Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Under FPP, conservatives call the shots: ask Mulcair

Our primitive voting system, FPP, breaks down when there are more than two parties.

In the 1990s, the Liberals had an unfair advantage due to center-right vote splitting. Now a united Conservative party has an unearned advantage due to center-left vote splitting.

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Among 31 OECD developed countries, Canada ranks #9 in lowest tax revenues.

  3. 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.

If we had a democratic voting system all voters would be equal. Social democrats could be social democrats and win Canadians over like they often do in Germany and other northern European countries.

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.

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