Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Today I performed a meaningless religious ritual. You know: something that has pretty much bugger-all effect on the real world, but you do it because you feel obliged to, in the service of some big abstraction. So I did it.

I voted.

The incumbent (who was never my choice of candidate) was predicted to again win by a clear majority, and sho 'nuff currently available returns show him doing just that. So even strategic voting isn't a useful option. Which makes bothering to show up at the polling station at all seem like a futile exercise, no?

Nonetheless, I did. You see, I believe in this big abstraction called Democracy, and its chief sacrament is Voting, so I feel compelled to observe the ritual, just as I have at every election at every level for the past 30+ years.

I voted Green, largely because I'd like to see their concerns get more prominence in the political process. Were they ever to have a shot at real power, I might have to pay attention to whether they were competent to run anything, but for the forseeable future there appears little danger of that. So I have the luxury of choosing how to waste my vote without giving it a lot of serious consideration. Really, my opinion on the Canadian election has only slightly more significance than my opinion on the American presidential election, and quite honestly theirs is both more entertaining (who have we got to compare with the Hockey Mom from Alaska?), and the outcome is likely to affect my life almost as much.

No, I'm not particuarly happy about this. We need electoral reform, badly. It failed in Ontario last time round, but we need to keep trying. Most other civilized countries dumped First-Past-The-Post years ago. It's time for Canada to join the 21st century.
Update: Darin at The Squid Zone also weighs in (with comprehensive statistics, all in a neat table!) -- I mention him because whereas I've never voted Tory in my life, he has a history of doing so. This is not a partisan issue: it goes to the root of what we all mean by, and value in, our democracy.


AJM said...

Yep. First past the post blows, pretty much.

Evolving Squid said...

It's not a partisan issue at all! I live in McGuintyland with a McGuinty premier, and a McGuinty MP... Since I have never voted Liberal in 20 years, every trip to a federal or provincial poll is, technically, a complete waste of time for me... and has been for a long time. I vote only because I have sufficient sense of civic duty to motivate me to go, but I understand people who don't (even if I think they're lazy sacks).

Believe me, I know how the Liberal voter in Calgary (or Pembroke... ugh) feels, and how the Green voter feels.

I supported MMP in the referendum, but my preference would be the Australia-style "Single Transferrable Vote" that BC is proposing in an upcoming referendum.

I'd rather have an NDP government that people want, than a Conservative government that an overwhelming majority don't want... and I'm generally a Conservative supporter.