Friday, December 4, 2015

A Humble Prediction about the Pending Editorial Campaign Against Electoral Reform

I would like to venture a not particularly crazy opinion: the National Post and the Globe & Mail will oppose electoral reform. Their stated reasons for doing so will be confusing, contradictory, and occasionally quite silly. But they will oppose it.

The real reason they oppose it is because, as they both made perfectly clear during the last election campaign, the positions of both papers is that they wish to see the Conservative Party elected to office. In the explicitly stated views of both papers' editorial boards, this objective takes clear precedence over any pretense of impartial and non-partisan analysis of issues.

Worth remembering that.

Indeed, this is hardly a valuable prediction because this campaign has already begun, courtesy of the likes of John Ivison. Ivison gives us two reasons for fretting about electoral reform: the public might oppose it (though he gives no evidence to support this conjecture), and the Conservative Party will suffer because of it. That's it. Even Ivison is seldom so partisan as to pen a column hoping that a government will break an election promise because doing so might harm his party of choice.

The real question I have here, though, is for the Conservative partisans who are behind this silliness: what is it about electoral reform that frightens you so much? Ranked ballot is not an existential threat to the Conservative Party, despite the crowing in some Liberal circles. Ranked ballot is only a threat to parties who are deeply unpopular with the majority of voters, run scare campaigns devoid of meaningful popular policy promises, and consequently are so despised outside of their core support base that nobody will pick them as a second choice.

If the Conservative Party wishes to be a deeply unpopular and despised party devoted to fearmongering rather than responsible policy-making, then yes, I can see why they might be feel threatened.

But why does the Conservative Party have to stand for such narrow and absurd principles? What the fuck is wrong with you people? If your party is so hated by Canadians that it cannot get the support of a majority of Canadians, perhaps it's time to reflect on why you think your party deserves to govern in a democracy in the first place.


  1. Ah, ranked ballot is just a fancier FPTP electoral system. Let's go with a form of PP in which every vote counts.

  2. Thanks for commenting!

    My feelings on this are as follows:

    a) First off, every vote does count in ranked ballot. That's kind of the point. It's just that you may not get your first choice. But do you ever? And in the process it eliminates the pressure of strategic voting.

    b) Our system has got this bad in large part because of authoritarian political parties demanding that MPs be loyal to the party ahead of their constituents. In your system, there won't be any constituents any more. Parties would be even more powerful than they are already.

    c) Going to ranked ballot now doesn't eliminate the possibility of going to proportional representation later. Undercutting the only real reform game in town right now, on the other hand, means a good chance that a very unusual opportunity will pass and we'll be stuck with FPTP until the next blue moon comes along.