An Open Letter to Karen Redman, MP Kitchener Centre

Dear Ms. Redman,

I believe that when something is not broken, there’s no need to fix it. However, the past four elections, and the likely results of the one coming up, suggest to me that the way we choose our parliamentarians is broken, and the time has come for us to fix it.

A number of parties in this parliament have benefited from a system that grants MPs a seat when they’ve won a plurality, rather than a majority, of votes. This has led to a dangerous regionalization of our national parliament and has increased public cynicism in the institution.

But what convinced me most was the conduct of the members of this minority parliament. Rather than work together to bring out policies that benefited more than one voter base, parliamentarians have played hardball in the off-chance that a new election will hand them a majority mandate, and the right to do as they please without consulting Canadians who disagree with them.

Politics was once described as the art of the possible, but it seems that, to get parliamentarians to sit and talk and compromise, they will have to be forced to sit and talk and compromise by an electoral system that distributes seats more in proportion to the national vote.

I want a system that distributes seats fairly; that acknowledges Conservative support in Ontario and non-Conservative support in the West. I want a system where parliamentarians are forced to reach a national consensus. At this point, I don’t know whether that system should be full or mixed proportional representation, or single-transferable-vote, but I do know that first-past-the-post has failed us, and the time has come for this country to put this system away.

I call upon you as my member of parliament to encourage the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to put into motion a process that works with average Canadians to set up a new way of selecting parliamentarians in this country. If you could do this, it would be a last legacy of this minority parliament that would be remembered for generations.

Yours sincerely, James Bow

Hat tip Greg at Sinister Thoughts.

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