Standing on the precipice of 10/10. Thought I’d be more excited, or at least anxious. Muted ambivalence reigns, however.
What Ed Broadbent (and others) said at this past weekend’s Churchill Society debate was entirely correct: an important event like the potential restructuring of our provincial electoral system should never have been shotgun-wedded to an election, playing second-fiddle to a cacophony of prefabricated idiocy. Reform was doomed to be drowned out by the white noise of all-too-familiar campaign dissonance, the same ol’ song and dance routine.
But fuck it – boogie with the one who brung ya, as they say.
So many others have stated the case for reform better than I ever could. My favourite entreaty came from Idealistic Pragmatist, who eloquently captured my own feelings of despair with the system as it stands now, ever since I cast my first ballot 12 years ago, at the tender age of 18 (for Bob Rae & the NDP gov’t, if anyone cares).
Gonna quote a small passage, but encourage you all to read the whole damn thing (if you haven’t already):
To say that this is a historic opportunity is a huge understatement. It seems that when people are truly informed about the two choices and what they mean, they tend to prefer MMP–but I unfortunately don’t have the ability to inject the hands-on political education I got by living first in Germany and then in Canada into every Ontarian’s brain. So I’m asking you to trust me a little on this: MMP really does work. It doesn’t produce perpetual unstable minority governments, it doesn’t make political parties into super-sized patronage machines, and it’s not at all hard to understand.
Yes, it’s different from what people are used to, and yes, that’s scary. But it’s even scarier to the status-quo politicians who have benefited under the current system, and are completely panicked about the prospect of having to learn to do their jobs differently. Don’t listen to them. They haven’t lived under MMP and really seen how it works, and I have. I know about all of the frightening scenarios that they want you to believe–the ones that could, in some alternate universe, potentially produce some scary result like parties taking control and stacking parliament with people who owe them favours. But the thing is, they’re talking about what’s theoretically possible, and MMP really doesn’t work that way in practice. And even if that alternate universe somehow came to pass, none of those scenarios are scarier than things that have already happened in Canada as a direct result of the system we already have.
It’s long past time for a change. Make history, Ontario. Make me proud.
Look: no one is saying MMP is a cure-all, nor is it a perfect system free of problems. NO democratic system of government is (Bush’s pining for the simplicity of despotism comes to mind). But it is way better than the winner-take-all status quo.
And it’s only the beginning.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow, the real heavy lifting starts on 10/11. Yes or no, win or lose, there’s still gonna be loads of hard goddamn work to be done to breath some life into our stagnant democratic system, both provincially and nationwide.
IP is right: let’s make (and keep making) history, Ontario.
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