Rebel "Poll" on Proportional Representation

Rebel "Poll" on Proportional Representation

as published in the Victoria Standard: February 29, 2016

I wonder if opponents of proportional representation (PR) have a comprehensive understanding of it or if they merely fear the prospect that electoral change will give a public voice to causes they despise? Might it not be preferable to debate the issues rather than seek to exclude opponents from the political arena?

Canada’s current parliamentary system is based largely on fantasies of trust and accountability to the public interest. Perhaps PR opponents like the idea of being ruled by the backdoor corporate masters of either one of our two dominant parties. The current system actively ignores the concerns of a huge percentage of Canadians who either don't vote or whose votes are rendered useless under existing "first past the post" rules.

According to a recent Rebel poll, eligible Canadian voters should have a final say on changes to the electoral system; but should they not also have a direct role in every major decision, including major military actions? Such public participation would undoubtedly disturb elite political activists who feel nothing but contempt for the average person. Unfortunately, direct democracy requires a larger commitment of time and energy than most people seem willing to offer.

Most Canadians seem to prefer the false comfort of a system that pretends to represent their interests. Easily-obtainable evidence indicates that, while government is aware of public wishes; politicians consistently serve an alternate agenda. Beyond that, who is actually qualified to decide which issues are best left to secretive, "in camera" cabinet meetings and the influence of powerful lobbyists?