Letter to the Editor: Make change through politics
To the Editor,
Re: ‘If you are appalled, let them know,’ Echo, page 9, April 23
I share many of the sentiments that Sean Pennylegion discussed in his letter but I must point out a revealing and significant omission.
I have written my share of letters, signed petitions and waved placards etc., all Sean P. mentions but he doesn’t explicitly say join a political party, help finance it and influence its policies.
Effective political parties are one of the most important pillars of our democracy. There are nations that permit only one party. Western democracies don’t do that, of course, but they do jerk them around. Sean P. alluded to that obliquely. But to be specific, in the April 2018 election Doug Ford’s party enjoyed about a 20 per cent bonus in per cent of seats bestowed over the percent of votes earned. The Liberals on the other hand were penalized by about 15 per cent of seats won over votes earned. It happens in almost every election provincially and federally since there have been more than two parties contesting elections over a hundred years ago.
Oh yes, P.E.I. just had an election and the results were announced Tuesday, April 24. The same distortions were evident. The provincial Conservative Party enjoy a bonus of about 10 per cent of seats bestowed over votes earned.
At the same time, a proposal to remedy this situation was lost in a referendum. Fifty-one per cent of voters in P.E.I. voted No to the Mixed Member Proportional system while 49 per cent voted Yes. Ironically, 15 of the 27 ridings or districts in P.E.I. voted in favour of the proposal and only 12 disagreed. Now in any election in Canada under the old system any party that got a majority of the ridings or districts would form a solid majority government. But to confound the situation, no party in P.E.I. has won a majority of the seats. The PCs have 12 of 26 but the Greens have eight and the Liberals six. These last two could form government with a razor thin majority. Greens are euphoric becoming official opposition, at least. They have too long had their seats artificially reduced and their influence severely diluted. But there it is, another wonky result from our archaic electoral system with unforeseen and perhaps problematic effects.
So wave placards, write letters, etc., but to be truly effective join a political party and demand that it get its fair share and you, your fair share of influence or representation in seats in parliament or the legislature.