LETTER: Voting NDP best chance at changing electoral system

"I am a Green supporter but the only hope of defeating Harper appears to require that all voters...join to maximize the vote for the NDP."

The Harper government introduced Bill C-23 in February 2014.

The more we know, the more we see how this bill is an attack on Canadian democracy.

• It proposed sweeping changes to election rules and was criticized widely by some political parties, election law experts and the public.

• Not allowing the use of a voter information card to prove residency will disenfranchise post-secondary students by interfering with their right to vote, according to the Canadian Federation of Students.

• The chief electoral officer will no longer be able to run public education programs to inform people about the voting process and their rights.

There are two main types of voting systems: proportional representation and winner take all, commonly known as first-past-the-post. In Canada we’ve always had the latter, which is designed to produce single party majority governments.

The central flaw with this type of system is the high percentage of wasted votes (2011 election, seven million votes wasted). The Harper Conservatives won their majority government in 2011 with just 39 per cent of the vote.

In August 2014 Conservative party staffer Michael Sona was found guilty of trying to prevent voters from casting their ballots during the 2011 federal election through the use of misleading phone calls.

“It’s a very serious crime for people to interfere with the democratic rights of citizens in this country,” said the prosecutor.

If that was true we would need dozens of prisons to house government officials and politicians who trample our democratic rights.

The NDP is on record as being committed to electoral reforms that would allow all voters some proportional representation in parliament, whatever the riding in which they live and vote.

In this election, we’re not only dealing with a wildly anti-democratic government, we’re also dealing with an unfair electoral system that wastes the votes of millions of people.

I am a Green supporter but the only hope of defeating the Harper government appears to require that all voters in our riding join to maximize the vote for the NDP. If enough others do the same, we will have a chance for a real change — beginning with a democratic voting system. Everyone deserves the right to fair representation.

Everyone needs to vote this time!

Karin Leja

Winlaw

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