By John R. Merriam
Traditionally in Canada, power shifts between the Conservatives and Liberals. After more than 9 years in office, it is now the turn of the Liberals in the First Past The Post (FPTP) system.
There is a danger in this: Most Canadians identify themselves as either liberal or conservative thinkers – currently 65% liberal and 35% conservative.
One of the brilliant ideas of Sophie’s choice is proportional representation (PR), which is a system that distributes all federal seats according to popular vote rather than the current system.
It remains to be seen if, now that Trudeau has a majority, he will follow through on PR. My guess is that he won’t. If he does, then it means that a coalition of liberals will rule Canada for a very long time, perhaps decades, with no intermittent conservative government.
The Conservatives provided very good government, perhaps the best that Canada has ever experienced. The arc of time will reveal this. So what happened?
It is a simple truth that most voters have no, or very little understanding of the issues in an election campaign. It is a popularity contest. This explains the federal election and the recent Alberta election. In Alberta, the people are not socialists, far from it. They wanted to remove the existing Progressive Conservative government, no more, no less.
The photogenic Notley did well in the Alberta debate, so they turned to her as the best option of the TV personalities presented that night.
Trudeau was the recipient of the votes of many people who were just plain and simply tired of the Prime Minister and his party. They didn’t vote for PR and the many other policies of the Liberal Party of Canada, they just voted for a photogenic and glib leader.
7 years ago, the people of the USA did the same with Obama. Three years ago they did the same again. Romney would have been a far far better President, but he appeared stiff on television.
We are in the television age – our leaders must present well in that medium if they have any hope of election.
People think that Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz are real practicing medical professionals – they are not, they are just television hucksters out to make themselves wealthy.
99% of people are followers not leaders.
In his concession speech, the outgoing Prime Minister said that the people are always right – he was dead wrong if he was thinking of policy, right if he was thinking of the herd mentality and frivolous considerations.
We get the government we deserve. And that my friends is the real political axiom.