A Modest Proposal: Part II

Brain Droppings


by Peter Johnson

Having just read Brandon’s article, ‘The Honourable Know Best’, I was moved to respond. I have been here before. My cranium won’t take much more of this. This banging my head against the wall… it makes a lot of noise, but about all I get out of it is a bruised, sore head. Well here we go again…

‘How much does a vote count for?’, he – Mr. Mayer – asks. In my opinion, fractionally more than nothing at all. That doesn’t mean that it is of no importance… but it has been co-opted… by the system, which is a relic of near-medieval times.

Like many others, I don’t ever vote for a party, I vote for a person or parts of a platform. (Why anyone would vote for the same party, their entire life, completely baffles me… no party deserves my/your vote, not even once, unless they are able to convince me/you that they deserve it). But, as we have seen here in Leeds & Grenville, it doesn’t matter what the people of the riding want, once The Big Party Machine gets their hooks into OUR representative, he/she becomes THEIR representative. So, as a case in point, no matter how Mr. Clark felt about Mr. Ford’s greenbelt plans or his Prison Vision, our representation was strangled – stripped – severed… non-existent. Our system is sadly/ stupidly outdated and… yes again… antiquated. But… it is protected… protected by those with vested interests who don’t want it to be changed.

The ‘first past the post’ election model was not a great idea over 400 or 500 years ago – whenever it was first trotted out. As a starting point, it was probably better than the alternative. It has not evolved or improved much… it does not serve us well now.

In a majority government, the leader of the party in power is an oligarch. We are about to elect another such individual: Pierre Poilievre was a fawning, obsequious minion to the most dictatorial party leader in Canada’s history – Stephen Harper. Harper bi-passed as many parliamentary checks and balances as possible, and ran our government like it was his personal fiefdom: no discussions with the Opposition or with the press, no one in government could say ‘Boo’ without permission from the PMO – which were all unelected. Every member of the Party had to do as the Party Whip told them to… the Whip was controlled by the Dictator-in-Chief… Mr. Harper. This is what we will get from Mr. Poilievre. This is not democracy!

People don’t vote for a minority or a majority outcome. All we can do, with our one little piece of paper, is cast one vote. It is easily rendered near-meaningless. But in a system of proportional representation, you have the option of selecting your first, second and third preferences. And if a party receives 20% of the votes across the country, but does not win 20% of the seats, it is still going to be represented in the House of Commons with a proportion of seats equal to how the country voted. Your vote always counts. Now how is that such a terrible idea? Also, make it mandatory to participate in our ‘participatory’ democracy. Australia has done that – and their parliament has not burned down.

Brandon finished with, ‘Like many Canadians, I am tired of the dog defecating in my backyard.’ In my case, the ‘dog’ is the party in power and I am tired of them defecating all over my vote. We need a vast overhaul of our electoral system. We need to throw out the ancient and bring in something that is going to encourage people to participate in this ever-degenerating, non-participatory democracy.

We should have the power to remove representatives who are not representing us. We need to strip the big parties of their power to keep advancing their self-serving interests. We need to grow a pair and insist that our governments be set up and run the way WE want, not the way the backroom boys want. It’s time we started participating in our so-called participatory democracy. I have to go and bandage my head again. This hurt.



  1. Bravo Mr Johnson,

    I also am a big proponent of proportional representation. Now how do we get our main political parties to understand its the best route for our country?

    FYI my hard also hurts and I want it to stop.


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