Tyranny Of The Plurality

This weekend I passed an important milestone in “laddish” male development. I, Ray Deonandan, bench pressed my own body weight (170 lbs!) for the first time in my life. And after the paramedics restarted my heart and re-attached my left pec, I promptly celebrated this achievement by abusing my brain and body in creative manners. In the midst of this celebration, I took time to download and watch an important movie from my youth: Transformers: The Movie

In recognition of this most geeky of moments, I give you the following parody on the rebirth of Optimus Prime. If you’re not already a Transformers fan, it likely won’t mean anything to you. Oh, and by the way, I retract an earlier prediction I made on this space, that the upcoming live-action Transformers Movie will be watchable. See, I got Michael Bay and Michael Mann confused. It’s the former who will be, sadly, directing the film. So it will suck.


In other news…. today I was informed by my dentist that I, Lord Wat, have cavities. My first ever cavities. I thought I could go through an entire lifetime without any holes in the head, but alas it was not to be. Sigh.

So, the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform has submitted their recommendation to the province of Ontario, and We The People shall vote on it presently. They opted for the “mixed member list approach”, in which our present “first past the post” system is enhanced with a number of seats set aside for direct party voting. New Zealand and Germany use similar systems, and the details are on the website to which I just linked.

Regular Deonandia readers may recall that I and others met with Judge George Thomson and members of the assembly, via the Maytree Foundation, to voice our opinions on the matter. I was very concerned that they would take the “reserved seats” approach, in which some seats are set aside for women or ethnic minorities. No one in that room supported that path (as it is fundamentally undemocratic), and I’m glad to see that the assembly did not go forward with those ideas.

The current proposal is flawed, of course. Presently, our electoral system allows for pluralities to form majority governments. As one commenter said, “You can get 37% of the votes, which translates to 70% of the seats and 100% of the power”. This is not democratic. The new proposed model embraces a bit of proportional representation, which may favour more minority governments and coalition majority governments. And that’s fine with me. Coalition governments in Western democracies tend to be more responsive to citizenry needs, and less driven by ideology. (The same may not be said of some non-Western democracies, like India).

The proposed change is, actually, quite minor. I would have hoped for more dramatic modifications and a wider, more profound adoption of the principles of proportional representation. However, it’s better than what we currently have, and we need to start experimenting with electoral systems, lest we lose vision of what democracy really is; it is not the tyranny of the plurality.