Posts Tagged ‘political parties’

Herding Cats–Small Political Parties

When times get tough, political parties proliferate – 30s Germany had over 50! Everybody had an opinion and nobody could agree – or apparently, compromise. Things haven’t gotten that bad here, yet, but the signs are clear. For the first time in living memory, people are talking about declining their ballot and there is even a party called NOTA, None Of The Above. Given that the big three (or four) show no sign of relaxing their stranglehold on THE SYSTEM, which as I described in previous posts, is, IMO, the real governing party in a one party state. The SYSTEM tries to seduce the rest of us to vote for it in its three guises. Many do so unwittingly. But since the SYSTEM caters to itself instead of the little people, those on the outside feel estranged and start looking for alternatives. Thus we arrive at the cat herders dilemma.

When our cat goes awol, we go to the door, shake a bag of treats and soon the cat appears. This is what the SYSTEM does – promise treats, even if it can’t deliver.

Getting cats into a herd is almost impossible. Can you imagine Libertarians and Communists trying to agree on anything? Or the Christian Heritage Party agreeing with the Marijuana Party? What to do?

Either you have to trick the cats into following a charismatic leader, fight it out like dogs, or you have to come up with a system to share power through negotiations or other means. Hitler chose other means.  Since my kids tell me my charisma value is zero I have to work on the third idea – coming up with a system to share power.

Looking around, one can find coalitions in the parliaments of many countries. Parties form, then coalesce into a larger unit. Many think the Greens and NDP will coalesce. Or the NDP and Liberals.

I would like to propose a system for giving the small groups a better shot at gettincg a seat. We all know the largest party by far in Ontario today, is the party of non-voters. But if they behave like cats, we will never get anywhere. The 2014 election sports about 20 parties. So if the 50% non-voting block splits into that many parties, nobody will be able to unseat THE SYSTEM’s contenders. Do the numbers. Only if folks can hold their nose and vote for a single alternative candidate can we hope for success.

I therefore propose a rutting system, similar to Moose ruts, where males, or in this case, parties jockey for position by means of raising funds or memberships. Whoever raises the most funds/members for a congress, gets to be the candidate in that riding. Same thing in other ridings. Under this system, 100 ridings might be represented by candidates from 3 or 4 parties, who will all run under one banner, lets call it the Smorgasbord Party, SP. So SP might field 100 candidates, split evenly or otherwise amongst Libertarians, Freedom Party, Family Coalition, NOTA and The People’s Party.

What about the platform? People assume this will be the biggest stumbling block, which is what I’m trying to avoid with this proposal. Which I why I gave it the temporary name of Smorgasbord. Initially at least, there would be no requirement for party cohesion. Really there is no need unless one assumes that the Smorgasbord would actually become the governing party–an unlikely outcome I’ll come to later. So the Smorgasbordians go to Queens Park and advocate, each MPP according to his original political affiliation. Smorgasbordians will vote for and against other Smorgasbordians. I see nothing wrong with this. In fact it is healthy and I’d expect Smorgasbordians to potentially hold balance of power in minority governments, giving them great opportunity to bring long suppressed concerns to light.

If you’re thinking this is simply a form of MMP (mixed member proportional) system that was advocated in the 2007 referendum, well, guilty as charged. It was a great shame that this proposal was rammed past the people in haste. On purpose? So THEY can blame the people for their own misfortune?

Cats (Smorgasbordians) should not aspire to run the joint. It should only aspire to hold the government’s feet to the fire with respect to folks who cannot join the SYSTEM. They should aspire simply to stop THE SYSTEM from running roughshod over little people ie. by passing regulations, as they often do, that only members of the SYSTEM can meet. Small town butchers have almost gone extinct in this way since a govt inspector must witness the slaughter of any cow. Thus large packers processing hundreds of cows a day have squeezed out the little guy – again.

The difficulty of course will be to get the cats, the small parties to agree to work within such a system. Another difficulty will be to get the kittens, us voters, to support SP even if one’s local candidate runs counter to one’s political disposition, on the premise that such support will morph to another riding where the platform does represent one’s views. If the cat voter gives up, all is lost, so there is much incentive to make it work.

Yes, no?  Whaddya think?

Yer curmudgeonly scribe.

Voters, Decline Your Ballot

Well, the previous post was a bust, no?  Hoping to instigate a party for the downtrodden and … nada.  Not so much as a comment. Well, maybe it was a silly idea, given the short election cycle and the fact that my attempt to advertise in the Globe and Mail was dumb  since Globe readers are the most winningest in the system.

So if the rest of us ain’t a winner, I guess we’re the losers!? Party of Losers? Why not? The System here has three parties, let me reiterate: Party/Big Gov’t, Party/Big Biz, Party/Big Unions.  Each pretends to work for everybody, Joe the Plumber, the family, etc. As long as losers keep swallowing this lie, the status quo continues. As the pension & debt issues (unfunded liabilities) go unresolved, the music is building to a mighty crash. Wagner! Until the losers get their own party, there is no use for non-voters to vote.

As I said in previous blogs on this subject, ppl who don’t vote say: ‘ They’re all the same, they all lie, they do what they want anyway.’ If you want to see this spelled out, watch, if you can stomach it, TVO’s The Agenda. Their May 21 episode featured a number of such non-voters and a couple of  cynical System wonks who explained matter-of-factly why it is necessary for politicians to lie, etc. They give no solutions other than avoiding the Greens and being a smart enough lie detector, one who can guess the reality behind the lie and what will really ‘go down’. Natch, he didn’t really want you to wake up – and start a new party to properly represent the losers.

If you’re in the bottom third or the middle third, if you feel like you’ve been losing, what to do?  Well, you could pick a fringe or independent candidate that you do like.  However the way they/we’ve been dismissed by the media makes it so unlikely for any such candidate to ever be elected, that your vote, while at least honest, would be wasted. If you try to vote strategically, then you’re being dishonest and if you’re dishonest, it’s illogical and kinda dumb to expect the politician you vote for to be honest.  As they explained.

The only thing left to do,  is to make your unhappiness known to the System. Fortunately this can be done, more or less, by going to the polling station and asking to DECLINE your ballot. As Elections Ontario suggests below, declined votes are counted as people indicating  NOTA – none of the above. They also count  SPOILed  and BLANK ballots. Ballots are spoiled by goofs, scribbling, sloppy marks outside the allotted spaces or multiple marks. It is more difficult to ascribe an intent to a blank or spoiled ballot, since there could be ignorance, language difficulties, confusion etc .  and there is no way to decide for each case.  DECLINE your ballot instead.  Imperfect but better than nothing.

If you’d like to help spread this message, I think we should post yellow stickies with the words ‘DECLINE YOUR BALLOT JUNE 12’ printed in bold.  Stick them everywhere, including on election signs. The better they stick, the more they say, the more ppl will be educated about their real options.

Results for my riding in previous election

  • “Rejected as to marking” 153
  • “Unmarked” 49
  • “Declined by Voter” 14
  • Total Voter Turnout 39,743
  • Names on list 89,908

So let’s say 100 to 150 people wished to express NOTA, but only 14 did so semi-explicitly.  I asked Elections Ontario to give us an explicit option on the ballot and am still waiting for a response.  Perhaps you’d like to send them an email too.  If we got together, maybe we could ask for an injunction to force the issue?


Response from Elections Ontario to my request for info. 

Thank you for contacting Elections Ontario.   Electors do indeed have the option of submitting a vote of non-confidence. According to the Ontario Election Act, an elector may return a ballot to the Returning Officer to decline to vote:

“Declined ballot 53. An elector who has received a ballot and returns it to the deputy returning officer declining to vote, forfeits the right to vote and the deputy returning officer shall immediately write the word “declined” upon the back of the ballot and preserve it to be returned to the returning officer and shall cause an entry to be made in the poll record that the elector declined to vote. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.6, s. 53. Under the act, the declined ballot is recorded and thus the does satisfy the option you suggest of a ‘none of the above [candidate]’ ballot casting. The declined ballots are recorded and would serve that purpose. This information is recorded under the Ballot Statement of the Poll.”

For more information on the voting process, please consult our online guide here – which includes mentions of declining a ballot:

Click to access VotingInOntProvincialElections.pdf

Declined ballots are counted and documented along with the rest of the poll results. For example, the link below directs you to the 2011 General Elections Results, and as you will note, there is a section for “BALLOTS DECLINED BY VOTERS”

We hope this helps.

Sincerely, Elections Ontario

51 Rolark Drive Toronto, Ontario M1R 3B1


Elections Ontario 1.888.668.8683 Fax: 416.326.6210