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About soreheads sniping at me, and about voting reform being left to politicians

Well, time to do some more writing about FVC.

Most of what I have to say is directed to Anita. She made some slander lite comments about me and then hit the wrong button and sent it to all. Then she felt obligated to apologize, after a fashion. Har, har. The internet is so much fun.

I tend to piss people off, because they do not like the truth. Because they cannot explain what it really is about me which irritates them, they have to make things up. So, I keep getting people accusing me of talking loud.

No, I talk very quietly. I should talk a lot louder. One reason I tend to talk quietly is the consequences of a gastric reflux problem I have and some bronchitis and "empty nose" syndrome. Sometimes some of the meds I take make it hard to talk loud when I really need to, like in that crowded hall. Instead I had to use the mike.

I hardly said anything at all there. I sat next to Deverall for awhile and he kept talking into my ear, but I could not hear him because we were right next to the sound box.

As for my hardened belief system that everybody is incompetent; I have been around various forms of activism and community organization for a long time and I have gained lots of hard experience. I rarely get to do very much because there is no way to get anything done. But I can speak very knowledgeably about how political advocacy groups usually fail.

This makes me a big threat to people who are fail disease carriers, or active organizers of failure. They tend to want to get me out of the way. So far the people at FVC, being such good little fairies, only accuse me of talking too loud. I do not get called a police informer. I am not either a fag or a homophobe, according to audience. I am not a misogynist who is known for going around assaulting women, which is a staple in these Trotskyist groups.

In the voting reform milieu, things are not as nasty as in anti-poverty circles or in tenants rights. But there is still a very active effort being made to "switch off" this movement. This is why I get a bit impatient with people who talk about all the things they are doing to promote voting reform, and how busy they are, but avoid the elephant in the room.

It is obvious that the Liberal AV people have FVC highly intimidated; especially the Toronto "Action Group". This is what the big issue is for me. Their deactivation of FVC is what drew me back into voting reform stuff.

leave it to the politicians

As for referenda, it does not seem that Anita got my point about them at all. Neither does mister Green. So here it is again; a decision has to have legitimacy. If one party gets into office and just enacts voting reform, it sets the precedent that the fundamental rules can be changed that way. And if so, they can be changed back when the next change of government occurs. This is why changing the fundamental rules of the game must be done by a process that is above politics and seen to be above politics. The process must be seen as thorough, totally democratic, non partisan and fair.

Some people have now come up with the argument that if we can get PR passed into law, and the party that passed it can stay in office for the next two election cycles, then PR will be unassailable. These are big "ifs". As well, these people do not seen able to imagine that it could spin the other way; a party could get in, enact AV, and it would be very hard to get rid of.

When I state a concern for legitimacy of process, I am not just talking about voting reform but any reform which changes the rules or brings in major changes. A big problem with this country is the lack of a mechanism for amending the basic laws. In most countries, this has come to be done by referendum.

As for the charter of rights being enacted by government diktat, that did not work all that well, really. Because the provinces had to agree with it, we got a lot of things we shouldn't have, like the "notwithstanding" clause and the lack of serious enforceability. We would have had a much better document if it had been developed according to a deliberative democratic process. People support the charter because it is a lot better than what we had before, and because they cannot conceive of getting anything better.

As for the politicians pledge, it is a pretty good tool for smoking out politicians. But then what? At some point, if the Liberals do not revoke support for AV, then the voting reform movement must switch to an all out effort to defeat the Liberals, to do everything possible to prevent them from getting into government, at the next election.

The next Liberal convention is this coming February, and FVC seems totally unaware of it. Why is that?

Think what would happen if the Liberals win a majority the next time around. This is possible given the way Harper is going with his scandals and with the deepers way behind the Libs again.

To conclude and to return briefly to referenda; people who are hostile to the idea of deciding changes by deliberative democracy processes are accepting the idea of elective dictatorship, what we have now. Even with PR, we would just elect a bunch of politicians and go back to sleep for four years. If you accept that, what the hell are you doing in the voting reform movement at all?

It is about controlling government between elections, which means deliberative democracy processes such as referenda, study circles, citizen's assemblies, participatory planning , etc. PR by itself will not do that.

Post scriptum; if you are still interested in the baleful effects of politicians deciding the voting system by fiat, here is something off the web about how that worked out in France. Mitterand did not like the results the electoral process was giving him, so he brought back partial PR. Chirac got into office, did not like the kind of righties who were getting elected, and changed it back at the stroke of Le Pen.

Why is the French democracy not using proportional representation for election of the assembly?

question

Proportional representation was used during the French Fourth Republic, while other kinds of voting systems were preferred during the French Third Republic and the French Fifth Republic (with an exception between 1986 and 1987). Some political parties argue proportional representation is the only truly democratic voting system. Why is the French democracy not using proportional representation for election of the assembly?

answer

I am french and your question interested me so I read some articles about that, I'm not a political expert but maybe this can help you.

As you noticed, the president Mitterrand (Left) decides in 1985 to include proportionality after losing the Cantonal Elections in order to limit the damages for his political party in 1986 during the Legislative Elections. Note that including proportionality was also one of his campaign promises from 1980. Though Chirac (Right) won the Legislative and become Prime Minister. One of his first decision is to remove the proportionality using the article 49.3 of Constitution?, allowing him to bypass Assembly's vote. The proportionality gave more than 30 seats to the Extrem-Right (instead of 1 or 2), and it is known that Chirac has always firmly fought the Extrem-Right.

So to answer simply I would say it's according to the will of political leading party.

You can see on this article in french from Le Figaro what would the french Assembly would look like with and without proportionality. The Extrem-Right would have 85 seats instead of 3 and The Extrem-Left 30 instead of 10, they are the parties manifesting in order to include proportionality.

One of the promises of our current President Hollande (Left) is to include a "partial" proportionality.

? The article 49.3 of the Constitution giving the possibility to the government to bypass a vote at the Assembly is considered as anti-democratic by many people, it has been restrain in 2008.

My English is not that good, sorry about that, I don't mind if someone help to fix it.

This guy's English is good enough for me. tr