Green Party leader Elizabeth May was part of a rally in downtown Ottawa last Saturday. The rally was in protest of the Conservative party’s “majority” government. Fair Vote Canada organized the rallies in 10 cities across Canada to promote voting reform. Although Elizabeth May won the Green Party’s first elected seat in parliament, the party lost nationally because of the one-riding FPTP voting system. The rallies demonstrate Canadian citizens need for proportional representation.
“There is growing non-partisan support, especially among younger voters, to change “the perversity of our voting system,” Elizabeth May said.
“My concern is less about the number of seats the Greens would have in Parliament,” added May, “but that the first-past-the-post system has allowed this false Conservative majority when only 39.6 per cent of voters voted for them.”
“By vote splitting,” May said, “they managed to win their majority by a few thousand votes — a total of about 6,200 votes made the difference between a minority and a majority because in so many ridings the votes were so close. But that’s our system.”
There is now a keen focus among advocates for voting reform to fix Ottawa and make sure the democratic process works properly. Canadians voted for change, and the Harper government needs to realize this. Prime Minister Harper said that the Conservative Party would govern all Canadians, even the ones that did not vote for them. This suggests that he is well aware that the majority of Canadian people are unhappy.
This past week Stephen Harper appointed three failed Conservative candidates to the Senate. Former senators Larry Smith and Fabian Manning will be returning to the Senate. Former cabinet minister Josee Verner was also granted a seat even though she originally lost it to an NDP challenger in the federal election.
Stephen Harper said in a news release that the Conservative government will “continue to push for a more democratic, accountable and effective Senate.”
Bringing failed candidates to Senate has baffled other parties and is seen as a complete insult to the democratic process and Canadian voters. Democracy Watch has called for a police investigation into whether Smith and Manning were promised their Senate seats back if they lost in the House of Commons.
“Canadian voters just rejected these three people two weeks ago and Harper is making an anti-democratic partisan move. This is wrong. This is completely undemocratic. It's a slap in the face of Canadian voters," NDP leader Jack Layton said. "Mr. Harper talks about Senate reform but he's doing things in the same old way, in fact, even worse ... The ink is barely dry on their rejection notices and they're being appointed to the Senate."
Stephan Harper is using the politics of control and the recent decision to appoint failed candidates to Senate, two weeks after the election, shows his complete disregard for what Canadians voted for.
“Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is our version of George W Bush, minus the warmth and intellect.” writes Heather Mallick, The Guardian. “What happens now is the full-scale Americanization of Canada, hinted at over the past seven years by Harper.”
For those interested in taking action:
Leadnow.ca is an independent, youth-led advocacy organization that helps Canadians of all generations participate in their democracy.