Every vote does matter, but it doesn’t always seem that way. It should.
That’s why it’s important that Canadians take advantage of this chance to have their say on their electoral system and ways to improve it.
The federal government is continuing to examine electoral reform, even after a special all-party committee presented its reports in the House of Commons. The committee’s work was disparaged and its recommendation mocked by the Liberal Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef. Although she subsequently apologized, she was right that the committee’s findings were inconclusive and created confusion. Rather than suggest a voting model to replace first-past-the-post, the committee recommended a to-be-determined proportional system that would conform to a mathematical formula linking popular vote and seat count.
Since the committee couldn’t come up with viable solutions, some of the questions are being put to Canadians. The government mailed, to households across the country, invitations to participate in an online survey at www.mydemocracy.ca, and hopefully it hasn’t been lost under a stack of Christmas flyers. The feds want to know what we think about not only the voting system, but also the voting age, mandatory voting, online voting and measures to incentivize diversity among political candidates. The survey is imperfect – it is simplistic and it seems to try to sway responses – but it’s worth the time it takes to make a few mouse clicks and think.
There’s a likelihood that the Canadians who will respond to the survey are the ones who already vote, but we hope that non-voters engage in the electoral reform process. A premise of trying to improve on first-past-the-post is to seek a system that would enfranchise more electors. Maybe a system where more of our votes matter can lead to government that represents more Canadians and more of our values.
Now is a fine time to think about the ways our democracy works and the ways it can be better.