2011-09-16

Voting Season in Ontario

It's voting season in Ontario. For the benefit of my American readers, what this means is that volunteers (or employees?) of the government (and I'm not clear if it is the provincial or federal government) go from door to door writing down the personal information of the eligible voting public. This strikes me as being rather disturbing, but of course most people will excuse this as nothing more than an important safeguard against voter fraud.

In reality (in my opinion) it is the election itself that is somewhat fraudulent. Each Ontarian is asked to vote for the candidate who best represents their own personal views. The problem is that no one much cares what the candidates' views are. The candidates' views are irrelevant. What is relevant is the party to which the candidates belong. One Liberal, or Conservative, or Green, or Whatever does not appreciably differ from the others. Theoretically, they do, but the reality is that party members always vote the same way in Parliament. This is not a matter of opinion or perception, it is the reality of it. While it may be true that a particular Conservative may hold a slightly different viewpoint on, oh, let's say business licensing, than another Conservative, when voting in Parliament, the party risks "control" if their individual MPs vote according to their individual beliefs.

In this respect, Parliamentary systems differ crucially from Congressional systems. In Congress, congresspeople vote according to their individual beliefs, which tend to align with a particular party. In Parliament, what the leader of the party says, goes for the entire body of MPs for that party.

Given that fact, as I look around at every street corner in the city, I have to ask: What is the point of all these political signs? Everyone in Ontario is going to vote for the party of their choice, and they already know who the parties are. There may be some benefit to a very new or very small party to advertise, in case some voters are unaware of the party. Specific signs for specific candidates, however, are completely unnecessary.

This is particularly ironic in the case of the Ontario Green Party, papering the province with political billboards that deplete valuable natural resources, fill our swelling landfills, and further contribute to water, air, and land pollution and deforestation.

But...