October 20th, 2020

We need a system that works for all Canadians

By Letter to the Editor on November 14, 2019.

Frances Schultz, in a letter on Nov. 6, suggests that Albertans may be “trying the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

The same could be said of an even larger group of electors: those in Ontario and Quebec who keep choosing politicians or parties that cater to their regions, instead of ones with a more thoughtful position dedicated to valuing all regions of Canada. This is not unique to the Liberal Party. Even the Conservative Party had a hand in the current equalization formula being favourable to Quebec.

Instead of taking a dim view to Western voters’ choices, those in regions that are highly populated (and therefore represented by larger numbers of MPs) should take notice of the need for them to take a dim view to politicians who seem to cater to them and not to their fellow Canadians in the West and the Atlantic region.

A mixed member-proportional representation (MMPR) system, to replace our current single-member-plurality system, could also help, because it would be necessary for the leading party to look for common ground with a party that represents a region that voted substantially for that party.

I know that poorly designed PR systems catch a lot of attention in Canada for the problems they have – politicians who serve their parties instead of voters because they had to make deals to get high on the party list. We can build a system that turns outward and requires these aspiring politicians to work the streets and homes of citizens, instead of the back rooms of their parties; if they win, they owe it to voters, instead of fellow party members. And since that works against political parties’ interests, we’ll have to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that is the kind of system we get if we can make the change from single-member plurality.

Voting ourselves out of the Liberal caucus need not be a negative. It can be an opportunity to show the central areas of our country that no region should be emphasized to the detriment of others.

Geoffrey Capp


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