Wednesday, October 10, 2018

FPTP makes Canadians second class citizens

Voters in the province of British Columbia are faced with a dilemma: 

Does morality require them to vote for political reform because they owe their family, friends and neighbours a duty to take care of them?

This dilemma arises because each voter in BC will within days receive a postal vote, which they can complete and return between October 22 and November 30. 

If more than 50% of those filling in the ballot vote against the system now used to elect Members of the Legislative Assemby (MLAs) then a new system of choosing MLAs, based on proportional representation (PR), will be passed into law.

Supporters of the system now used (the first past the post or FPTP) argue that this system is fairer than any PR system would be.

Fairer is a value judgment: it means that FPTP is morally  better than any PR system would be.

Is this true?

The answer is a resounding NO!

And therein lies the dilemma for each voter.

The referendum imposes an obligation on each one of us as voters to consider the moral implications of our vote.

And the FPTP system is in reality legal theft of the value of each vote cast for a candidate who does not win under the FPTP system. That value is stripped from all those votes (and often the total of such votes can exceed 60% of all the votes cast).

It is as if every voter – including your family, your friends, your neighbours, your workmates, and total strangers – goes into the ballot booth with an item of very significant value (the right to cast a vote, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants us).

But then all that value is stripped out the moment those voters leave the booth, if they voted for candidates other than the winning one.

So, in the example above, where 40% of votes cast elect the winning MLA under the FPTP system, the moment the ballot booth closes, the vote of the other 60% simply becomes valueless.

A big fat zero.

And this despite the fact that the Charter (Section 3) states that “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members” of the House of Commons and of provincial legislatures.

And that Section 15, which deals with equality rights, states that “every individual ... has the right to the ... equal benefit of the law without discrimination ...”

This brings us back to the moral duty of each voter in this referendum.

Because the FPTP system is the legalized theft of the value of those 60% of total votes, and because such theft of value in effect creates two classes of Canadians, I believe we each as voters have a moral duty to vote in the referendum, and to scrap the FPTP.

If you do not vote to scrap the FPTP method we now use, you will be agreeing with those who want to retain that method, and so to create a first class of Canadians (being those who vote for the winning candidate), and an inferior, second class of citizens (being those casting the 60% of total votes in my example.

This relegation of most Canadians to second class citizenship is decidely not providing all Canadians with the “equal benefit of the law” (see here for more on this.)

Will you really be able to hold your head up when you relegate your family, friends, neighbours and other Canadians in BC to such a second class of Canadianship?

Don’t be an accessory to legalized theft of the value of votes that is an intrinsic part of the FPTP system.

Choose the high road, and vote for reform in this referendum.

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