Canada's non-voting idealists

110 posts / 0 new
Last post
Freedom 55
Canada's non-voting idealists

hey...

Freedom 55

 

[url=http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1098225--does-not-voting-make... not voting make you an indifferent citizen - or an idealist?[/url]

 

Quote:
Canadians who don’t vote actually believe in democracy — they just don’t believe politics or politicians are very democratic, according to a new study of voter apathy in Canada.

“People’s disappointment with politics is driven by their sense of what democracy should be,” says the study, by the Samara research organization, which conducted in-depth interviews with “disengaged” Canadians to see what was keeping them away from the ballot box.

Quote:
The findings blow some holes through the oft-repeated reasons for declining participation in politics — often written off as cynicism or simple lack of education or interest in democracy.

In fact, the focus groups showed a good measure of idealism about democracy and democratic principles, and often, a contempt for politics bred by familiarity with its flaws and shortfalls.

So while “insiders” in the Canadian political scene may see politics and democracy as intertwined, disengaged Canadians — “outsiders,” as Samara calls them — actually see democracy and politics as opposite concepts in current practice. And it’s a bitter truth they gained from their brushes with the system.

“In the past, they believed that the political system was open to them and wanted to hear from them,” the report says. “But once they had an actual concern that needed to be resolved, they found that no one was responsive. From these experiences, the disengaged took to heart the lesson that engaging with the political system is at best a waste of time, and at worst a discouraging and disempowering experience.”

 

 

The study: [url=http://www.samaracanada.com/what-we-do/democracy/the-real-outsiders]The Real Outsiders: Politically Disengaged Views on Politics and Democracy[/url]

 

ottawaobserver

It's quite an interesting study, the bit I've skimmed through already.

KenS

Horse feathers.

Very few posters have said anything like that. And they have had just about zip to do with the course of the discussion.

Slumberjack

We've heard here before an entire raft of reasons as to why people disengage from the type of politics set before us.  Mostly the arguments have taken the view that non voting represents abject laziness.

Slumberjack

Few posters commented one way or another when the topic of non voting came up. Of the participants that did, this was my experience anyway, which at any rate and in my estimation amounts a pot and kettle argument. I think it's a bit rich when the act of lifting oneself from the couch every few years to invest time and energy into nothing more than a queue leading toward status quo politics, is comparatively described as an outburst of positive energy. I see it as a behavioral pattern, learned and practiced by subjects through habit. It's nothing that can't be reproduced in a laboratory quite frankly.

Gaian

Speaking of labs: "Between August and October of 2011, Samara, a research organization that studies and encourages citizen engagement with Canada’s democracy, did just that. We spoke to Canadians across the country in a series of focus groups"

Reading Sorokin's "Fabs and Foibles," one wonders at the "science" here, the methodology of focus group selection, the questions posed by an advocacy group.

Gaian

Conditions vary from place to place. Consider the case of GOP voters, their choices. :)

(Krugman's last column is titled "Send in the Clueless". I'll try to link it.

But, surely, the choics are real enough in Steve's Canada. Could "clueless" also apply to an electorate? Anything in the study suggesting that?

Slumberjack

Disparaging the voter now are you?  You're starting to come around.  But why don't you begin outlining those choices and let us see where we're at?

Slumberjack

Just as some political organizations have a few impressive individuals of conscience plugging away from within, I'm convinced that the many otherwise thoughtful voters who apply at the ballot box are equally contained. One casts a vote from a sense of civic duty, only to be promptly returned to a barely acknowledged state of cynicism and powerlessness, or conversely, one spends the next few years of abandon sifting through the dregs of an election cycle, which are occasionally refreshed by polling firms who dedicate themselves to the task of satisfying the customer's want, by pouring in more meaninglessness.

KenS

Slumberjack wrote:

Few posters commented one way or another when the topic of non voting came up.

I dont know which discussion you are referring to. Possibly I missed that one, but there have been many, some with thread titles devoted to the subject, as many where it comes up anyway- for a sustained discussion of some length.

So I think your comment is way wrong as a general one.

Gaian

Slumberjack wrote:

Disparaging the voter now are you?  You're starting to come around.  But why don't you begin outlining those choices and let us see where we're at?

But you described the electorate very well with this gem:"... polling firms who dedicate themselves to the task of satisfying the customer's want, by pouring in more meaninglessness."

Easily satisfied customers, aren't they? I read their protests in letters to the editor, daily...in those Mainstreet journals that you avoid reading, the ones published by the oligarchs feeding all those voters that I'm "disparaging." Yer outta touch, teach.

Freedom 55

Slumberjack wrote:

We've heard here before an entire raft of reasons as to why people disengage from the type of politics set before us.  Mostly the arguments have taken the view that non voting represents abject laziness.

 

That's been my observation too.

KenS

We must have been in different discussions then.

Not only would I say that 'mostly' is an exxageration. I would say that there have been just the odd hit and run snarky comments to that effect. I dont beleive I have ever seen anyone try to sustain that argument here.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

We've heard here before an entire raft of reasons as to why people disengage from the type of politics set before us.  Mostly the arguments have taken the view that non voting represents abject laziness.

and @ Freedom 55

I don't think that accurately reflects the conversations we have had about this. 

I recognize and respect your right to not vote on principle, and I have never said otherwise, nor called it apathy.

I disagree with you on a couple of points:

Refusing to vote may be a principled position, but there is no evidence that it is effective as a tactic.

Some Canadians do not vote because they ARE apathetic, and others because they do not want to support a candidate or party they ordinarily would. This is not the same as a rejection of the electoral system, and to imagine people are taking the same political stand as you when they are not is a mistake.

And correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are also opposed to even going to a polling station to refuse a ballot. I differ with that opinion too, but again, I see the point.

 

 

 

Slumberjack

Gaian wrote:
 But you described the electorate very well with this gem:"... polling firms who dedicate themselves to the task of satisfying the customer's want, by pouring in more meaninglessness." Easily satisfied customers, aren't they? I read their protests in letters to the editor, daily...in those Mainstreet journals that you avoid reading, the ones published by the oligarchs feeding all those voters that I'm "disparaging." Yer outta touch, teach.

I suppose a reasonable amount of critique has to be applied to the average voter, because I think we have to refuse as elitist the notion that some have inherent faculties that others do not possess, and in that sense they remain open to criticism as must all of our arguments, touched up a little with malice if need be; especially where equal opportunity more or less exists with which to understand our society, but is refused anyway. On the other hand and most assuredly not all victims are equal, but in our contempt we shouldn't lose sight of the worst opportunists at work within the overall forest of victims. It doesn't bother me if people can't or won't read of these times, because under the circumstances we have to ask the question of how much blame can actually be attributed to them when it seems largely true that it is by design that our every sense must be numbed by fiction and distraction, to the point of unresponsiveness against horrible conditions inflicted in our name. It's either that, or the concept of some greater version of human nature is in itself a fable that needs dispensing with.

Gaian

Human Nature?
It's tabula rasa, SJ.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

"lazy" came up as a reason in post #8 in this thread. There are two subsequent threads, but I'm not going to read through them all.

KenS

The lead of the news stor:.

Quote:
Canadians who don't vote actually believe in democracy - they just don't believe politics or politicians are very democratic, according to a new study of voter apathy in Canada.

And I think that is in keeping with what the study authors say.

Great material in there. But I think it should have been more explicitly that the proportion of non-voters this speaks to is unknown.

I dont' think that is a terribly relevant point in the end. The proportion of citizens who essentially really dont care, are out of reach to what we can do in the near term. We can only possibly speak [first] to the people who are engaged with the principles of democracy and participation, who are the people this study is about.

6079_Smith_W

KenS wrote:

I dont' think that is a terribly relevant point in the end. The proportion of citizens who essentially really dont care, are out of reach to what we can do in the near term. We can only possibly speak [first] to the people who are engaged with the principles of democracy and participation, who are the people this study is about.

Not necessarily. I think people who have a principled stand against voting have made up their minds, and are not likely to be swayed. 

On the other hand, I have spoken to numerous people in election campaigns who were not engaged and didn't know or care much about the election, until I pointed out some of the issues at hand. 

I really think it is not so much a question of supporting voting or not, but rather one of political awareness.

 

Freedom 55

6079_Smith_W wrote:

and @ Freedom 55

I don't think that accurately reflects the conversations we have had about this.

I recognize and respect your right to not vote on principle, and I have never said otherwise, nor called it apathy.

Perhaps not the exchanges between you and I, but laziness was a common theme in a lot of those discussions.

I, too, recognize and respect one's right not to vote on principle, although I'd describe my own approach as more strategic than principled.

 

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I disagree with you on a couple of points:

Refusing to vote may be a principled position, but there is no evidence that it is effective as a tactic.

As I've argued in the past, I see evidence of its effectiveness in the advances that the movement for electoral reform have made in the last decade. Is there a clear and demonstrable link? Perhaps not, but I firmly believe that the referenda on electoral reform are an attempt by governments to legitimize themselves in the face of declining voter turnouts. I know you don't agree.

 

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are also opposed to even going to a polling station to refuse a ballot.

I've never said I'm opposed to that, except when people have suggested it be made compulsory. What I have argued is that if you're not planning to vote for a candidate, I think abstaining has more of an impact than declining or spoiling your ballot.

Slumberjack

I would also put forward the suggestion that a concept of non-voting, seen as part of an unattainable idealism, is hardly on a par with voting in support of an ideal that primarily repays the favour with lip service. We would have to examine more closely which is the more tactically sound position....what is it, if anything, that each 'camp' hopes to achieve from their respective approaches. Could wholesale shunning of the political system and its subsequent undermining by a majority of the population lead to positive change as the deciding class comes to realize that people are no longer listening; or would such a strategy of civil disengagement conversely lead to increased totalitarian practices beyond that which currently exists? In the event that additional repressive measures are adopted in order to secure legitimacy where none exists, couldn't it be said that some have been correct all along to conclude that voluntary participation merely serves to belay those repressive elements already quite active within the system, but which are mainly experienced by minority dissenters, and according to the exigencies of the system, its usual scapegoats. It would certainly go some way toward settling the question of the ‘what to do' in determining an appropriate response from the population. On the other hand we would need to indulge in a little guesswork to say the least about it, regarding the anticipated timelines involved with attempting to affect change through the avenues and processes currently made available by the system in all of its painfully evident unresponsiveness.

NDPP

Here's a bit of relevent and related get-my-drift on non-voters in Russia

Why Managed Democracy Always Fails in a Crisis

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/08/why-managed-democracy-always-fail...

"Moscow intellectuals have no idea how much bravery it took to just not vote on Sunday. Those people who called on their fellow citizens to come out and vote only helped perpetuate the electoral fraud.."

NDPP

doublepost omitted

Slumberjack

Here in Canada with the act of not voting, we have a perfectly valid, non-violent option in which to register our displeasure with status quo politics, and with those who aspire to status quo politics.  If we're hearing things correctly from the Centrist viewpoint, even that simple gesture is enough to cause their belief system to overload.

6079_Smith_W

I wouldn't necessarily see it as a radical approach that has the mainstream all freaked out. 

After all,  I can only think of a couple of elections in which not voting might have made enough of a difference that people noticed it at all,  THat was in recent elections in which thousands of Liberal votes were clearly not there. 

I think the result was that Harper got some more seats, and  the commentator mentioned that when party supporters get disillusioned, they sometimes stay away.

But as for it being a valid, non-violent protest option, absolutely. The thing is how to take that a step further and let mainstream know that you are different than those people who didn't vote because they would rather be bowling. And of course there is the distinction between you and those who didn't vote because they were pissed off at their party, and those who were pissed off at politicians' behaviour, but do not reject the electoral syste, entirely.

 

 

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Refusing to vote may be a principled position, but there is no evidence that it is effective as a tactic.

On the other hand there's plenty of evidence, which we can't seem to avoid no matter where we look these days, of the political system's ineffectiveness.

Quote:
Some Canadians do not vote because they ARE apathetic, and others because they do not want to support a candidate or party they ordinarily would. This is not the same as a rejection of the electoral system, and to imagine people are taking the same political stand as you when they are not is a mistake. And correct me if I am wrong, but I think you are also opposed to even going to a polling station to refuse a ballot. I differ with that opinion too, but again, I see the point.

If people find alternate and more productive uses of their time come election day...and lets not forget there are approximately 7 to 8 million eligible voters who do not vote....the convenient assumption, and the most expedient one that appears to rush each and every time to exonerate the political class from their responsibility for such levels of apathy, is to blame the population itself.  A collective admonishment in other words that has a particular utility for an apologentsia that continues to ignore the causes. 

It's the same sort of tactic currently being employed by reactionary media surrounding the European crisis.  It's the fault of those lazy European socialists...the population in other words.  Something must be done about them apparently...their leaders must make the hard decisions and force feed it to everyone in the streets if need be. 

And while it is certainly true that not all non-voters will share in every aspect of this particular analysis, there does appear to exist a universal apathy that might be built upon.  We've never seen before, at least to my knowledge, a concerted effort to expand upon this notion of civil disengagement from the political processes, at least one that attempts to match in its sustained shrillness the ritual summons to queue up for more of the same.  And yes, to your question...if they are already able to estimate the percentage and total of eligible voters who do not exercise their right to vote, without the need to actually register a non-vote or a none of the above option...then there doesn't appear to be any reason to personally indicate anything.  Elections Canada will already have the personal details of everyone who did not cast a vote.

KenS

Slumberjack wrote:

 there does appear to exist a universal apathy that might be built upon.  We've never seen before, at least to my knowledge, a concerted effort to expand upon this notion of civil disengagement from the political processes, at least one that attempts to match in its sustained shrillness the ritual summons to queue up for more of the same. 

Good luck on that one.

And by the way, there are a number of us on this baord who have put their money were their mouth is in addressing that apathy.

Not lecturing to it, let alone sneering and dismissing it. Addressing it, on its own terms. It is fucking hard work, to say the least.

So I will be impressed when I see ANY sustained effort to actually build on and from it- forget about expecting to match what you call the shrill summons.

ottawaobserver

Right, so out of this entire thread only Ken even bothered to read any part of the actual study. Slumberjack started riffing almost right away on what it was thought to say (and got that wrong), and then started critiquing the technique of focus groups.

Too bad, because what the study found (focus groups are a method of qualitative research to find out why, as opposed to quantitative research which is used to find out how many, something we already know about non-voters) is that people weren't voting NOT because they are lazy, but because they had ...

... a very specific interaction with the political system in the past that caused them to find it unresponsive to them, and/or led them to believe it was designed explicitly to exclude them.

This is completely different than saying people don't vote because they're lazy or disinterested.

Which you would have known if you'd bothered to read the study.

Slumberjack

KenS wrote:
Good luck on that one.

Well, I think of the occupy movement in its peaceful approach, if they were able to demonstrate anything, it is that rejection of political opportunism and hackery with all of their tricks and entreaties, while being quite visible about it, is not something that the authorities are willing to tolerate with leniency for very long. I believe this is where their next move should take them...pirate information campaigns...pamphlets distributed to mailboxes and into hands here and there, use some donations for radio and newspaper ad space...flyers posted everywhere, impromptu demonstrations outside polling stations, a sustained general awareness campaign that seeks to inform everyone of the fraud they're expected to engage in....that sort of thing.  But we're examining possibilities here.  For something far more definitive that aligns quite nicely with the steady state, they do have several polling and political leadership threads available here for your reading pleasure.

Slumberjack

ottawaobserver wrote:
Right, so out of this entire thread only Ken even bothered to read any part of the actual study. Slumberjack started riffing almost right away on what it was thought to say (and got that wrong), and then started critiquing the technique of focus groups.

I don't have to maintain the discussion precisely within your boundaries.  The study saw fit to dispel certain notions that had previously arisen on the board about non-voting.  Everything else elaborated from there...if you're keeping up.

KenS

Nice try SJ, but I'm not looking for vague sketching of amorphous possibilities, or snide drive-bys.

I have both paid my dues on this question, and am interested in hearing what anyone has to contribute. This study for example. Some of Cueballs ideas for some others.

Slumberjack

There's no drive by...I'm still here.  That is my analysis, such that it is.  Feel free to move on, to focus, or to expand away.  And above all, don't forget to get out and vote next time around.

Slumberjack

A point regarding the matter of addressing voter apathy, as KenS apparently took up with....If it involves enticing people back to our current process from self imposed exile, I fail to see how this is to be sustained in the long term by convincing them that it's not so bad after all, and that we can hope for better results from the system if we just get enough of our own folks elected.  In our context, this would be the same gang who voiced their opposition by voting twice in support of western economic imperialism over Libya by way of high explosives.

Slumberjack

KenS wrote:
Nice try SJ, but I'm not looking for vague sketching of amorphous possibilities, 

Well, I suppose there's always the option of vague stump speeches, tax planks that don't amount to a grain of sense straight out of the shop, and the usual assortment of platitudes we're normally treated to.  It's a matter of ones preference wouldn't you say?

KenS

Because of where I prefer to live, and the people I like to live among, I've spent most of my life in communities filled with disengaged people.

I have addressed that everyway under the sun. Getting them involved in voting is just a small part of that, but I would not want saying that to be perceived as even possibly making an apology for that.

Read the words on the page, rather than sussing what they mean to you: "I have both paid my dues on this question, and am interested in hearing what anyone has to contribute. This study for example. Some of Cueballs ideas for some others."

For a particular example of that, Cueball had some ideas for subversively making use of the electoral system. In the course of it he bemoaned the financial disincentives, and I suggested ways that could be mitigated that would fit what he wanted to do.

I'd never be interested in putting any work into that. But in the spirit of a radical's pluralism: I wish anyone the best, its alll helpful, whether or not it is what I would do.

Again, I'm interetsted in what anyone might do.

Slumberjack

Gaian wrote:
Human Nature? It's tabula rasa, SJ.

Rats show empathy for Others

Quote:
In repeated tests, rats freed another trapped rat in their cage, even when yummy chocolate served as a tempting distraction. Twenty-three of the 30 rats opened the trap by pushing in a door. The rats could have gobbled the chocolate before freeing their partners, but often didn't, choosing to help and share the goodies.
 

Slumberjack

KenS wrote:
Getting them involved in voting is just a small part of that, but I would not want saying that to be perceived as even possibly making an apology for that.

I hope you don't expect me to say 'keep up the good work.'

KenS

Good joke.

6079_Smith_W

Slumberjack wrote:

there does appear to exist a universal apathy that might be built upon. 

That is a very amusing contradition in terms, actually. 

Speaking of casting blame, can we get past the complaints about accusations of apathy?  I don't see your position as apathetic, and I don't think most of the people discussing it here do either. But I think you should recognize that some people do not vote not because they are disappointed, but because they really don't care.

As I said, I think the greater distinction is those who are politically aware, and those who are not. And I would say all of us here are in the former camp, although we hold different political beliefs.

I disagree completely with your outright objection of the electoral system, but I am making a friendly suggestion that if you want to get your message out, just not showing up at the polls is not the way to do it. I don't see that tactic by itself making much of a difference in our current political climate.

 

Slumberjack

Gaian wrote:
Human Nature? It's tabula rasa, SJ.

As is the sense that working on behalf of some mutual benefit within groups or communities stands the best chance for individual survival. At least it made sense to the earliest hominids.  For all that we've supposedly gained through the evolutionary processes; we seem to have shed a few of our learned behaviors along the way, if not one too many.

Slumberjack

6079_Smith_W wrote:
That is a very amusing contradition in terms, actually. 

Not really.  The idea is to expand upon it...to widen and deepen apathy...as a form of political attack itself.  The one demand as it were...'go away...you are no longer the arbiters of what is important to us.'  If there is anything to do, it is to provide information as to why people feel this way, or why they might consider coming on board toward feeling this way about our political system.  Apathy in that sense shouldn't be seen as a blameworthy state, but as a tactical position.  But I find it an exercise in condescension to consider that the non-voting elements of the population really don't care by and large, that they are so withdrawn from the plight of other human beings that they choose to display such casualness by not voting.  This again blames the individual, or a particular demographic, instead of focusing on the real causes.  It says there is something wrong or selfish about people who are able to register within their own minds, their own personal sense of what our politics are about....enough at least to maintain everything associated with it at some distance.  It suggests they are to blame for choosing not to apply themselves to a system they know as bullshit, and that they know doesn't really give a damn about them and theirs.  

Quote:
I disagree completely with your outright objection of the electoral system, but I am making a friendly suggestion that if you want to get your message out, just not showing up at the polls is not the way to do it. I don't see that tactic by itself making much of a difference in our current political climate. 

No I suppose that is right, that non voting as an individual gesture, or in droves, doesn't make any difference.  With 7 or 8 million or so [and counting one would assume] of people who are entirely disconnected from politics, we'd have to suspect at this point that a mere handful of a turnout, constituting all that's left of the remaining pool of voters, would suffice as all the legitimacy the political class would require.  A none of the above campaign though, or something along those lines, could provide a synopsis or a framework toward outlining to people the whole range of reasons as to why their fellow citizens feel that way...why they are not alone with that, and how power of another sort could ultimately arise from simply saying enough is enough.  Awareness.

Gaian

Slumberjack wrote:

Gaian wrote:
Human Nature? It's tabula rasa, SJ.

Rats show empathy for Others

Quote:
In repeated tests, rats freed another trapped rat in their cage, even when yummy chocolate served as a tempting distraction. Twenty-three of the 30 rats opened the trap by pushing in a door. The rats could have gobbled the chocolate before freeing their partners, but often didn't, choosing to help and share the goodies.
 

Tabula rasa, the blank slate, has nothing to do with Skinnerian visions of human "motivation" - that's known in the world of labs as "ratomorphism." Try to sort it all out before throwing out something called "human nature" for consideration.

Unionist

Pauline Marois has just launched a proposal that the voting age in Québec be reduced to 16. Totally diversionary at the present time, irrespective of whether it has merit on its own (I think it does).

CBC Radio Noon had a call-in about it yesterday, and they invited Amir Khadir of QS. You can hear him at the 2:27 mark [url=http://www.cbc.ca/radionoonmontreal/]here[/url] (for as long as they keep this on their front page, at least).

Basically, he avoids the question (bravo), instead saying:

- we need proportional representation

- one reason people don't vote is that they believe it makes no difference, because it's wealthy corporations that run things, including governments

- Example - Liberals and PQ, who differ on the one point of sovereignty, but otherwise have basically indistinguishable social and economic platforms.

He also says young people don't know about the price that was paid in past struggles for the right to vote, but I think he should have just stuck to his other points.

He's good, no doubt about it.

 

6079_Smith_W

@ gerrymc

Well I won't bother trying to change your mind on this, though I would say that voting has perhaps got a slight edge on not voting when it comes to changing things.

And in fact there have been changes to our constitutional and electoral systems, including two referenda on proportional representation

 

 

gerrymc

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Refusing to vote may be a principled position, but there is no evidence that it is effective as a tactic."

Well that might be so but there is no evidence either that voters since 1865 have had much influence on changng the constitutional or electoral system in Canada. This system is as firmly rooted in the !9th centurey as it ever was and there seems little likelyhood that that will change any time soon. Perhaps if the 60% of the people who didn't vote for the Harper government didn't vote at all on principal it might be enought of an embarassment to demonstrate the anti democratic nature of our electoral system. In any case whether they voted or did not vote the result would be the same; a so called "majority government" which can under our !9th century  constitution do just about anything it likes. I for one think that voting in many places in Canada amounts to legitimizing a fundamentally anti democratic voting system and helps to support it and those poltical opportunists who will continue to benefit from its existence indefinetly.

gerrymc

Yes there have been two referendums on in Ontario and one in BC both which required 60% majorities of the total electorate in order to be successful. Do you really think that was fair considering that we demand less than 40% of the 50% of the electorate who vote to elect "majority" governments. As to not bothering to try to change my mind , it seems to me that the purpose of this exercise is to put forth rational points of view not simply to give up up when you can't find any that support your position. What exactly has voting changed with respect to our constitution or electoral system. Does the PM not appoint the GG who then is supposed to determine whether the PM acts unconstitutionally? Does the PM not appoint the members of the Supreme Court. Does the PM not select the members of the Senate? Does voting for the NDP or the Green Party in Alberta; represent a real meaningful political option? Do we still have 39% majority government and has voting changed any of these practices? Not in my lifetime it hasn't but lets go on pretending it does because that is exactly what those who support the political status quo want us to think. Most Banana republics would recognize us as a charter member of their club but most Canadians it seems would prefer to remain in denial.

Gaian

There was an interesting letter in the Globe yesterday from a woman in Calgary:

"I applaud the young Canadian activists who stood with their back toward Environment Minister Peter Kent as he spoke his anti-Kyoto rhetoric in Durban...attuned to the environmental threat to our planet, they are our heroes.

"I urge others of their cohort to join them because their parents' generatin (55-plus) seems incapable of steering this once great nation toward being a safe, healthy, compassionate land."

Again, generalizations about population segments, put forward by someone passionate about the fate of the earth. And will "urging others of their cohort" move more than a handful? No, but we know that the ratomorphists can't explain the ease with which the laid back excuse themselves from participating in the democratic process, even when the fate of the earth is at stake. All have "reasons," some of which appear in this thread, based on what they have heard, read, seen, and "reasoned through" to come to their position, the permutations of which don't bear thinking about, if this thread is at all representative. :)

Fidel

Slumberjack wrote:

Few posters commented one way or another when the topic of non voting came up. Of the participants that did, this was my experience anyway, which at any rate and in my estimation amounts a pot and kettle argument. I think it's a bit rich when the act of lifting oneself from the couch every few years to invest time and energy into nothing more than a queue leading toward status quo politics, is comparatively described as an outburst of positive energy. I see it as a behavioral pattern, learned and practiced by subjects through habit. It's nothing that can't be reproduced in a laboratory quite frankly.

 

I've never said that anyone is too lazy to vote. And if I did, then I should apologize. 

The truth is that we have somewhere around 200 safe ridings across Canada. That's a large percentage of voters in Canada and perhaps even a majority of the electorate.

It's not laziness that causes large percentages of voters in those ridings to refrain from voting - it's our uncompetitive, mathematically absurd electoral system that is the source of their frustration. And then there is the remainder who do vote only to have their ballots to be wasted. 

So in addition to frustrated voters not so unlike "frustrated job seekers" who are not counted in unemployment statistics, there are millions of wasted votes. 

And in addition to all that there are voters who vote for the favoured party in those safe ridings whose votes are also wasted if their votes are counted anywhere over and above the 51% needed for a true majority. IOWs, they've beaten at least one maybe two other rival candidates at 50% + 1 vote, and every vote they receive after that is wasted effort. Yes, there is even a portion of the 25% "majority" whose votes and opinions are cancelled by the bad voting system.

It's as if a handful of British imperialists designed an electoral system sometime before electricity was invented. It might have sufficed at a time when there were only two political parties vying for election. Times have changed since the 19th century, though, and our dated electoral democracy is in dire need of maintenance and repairs. It could be viewed as lazy not to want to continue the good fight and gains made by those who struggled before us. We can't throw it in their faces and feel good about it. Anything worth having is worth fighting tooth and nail for. 

Be glad of it that you aren't living in a truly democratic capitalist third world country where laissez-faire really is the way and their labour is all that workers have to rely on. Millions subsisting on very low incomes and atrocious working conditions and enjoying very few basic rights in those countries would think Canadians have the world by the ass on a downhill drag. I almost have to agree with the right wing propaganda that reminds us of that fact every now and again. It doesn't mean we have to follow the suggestion and be satisfied with the brow-beating and hypocrisy, though. They really don't want push to come to shove. The one percent know full-well that they are outnumbered by the 99 percent. Way. And they are realizing now that their cold war era promises for middle class capitalism based on consumption were actually terrific lies that won't be kept. 

Fidel

We have to find weakest spots in their armour and exploit them. Democracy is a point of contention around the world right now, and the bad electoral system in the English speaking countries is one of the most rotten planks in the deal.

"Every successful revolution is the kicking-in of a rotten door." JK Galbraith

Let's not be afraid to kick just a little. The door is just for show right now. 

6079_Smith_W

Fidel wrote:

I've never said that anyone is too lazy to vote. And if I did, then I should apologize. 

Well I'll say it. I have met enough of them.  Though to be fair, I'd say apathetic and uninformed rather than lazy.

And @gerrymc

You can't really compare the thresholds required in a referendum for constitutional change and the popular vote for plurality when 350 or so seats are up for grabs. 

The NDP has elected members in Alberta  - both provincially and federally, and in my opinion no vote is wasted. And while I don't think refusing to vote is necessarily a waste, being ignorant of the process certainly is.

And the GG does not determine whether the PM acts constitutionally. She does have the power to grant or refuse certain things, but a constitutional ruling is the pervue of the SUpreme Court, and other matters of protocol are ruled on by the Speaker of the House.

And what has voting done? Among many other things, it produced the governments which repatriated the constitution, recognized womens' suffrage and native suffrage, and turned down proportional representation. 

I am not happy about that last one, but I recognize that it was the will of the electorate in B.C. 

 

Pages

Topic locked