Saturday, 28 January 2017

Canadians opt for co-operative government

The results from the federal government's survey are now in and one clear result has emerged.

The survey, mailed out to every household in the country inviting online participation, was a follow-up to a report by the Special Committee on Electoral Reform. The committee had spent months listening to experts and citizens, however the government seemed to think something additional was required and so created the survey. The government claims that "383,074 unique users" competed the survey. I doubt the number of "unique" users is entirely accurate because no ID was required, so one could send in as many responses as one wanted. I myself sent in at least a dozen.

But enough about cheaters. The survey was in itself of questionable value. The questions were ambivalent and the selection of questions biased. One result, however, is not in doubt: Canadians believe in co-operative governance. Seventy per cent of respondents said it was preferable that several parties share accountability and co-operate in governing rather than one party being solely responsible. This was Canadians' top priority for electoral reform. Five different versions of this question gave consistent results.

If the government takes the survey seriously, indeed if it takes the whole electoral reform process seriously, it would have to introduce a voting system that requires a more co-operative approach. And that would be a system of proportional representation. But, the big question remains: will it take the process seriously?

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