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Posted May 18, 2018

Referendum Fever

Nor yet here really, but it is coming our way and having to endure it appears inevitable.  Of course, I am talking about the BC “electoral system reform” referendum.  

Justin Trudeau solemnly promised to make the 2015 election the last to happen with the existing voting system.  But soon after the election he experienced a divine revelation that the system that made him Prime Minister was the best for us all. He  promptly pronounced his promise lifeless.

Eminently forgettable Premier Gordon Campbell promised electoral reform too.  He went on to created the glorious Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform to do the job for him.  The end result was not nice but the Citizen’s Assembly served him well by drawing  the attention of the people away from what Campbell was otherwise doing.  In the end he killed the Assembly outcome with a sad closing referendum show.

Elections are made synonymous with “Democracy” but they are not. To gauge the gap between the two, glance at Europe in the Dark Ages.  Were a country to hold an election, the Church-blessed candidates would win 99% if not higher in all the ridings and all Church-cursed candidates would perish one or the other way in the town square.

Another  testimonial to elections being “skin deep” is the American practice of staging elections in distant lands to install and support dictators.  Guided by the adage “he (the local overt dictator)  is an SOB, but he is our SOB”,  the Americans have staged numerous  “elections” to shore up “their SOB dictators” world wide.

It is  imperative to keep in mind that electoral systems around the world are attuned to  “party-o-cracy” which is at serious variance with Democracy. Euphemisms aside, political parties have been invented to subvert Democracy and that is what they do. Parties are the key to the cookie jar of power – remember Trustee George Grams who on entering politics in the 2011 elections tried to take control of the 3-Trustee LTC by forming a 2-Trustee party!

This said, we must recognize that there is gradation to the efficiency of electoral systems. The voting system in force at all levels of government is the one known as the “first-past-the-post”, or FPTP, and is among the most subversive system this side of the Democracy - Dictatorship divide.

In the modern trend, the government staged a “Public Engagement” process lasting several months ending in February 2017.  It was cleverly done as evidenced by the 180,000 clicks to the Website and the over 88,000 “prescribed forms” filled and filed.

The most prominent feature of this “Public Engagement” was the suppression of public debate.  The PRocess Managers constricted expression and augmented certainty for the right decision to be made. They did that by closeting away people’s submission stance, upon arrival into their hands.  This method stifles debate by preventing discussion of what the people say. In turn this is a surefire way to prevent cross-pollination of ideas and avert the emergence of agitators who may stir the process and steer people the wrong way.

The PRocess managers have promised to consider everything in the 88,000 filed-form pile and to process it into a smooth substance with which to boost our capacity to understand what they are telling us.    

The Gordon Campbell “Electoral Reform Assembly”  provided a forum through which  people at large could contribute to the work of the Assembly. But it did not last long; they ended this after I suggested that the Assembly invite “original ideas for electoral systems”,  as distinct from discussing the systems “taught” to the Assembly by the seasoned Poli Sci Profs, who  were retained to “educate” the Assembly members.

Just like the Local Trust Committee did “to avoid having to answer questions like those Dr. Varzeliotis was asking”  about the Trust aversion to consider reversing the demise of Booth Canal.

Like Lord Acton observed, power corrupts ...

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