Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wajid Khan: Now even more unrepresentative of his constituents!

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde

I can never work up any righteous indignation when an MP crosses the floor. In Canada, we elect human beings to parliament, not automatons. Deal with it.

Usually, the reason people get upset about the old MP switcheroo is that it is a betrayal of the wishes of his or her constituents. But, in truth, our system of government already discounts the wishes of the majority of Canadian voters.

Take Liberal-turned-Conservative Wajid Khan. (Please!) The majority of his constituents didn't vote for a Liberal anyway. In Mississauga-Streetsville in 2006, 34.8% of those who voted voted Conservative, 13.3% voted NDP, 4.5% voted Green, and 1.4% voted Progressive Canadian, whatever that was.

So 54.1% of voters in his riding were unhappy before. Now, 65.2% are unhappy. This is not something I can get worked up about, especially with a chance to throw him out coming up in a few months. Even the Liberals don't seem that upset about it...

If we want to be even more cynical, consider that voter turnout in Mississauga-Streetsville in 2006 was 64.8%. (That's just .1% lower than the national average, by the by.) Apparently, 35.2% of Khan's constituents don't care what party their MP belongs to.

If you do the math then, 57.8% of Khan's constituents are likely either pleased by or indifferent to his party jump. That's the majority of Mississauga-Streetsvilleans.

If we want candidates to stick to party lines, well, maybe we should change our system so we vote for parties instead of people. You know, a little something called proportional representation? Then, when someone crosses the floor, we'll have something to howl about...

1 comment:

Matt said...

Kelly! some of those numbers are sketchy! How many of the non-voters don't vote because they think it's a given that the liberal would win? How many choose not to vote because they think voting makes you complicit in a system you feel is rigged to begin with? How many don't vote for some other reason they've convinced themselves of? Also, where are your numbers from? Do they include spoiled ballots?

Yeah, I agree. We are supposed to vote for individuals. What's crazy, is that the way the system is set up, you really don't. You vote for a party. NOBODY sees local debates; only heads of the party. Implicit in every local campaign IS the party. In most cases, the party name is bigger than the candidates on posters, and other ads. I just think about all those ads that specifically display the candidate beside the party leader... Khan--like all the other MPs--ran AS a liberal. They voted him in as a Liberal. He said "Vote me. I'm YOUR Liberal." I'm not saying he shouldn't be able to switch sides. But I think it's rightly a big deal when MPs do. And they do owe their constituents some kind of an answer.
But I think that it's a problem that the people can't turn around and throw him out. If my MP crossed the floor to join the Natural Law Party, I'd want there to be a process to get rid of him, before he tried to teach us all the mysteries of yogic flying.