Opinions

A vote for the Greens means a vote for fairer elections

After asking around campus, I’ve discovered that many of my less politically inclined friends decline to vote because they believe it doesn’t change anything, no matter which candidate they get behind. It’s surely a big part of the reason voter turnout among young people is consistently low at all levels of government.

But since first-past-the-post voting dominates this country’s electoral system, it’s practically impossible to argue with that reasoning.

In our last federal election the Conservatives won a majority government, despite the fact that more than 60 per cent of Canadians voted for other parties.

The Ottawa-Vanier federal electoral district, in which the University of Ottawa resides, has been Liberal-dominated since its creation in 1935. MP Mauril Bélanger has been in office since 1995, before much of our campus population was even potty trained.

As a result, Elections Canada’s current pro-voting campaign—which highlights the difference we can make with just a single vote—just seems laughable, even cute in its naivety. In reality, Canada’s political landscape is dominated by impregnable “democratic” fiefdoms.

It is for all these reasons that I have joined the Green Party. Not only do they represent the stalwart values of a Jack Layton-led NDP, but they also recognize the potential of proportional representation.

Proportional representation is the idea that the members of an elected body are chosen based on the number of votes received, rather than the number of ridings won. In other words, no more majority rule for a single party with only 39 per cent of the popular vote.

While the big Canadian political parties have been sheepish about their support of proportional representation, the Green Party has fully endorsed this fairer voting system. In fact, it is a part of their core values, an ideal that can be confirmed through reading the first subsection under their vision for “Good Government” on their website.

David Coon’s historic victory for the Green Party as a newly-elected member of New Brunswick’s legislative assembly is a herald of good things to come for Canadian voting. Not only is Coon an outspoken advocate for proportional representation, but his win shows that at least some people are tired of bowing to the exhaustive, never-changing rhetoric of the Liberals, Conservatives, and, sadly, Thomas Mulcair’s NDP.

It may be a small start, but it’s a sign of greater things to come—especially now that a younger, newly energized generation is poised to take over at the polls.

So, in the next federal election, students actually do have a chance to make a difference. By voting for the Green Party, they have the opportunity to launch a champion of proportional representation into the running, and topple these eternal Liberal and Conservative fiefdoms that have dominated Canada for far too long.