Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Lawrence Martin just doesn’t get it

In a Globe and Mail column, Lawrence Martin blames the Green Party for the Liberals losing a recent by-election in Brandon–Souris (Manitoba) by 400 votes. He goes so far as to say the party should pack it in. Not only is this suggestion pointless, it’s absurd and offensive.

In a democracy, people have the right to form parties and vote for whatever party they want. The Green Party is not the problem. The problem is our primitive, 19th-century voting system most developed countries got rid of a century ago.

The media is the message

Martin’s ridiculous column is indicative of what the real problem is: the corporate media. They favor FPP single-party dictatorships over multi-party democratic governments because they are much easier to lobby and influence.

Only in Canada (and perhaps the UK,) do people offer bizarre solutions to fix distorted election results instead of fixing the distorted voting system that produces them.

PR not in the cards

Although proportional representation voting reform would be the ideal solution, there’s just too much opposition to it. The corporate media despises the system and would ensure a federal PR referendum went down in flames, just like they did with PR referendums among the provinces.

Ranked ballot safe first step

The best bet is to first fix our existing system with ranked ballot voting — which is what Justin Trudeau proposes. Since it’s only a minor change (from single-choice ballot to ranked) it’s much easier to bring about. Not only does it stop vote splitting, it ensures reliable strategic voting and automatic electoral cooperation.

If we had the ranked ballot in place last week, the Liberals would’ve won Brandon-Souris with a majority of votes. If we had it in place in 2011, Harper would’ve been ousted by a NDPLiberal government commanding 50% of the vote and 53% of the seats.


In 2015, we have a narrow window of unprecedented opportunity to bring real democracy to Canada. If we don’t take advantage of it, be prepared to watch the Cons destroy the country despite the vast majority of Canadians being opposed to them.


  1. Your argument doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The fact of the matter is that the election was held under the voting system we have, not a voting system we wish we had.

    Votes on third party (or lower) candidates really are wasted. In the absense of electoral reform, the green party acts to ensure a worse outcome than the people who cast their vote for it likely wish.

    Under our current system, Martin's suggestion that the green party seek to pressure particular candidates into adopting certain policies, rather than running candidates, makes sense.

    It is only after electoral reform is achieved that third and fourth party candidacies would be in any way effective.

  2. You mean the third-place Liberal party should bow out of the 2015 election to ensure we have "democracy"? That doesn't make a whole lot sense.

    People have the constitutional right to form parties and vote for whatever party they want. A two-party system means most voters are marginalized: like moderate conservatives in the Conservative and Republican parties; like left-leaning voters in the Liberal and Democratic parties.

    So let's deal with the real problem which is our corrupt voting system that produces the opposite of democracy by awarding absolute power to a 40% minority leaving the 60% super-majority out in the cold.

  3. To get to electoral reform, which both the Liberals and NDP are supporting and would be to the Green Party's benefit, you have to get the Conservatives out, because they will never support it. The Green Party's current strategy is self-defeating, and that's really not debatable. Meanwhile, the Green Party gets to keep watching Harper treat the environment like a battered spouse.

  4. The Liberals have been leading in the polls since Trudeau became leader. It's absurd to suggest the Cons will win perpetually because of the Green party. Fact is, the Liberals won in 2004 when the Green party got more in votes (4.3%) than they got last election (3.9%.)

    The Liberals and NDP can also form the government even if the Cons win a plurality, especially if they have a majority of seats between them.

    It's unrealistic to believe the Green party can be bullied out of existence. So either build support to fix our joke of a voting system -- which idiots like Martin don't even talk about. Or get used to Cons calling the shots. Because that's the way it's going to play out, like it or not.


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