Fairer ways exist, but not wanted

Re: Proportional voting system better reflects people’s will, Letters, June 23.

To the Editor,

Re: Proportional voting system better reflects people’s will, Letters, June 23.

In putting the onus for change on the peoples of Canada – “Over to you, fellow citizens” – Jordan Ellis well reminded me of former Nanaimo MP Bob Ringma, who, upon hearing it suggested that constitutional change was within the grasp of his, as it was then, Reform Party, dismissed the idea (and the one voicing it) by stating that change was up to the people.

In both instances, we’ve been given public testimony to a rather shallow grasp on the subject of political/constitutional reform – for nothing in the constitution of Canada provides its citizenry with the means to participate in such dialogues save and except for when the dominant block of politicians infesting Canada’s legislatures deign allow them.

Even in British Columbia, nothing within the legislature’s bestowed grace of ‘initiative’ can bind the Legislature if it is unwilling … and for those so inclined, within the decadence of this ‘Faux News’ era, Daniel O’Connell’s notion of “a moral electricity in the continuous expression of public opinion concentrated on a single point” is beyond quaint.

British North America Act; Balfour Declaration of 1926; Statute of Westminster; Canada Act … anyone?

Two striking things can be seen in the above collection: 1) that the Constitution makes no stipulation as to how Members of Parliament are to be elected, only that they be elected, and 2) that control over such triflings – as it does with the more weighty issues of constitutional reform – remains the sole prerogative of those who’ve been elected.

For the sake of underscore: the function of elections – in that which we lovingly call ‘representative government’ (or, with equal approbation, ‘liberal democracy’) – is to exclude voices from the legislatures; to under-represent the diversity of the electorate; to minimize the number of viewpoints involved in legislative proceedings; principally, that of dissent.

On that note, when Ellis raises the subject of electoral reform, we should hope that he’s being more forthright now than during that tumultuous period in B.C. politics when he and his Green Party associates steadfastly refused to discuss the obvious shortcomings of that bastardized transferable ballot system, BC-STV, to which he and the Green Party had affixed their brand.

Yes, there are better – as in fairer (more representative, even) – ways to apportion seats in our legislatures, but the onus of acquisition rests on the shoulders of those who most benefit from Canada’s continued employ of single-member plurality.

Which is to say, how might the citizenry – which, not being a person recognized by Parliament or the Constitution, has no political power – redeem that thing which does not wish to be redeemed?

Not at all unlike the conundrum John Locke spoke of when the executive power is allowed to be made a part of the legislative power.

David S. Dunaway

South Wellington

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read