29 October 2011

Six more MPs for Alberta—not good news for this Albertan

I admit to ambivalence about the government's announcement that under the proposed Fair Representation Act the country will gain 30 more MPs. It is a good thing, of course, to strive for more equitable representation and that's what this Act attempts to do. My province, Alberta, will receive six more seats to bring its representation closer to its share of the population.

That will be a good thing for most Albertans—but not for me. In the last election, the Conservatives won 27 out of Alberta's 28 seats in the House of Commons. The party I support, the NDP, won only one even though they received 17 per cent of the vote. The 17 per cent should have earned them five MPs, not one. Given the idiosyncrasies of our voting system, the odds are that the six new seats will also go Conservative which means representation for Alberta social democrats will be reduced even further below its current meager level. So, ironically, the Fair Representation Act may result in less fairness for citizens like me.

In fact, the system is so perverted, I have given up voting in federal elections altogether. In my constituency, Calgary Centre, the Conservative candidate routinely wins by 15-20,000 votes. The result is a foregone conclusion. My vote for the NDP counts for nothing. Under a proportional representation voting system, it would count toward electing an Albertan who truly represents me, but we don't have such a system. Casting a vote that counts for nothing strikes me as participating in a fraud, so I abstain.

To those who will benefit from the proposed redistribution, enjoy! The rest of us will have to wait for a Fair Representation Act that is fair to everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Vote! Don't disenfranchise yourself. It proves nothing.