Sunday, July 04, 2004

Election Correction

What are some of the problems facing the federation as of late? Well, there's Western alienation, Quebec separatism, the frustrations of supporters of parties like the NDP and the Greens, yadda yadda... How can we solve these problems in one fell swoop?

Why proportional representation, of course!

Andrew Coyne explains:
In a less distortionary system, the representation of the parties in Parliament would be spread more evenly across the country. There would be more Tories from Ontario and Atlantic Canada, more Liberals from the West, more federalist MPs from Quebec -- and fewer Bloquistes. In short, we would have a Parliament that looked more like Canada, and less like, I don't know, the European Union. Our politics would split more on questions of ideology, and less on regional or linguistic lines.

That, to me, is the clinching argument for moving to some form of proportional representation, along the lines of the hybrid model recently recommended by the Law Reform Commission of Canada. There are other distortions associated with first-past-the-post -- its tendency to discriminate against smaller parties, or the ability of a party to win a majority, not only with fewer than than half the votes, but with fewer votes than its nearest rival -- which is why several of the provinces are looking seriously at reform.

But it's at the federal level that it's most needed. The present system rewards regionalism and grievance-mongering, which is why we now have a Parliament dominated by what are, in essence, three regional parties. We need a system that encourages the growth of national parties, with national visions.
Makes sense to me.

Jack Layton is in favour of some form of proportional representation. So is Stephen Harper. Can we get the Royal Commission started already?

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