the only reason Harper is in power at all is because the old Progressive Conservatives merged with the old Reform Party, so there's definitely a tactical advantage to uniting the left.

Let me break it down by using the results of this last election. As you can see, the Tories have the most seats, but still less than half. Now, for the first example, let's combine the NDPs with the Bloc, since they're ideologically similar. Now, they have enough seats to be the lead opposition. If you really want to go all the way, and all of the opposition into one moderate-liberal group, then Harper is suddenly out on his ass. BUT that probably won't happen either, because frankly the party leaders are too self-absorbed to think of anything but their own careers; the idea of serving the public is often just a rumour to them.

So there you go, three simple and practical ways that we could probably get out of this mess, but none of them is likely to happen, because in a nutshell, it's not in the government's interest for the public to really have any control over things. As a result, we are stuck with another few years of Emperor Harper muzzling information, bullying anyone who disagrees with him, breaking the law, starving the public at large, and very likely advancing any agenda put forth by his friends in extremist Christian organizations, who have the nerve to call themselves Family Values groups. Canada, it is long past time that we as a country get our heads out of our asses and stand up for ourselves, and each other. Because it is very clear that we can't trust anyone else to. Enough said.

No comments: