Monday, September 17, 2007

MMP: Allows for more accountability to the voters

This was supposed to be part of my last post on Sheila Copps' column on MMP, but I sort of meandered off topic, and I'm making a new post on it.

One advantage of MMP: it will make larger parties accountable to the voters.

Many people say that the major parties will produce lists of those who are most loyal to the party.

However, these party insiders, tend to be those most representative of the party's platform.

Voters don't normally choose their candidates. I suspect that most of them are indifferent to internal party politics. I'm sure that they would like the choice of candidates to be democratic, but ultimately it doesn't usually affect their vote.

When voters select a preferred party, they normally wants someone who is representative of party policy.

When there is a vote, naturally, these candidates will vote according to their platform and political ideology.

That is what the voters choose.

The issue of "being beholden to the party" doesn't come up precisely because they will tend to agree with the party's platform in the first place.

And the voters will have chosen them for it.

But let us suppose that there is a serious conflict between party and individual MPP.

The MPP was elected on a given platform. It would be normal for the party to not want that individual representing them again.

Because the voters chose a particular party platform and he didn't deliver.

Right now, if you vote Conservative, thinking you'll get a right-wing MP, but he doesn't deliver, and the party won't take him off the list-- you will be stuck with the said Red Tory. However, if you choose to vote for the Conservatives as a party, you will tend to get a Conservative.

And if the Conservatives on the list aren't right-wing enough for you, you can choose another party, and your vote can count.

I note that the people who tend to oppose MMP the most are those whose votes already count towards representation in parliament. Those who support it simply want their voices counted as well. Voters sometimes complain of having no choice, but if there were MMP, there would naturally be more parties, and voters wouldn't always have to look to the three top leaders to feel like their vote is worth something.

The competition of smaller parties would make larger parties accountable. Because if the large parties don't deliver, voters feel they have somewhere else to turn for representation.

And that would be a great thing. No longer would they be able to take their base for granted. I know that in this election, many right-wing voters are very disenchanted at the way the Progressive Conservative party is taking their base for granted. The same happens to left-wing voters in various other contexts (e.g. The NDP in Saskatchewan is sometimes perceived to be too right-wing).

Not happy? There's a way to express one's unhappiness and make it count in the legislature.

That's the beauty of MMP.

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