|Andrew Coyne - truthteller|
If you never make the case for electoral reform, then yes, it will remain an abstraction in the public mind. But if you believe it is necessary, presumably it is because of the real-world problems of the current system.
So many of the well-known ills of our politics — the phoney majorities, the exaggerated regional divisions, the lack of competition for so many seats, the obsession with a narrow slice of swing voters, the lack of serious debate, the sheer partisan nastiness — have their roots in the way we count the votes.
How could they not? That is what decides who gets into power, and how.
As such, it rewards a certain kind of political behaviour, and not others — the sort of behaviour that results in falling turnout, declining interest in Parliament, and a general sense among many voters that they are not represented by our politics. You want better bread-and-butter policies?
You have to fix our politics. And one part of fixing politics is to fix the system. The opposition has two years to make that case. If they believe in it, they will.
All very well, but — objection four — how would it work in practice?
Single issue elections are not unknown to our politics: 1988 was one.
Neither are coalitions, with all of the last-minute haggling over cabinet seats and the like these entail. If it would allay the critics’ fears, the parties could agree upon a short program of government, in addition to the central objective of electoral reform. No doubt other issues would arise in the interim, but there’s nothing new in that.
Of course, if you don’t think electoral reform is needed, none of this will make sense to you. But then that is your real objection.
It really seems to me that the 7 candidates for leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada who oppose Joyce Murray's concept of an election ceasefire in the next election, followed by a Royal Commission to examine alternative means of electoral reform, fit into Coyne's last paragraph.
Are they really just not into electoral reform, and just going through the motions, hoping to bury it after a leader is elected?
Canadians deserve better from people who would like to become leader of a major party, and aspire to being prime minister.