Friday, November 04, 2005

In Search of the Elusive Alternative

The Tiger quotes the inestimable Rex Murphy's reaction to the fallout from Gomery, but goes on to say as follows:
He's got more outrage left in him than I do. I just figure, it's par for the course in the Great White North. :-) People will just go along with it.

That's a terribly simplified position, and allows me opportunity to make a larger point. There are several other culprits at fault in this mess, but our current electoral system is by far the worst.

For the last 4 Liberal "mandates", they have never received over 42% of votes CAST (putting aside support among ELIGIBLE Canadians). Here are the numbers, courtesy of the ever-valuable Wikipedia site:

2004 - 36.7%
2000 - 40.85%
1997 - 38.46%
1993 - 41.24%

The majority do not, have not, and will not support these Liberals. And yet... It's why Layton should have used this opportunity to fix our antiquated and terribly dysfunctional system, compounded as it is by our regional disparities, while the opportunity presented itself. At the very least, he could have worked to institute some meaningful checks and balances on the Prime Minister's virtual monopoly.

But, as Scharma himself has noted, even this system would not be enough to save these Liberals, if the opposition were even *reasonably* competent and could control the delivery of their message, propose alternatives, and contain their respective fringe (read: often hysterical) elements for the sake of the grander goal. Last night on Mike Duffy's show, a Conservative "advisor" mentioned that Stephen Harper would be issuing a Conservative proposals in response to Gomery today and that "Canadians wanted to hear from Mr. Harper". Maybe. But too bad it has taken him this long since winning the leadership in March 2004 to begin talking policy.

And so it is in democracies worldwide. Even when Bush is seen as a "miserable failure", if 50.1% see Kerry as worse, he wins. Again, alas. But people should not heed claims that Canadians are simply shrugging their shoulders over Gomery. Some honestly believe in the "new" Liberals. And though most of the country does not, they still struggle to find an acceptable alternative. The Gomery revelations make that pursuit all the more critical. But there's a reason that the saying "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" is so timeless. This opposition will never win simply by default.


Blogger Politicagrll said...

Canada really should get a PR system.

My guess on why Layton hasn't pushed it more is because the party policy is to have a similar type of group decide what to with the electoral system like they did in B.C. Easier when on a short time span to work on health care...although as both a Dipper and someone who strongly support PR i've been disapointed he hasn't made PR a larger part of his concerns.

1:05 PM  
Blogger James MacDuff said...

Fair enough, and that's probably right. Still, you need to start somewhere. Why not make it a condition of support that a group of that nature be commissioned and given a mandate to explore options and report back?

The sooner the process gets started...

1:41 PM  

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