Letter: Whatever the game, somebody will game it

I have been observing the debate regarding electoral reform with curiosity and some detachment. But now that it seems BC residents will be voting on this issue in the near future, I have been forced to form an opinion. My verdict? Nobody can formulate for me exactly what is wrong with our current Parliamentary system without an immediate partisan tirade following soon after.

In an effort to educate myself, I started at the beginning: Wikipedia of course. Let’s see….type in… “Countries with proportional representation”… here we go … most of Europe, but not Britain. Germany yes, well there is a county worth some emulation … oh, but also Italy… hmmmm Italian politics are certainly not worth emulating. Latin America, looks like most nations down south have some sort of Proportional Representation, and run-off presidential elections ensuring the winner gets over 50 percent. Now type in First Past the Post. Great Britain, Canada, United States.and most of Africa.

Looks like a draw. I cannot really tell which system is better. Well, wait a minute… here is an article blaming the rise of Neo-Nazi Parties in Germany on Proportional Representation. Oh but another article here says the environmental regulations are less secure in First Past the Post systems.

My verdict: There is no clear advantage to Proportional Representation. It seems to be change proposed for change sake. As such, I will not be voting for electoral reform any time soon. Why? It seems to me that a nation is defined not by that nation’s political system, but rather by a nation’s political character. There needs to be a high level of good will to ensure consensus governance and a smooth transition of power. No system in the world can cause this. How do I know? For the same reason why a parliamentary system only works when there is a certain high bar of honour and decency as well as civility among its participants. And the most perfect Statutory Constitutional Democratic Republic can not write laws firm enough to avoid tyranny or Constitutional Crisis once a nation’s population decides to hate each other. Just study history.

It would seem that the Left is championing Proportional Representation right now; no wonder, it would appear to benefit them in the short run. But let this be a warning: no matter what rules to the game we write, somebody will figure out how to game the system. It could very well be that the Right benefits from Proportional Representation in the long run. And not the Centrist Right. The Far, Far Right. So is it worth the risk? To have Italy? A Government doomed to minority coalitions between wing-nuts-of-the-day political parties?

I do not think Canada’s political system is broken. If anything is broken, it is Canadians ourselves who have forgotten the value of compromise, civil discourse, and progress achieved by steady gains and social evolution instead of social engineering and Click Bait destruction of all forms of dialogue. First Past the Post is not the problem; it is not even a symptom. Proportional Representation will accomplish nothing except short term political anarchy as the players all scramble to learn how to rig the new game.

Count me out, I think we have done just fine over the Past 150 years. Social progress and environmental stewardship can be achieved quicker by playing the existing system. If you find yourself feeling excluded by current system, ask yourself why? The answer may be that you are just not even trying to play.

Joseph Nusse

Valemount, BC

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