Political parties and their support change over time. Electors switch allegiances and the change often moves to the opposite end of the political spectrum to what it has been. It’s as if the momentum in one direction , like an electrical circuit breaker in the political system, has been cut. Perhaps the incumbent party crossed some line, a combination of its political rhetoric and the public response to it.
Opinion polls showed an unexpected shift over the last month. We can opine however we want, and no doubt pundits will share their expertise but reading the public mood is not always easy. You’d think politicians’ street smarts is generally above the average, yet, for many, party bosses likely ensured that their candidates stuck close to the party line, irrespective of how nuanced individual candidates felt about particular issues. Many candidates were swept away with the public perception of their party, irrespective of the individual skills and the nuanced views candidates brought to the election campaign.
The Liberals’ timeline for an alternate, more representative government has not been shared to date. It potentially can prevent this loss of talent from our political process. When instituted, it might ensure that smart, committed candidates who are problem solvers across party lines, will have a better chance of sitting in parliament.
The first past the post system, our current system, does not reflect the percentage of the national vote a party receives. For instance the Liberals who obtained 39.9 per cent of the popular vote received 54 per cent of the seats, the Conservatives 31 per cent of the popular vote and 29 per cent of the seats, and the NDP at 20 per cent of the popular vote but 13 per cent of parliamentary seats.
A new electoral system would need to balance local and regional issues while at the same time be more representative of the popular vote. Smart and creative people can work out a formula that can address this need for a rebalancing. This is not rocket science. It just takes a commitment and the political will to further the need for a more representative and truer form of democracy.