It was on Thursday, December the 20, 2018 that the electoral Officer pronounced the outcome of the Electoral System referendum. This was not the ususal “Friday afternoon bad news announcement”, it was worse than that, it was timed between Black Friday and Boxing Day and came bull’s-eye on the most euphoric season of the year. By the time the spirits are consumed, the turkey leftovers eaten, and the Christmas presents returned to the stores or stashed away for re-gifting, most of the people would have “lumped” the Referendum result and “learned” to grin and bear it.
The uttering of proclamations such as “The electorate resolutely rejected change” and “The people defended our democratic electoral system”, would help the “selling” of that meticulously manufactured Referendum outcome.
“Manufactured”? Yes, it was . No less so than Trudeau’s retreat from his solemn promise that the 2015 election was to be the last done with the current FPTP system. Irrespective of whether he was sincere when made his promise, there is no doubt that Trudeau succumbed to the temptation of re-election when he “discovered”, to his great surprise he would have us believe, that we, the people of Canada, are madly enamoured with the FPTP. This is the system which produced governments who peddle out Canada for “foreign investment” that would create favourable to the party in power “economic indicators” which, in turn would perpetuate them at the helm, thereby saving Canadians the fate of being governed by their unworthy opponents.
Remember Premier Campbell? He promised fixed date elections and reform of the electoral system. Quick as wink, after the NDP “lost” the election to him, Campbell embedded “fixed elections” into law – all by himself! This gave him added security in the Premiers seat. But for the electoral reform, he created the Citizens Assembly, an unelected troupe, meant to smokescreen his retreat from the fair elections promise. For additional security Campbell put the Assembly’s verdict to a referendum and for more yet security, he set the threshold at 60% of the vote.
If there is any difference in the significance between “fixed election dates” and “election voting” aspects of the electoral system, Campbell never attempted to argue that his differential approach was not to selfish ends. Evidently the Citizens Assembly was “fiction on stage”
Manufactured? Yes! Another “grand fooling the people show” was “The Recall and Initiative” charade. After we, the people voted 83% and 84% for Recall and Initiative respectively, Premier Harcourt, expressed doubts on that vote and sent out the Ujjall Dosanjh peripatetic committee to determine whether the electorate may have had a “sober second thought”. It was a ridiculous show, the committee often deserted by its own members, Dosanjh persevered and eventually produced a Recall and Initiative Act that protects vulnerable politicians and secures the legislative agenda of the society in the Hands of Party hacks.
Premier John Horgan would, in all likelihood, emulate the Trudeau retreat from his commitment to reform elections, if he wasn’t clinging to power grace of the Greens. The Greens had much to gain by a change from FPTP to PR voting system and this deprived Horgan of the option of overtly negating on his electoral reform “commitment” and forcing him to protect the FPTP by other means. This he did by muddling the unavoidable referendum.
The referendum result came in as was expected by those who controlled it. The above is only a glimpse of it. This Referendum was multi-faced and several of its aspects need to be scrutinized, if something good is to be salvaged from that exercise.
Let us “lie down to bleed awhile” but let us make it short. Let’s not wait for them to “lead” us the way it suits them, let’s make it clear that the Agenda of the society is the peoples to set. For freedom is not to given, it must be taken – let’s take and defend ours.