LETTER: Mandatory voting no panacea

From reader Dan Siemens

Re: “Should voting be mandatory in federal elections?

Canada is by nature a peace loving and stable country and citizens who vote reflexively associate that circumstance with the fact we are governed by a democracy.

The existing state of our democracy, though, is an insult to intelligent thinking people.

The article on mandatory voting epitomizes the conflicted nature of those who vote. It stated that the majority of British Columbians favour making voting mandatory while simultaneously reporting that, depending on age, between 72 and 84 per cent of citizens believe “most federal politicians have to follow the party line and have little or no autonomy.” Explain to me how making voting mandatory is going solve this disconnect.

That politicians have no autonomy is more than just a belief, it is fact. Why do parties use a whip except to ensure coerced unanimity? MPs and MLAs are voting pawns of the party, not our representatives. This fact was verified by the 1990 court case of Wall vs. Littlechild where Justice E.A. Marshall ruled that the MPs and MLAs are not accountable to their constituents, only to parliament.

The Star article indicated that North Korea was a country that has mandatory voting, not exactly a country to emulate. Therefore rather than being forced to participate in a meaningless exercise we should demand democratic reforms that would guarantee our vote carries weight.

Dan Siemens


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