What a vote means

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - An­drew Robin­son is The Com­pass’ ed­i­tor. He can be reached at ed­i­tor@cbn­com­pass.ca.

It was an in­ter­est­ing thought to throw out there, and not out­side the realm of pos­si­bil­i­ties judg­ing from how this provin­cial elec­tion cam­paign is go­ing.

Tele­gram po­lit­i­cal re­porter James McLeod tweeted a while back that a full 40-per­son Lib­eral sweeps of the House of As­sem­bly would be prefer­able to an op­po­si­tion with one or two mem­bers.

Be­fore you ac­cuse him of be­ing a par­ti­san muck­raker (should note McLeod takes pride in not vot­ing to avoid bias), what McLeod was look­ing to point out was a sweep might com­pel gov­ern­ment to take a se­ri­ous look at how non-func­tional the leg­is­la­ture is.

Folks like McLeod who sit through sit­tings of the house have a unique per­spec­tive on th­ese sorts of is­sues. When the house is in ses­sion, de­bates tend not to amount to much in terms of shar­ing im­por­tant news with the pop­u­lace or in­flu­enc­ing the de­ci­sions of a ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ment. It’s more about chest-puff­ing, back­slap­ping, and find­ing rea­sons to ap­pear in­dig­nant.

That doesn’t sug­gest an op­po­si­tion lacks im­por­tance. It’s their job to hold the gov­ern­ing party ac­count­able to the pub­lic. Op­po­si­tion MHAs are more of­ten will­ing to speak with me­dia about trou­bling is­sues and can help bring to light prob­lems within gov­ern­ment.

With that in mind, it’s a lit­tle dis­con­cert­ing to see there’s an hon­est chance the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives and NDP could be left with no seats.

Just last week, a pair of Aba­cus Data polls sug­gested Premier Paul Davis and prom­i­nent PC cab­i­net min­is­ter Steve Kent are both in trou­ble. A poll for NDP leader Earle McCurdy’s St. John’s dis­trict in­di­cated he has vir­tu­ally no shot of get­ting elected as an MHA.

This sort of data paints a grim pic­ture for can­di­dates not knock­ing on doors for the Lib­er­als.

It’s great to have the power to par­tic­i­pate in a demo­cratic elec­tion — not all peo­ple in the world can say the same. For supporters of the par­ties that are not an­tic­i­pated to form the next gov­ern­ment, it would be wise to make sure you get out to cast your ballot. Oth­er­wise, the House of As­sem­bly will be­come an echo cham­ber.

As for the provin­cial Lib­er­als, they’d do well to fol­low the lead of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau. The fed­eral Lib­er­als are propos­ing to in­ves­ti­gate elec­toral re­form. Pref­er­en­tial bal­lots and pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion will likely be up for dis­cus­sion.

Elec­toral re­form mer­its at­ten­tion in this prov­ince, be­cause a House of As­sem­bly with no op­po­si­tion to speak of hardly sounds like the will of the peo­ple.

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