e consensus view of media pundits on the election seems to be that the Conservatives can look forward to four more years in office. Yet the most significant feature of their win is not their 40 per cent share of votes cast, but the tiny two per cent increase in the total electorate who voted for them.
The new majority is not due to a powerful jump in their support, which they would have us believe, but to the combination of collapse of the Liberals and the crash of the Bloc.
Superficially, this would seem to indicate an unprecedented polarity in the country, with Ontario and Alberta on the Right, and Quebec (25 per cent of the population) plus a modest increase in leftish views elsewhere. I don’t believe it for one moment.
Rather, it demonstrates pretty forcibly the divisiveness and obsolescence of the First Past The Post voting system.
Well, 76 per cent of the electorate did not vote for his party; in fact 39 per cent did not vote at all, which sort of puts his big win in perspective: the victory is no more the voice of the people than my Aunt Fanny.
The actual number of those who simply decided that the continual rejection of their vote was not worth pursuing any more , so they didn’t turn out, is unknown but clearly very great, and is a serious denial of democracy.
I suggest the newly ballooned NDP, as soon as they’ve got their breath back, give people something they can really vote for next time by mounting a sustained, educational publicity drive towards a truly representational voting system, which will be impossible for the Lib/Con/Reform sector to ignore, and force them to explain just why they have stuck to the existing system with such determination.
Much of the bitter squabbling in Parliament is due I think to the pent-up frustration of oppositions helpless against the distorted strength of parties the present system cannot reduce; while the failure of the system to indicate the true support for minor parties made any attempt to form a coalition distrustful and fragile.
Canada badly needs a better method of choosing its administrations; honest government cannot come from a dishonest, distorted and unrepresentative system, and it is this system which is creating an altogether false appearance of polarization.