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Well, the election is now on. Take a good look at it because it may be the last time that we vote the way we have for the past 100 plus years. For those who don't know, Islanders will be asked whether or not we want FPTP (first-past-the-post) or MMP (mixed member proportional) as the method of electing the people we choose to run our province. Now that we are in the mist of this election, I want you to think of how you are going to make up your mind as to how you are going to vote.
For years, many Islanders voted the way we were brought up. If your family was of one political stripe or another, you voted that way or you risked being kicked out of the family. But over the years, most of the people I know have broken away from that tradition, and now, they vote for the person first and the party that they are running – without fear of reprisal. What I like most about our country is that we have the right to choose who we want to run our province when I vote.
The thing I have come to accept is that when I vote, I have exercised my RIGHT to choose. Along with that, I accept the fact that there may not be enough votes for my person and or party to win. I believe that FPTP operates on those premises. The party with best platform and/or candidate will be successful in an election. Now, there are those that will say well my vote is not represented therefore the electoral system is not fair or it doesn't count. Well, there isn't any fairness in entitlement too. Political fringe parties will try and convince Islanders that we have to get with the times and do what they do in Europe and other places.
When considering MMP, ask yourselves this question – do I want my province run by a group of parties of different stripes, who claim they have all the answers, with no districts or constituents that they are directly answerable to and who are elected by the mathematical method called D'Hondt? Or, do I want parties with real platforms and with people in districts who are answerable to us in election time, elected with method called FPTP? That folks, is the question.
Finally, words of wisdom that a very wise person told me – "You have the right to have your say, but you don't have the right to have your way." I hope the proponents of MMP take time and reflect on those words.
J. Bruce MacIsaac,