Monday, December 05, 2005

Local vs. National

I think this is something that is starting to become more of a debate, both internally and externally. Now, it isn’t something that everyone will have to face, but there are those of us who may have to make the choice between choosing a local candidate that we feel is most competent in representing the riding, and voting based on the party we want to make the government.

I know, in my riding, I am currently facing this proposition. Do I vote for a candidate I really can’t stand, for a party that I may want to make the new government (I’m still undecided about that, as there’re 7 more weeks of campaigns to see first), or do I vote for the candidate I actually think would be a good representative, and support a party that I may not actually want to rule.

In my opinion, this is one of the problems that needs to be addressed in the Canadian electoral system. The role of an MP is not merely to determine the party making the government, but to represent their riding. However, with the current electoral system, our voting doesn’t always reflect this.

So what needs to be done to fix this? Well, one solution as I see it, is to begin allocating a number of seats based on popular vote percentages. Now, I’m not advocating a 100% proportional system, as then we can lose some of the local representation that our MPs purportedly provide. Perhaps a second vote on each ballot to a party that may or may not be the same as the candidate voted for to select these.

So where would these seats go? Well, there are a few options that could be touched on in a few posts of their own. Maybe through an expansion of Parliament, or through changing the Senate to a proportionally elected body. There are other options as well.

Frankly, I think that this is one of the things that will need to be changed to really have an effect on the Canadian political landscape. It would allow for new voices to be heard in government, and for people to have a say both in how their riding is represented and their country governed, as opposed to possibly being forced to compromise between the two.

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