Our primitive voting system, FPP, breaks down when there are more than two parties.
Small-c conservatives more equal than others
About 40% of Canadians are right-leaning. Under FPP, a fake majority is at 39%. This means conservatives now call the shots.
Any center-left party must appeal to moderate conservatives to split the right-of-center vote to keep the Conservatives away from majority territory.
Mulcair right-wing on taxes
This is no more evident than Mulcair’s recent position on taxation.
Mulcair not progressive on taxes
He is now espousing the right-wing mantra that Canadians are overtaxed:
“I am categorical on [higher taxes]. Several provinces are now at the 50 per cent rate. Beyond that, you’re not talking taxation; you’re talking confiscation. And that is never going to be part of my policies, going after more individual taxes. Period. Full stop.”
High tax fallacy
This position is, of course, a fallacy:
We’ve had 30 years of continuous tax cuts which have created soaring inequality and government debt. We were much more prosperous in the centrist Keynesian post-war era when taxes were much higher for the rich. Back then we also paid down most of our debt.
Among 31 OECD developed countries, Canada ranks #9 in lowest tax revenues.
Our once progressive tax system has become regressive. The wealthiest pay the least taxes — far below the 50% “confiscation” rate Mulcair talks about:
“By the centre’s calculations, the top one per cent of Canadian families — those earning at least $266,000 — paid 30.5 per cent of their income in taxes in 2005. That was less than any other income group — even the lowest.”
Voting reform seriously needed
This is why we need voting reform. It’s appalling that a 40% minority of conservatives determines the fate of our country. In a democracy, a majority decides.
PV ranked ballot is the quickest fix
PR is the best option on voting reform. But PV ranked ballot also has a lot to offer the NDP as a stopgap measure. (It can be legislated direct on party platform; PR requires a referendum, 4 of which have already failed in Canada.)
If we had PV in 2011, the NDP would’ve formed the government. The ranked ballot would also eliminate the polarizing major/minor party dynamic between the NDP and Liberals. That would make the NDP a real player that forms governments.