Saturday, October 13, 2007


James Bow continues to display a fantastic attitude towards democracy, even in the face of political defeat.

While some Ontarians are indicating that they will join the ranks of the apathetic and ignorant and protest the loss of the MMP referendum by ceasing to vote in future elections, James displays a much more positive attitude.

As disappointing as the results are, particularly for Mixed Member Proportional, it’s still a democratic result. Not enough people care enough about the proposal to express their support for it. We who supported it failed to change enough minds to get the result we wanted. And in ridings where we believe the wrong candidate won, we failed to convince enough voters why those candidates were wrong. The people had the power to make changes to the system and to the government, and they chose not to, either by voting in a particular way, or not voting at all.

So, we start again. We focus on what we want, and we talk to the people, and we try to convince them of the benefits of our vision. It’s frustrating. It frankly sucks to lose. But that’s the only way forward. The only way to guarantee failure is to give up.
This is the type of attitude that keeps our democracy strong and vibrant: an attitude of not giving up on one's beliefs, or giving in to the opinion of the majority but instead redoubling ones efforts to change that majority opinion.

Its easier to believe in the sensibility of the general will when one's beliefs conform with the majority opinion; it is another thing to advocate a position so passionately and reasonably as James has of MMP and to see 2/3 of one's fellow citizens oppose, or worse simply ignore, you.

But, I think James recognizes that the strength of our democracy lies with the expression of diverse and minority opinions, and that voting, first and foremost is not about winning, but reaffirming our legitimacy as citizens and consenting in our self-government.

Posted by Matthew @ 1:42 p.m.

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Ouch! A member of the ranks of the "ranks of the apathetic and ignorant".

I protest, I may be apathetic, but I will not be ignorant. Just because I choose not to vote, doesn't mean I choose not to be informed....

But I'm a pessimistic guy. You're right, James Bow took the high road, that's a matter of personality. First I have to overcome my own distaste with the current system to beat back the apathy it has caused.

See my problem is, I don't see whats in it for me to vote. My participation is irrelevant, it factors in not a whit in the results.

Trust me, I take my duties as a citizen very seriously. I understand that voting is my duty as a citizen, to keep our democracy functioning. I just happen to see more value in not participating in the future. If we drop below 50% participation at future elections, the odds of reform I favour are greater. Its my form of protest, and I find it ironic that non-participation will attract more notice than participation will.

Lets just say my non-participation is not necessarily (and unlikely to be) a permanent decision.

Posted by Blogger Closet Liberal @ October 15, 2007 3:02 p.m. #


I realized the potential for insult and confusion as I was writing that sentence about "joining the ranks of the apathetic and ignorant," but I kept it.

Note that I said you were joining those ranks, but that I also acknowledged that action was out of protest. If I can make the distinction, you are amongst the apathetic and ignorant, but doing so out of conviction.

Believe me, I understand how you have come to hold the belief you do (about PR voting) and I agree that we have a problem when responsible citizens feel powerless in voting.

However, I continue to oppose any form of PR, and similar to James, your non-voting protest only reaffirms my belief in advocating for my preferred reform, rather than for PR.

Also, I disagree that not-voting will help your cause, but James makes a fairly good argument in that regard. But I suppose we'll see.

Posted by Blogger Matthew @ October 15, 2007 4:05 p.m. #

Oh no offense taken. I know the spirit in which you write.

I also agree with you that individual members need to be empowered under our current system.

I think that MMP would work towards that. If MMP were available for the last election, I would have voted for the current MPP as I feel he has done a great job representing our riding. My party vote would have gone Liberal (Or more likely Green) to add additional representation to issues advocated by those parties. I would have used my vote strategically to support the MPP I like, but nudge him in the direction I want him to go.

Granted, it doesn't guarantee he would respond to the party vote as expressed by his constituents, but as James noted earlier, MMP was a chance to move things in the right direction.

Posted by Blogger Closet Liberal @ October 15, 2007 6:05 p.m. #
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