Saturday, October 06, 2012

Justin Trudeau and tic-tac-toe politics

Justin Trudeau does not believe in tic-tac-toe (noughts and crosses to some of us) politics:

As for Stephen Harper’s policies now, Mr. Trudeau says they are dividing the country, as are NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair’s.

“Mr. Harper put an X over Quebec and is anchoring himself in the West. Mr. Mulcair has recently put an X over Alberta and is pandering for votes in Quebec and Ontario,” Mr. Trudeau said. “That is not the right solution no matter how successful you are at being elected.”

Under “my watch,” he said, “you will not hear a Liberal … saying one thing in one corner of the country and another thing in another corner of the country. You will not hear me using the wealth of one corner of the country as a whipping boy to earn votes in another part of the country.”

Mr. Harper, he said, is “proof” that you can get elected, even to a majority, through the “strategy of division, micro-targeting of envy and mistrust.”


Trudeau is correct in fighting against the divide-and-rule style of politicking by Stephen Harper.

But if he really wants to eliminate the tic-tac-toe politics that have so bedeviled Canadian politics for so many rules, he needs to change the electoral system that breeds the success of such politics.

Our first past the post (FPTP) system of electing MPs leads to the ability of a Harper to play off sections of the population without any concern about having to pay a price at the polls.

If we had a modified proportional representation system of electing our MPs, all parties would have to pay attention to the concerns and needs of all groups within all parts of the country.

The ability to structure a narrow coalition and to use the FPTP system to gain power and stay in power will disappear once we remedy that democratic deficit.

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