Opinion

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cooperation

- by Joyce Hall

It seems a foregone conclusion that there will be a change in government on June 7. The two contenders for power currently locked in battle for the hearts and minds of voters are parties representing the left and right of the political spectrum. Yet, do voters want  a sudden and drastic shift in all policy across the board?

Probably not. Likely most would be happy to see moderate change, some new players at the helm, and the accountability that comes with rebalancing power.votesseats Many may also be aware that drastic change is likely to mean about-turns, which are wasteful of taxpayers' money, and sudden lurches based on ideology or on promises xmade to win votes in key ridings. They would rather see new government build on past experience and new or developing evidence.
In an Ipsos poll on May 12, 50% of voters said they wanted a minority government, an indication that they in fact don't want to see any party have total control. And yet total control is likely because it comes cheap in our first-past-the-post election: a mere 37 to 38% of the vote will fill 51% of the seats! And changes of government, proclaimed as dramatic shifts in the zeitgeist of the populace, are actually based on small gains in actual votes. For example, the Liberals trounced the P.C.'s in 2003 based on an increase of Liberal voters of only 6.5%

The dilemma of change versus continuity is one that voters in a proportional system don't have to face. Governments are formed in a coalition of parties that represent a true majority of voters. In poll after poll, Canadians say they want parties to cooperate. And most want the consistency and stability of gradual change based on evidence and the values of the majority. That's what governments with proportional representation deliver, along with many other advantages. It's a strong reason to vote for a party that promotes fair and equal votes.


 

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