Democracy should be simple. A government of the people, by the people and for the people.
And yet there is much to be disappointed about with our electoral system. In B.C., our MLAs come from our communities, so a government “of the people” is covered, with the exception of Christy Clark in Kelowna.
A government “by the people” is covered to some extent, in that B.C. residents 18 and older are eligible to vote for their MLA. However, voter turnout is an issue across the country; Nova Scotia just had its worst turnout ever.
Personally, I would like to see mandatory voting like they have in Australia, or perhaps at least make it easier for people here to vote, maybe by way of their smartphones in the near future.
Most problematic in B.C. and in many jurisdictions is getting a government “for the people.” Only 47 of the 87 newly elected B.C. MLAs received more than 50 per cent of the votes in their ridings. It’s no small wonder that so many people complain about the outcome of elections in this type of scenario.
But there are other models to look to. The recent federal Conservative leadership race was decided by a ranked ballot. The recent presidential election in France was decided by a run-off vote; the French had more than one election day to determine their new president, and as a result you don’t hear them complaining about the popular vote.
I am not in favour of proportional representation as an electoral model, but our current first-past-the-post electoral system leaves a lot to be desired. A democratic government should feel to its constituents like it is “for the people,” and far too often the post-election day results do not seem to reflect this basic principle.