November 15, 2011 | 7 Comments
It’s been a while since we’ve tackled electoral reform here at the Commons, so, with an assist from the Green Party, let’s dive right back into what has been, so far, a pointless endeavour:
Members of the Association for the Revendication of Democratic Rights, represented by the accomplished constitutional Montreal lawyer, Julius Grey, will file their appeal to the Supreme Court to have heard, their case regarding the constitutional merits of first-past-the-post. The motion asks for the system to be struck down. A favorable decision would prohibit its continued use in Quebec and would certainly impact on its continued use in the rest of Canada. Elizabeth May and Fair Vote Canada were granted intervenor status by the Quebec Court of Appeal and will again apply for such status if the case were to be heard by Canada’s Supreme Court. Both parties are represented by Peter Rosenthal, an experienced constitutional lawyer from Toronto, who has also been successful in his presentations before Canada’s highest court.
Yes, the Green Party is supporting a constitutional challenge to our traditional electoral system:
“Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us the right to vote,” said Wayne Smith, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada (FVC). “The Supreme Court has ruled in previous decisions that this doesn’t just mean the right to put a piece of paper in a box. We are guaranteed the right to effective representation.”
And, you know, they definitely have a bit of a point. I’ve yet to jump on the PR bandwagon, but first-past-the-post isn’t the shiniest rose out there either.
However, I have a serious problem with this initiative. A judgement in favour of the pro-PR side would likely spell the doom of the current voting system for not just Quebec, but every province. Here in Upper Canada, we rejected electoral reform by a direct vote. If you’re trying to enhance democracy, you shouldn’t do things that will directly thwart the will of the people.
If you want PR, get it back on the ballot. Don’t turn to the courts.