Council weakening local politics
RE: Hamilton ward boundaries
An absolutely essential element for f air electoral practices is having a neutral and nonpoliticized process for delimiting electoral boundaries. Among experts, this is regarded as one of the most important strengths of Canadian elections, and is the main reason why Canada ranks among the highest in the world in terms of electoral integrity, for elections held at the national level. At the same time, the problem of gerrymandered district boundaries is regarded by experts as the worst aspect of U.S. voting procedures. It is well known that in the U.S., this practice ensures that representatives are returned time and again based on mobilizing the party faithful without having to appeal more broadly to constituents. In short, it is what distinguishes the overall fairness of Canadian elections from the serious electoral legitimacy problems plaguing the United States.
It is absolutely outrageous to see 11 of 14 councillors vote for their own self-serving ward boundary plan over that presented by neutral experts. This is nothing but the basest kind of strategy for protecting their own political careers. These councillors’ actions serve to weaken the already fragile legitimacy of municipal politics. They are eroding the trust of Hamiltonians, and doing real damage to the load-bearing walls of local democracy. Shame. Karen Bird, Professor, Department of Political Science, McMaster University