Saturday, April 30, 2011

Are We on the Cusp of de facto Proportional Representation?

Of all the interesting trends this election, the increased ability of politicians and ordinary citizens to effect change in public opinion is surely the most important.

The case of the NDP's sudden unpredicted rise in Quebec and across the country is one example. Another is Elizabeth May's strong showing (and hopefully election) in Saanich. Another, the well organized strategic voting information available for ridings across the country, and peoples' apparent willingness to consider exercising their vote strategically. There have also been vote mobs and the high turnout at the advance polls.

With all of these events combined, there is obviously a new volatility in Canadian democracy. This, despite 95% of the media being subverted by a new style of corporate interference in favour of the Conservative Party.

A perhaps telling, if little-noticed, event this campaign has been the appearance in it of North Vancouver Independent candidate Nick Jones

He puts forth a somewhat convincing case for his candidacy on his website. Including such interesting elements as the following:

When there is an upcoming vote in the House of Commons, I will poll the citizens of North Vancouver using a web-based and/or phoned bases service and will use the feedback that I collect to guide how I vote on behalf of the riding.

About a week or so ago a tweet came through announcing that Jones was endorsing Liberal candidate in the riding, Taleeb Noormohamed.  (At present it looks like North Van would be a prime constituency where Greens and NDPs would be very well-served to cast a strategic ballot in Noormohamed's direction.)

The quick rise of the NDP, the ability of independent candidates to reach out with their message on the internet, and the progress in strategic voting sophistication, are all epic shifts in electoral behaviours. Probably more important to realize is that we are now in the era of change, fast results and instant gratification.

With this in mind, a few things to expect for the next election, be it in one or more years: additional Green Party candidates (bonjour, Georges) with strong chances to win in well targeted ridings, probably a higher profile for the Christian Heritage Party or some other far right group, more independent candidates with more interesting, unique ideas, and continued development in strategic voting concepts, vote mobs, vote trading, etc.

As early as the next federal election, we could be witnessing some form of de facto proportional representation. This will result in election of perhaps 5-10 candidates from the Greens, lesser parties or independents, which would all be good for democracy.  The constitutional wrangling that would be required to ever implement proportional representation would be daunting and probably take decades... but it may still be possible using social media!

Oh and to provide equal opportunity for the NDP to pick up another seat in this election.... a call for votes goes out to Libs and Greens in Kamloops riding. This seat can be taken from the Conservatives. Vote NDP!

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