Letter: When people say voting is pointless, they’re right

Canada's First Past the Post voting system is subverting true democracy, but electoral change can happen this October.

To the editor;

Every election cycle I am repulsed by the level of disaffection many Canadians have for our democracy. They generally say something like “My vote doesn’t mean crap. Voting is pointless and stupid. We have no real influence.” What makes me most disgusted about such statements is the fact that in many electoral ridings across Canada, the people who say such things are right. Yes, votes are wasted and tossed into the trashcan in Canada. Often, thanks to our First Past The Post electoral system, people who think their vote is meaningless are correct.

Now most fans of the Conservative party are fine with the status quo. They have a big tent party that helps them win control of the House of Commons with a disproportionately low amount of popular support thanks to FPTP. With less than half of the support of the Canadian people, the Cons can currently do whatever they like in Ottawa. Is that fair or democratic? Does that reflect the will of the electorate? Proportional representation could work for Canada as well as it works for the majority of healthy democracies in the world.

The Green Party has made impressive strides with respect to popular support over the last few years, despite decades of lagging behind without any seats in the House of Commons. However, with regionally diffuse support at such low levels, the Greens can’t hope for more than a tiny handful of seats after the next election. But, and this is a big but, if Greens thought more carefully about long term strategy, they would see their best tactical move: support the NDP just for this one and only election and get the system they need to go from struggling for two or three seats to realistically having the ability to acquire more like 20-30 seats.

If you support the Libertarian party, the Pirate party, the Christian Heritage party, older parties like Social Credit, or independent candidates for that matter—individuals who could easily win with strong support in a riding so long as the PR system adopted ensured regional representation—the NDP in this election has the potential to galvanize the Canadian voting public and fundamentally level the playing field. We have the chance to let our voices truly be heard. We could finally have every vote count in an election where the parties that best represent our interests get law changing influence based on the number of people who vote for that party. Many people dislike the NDP, but the fact that they have promised to change our electoral system is reason enough for people across the political spectrum to support them for just this one time. It’s worth the gamble. Our country’s democracy is at stake, and that is why I support the NDP and my candidate Rebecca Smith this October.

Randolph Lockhart,

Langley, B.C.

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