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Archive for February, 2017

 

Hi everyone:

It’s a typical cold February Sunday morning here in Hamilton. And tonight is the 89th annual Academy Awards (aka the Oscars), arguably the most important night in the entertainment industry. What follows is based on a posting I placed over on my Facebook page earlier today. I thought it might be fun to put the same thing here on my blog. As always feel free to share this article with anyone you wish.

Let me offer one more Facebook posting before I move onto other matters today – and ask all of you what I hope is a simple question. Do you plan to watch the Oscars tonight? My answer is a strong and definite NO. Why? First, because I have always felt the awards show is a colossal waste of time. The funny thing is that I can remember as a kid thinking it would be fun to stay up late and watch the show. Then when I became old enough that I could indeed do so, my first reaction was why I am doing this? I found it all to be a colossal bore and couldn’t understand why Hollywood would make us endure long hours of such nonsense. In the intervening years my feelings about the Oscars have not changed. Why should we sit through a show that goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on… you get the idea (let’s just say the Oscars give “eternal life” a whole new meaning), when the winners could just as easily be announced at a news conference (exactly as the Oscar nominees were done a few weeks ago on January 24). In other words, why should I waste hours of my time watching it either on television or online, when I can just as easily get the results via a one hour press conference format, or find out tomorrow morning from any number of media outlets? Anything else tonight will be a much better use of my time.

Another reason why I am not interested in watching the Academy Awards is because of the “Thank You” speeches offered by the winners. Back in the day, the speeches used to thank everyone from the grade 10 drama teacher to the next door neighbour who first encouraged me to go into show biz when I was four years old. While I can appreciate that the winners want to thank the people closest in their lives (such as their parents, other family members or close friends), do we really need a 15 minute biographical account of every single person who helped them? No thank you! In 2017, however, it’s not just about the “special” people in the winner’s lives. More and more today it seems like everything in our society is all about politics and supporting some bizarre and strange point of view. How much do you want to bet that almost EVERY speech tonight will blast “You Know Who” and his Presidency, or make other statements about the state of the world (or at the very least some element of American society). Which makes me very angry and annoyed. I’m not just saying this because I tend to hold conservative/traditional views of life and the entertainment industry has always been very extreme liberal/left-wing/progressive. I’m really saying this because does everything in life have to be political or some sort of commentary on society?

Just once, I want to see an entertainment program or news show that doesn’t take a shot at the so-called “problems” in our society. Whether you are a left-wing liberal or a right-wing conservative – all you do is alienate and anger the half of society that holds a different viewpoint from yours. And you don’t do your cause any good. All you do is stir up controversy when there is no need to do so. It would be so refreshing and wonderful to have a “no politics” or “no social commentary” entertainment event. Same thing with sports and other public stuff especially when it’s broadcast on TV or online to millions if not billions worldwide. Do we really need a sports star refusing to stand for the national anthem because they want to protest a societal issue? Or kneeling while the anthem is played (as in the case of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during much of the 2016 football season)? As an aside, do we really need to perform those national anthems before a sports event? I don’t think so, but that’s a discussion for another time. Or if you want to take a page from sports history, did John Carlos and Tommie Smith really need to do a Black Power salute at the 1968 Mexico Olympics? I don’t think so – they only caused much criticism and anger from all corners of society. So before the various winners come up on stage tonight to accept their awards, I really hope they think about what they are going to say. And if they are going to make some social commentary, whether from a liberal or conservative viewpoint, think of the consequences of their actions. Do they really want the pot to boil over and get their opponents really angry and upset? I can already see the “Boycott [perfomer]” social media campaign tomorrow morning because of something they said tonight. I hope not. I think these things should be like that orange traffic light: proceed with caution.

That’s all for now. As usual, thank you all for reading this posting. Oh – and if you do decide to watch the Oscars tonight, I do hope you will enjoy the spectacle. And if you wake up tomorrow morning frothing over with anger and wondering why you wasted tonight listening to idiot speeches and other nonsense concerning this thing (or at least that’s my view), just remember – I told you so. Have a super day folks!

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Hi everyone:

Although I am writing this in February 2017, this is actually a subject I have wanted to tackle for some time, in particular since the most recent Canadian federal election held in October 2015. As part of the campaign leading up to that election, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (who was elected Prime Minister because his party won the majority of seats in the House of Commons) stated that if his party was elected to office, this would be the final election where the “First Past The Post” system would be used. I found that prospective rather alarming and ever since that time had planned on using this blog as a way to support “First Past The Post” (which for the rest of this article I will simply call “FPTP”). But like the so-called “Procrastinator’s Club”, it was something I had not gotten around to writing about. Now, however, seems like a good time because earlier this week, Trudeau announced that in fact electoral reform will not be proceeding – or at least not at the present time. He cited a number of reasons for changing his mind – not the least of which being that when a number of public hearings and consultations were held across Canada during 2016, no real consensus emerged on what to replace FPTP with. If anything, it seemed that most Canadians felt it was best to leave things as they are. Count me among those people.

Now before I continue, let me state for the record that I am writing this from a certain level of expertise and interest that I think qualifies me to offer an informed opinion on the subject of electoral reform. For openers, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in Montreal. And although my degree features a Major in History, I also took a number of Canadian political science courses during my time at McGill. I have always had a fascination with Canada’s electoral system, and these courses allowed me to indulge in that fascination. I was also rather fortunate that my professors were two giants of the Canadian political system during the 1960’s and 1970’s, Dale Thomson and Eric Kierans. As you will discover if you click on either of those links, both men played key roles in the federal Liberal governments of those years which were led first by Lester Pearson and then by Pierre-Elliot Trudeau (that’s right – our current PM’s father). They also were active within the Quebec provincial Liberal party that won the 1970 election under the leadership of Robert Bourassa. To their credit, both men never showed a bias towards the Liberal party in their teaching styles, although it might have been easy for either of them to do so. Instead, they instilled in all of us who were fortunate enough to be their students a passion for the inner workings of Canadian government, including for purposes of this discussion such matters as how the men and women who represent us in Ottawa (and indeed at all levels of government) come to be elected.

In addition to the “scholarly” training I received at McGill, as well as a lifelong passion for the Canadian electoral system that has led me to read many books and examine countless other sources on the subject, I have also had the pleasure of working behind the scenes on elections at all 3 levels of government, starting with the Ontario provincial election of 2003 and continuing up to the aforementioned 2015 federal election, where I served as a Central Poll Supervisor at Queen Victoria Public School just a short walk from this apartment building. These opportunities have allowed me to take a peak “under the hood” and really examine our electoral system from an insider’s viewpoint. Which I absolutely love and can never get enough of. In part, it has allowed me to examine not only FPTP but other electoral methods including proportional representation and the “ranked ballot” system, arguably the two most common types of electoral methods used around the world, and the two I will compare the FPTP system with for the rest of this article.

So with my credentials as stated above in mind, let me state why I feel the FPTP system is the best one. There are a number of reasons – the first one I would like to examine is historical. It was once said that “the sun never set on the British Empire”. A true statement if ever there was one. Today, the Empire is a thing of the past, but it has left us many legacies, too many to mention here. The obvious one, of course, is language. English is the second most spoken language in the world, second only to Mandarin Chinese. Many have in fact noted that if Latin was the common language (or the “lingua franca”) that bound the many nationalities of the Roman Empire together, English fills the same role in our 21st century global society. But for purposes of this discussion, the key legacy of Empire is not the English language, but instead that Canada follows what is commonly called the “Westminster” system of parliamentary democracy. Which of course takes its name from “the Mother of Parliaments”, the one housed at Westminster in London and which serves as the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And to me the “anchor” of the Westminster system is that each MP (Member of Parliament) is elected to represent a specific geographic territory or electoral district (we call them “ridings” here in Canada). He or she is accountable to all the men and women who are eligible voters in the riding. If the voters don’t like the job their MP is doing, he or she can be defeated at the next election.

This sense of accountability is one of the things FPTP does best. It truly binds the MP to his or her constituents and keeps them “on notice”. For example, as I write this in February 2017, my Member of Parliament here in Hamilton Centre is David Christopherson, a member of the New Democratic Party (or “NDP” for short). For those reading this from outside Canada, the NDP is a party which practices “democratic socialism” and is most often found on the left wing/progressive side of the spectrum. Canada’s equivalent, I suppose, of parties such as Labour in the UK and Australia, or the Democratic party in the USA. Mr. Christopherson has held this position for a number of years, to the point where he has won re-election at least a couple of times. I think the reason he keeps getting re-elected is that when each election has come, the majority of voters in this riding who chose to cast a ballot voted for him because they were pleased with his performance and wanted him to continue representing them in Ottawa. I suppose the “cynic” in me says I should not be surprised by this, Hamilton has long been a “blue-collar/labour union/working class” city, and this is the exact constituency that finds a home within the New Democratic Party and their left-of-centre platform. But in addition to this, Mr. Christopherson has done an excellent job and in addition to loyal NDP voters has also won the confidence of those who favour other parties. They trust that he is an honest, open and transparent voice who will represent the voters of Hamilton Centre in our national capital of Ottawa.

The fact that Mr. Christopherson is directly accountable to the people of Hamilton Centre is one of the hallmarks of FPTP because this system is best at binding the MP to his or her constituents. And after all, isn’t that the ultimate goal of any electoral system? Regardless of whether we are talking about the national, provincial/state or municipal levels of government, anyone elected to public office should truly represent the people who voted them into office. I have my doubts when this concept is subjected to the litmus test of proportional representation, the first of the two major alternatives that have been examined as part of electoral reform that I want to examine today. Oh – I well understand what PR is all about. Let’s say the Liberal Party gets 40% of the vote in a federal election. The Conservatives get 35%. The New Democrats get 15% and the Green Party gets 10%. PR then means that this is how you distribute the seats in Parliament. But in my opinion, a system that assigns seats in any house of assembly (such as the House of Commons, the lower House of parliament in Ottawa, or the Legislative Assembly in Toronto, the capital of Ontario) which is based solely on popular vote has the inherent weakness of de-valuing that “local” connection between the MP and their constituents.

I also feel proportional representation centralizes power in the hands of a political party – at the expense of that “local” connection. Too much power. I’m saying that because in my opinion, as part of a PR system, the leader of a political party as well as other senior officials have a greater say in determining who represents a certain region or territory (the “riding”) by selecting people from quotas or lists – a form of “patronage” as it were. Which also means that in the end the person who represents a riding isn’t really accountable to their constituents, but instead is more inclined to report to their party leader or other senior official. Since FPTP is “territory” based and draws its accountability from the voters themselves, it is a much fairer and more transparent system. In the case of Mr. Christopherson, he answers not to the leader and other senior officials within the New Democratic Party, but instead to the voters of Hamilton Centre. And in the end, anyone elected to public office at any level of government should be directly accountable to their constituents – instead of to some party “hacks” in Ottawa or elsewhere. Their “performance appraisal” comes at each election. If we like the way Mr. Christopherson represents us, we re-elect him. If not, we select the candidate from another party. And of course the “appraisal” continues in every future election.

Let me offer one final argument against the PR system. That it reduces the likelihood of any party winning a clear majority in any election, especially in a multi-party nation like Canada (as opposed to ones like the United States, which the only two major parties are the Democrats and the Republicans). In Canada (as well as in many other countries worldwide), we have at least 4 major parties vying for office (Liberal, Conservative, New Democrats and Green), as well as other parties who represent other interests (such as the Bloc Quebecois, which only operates in the province of Quebec and has as its stated goal the intention of facilitating that province’s independence). The more parties you have in play, the lesser the chances of any one of them securing an absolute majority in an election which uses  PR. To cite one more example, look at countries such as Italy or Israel – both of which feature many political parties and have histories of frequent governmental changes and corresponding political instabilities. The lack of a clear majority for one political party also increase the likelihood of coalitions or other strategic alliances between parties of similar viewpoints, but which can also be highly unstable and can end at any time – if you have studied Israeli politics you know that coalitions have been a dominant theme, practically right from the country’s founding in 1948. I don’t know if either Israel or Italy uses PR as part of their electoral process, but I hope I have made the point that under a PR election in countries that offer many political parties, the chances of any one party securing a majority decreases. As in any argument, I could go on with other criticisms that I have of the “proportional representation” system, but I think I have given you all enough to chew on for now.

The other major type of electoral system I have heard considered is what is called the “ranked ballot” system. In this type of election, when you are presented a ballot you don’t simply vote for the candidate of your choice. You actually vote for all of them, but indicate your choice of preference in order of desirability, starting with your preferred candidate and working down to the least. So let’s suppose that in an election run using this system, there are five candidates in your riding. Cassandra Jones is running for the Conservative Party. Lorelei Smith is representing the Green Party. Luigi Tortorelli is the New Democratic Party candidate. Raylene Cohen carries the Liberal Party banner and Karin-Anne Brown represents the Christian Heritage Party. In a FPTP election, you only need to vote for the desired candidate. So if you prefer Ms. Cohen, all you need to do when you receive a ballot is to put an “X” in the box beside her name. You cast your ballot, leave the polling station, and that’s the story. But in a “ranked” ballot system, you must also indicate how you feel about the other candidates. Under that system, if you still want Ms. Cohen as your choice, you indicate that on the ballot as your first choice. After that, however, you must indicate second, third, fourth and fifth choices. So you may “rank” your choices as Cohen, followed by Tortorelli, Smith, Jones and Brown. If your first choice does not receive more than 50% of the overall vote, then the second choices are considered and on down the line until a candidate receives an overall majority.

The problem I have with the “ranked ballot” system is that there would now be a tendency to move everyone towards the political centre and eliminate both left wing/progressive as well as right wing/conservative viewpoints. And like many others, I truly believe that a wide variety of political and ideological opinions works best. I would even go as far as to say that the more variety of opinions you have, the better. Indeed, any political system (along with a society as a whole) truly works best when there is a clash of clearly defined but very different agendas on the table. We need politicians, social activists and others bringing forward their visions of society, especially when they clash and provide opposite, contradictory and even radical opinions. At the risk of going off on a tangent, I truly believe that this is no “absolutely correct” view on any issue, especially when it comes to government. I have always believed there is “good” and “bad” in every political party and philosophy. And that the pendulum should swing back and forth between liberal and conservative viewpoints. I believe that each party should take their turn holding the reigns of power for a few years before the other side takes over. In fact, my father’s political philosophy was in keeping with this concept. Dad always felt that you should give any party two terms in office and then vote them out. OK, I think I hear some of you saying that I am digressing. Let’s get back to the issue in question.

Our world is much better when people engage in “left” vs “right” arguments. When we can examine and then debate the merits of as many viewpoints and opinions as possible. Globalization or protectionism? Central governments or greater regional autonomy? Traditional societal values or modernity? Balanced budgets or deficits? Or as many have often said, it would be a very dull and even frightening world if everyone felt the same on any issue. Diversity of opinions, respect for others and acceptance of points of view that are very different from our own is a hallmark of a supposedly open, tolerant and inclusive society. At the risk of playing amateur sociologist or similar profession that analyzes people’s behaviours and attitudes, I have always felt (and I suspect most people share this opinion) that the majority of us tend to reject extremism from both sides of the scale and favour more “centrist” philosophies that appeal to the greatest number of citizens (and in this case voters). I really think this is why most political parties tend to gravitate towards the centre – especially if they are currently in opposition but sense that the people don’t like the current governing party and that their chances of gaining power might improve if they change their platform to appeal to the broadest spectrum of society – which by nature tends to be at the centre. I believe that the “ranked” ballot system would eliminate the varieties of political expression and instead lead to nothing more than “centrist mush”, in which every candidate not only wants to win, but also wants to do everything possible to ensure that he or she is everyone’s second choice. In the rush to claim that “centrist” ground and appeal to the greatest number of voters, a “ranked ballot” system runs the risk of shutting down extreme views from either the liberal left or conservative right.

There is another element to this discussion which I have heard some observers mention in recent days that also is worth examining. A “ranked ballot” system might very well mean that a right wing/conservative government will never again govern Canada. While I am sure those of you reading this who favour the left-wing/progressive agenda might be standing up and cheering right now, I find this idea rather frightening for the reasons I noted earlier. That all opinions and viewpoints should be embraced and accepted in a free, tolerant, inclusive and diverse society. That no one side should dominate for a long time, that the pendulum needs to swing back and forth so that we have a few years of left wing/progressive governments, followed by a few years of right wing/conservative ones so that both sides get to implement their agenda. Instead of centrist “mush”, we are much better off when a wide variety of ideologies and opinions are on the table. So why might a “ranked ballot” system mean the end of a “conservative” government? Because if you look at the major Canadian political parties, two of them (and probably three if you include the Green Party) feature varying shades of the left wing/progressive platform – those being the Liberals and the New Democrats. I think this is a reflection of Canada as a whole, in that our country has had a tendency in recent years to be more favourable to left wing/progressive issues than other countries, such as the United States. So maybe we should not be surprised that we have multiple parties representing that viewpoint. On the other hand, however, only the Conservative Party can truly say they represent the right wing/conservative platform.

That fictitious election I illustrated just now is an example of how this works. Did you notice how my imaginary voter ranked Cassandra Jones and the Conservatives near the bottom (and that the Christian Heritage Party – which also favours traditional, conservative moral and ethical values – was the last of the 5, although the CHP is not considered a major political party)? They did this not only because my imaginary voter clearly wanted someone with a left wing/progressive agenda to represent them, but also because 3 of the 5 parties came from that side of the spectrum. In a political system like ours, where several parties represent one viewpoint, but only one represents the other, this is the danger of the “ranked ballot”. That since multiple Canadian political parties represent left-wing /progressive parties at the expense of more conservative ones (where there is only one such option available), the “ranked ballot” works in their favour. As an aside, in places where the reverse might be true – let’s say a country where more parties represent a conservative viewpoint, then the “ranked ballot” system favours that viewpoint. In order to be legitimate and to win the confidence of the people, any electoral system must not show favouritism between one political ideology or another. It must be fair and balanced for all sides.

In essence, what I am saying here is that in my opinion the “ranked ballot” system runs the risk of people choosing like-minded candidates and reduces the chances of greater political differences because everyone wants to be at the centre of the political spectrum. Being at the centre means your party appeals to the greatest number of voters. Do we really want an electoral system where in the mad scramble to appeal to the greatest number of people, you get candidates who sacrifice their more extreme political tendencies in order to get more voters? Not only that, but what happens after he or she is elected and they start to reveal their true colours? Let’s return one more time to that fictional election I set up earlier. During the campaign, each of those 5 candidates staked out a position at or close to the political centre, but not too long after the election we discovered that Cassandra Jones (let’s say that she won and Ms. Jones is now the duly-elected MP for the riding of St. Swithins in the Cow Pasture) really is a right wing conservative whose ideology of fiscal and/or social conservatism is very different from what she portrayed in the campaign. Or to paraphrase part of an article published in the 24 Hours free newspaper owned by Sun Media back in April 2016 that was one of many I read in researching this one noted, why would we want a system where every candidate claims to love the people and has their interests at heart, only to find that the winning candidate is really someone who bleeds Liberal “red”, Conservative “blue”, or NDP “orange”. As that article rightly points out, I think the vast majority of voters would feel cheated and taken advantage of if the winner veered away from that centrist position in favour of a more liberal or conservative tack. I’ll bet those folks in St. Swithins would feel that way about Ms. Jones. But that’s a whole other story that we ought to set aside.

I have probably written enough by now that I should think about wrapping this up – but before I go, I hope you have read enough by now to appreciate why I feel that “First Past The Post” (FPTP) is the best system for Canada, and indeed for all nations of the world that use the “Westminster” parliamentary system of governance. In summation, the true strengths of FPTP are the ability to bind the local MP or other elected official to the riding or other geographic territory that she or he represents; as well as the necessity of political debate and ensuring that as many different and opposing political ideas and philosophies are represented.

Rather than changing FPTP for another method, let’s concentrate on strengthening the current system and reforming things from within. For example, how about a more educated and informed public? One of the things I have noticed from my many experiences of working elections is that the turn-out is much lower than it ought to be. Frankly, I am disappointed that eligible voters can’t take a few minutes on election day to visit their local polling place and cast a ballot. It also saddens me because it always seems that when people complain that a government does not follow their chosen view on a certain societal issue, it turns out these folks didn’t even bother to vote. And while I fully respect that many of you will likely feel otherwise, I have always believed in the idea that if you couldn’t be bothered to take a few minutes to vote either at the advance polls or on election day itself, you have no right to complain about the result. So I believe that all voters have a responsibility, even a duty, to research the issues during the election campaign and become better informed on things. By doing so, they can make a clear, honest and well-informed decision at the ballot box. I suspect it is more than just a oft-quoted stereotype that Canadians don’t vote “for” a candidate. They vote “against” another one. And I think that is the wrong reason to decide which candidate you should vote for.

Rather than moving away from FPTP to systems such as “proportional representation” or “ranked ballots”, I really think we should look at adopting other measures of democratic reform that can make the Canadian electoral system more accountable and encourage more people to vote. Let me offer some examples of what I mean. Reforms such as strengthening the power of individual MP’s in Ottawa (or their provincial counterparts) so that they can vote according to their consciences, or in a way that better reflects how the majority of their constituents feel on a given issue, rather than being “forced” by their parties to automatically vote according to the party position. Promoting a greater sense of transparency, honesty and open government (such as allowing each MP to post their financial reports online so that their constituents back home know how their tax dollars were spent). What about term limits, so that elected officials can only serve for a limited number of years (some have said this is a great idea, it provides the opportunity for new blood, fresh thinking and greater creativeness, instead of some politicians who hang on for many years and whose longevity means that things can get rather stale after a while)?

We should also encourage greater differences among the political parties. There are many Canadians (maybe even the majority of us) who see little or no difference between the parties, which in some cases leads to frustration, a disconnect from the political landscape and no desire to vote at all. They make the claim, and I believe with much justification, that for all their gesturing and pandering, the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats are essentially the same. No matter which party is in power, you will still get the “same-old, same-old” stuff. Some Canadians, especially those who feel disenchanted that the Liberals have not delivered the “Real Change” that they campaigned on in 2015, have argued that Mr. Trudeau isn’t really all that different from his Conservative predecessor Stephen Harper. At the risk of another tangent, there is ample evidence to show that in many cases, the Liberals have merely followed the same policies as the previous government. Hmm – I think I just found a subject for another article in the not-too-distant future. Are all the major political parties in Ottawa really cut from the same cloth? I think I will let my fellow Canadians judge that one.

Whether you agree with the above paragraph or not, I hope we can all agree that instead of each political party moving towards the centre (and thus being guilty of the above charge – that there is little or no difference between them), as part of democratic reform each of them ought to establish their own identities. As noted earlier, the political landscape, just as the societal landscape, is much better when a wide spectrum of ideas are presented for discussion. I would challenge of each of Canada’s political parties to do just that. Present political and societal ideas that are different from the other parties. Offer clearly defined alternatives to the Canadian people and then have the courage to actually implement them if you are elected. Resist the temptation to rush to the centre when you might be on the verge of taking power. Don’t sell your political soul in order to reach more voters. As an example, there were many within the New Democratic Party who strongly criticized their 2015 election campaign. Prior to the election, the NDP formed the Official Opposition in the House of Commons. And given that many Canadians were disenchanted with Stephen Harper and wanted a change after ten years of Conservative rule, it was widely believed that the party had an excellent chance of taking power. So what happened? It was a perfect example of what I noted above. During their time as the main Opposition party, the NDP was seduced by the “siren call” of the centre and moved away from their left wing/socialist roots. Or at least this was the opinion of many in the party, who felt they had betrayed themselves and as a result alienated many voters who wanted a more “left wing” government and decided to chose the Liberals. To the point where they won the election, and the NDP was reduced to “third party” status and a lot of soul-searching, which continues as of this writing (and likely will for some time to come).

Maybe democratic reform ought to make more use of the Internet and other online technologies – thus allowing people more voting options? Instead of implementing “proportional representation” or “ranked ballots” in a future election, how about the ability to vote online from your home, office or other remote location instead of actually going to a physical polling station? Or adopting electronic voting practices at the polling locations (as has been used for several Ontario municipal elections as well as in other jurisdictions across North America and beyond) instead of the traditional “paper” ballots used for Canadian federal and provincial elections. If nothing else, you get the official results from your polling station 5 minutes after the polls close instead of possibly 5 hours or more using the “paper” system (as happened to me at the 2015 election – even though our polling station closed at 9:30 p.m that night, it took so long to count the ballots that I did not return home until close to 4:00 a.m. the next morning). All of the above initiatives and others could go a long way in strengthening the system of parliamentary democracy that has served Canada well for 150 years. In summation, I truly believe that FPTP is the best way to conduct a Canadian election, and I hope this article has provided ample evidence to support my claim.

One last thing about democratic reform – I’ll bet someone out there reading this will ask me about mandatory or compulsory voting as used in Australia and other nations around the world. Hmm – don’t get me started! Maybe I ought to explore that concept at another time. Which is another way of saying that I have probably written too much already and should say goodbye to you, my patient readers (especially if you actually have read this far!). Which I now in fact do. Goodbye to you all. As always, thank you for reading this article. Feel free to share this with anyone you like – until next time!

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