Green and growing

My story about being a Green politician in Canada, and why it was the best thing I ever did.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The home stretch

Our election system is called first past the post. Like the horse race, only one candidate wins, the one with the most votes. Unlike the horse race, the other candidates, and the voters who support them, are ignored for the next four years. More than ever, we need to change our system and bring in a form of proportional representation.

The polls are showing that the support for Mr. Harper's government is dropping like the leaves in fall (or the Leafs in spring, whichever comparison works best for you!). We now know that the war in Afghanistan will cost $18 billion, not $8 billion as we were earlier told. This is yet another example of the public being deceived by not having full access to information (this is called transparency .. one of the principles that Harper ran on in 2006).

Of course, you hear the howling now, arguing that the Liberals actually started the war, and therefore that they are responsible. This is an example of evading responsibility (this would have been called accountability .. the second principle that Harper ran on in 2006).

So there we have it. After two and a half years, the Conservatives decided to break their own fixed election date law, call an election we didn't need and cost us over $300 million. For what? They knew at the time, and stated at the time, that they thought they would get another minority. Well, it looks like the plan backfired, and now, it may be the Liberals that get the minority.

Will that change be worth it? I was looking at one of the sites that projects the seat counts in Canada based on polling numbers. This is a very inexact and speculative process, but I found something interesting in the results. The projection showed that the Green Party will receive significantly more votes than the Bloc Quebecois. However, the seat projection shows that the Bloc will get around 50 seats in the House of Commons, while the Greens may not get any (I think the number of Green seats will be higher than that, but their projection was 0).

How can that be, you ask? How can a party get more votes, and still be shut out? The main reason is that the Green support is not concentrated in one area of Canada. Greens are therefore systematically disadvantaged BECAUSE they appeal to all Canadians.

This is frustrating for all of us who believe that change is needed. First past the post is long past its expiry date. We need proportional representation so that we can begin to believe in our own democracy again.

The power in any democracy rests in the hands of the people. Please, everyone, no matter who you support, get out and vote for the party of your choice. This is especially true for students, for women and for groups whose needs are not well respresented by the mainstream parties. Let your voices be heard.

And while you're at it, have a close look at the Green Party platform, available at , and help us to change democracy forever. The Green Party cares for all Canadians, not just the ones who vote for us. We need your help.

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone. Thanks to all the folks who have helped us with the campaign in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex .

Wishing you peace,


At 6:39 PM, Blogger Wayne Smith said...

In the last election, more than 7.5 million voters cast their votes for candidates who did not get elected, and ended up "represented" by people they voted against.

Fair Vote Canada is holding a contest.

How many votes will be wasted this time? Your guess could win you cash prizes!


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