Posts Tagged ‘decline vote’

Throw the bums out

We’re now in the final stretch of Ontario municipal elections. Incumbency rates at the municipal level are the highest in the system – average of which (73 out of 75) is far too high. Why?

People apparently believe when politicians stay in place, they become more competent. Competency is always an argument against the newcomer, who cannot possibly know all the details that incumbents know from the last 4 years. Incumbents were there, the newbie wasn’t. Thus the newbie can be made to look incompetent or fringe on some topic during a debate. Unfair.

The competency argument is bogus since politicians don’t run the city, bureaucrats do. Competency is a red herring to manipulate voters. In addition, it is highly unlikely that more than one or two newbies could ever succeed, a small portion of council, so the fear of idiotic ideas is also bogus. Ergo, you should elect on the basis of feelings, not knowledge.

The media will NEVER tell you that, since they like the system being good for their corporate needs, not for the needs of the people. More municipal advent dollars from big spenders.  The devil they know. And since being ignored is death in politics, the devil they can control.  New councilors learn realpolitik.  ‘Fringe’ is the favorite taunt of the media.

Municipalities form the base of the pyramid. They are ”creatures of the province’, which controls local politics through regulations and transfers (up/downloads). Nonetheless, it is important to reduce incumbency rates. In other blogs, I’ve tried to demonstrate how the system operates against the people and for the corporations. The only tool the people have is to vote in candidates who are not (yet) part of the system.

The solution: Term Limits.

One term is enough. After this, people forget why they entered politics and become expert at working the system. The system has its ways of capturing them. Ask yourself how politicians get such a nice house on a relatively low salary? Who pays for all those signs?  In Hamilton, politicians like Bernie Morelli had to die before new blood could enter the system. He was said to be careful to ‘serve the people’ especially poor people caught in the system, but his council decisions – the real job– helped hobble the city with hundreds of ‘public’ buildings that pay no taxes. No wonder residential taxes here are among the highest in Ontario. I hear Bernie will get statued by his elected and unelected fans. Dynasties, the ultimate result of long incumbency, are taking hold in Canada (Justin Trudeau), as in the US (Jeb Bush).

Throw the bums out

The only thing the people can do.  Get in the habit of voting for anyone but the present incumbent. Since so many people are docile sheep or who benefit from the status quo, only you can make a change. With enough candidates to choose from (Ward 4), ‘decline’, which I promoted in the last provincial election, is not a good idea. Do your homework, go to candidate’s websites and pick one you like. Hold your nose if you have to – its ok if some ideas of a ‘fringe’ candidate appear stupid. When they get there, they will have their folly pointed out and stopped by others so don’t use this snap judgement as an excuse.

It’s the feeling you want to vote for. Is he/she concerned about the people and what is their passion. Do they want government to fix things or do they want to reduce taxes and red tape in order to grow a prosperous city that lifts all boats? An impractical but honest Libertarian would leaven a council/ legislature nicely. Same with a one topic activist. How would they encourage new employment and businesses?  Don’t concentrate on fault finding. We’re all imperfect human beings (Rob Ford!). Even if you’re happily ensconced in the system, consider that so many people are being broken, making an unhealthy, even dangerous breakdown quite possible. Give us a break and vote for a newbie, even if you think your incumbent is ok. New blood is always needed and your incumbent will be released to do bigger and better things. They need that change too.

Reference

Term limits for Municipal Council, Leo Longo, 2013 – excellent review of this subject including historical observation that original terms were one year!

 

Nose Holding Not Election Solution

 I take strong exception to the premise of an article by Ryan McGreal in Raise the Hammer, especially the statement: ‘Whether you do this by spoiling your ballot or by FORMALLY DECLINING TO VOTE, the end result is the same.’ [Emphasis added].

While spoiled or blank ballots cannot be attributed to clear motive or sentiment, Election Ontario has confirmed that a declined ballot means essentially ‘none-of-the-above’.  Please visit http://curmudgeonreport.com/2014/05/24/o… and scroll to comments for their wording.

None-of-the-above means either one (passively) doesn’t like any candidate, or more actively, one detests all candidates. It might also mean that even if one likes a fringe party candidate, one feels it would be a wasted vote, since no such candidate ever really stands a chance to be elected, let alone be a part of government.

None-of-the-above is also starting (I hope) to be attached to the message that what is really needed is MMP or some form of proportional representation.  A new party capitalizing on the phrase, advocates for direct democracy, whatever that is.

As for the notion of holding one’s nose, what Ryan advocates is strategic voting. The problem is that if one doesn’t vote for what one actually believes in, but pretends to be a supporter of another party, one is actually being dishonest. If voters are dishonest, why should politicians be honest? The classic notion of public virtue seems to be dead these days, for it applies to all, not just politicians.

The other reason to not hold one’s nose is that Ryan advocates voting for ‘the system’.  If you are a winner, carry on, vote for the team that caters to your group. But the people being squeezed by the system should not be fooled into voting against their own interest, even if nobody actually represents their interest. Whether they get squeezed by higher taxes, lower employment, lower wages, higher prices, inflation, instability or a dozen other ills, hardly matters. Lives will get worse if the system, encouraged by all those foolish votes, continues to squeeze.

The SYSTEM comprises big government, big business and big unions, with a party assigned to each. Those outside this system (mom&pop shops, homeless, students, non-unionized workers, independents, farmers, etc.) should beware false promises being made trying to suck us in.  Folks on Welfare  are particularly vulnerable since many think the NDP represents their interest, as opposed to actually being agents who prefer to keep them where they can be served by a union worker (ie, not solving the underlying problem, or at best advocating outright socialism). Each big party will always reward its constituency at the expense of the rest of us. So unless you’re winning, decline your ballot.

As for those who stay home, I’ve become more tolerant to the point of  even encouraging this strategy. One can see the hand wringing going on over low turnout. Sooner or later this will translate to political action before the pretense of legitimacy is completely lost.

Nose holding is not an honourable solution. Don’t do it.