The Right Thing to Do

Our Democratic Right to Representation and Good Governance

Electoral reform matters to all of us. If climate change is teaching us anything it's that it can't be about us versus them anymore. We no longer have the luxury of building ideological fortresses and ramming through our agendas before being turfed out of office. That old paradigm is totally insufficient to solve this global challenge. We need to find new structures with built in checks and balances and develop a new collaborative approach to decision making.

All of us face the danger, all of us will reap the reward if we succeed in solving it. Even those that are actively denying this compelling reality will have grandchildren who can look forward to brighter and more secure future.So it was interesting that I saw how some of the discussion last week at the meetings of the Electoral Reform Committee was driven by folks that simply could not let go of that outdated paradigm.


Bref resumé de l’article de Thomas Teuwen (animateur du PVC, éco-rérnovateur) sur le droit à la représentation équitable et à une gouvernance saine :
Il est temps de laisser de côté le vieux paradigme “eux contre nous”, surtout en politique. Pour être en mesure d’agir avec sagesse devant les défis de notre ère, il faut une politique de  co-opération.

Instead of looking for ways to find common ground they were entrenched in cynicism and a single minded focus on an agenda that had nothing to do with fixing our Electoral System. It felt like we had hired a mechanic to fix our car and then all he wants to do is tell us that we should spend ten times as much as it would cost to fix it, to first ask all the members of our family if they think the car is really broken and needs a new transmission. Isn’t that what we pay the mechanic to figure out?

Il est clair qu'un système électoral permettant à 39% des voteurs d'élire un gouvernement ayant 100% du pouvoir n'est pas démocratique.  Les membres du  comité sur la réforme électorale sont dans une position unique pour proposer des changements réels pour le bien commun.  Ils se doivent de mettre de côté leurs intérêts personnels et de répondre sincèrement à l'appel d'un faux gouvernement majoritaire qui se dit prêt à mettre fin à une telle situation.

Dans cet article donc, Teuwen nous invite à agir pour le bien commun, avec courage et dévouement aux principes d’un ordre plus élevé

A system that repeatedly allows 39% of the voters to put in place a government that has 100% of the power  is clearly broken. To short sighted eyes it might seem like a windfall when the power falls into their lap but it’s still broken. The prize of absolute power might be too seductive to let principle stand in its way but it’s still broken. In a famous quote from Al Gore he points out the underlying challenge of climate change. “It’s very difficult for someone to understand something if his paycheck depends on him not understanding it.” I would argue the same holds true for electoral reform. People who succeed under the divisive, polarized politics of first past the post have little interest in altering the status quo.

And yet the electoral reform officer reminds us that it is the job parliamentarians to grow and strengthen our democracy by considering deeply not only the consequences of their actions but also the consequences of their inaction. "The very strength of our democracy lies within our ability to question its functioning and to seek ways to improve it."

And this is what we have a right to expect from the Special Committee on Electoral Reform. For anyone to act in a way that is contrary to their own personal self interest takes courage, it takes commitment, and it takes an adherence to a higher set of principles. We celebrate this kind of behaviour in our families, in our religions, in our team sports and in our military. Why would we not celebrate it, indeed expect it, in our politicians? Why would we not applaud that a false majority government has set in motion a process whereby they will pass legislation to end false majorities for all time.

That is the expectation raised by our current prime minister and this week’s appearance by Maryam Monsef before the committee has further raised those expectations. The decision to implement real change to our electoral system will be made by this government holding a majority in the house. The committee is simply charged to gather a broad spectrum of information and advise the government on the best, made in Canada system they should enact.

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