Why Canada’s Electoral Systems Need to Change

The second of my two-part critique of Canadian democracy is up at Provocative Penguin.  The first can be found here.  This one deals with the misguided reforms proposed in the Fair Elections Act earlier this year, and the need to implement proportional representation to ensure that every vote counts.

Something strange always happens on an election night. In the weeks building up to it a barrage of stump speeches, photo-ops, and debates are accompanied by a series of polls which are meant to indicate who is winning, who is losing, and what the electorate is thinking.

But when voters come home from the polling stations and turn to their television sets to watch the live election coverage, the polls have become irrelevant. The rules have changed. The relative success of each party’s campaign performance is no longer measured by the overall amount of voters who support them, but by which ridings their supporters are concentrated in.

Occasionally, the popular vote will be displayed onscreen, but only when there is no new data to report, and the anchors get bored.

Read more.

The Supreme Court Acted While Elected MP’s Couldn’t

Head on over to Provocative Penguin, where the first of my two-part critique of Canadian democracy:

…when the Harper government introduced two controversial bills this year–C-13, the cyberbullying bill; and S-4, the Digital Privacy Act–opposition MPs were able to do little more than join the chorus of privacy experts, commissioners, and the media in decrying the legislation.

By chance, the Supreme Court made a ruling last month in R. v Spencer, a child pornography case, which undermined the government’s legal argument behind sharing personal data of internet subscribers, a practice which would likely have become more prevalent under both bills before the ruling.

While the court satisfied Harper’s critics, it remains an indictment of the electoral system when we must rely on unelected levers to check the power of a party most Canadians did not vote for.

Read the rest at Provocative Penguin.