Out with the old, in with the new

So, Canada finally has a new prime minister! No matter what you think of the specific candidates, winners, and losers, the important thing is that we choose them. Yes, sometimes that’s as sad as it sounds. And sometimes it’s as happy as it sounds.

The basic political right in a democracy is voting: to choose, both for and against. To turf out the batch in power if you don’t like how they’ve handled it, and have a voice in who replaces them. We usually don’t have any guarantee that the new ones will turn out much better. You can count on there being some scandals and misuses of power. The question is how many, what type, and how do they try to hide or make up for them.

The simple fact of swapping out the powerful inflicts some humility, especially if they had just had multiple terms. They learn that power is an earned privilege, not an entitlement.

What I’d like to see is better representation, and I mean that multiple ways. Better voter turnout: too many voters don’t vote! Separation of choice: who I want for a local rep may not match up with who I want running the country. Better alternative to strategic voting: I hear that elsewhere in the world, people have come up with voting systems that let you pick a first, second, and third choice. With that, we could do things like support small parties but also influence the usual outcome where some major-party candidate wins.

I hear that before the election, the Liberals wanted electoral reform for better representation — which I classed as enlightened self-interest, since they were an underdog. Now they’ve just won a solid majority: their new advantage would lie in dropping that issue. I’ll be impressed if they follow through with their promise. I’ll be extra-impressed if it’s meaty instead of lukewarm. Your move, Trudeau!