Letter: Think outside the (ballot) box when it comes to voting systems

Editor,

In his letter about voting systems (Moving past first past the post (FPTP)) Mr. Art Green strongly advocates for proportional representation (PR). But changing to PR does not correct the principal fault of both systems. Namely, that politicians announce platforms and make promises before the election, only to often disregard them right after the election knowing full well they have four years before they can be held to account by the voters. Voters also feel politicians are strongly influenced by corporations and other interest groups who spend lavishly to help elect those who are likely to do their bidding.

This leads to our lamentable low voter turnout, apathy and justified cynicism among the voters.

There is, however, another electoral system we should consider. I would call it power to the people (POP). It staggers the voting so a vote takes place in seven ridings somewhere in Canada every four weeks for a 338-member parliament. Think of it as just seven byelections, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Every riding still votes only once every four years.

It would still be the familiar first past the post system that has served us well for 150 years. It would mean that whatever the government does will be up for approval by the electorate somewhere in Canada on an ongoing basis. There would be constant feedback from the people to the government and they could not ignore the people between elections.

The make-up of the parliament would gradually change for or against the party in power depending on how well they reflect the will of the people.

The politicians would hate it. Imagine, being held accountable by the voters somewhere in Canada every month. Unthinkable! But I would call it democracy.

Hartmut Schmid

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