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 The Sham that is Canadian Democracy

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Chae
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PostSubject: The Sham that is Canadian Democracy   Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:25 pm

I know that not everyone is really up on Canadian politics, but I have been finally getting around to doing some research on the great Canadian Parliamentary system, and have been picking away at som flaws in our style of democracy. It never hurts to learn about another country, and in seeing the flaws in our democracy, maybe you can relate them to your own country's shortcomings.

Brief History:
Canada's electoral system is basically a direct offspring of the British Westminster Parliament. Similar concepts in electoral process. We use a system that is refered to as the 'first past the post' system, where there are RIDINGS across the country that each have 1 (one) Seat in the House of Commons (Parliament). There are 308 Seats in the House.

Federal Parties in Canada
There are dozens of registered and voted-for parties in Canada, but of course only the most popular will be represented in Parliament, a price you must pay if you want anything to get done in Office. There are 5 Major players on the Federal scene:
  • Conservative - The furthest Right party on the map
  • Liberal - A little bit more left, still right of center
  • NDP - The socialists, but still rely on pandering to get votes
  • Bloc Quèbecois - The francophone separatist party, represents for French interests
  • Green Party - Pretty self explanitory
Right now Canada is under a Conservative Minority, meaning the Conservative Party did not get more than 50% of the seats of Parliament, and has to work with the other parties to get bills passed. It was played off as a travesty when it happened, even though as a prominent Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne put it '...looks strangely like how a democracy should work..'

The Problem:
Like I mentioned above, we use a system known as the 'first past the post' system. This means that in each riding, whatever representative of whatever Party wins the majority of votes, the Seat in the riding is given to that representative, and therefore the Party.

The problem lies here. When using this system, there could be 5 Parties running in each riding. Each wins a certain number of votes.
Lets say that there are 100 000 votes being counted for one riding.
  • Conservatives win 30 000 (30% of the total)
  • Liberals wins 25 000 (20% of the total)
  • NDP wins 20 000 " "
  • Green Party wins 20 000
  • Bloc Quebecois wins 15 000
Effectively, in this way of deciding who gets the Seat in Parliament, the Conservative Party would then recieve the Seat, even though there is only 30 000/100 000 votes for them. That means the other 70% of the voters have ZERO representation in their government. Their votes count for nothing.

Real Life Numbers:
Get ready for some math!

As I was browsing the web for information on the Cascadian Republic, I got to thinking about a website I had seen before called FAIR VOTE CANADA and some of the numbers they had presented in a pamflette I read online. I decided to goto [/i]Elections Canada[/i], Canada's electoral governing body, and crunch some of the numbers myself from their charts.

Here are some stats for the 2006 General Elections of Canada:
  • Of the 14 817 159 Canadian Voters who participated:

  • 5 374 071 (36%) voted Conservative
  • 4 479 415 (30%) voted Liberal
  • 2 589 597 (17%) voted NDP
  • 1 553 201 (10%) voted Bloc Quèbecois (only had votes in ONE province Quèbec)
  • 0 664 068 (5%) voted Green Party

If you take the 14 817 159 total votes cast in that election, and divide it by the number of Seats in the House (308) it works out to be 48 108 votes per Seat in the House of Commons. This means that (get ready for another list):
  • Conservative Party should have won - 112 Seats
  • Liberal Party should have won - 93 Seats
  • The NDP should have won - 53 Seats
  • The Bloc should have won - 32 Seats
  • Green Party should have won - 13 Seats
Those figures are figured by taking their votes, dividing them by the number of votes in proportion to number of seats.
This is how the House was really divided up:

  • Conservative Party won - 124 Seats
  • Liberal Party won - 103 Seats
  • The NDP won - 29 Seats
  • The Bloc won - 51 Seats
  • Green Party won - 0 Seats


You can see a major problem in the way that the Parliament is stacked, where a Party who recieved ZERO votes outside of the French Province of Quèbec can gain 51 Seats in the Federal House. The NDP won 1 000 000 more votes than the Bloc, yet won 22 fewer Seats than them.

The Green Party of Canada has just under 5% of the population's votes, but recieves ZERO Seats in House.


In British Columbia alone, my home Province, there were 97 002 votes for Green Party members, but not one was elected. In BC there were 113 585 votes that went to either Green Party or Independant runners but not a one was put into Parliament. That is a whopping 16% of BC voters that were given no representation in Federal Government. And they wonder why there is an Independance Movement?


So to finish off this posting, I didnt just write this so as to indoctrinate you into the ways of Canadian politics, or to make it seem like Canada should be on the forefront of your minds, but rather to illustrate how one of the most percieved democratic nations on this planet is rittled with a broken system of representation. This is not an unimportant issue. We, as socialists, and democratists need to stand for things like Proportional Representation and make sure that every damn vote is accounted for. How can a Government claim legitimacy with numbers like I have presented above? It CANT, but these facts are not well known by the general population. It took me about an hour to crunch these numbers and then another 2 1/2 to write this post. Its 5.30am in Winnipeg right now haha. My girlfriend is going to give me shit for coming to be so late, but that is just one of the sacrafices we need to make in order to bring about democratic justice.

Take a look at your countries statistics, crunch the arthimatic and put up a similar report of your Nation's standing.

-----------------------------------------

References

Canadian Parliament on Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/39th_Canadian_Parliament
Elections Canada Web Reporting + Election Charts (2006)
http://www.elections.ca/scripts/OVR2006/default.html
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Zealot_Kommunizma
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PostSubject: Re: The Sham that is Canadian Democracy   Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:41 pm

Very good post I must say.

As a communist, I don't give a damn about proportional representation. You know why? Because I don't believe in this arbitrary democracy.

I'll tell you how presidential elections work:

We have 5 main parties, however just 3 of them get past 8% of the votes these are:

PAN (Partido Acción Nacional, National action Party) - Far right party very close to catholic right-wing. Actual ruling party.

PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, Institutional Revolutionary Party) - Center party, governed the country from 1929 until 2000 with variations between center right, center and populist left.

PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democratica, Democratic Revolution Party) - Center left party, I call them center right populists, although they're devided in left wing factions and so...

Partido Verde (Green Party) - Any further explanation required?

PT - (Partido del Trabajo, Workers' party) - center left syndicalist party.

Convergencia (Convergence) - center left ambigous little party.

PSD (Partido Social-democrata, Social-democrat party) - center right party.

Nueva Alianza (New Alliance) -center right.


So well, in the last elections in 2006 PAN and PV were allied, PRI ran alone, PRD ran allied with Convergence and PT and the others ran independently.

PAN got 36.5% of votes
PRD got 36.4% of votes (curiously after much revising)
PRI got 20%
The others altogether gathered roughly 8%.

So well, PAN is immediately declared winner.

People that suport this president say he was democratically elected...

Let's see now the numbers:

The president represents only 36.5% of the voters while the remaining 63.5% is not represented.

But let's get to even more real numbers:

68% of registered voters voted. 32% abstained from voting.

36.5% of 68% actually means 24.88%. That means the president was elected only by a fourth of the registered voting-capable individuals.

I want someone to come and tell me that's real democracy.

I won't speak about Senators and Deputies because it doesn't matter how many seats they got, the equation repeats: PRI gets most seats, PAN goes second and PRD 3rd. PAN is A, PRI is AB and PRD is B. So sometimes PRI helps PRD get a bill passed, sometimes PRI helps PAN, sometimes they help nobody and no bill is passed and sometimes it devides in two and the same happens.
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CoolKidX
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PostSubject: Re: The Sham that is Canadian Democracy   Sat Aug 09, 2008 5:59 pm

That's cool well i'm not gnna tell evrything cause my english sux so here's a little about poltics in the Netherlands.

First-off Netherland has an Constitutional monarchy just liek Canada.
You got the Eerste-kamer(First-room) and the tweede-kamer(second-room). It has also a Party-list proportional representation.
Ok in 2006 the elctions begin and there currently 10 party's in the second-room.

CDA-(Chirsten demcraties apeal-Christian Democratic Appeal) 41 seats.

PvdA-(Partij van de Arbeid-The Labour Party) 33 seats.

SP-(Socialistishe Partij-Socialist Party) 25 seats.

VVD-(Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie-The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) 22 seats.

PVV-(Partij voor de vrijheid-Party for Freedom) 9 seats.

GL-(GroenLinks-GreenLeft) 7 seats.

CU-(Chirsten Unie-Christian Union) 6 seats.

D66-(Democraten 66-Democrats 66) 3 seats.

SGP-(Staatkundige gereformeerde Partij-Reformed Political Party) 2 seats.

PvdD-(Partij voor de dieren-Party for the Animals) 2 seats.

Currently CDA is the biggest party + it has a coaltion with CU and the PvdA, in the frst-room they aprove the laws they make in the second-room , also in the first-room CDA has the biggest party with 21 seats , there only 75 seats in the first room.

Now im going to tell about the satdn points some party's have.

CDA-Christian Demcratic , center

PvdA-Social democr, left

SP-Socialist, left

VVD-Liberal demcracy-Right

PVV-Conservatism, Right |Some pplp say thiz party is raicst , cause the party points are like:The borders closed for 5 years for not western-imggrants, You also may know the leader of thiz party Geert Wilders the maker of the movie Fitna you can youtube Fitna if you want to look the movie about Islam.

GL-Green, left

CU-Christian-social ,center(not sure)

D66-Social liberal demcrartic, right.

SGP-orthodox Protestant, right(Christian party's are always a not sure:p)

PvdD-Animal rights, no idea i think left like GreenLeft.

Well that about it, srry if you can't read some parts or don't understand.

Anyways thx for reading
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