Thursday, February 2, 2017

Evil hidden behind a mask

The Liberal party has officially given up on their campaign promise to implement electoral reform in Canada before the next election.  The Prime Minister has directed the Democratic Institutions Minister to not pursue electoral reform.

It is pretty obvious why.  The Liberals wanted a ranked ballot system because it would place them in an excellent position.  They are the centrist party so they would be ranked second on many ballots and likely end up in power a lot of the time.  However, people actually wanted a more proportional system instead and that would leave the Liberals as simply one party among many.  Under a ranked ballot they could assemble a majority government most of the time even with only 40% of the vote, but under a proportional system they would actually have to negotiate with other parties.

They don't want to negotiate, they want to be the natural, assumed leaders of the nation!

So they are going back on their promise.

I won't be voting for them again.  The campaign promise to end our First Past the Post system was a key part of my support and their obvious grasping for power being put above honouring promises and good governance is despicable.  I should note that I don't normally go so hard on a party for breaking promises because I honestly think they should reconsider their actions when new information comes in, but this was so transparently a power play that I have no tolerance whatsoever.  This isn't about doing the right thing under changing circumstances, it is simply placing the Liberal party above the will and well being of Canadians.

The Liberals may be making exactly the same mistake the Democrats did in the US so recently.  They are underestimating the public's desire for change and reform and are counting on fear of the extreme right to drive votes their way.  They hope that messages of tolerance and love will mask their political sins.

I don't want Canada to teach the Liberals the same lesson the Democrats just learned.  Electing our own version of Trump will be a wretched mess.  However, I will not be surprised if it happens.  They have lost my vote, and many others like me.

To the Liberal party, if you are listening:  Ask yourselves why you want to govern.  Is it to make Canada a better place, or just to fulfill your own desire for power?  If it is the first, then act like it, and you may earn my vote again.  If it is the second, then get ready to lose power again when a substantial chunk of the population notices the evil seeping out from behind the mask.


  1. So, there's some fuzzy thinking here.

    Regarding "ranked ballots" (and assuming that you mean AV/Hare System, rather than any of the other many things you can do with ballot rankings), I think it's a mistake to assume that adoption of such a system would lead to perpetual Liberal hegemony. "The centre" is not a fixed position, nor are voters permanently wedded to a left-right political model; there are certainly voters whose voting preferences are Conservative-NDP-Liberal, and (under the right Conservative leader) I can easily imagine NDP-Conservative-Liberal voters as well. Any different voting system creates different incentives for the candidates and parties competing in the election, so it's quite possible that under an AV electoral system you'd get the parties finding more common ground in the hopes of getting those important second-place votes.

    The remark about "the same lesson the Democrats just learned" is curious. The D candidate for the presidency got nearly three million more votes than the R candidate; saying that the R won due to "the public's desire for change" is facile and ignores the actual popular vote.

    1. I know the Democrats won the popular. The thing I am referring to is their enormous overconfidence. There was an assumption in place that a candidate like Clinton that stood for more of the same couldn't lose to a jackass like Trump, and it was proven false. In polling Sanders vs. Trump Sanders was far ahead, yet many people voted Clinton in the primaries because of worries that Sanders represented too much of a change - Clinton was safe. I think the Liberals are doing something of the same thing, looking for the safe, do nothing solution, and I think that makes them vulnerable to a Conservative nutjob who promises big change in the same way Trump did.

    2. The whole ranked-ballot-favours-Liberals thing is popular wisdom, but I agree it's pretty misguided. In addition to C-N-L and N-C-L voters, let's not forget that the country has plenty of voters who would prefer the NDP but who vote Liberal. Ranked ballots mean those people all get to vote NDP instead.

      Plus, the primary axis of Canadian politics is Conservative vs. Liberal with NDP as a hanger on. I think the country has plenty of Conservatives who would not choose Liberal as a second option because they hate the Liberal party; left-right be damned. Last provincial election Alberta elected the NDP - the Liberal party got one seat.

      I certainly blame the Liberals first and foremost for this mess, but I'm not happy with the NDP either. They could have gotten on board with ranked ballot but they probably got some very bad advice from people who don't actually understand how to analyze electoral systems (of course it's the *same* bad advice that make the Liberals favour ranked ballot, so if the advice was good we'd be getting nothing anyway).