Monday, October 25, 2004

Another Coronation in Alberta

The inevitable has come, Ralph Klein has Called an Election for November 22 in Alberta. Once again, the discussion about the fairness of the Canadian electoral system is bound to come up. Klein’s Conservatives won all but nine of the Province’s 83 seats – with only sixty percent of the vote. Less than two thirds of the electorate selected a premier with unlimited power and absolutely no checks or balances. In effect, Ralph Klein was elected dictator of Alberta in 2001.

Sure, someone has to be the governing party, and I’d make the same complaint about recent elections of the federal Liberals. It is completely inappropriate for this amount of power to be handed to a party that is supported by such a small percentage of the population. In fact, the situation federally is far worse given that the Liberals have won large majorities with around forty percent of the vote.

There are a variety of problems which make such majorities a far greater problem in Canadian politics than they are in other nations. Firstly, unlike the American system there are a number of viable parties in our nation. The NDP, Liberals and Conservatives are major powers nationally and the Green Party is of increasing import having won more than five percent support in the election this spring. Additionally, the Bloc Quebecois is a huge force in Quebec. Given our ‘first past the post’ system, seats are almost always won without a plurality. Almost every other nation in the world which is home to more than two parties uses proportional representation. Yet Canada is clinging to yet another tradition which is counter-productive in the modern world.

Today, however, the good news is mixed with the bad. While the Conservatives are expected to win a massive majority with only 50% of the vote – neither the NDP nor the Liberals currently field a full slate of candidates – the situation in BC is quite different. Today, a committee recommended a transfer to ‘single transferable voting’, a form of instant runoff voting.

So maybe today was a move in the right direction, despite another imminent victory for King Ralph.

3 Comments:

Blogger Caurus said...

Klein is going to eliminate single tier health care. He is a right wing nut and a drunk. What do Albertans see in him?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Hobbesian said...

Ralph Klein has created the strongest economy in Canada and unlike eastern politicians he is not some elitist ass.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Marina974 said...

Or maybe it's the oil that helped the economy?

4:43 PM  

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