BY WAYNE CARVER
There was a testy panel at play on CBC Radio (Friday, Feb. 16). I am sure many Islanders were listening and well entertained. Some of the conversation touched on the governance style of our current administration. Everyone is well aware of that and most are waiting to show them the door.
Much of the conversation focused on political reform; the possibility of a MMP representation. Some panelist blamed or credited the Green Party for introducing the notion of MMP to the political arena. It is disappointing to think our political pundits are not willing to recognize from where the support for MMP came, whether it is because of the need to support their own gravy train or, they simply were not listening.
The notion of third parties and different electoral systems is as old as the political process itself. Like any society, some people become disenfranchised and underrepresented. The Island is no different. The initiative for political reform has come from the general population who have recognized that our current political system is elitist and not representative of the average citizen, but rather the ruling elite, business and profits.
For the past two decades, we have gone through a period of unprecedented corruption, greed, most notably the PNP, e-gaming and the character assassination discrediting three civil servants to protect a former premier and a deputy minister.
Excessive spending on roads, which serves no other interest than to keep the Liberal party coffers full, serves the ruling class more than anyone else. Tourists have jokingly remarked that our roundabouts should be promoted as an attraction. It is probably the only place where there are three prominent roundabouts in a two-mile strip of straight road. Sort of like a mirage in a desert.
No. The call for a better electoral system has been coming from the citizens. The Liberals and Conservatives, in their haughty paternalistic style, have ignored and dismissed citizens as not being able to determine what is best for themselves. For the most part, Island society has recognized that neither the Liberals or the Conservatives are capable of good governance. Their track record is abundant proof of mismanagement. Look at the provincial debt - $2,217,618,426 according to the debt clock - and still growing. The concern for the need of electoral reform is and has been evident to everyone except the ruling party.
The notion that the third parties are responsible for introducing political reform is wrong. Citizens recognize that neither the Liberals or the Conservatives are concerned about democracy or good governance. Theirs is a government by the party. That is why we see the deputy ministers in our provincial government departments being chosen from the rank and file of the party. They are appointed to do the party’s bidding. The civil servants who are sworn into public office and undertake their duties in the greater public interest, are not as malleable to political pressure, hence they could be an embarrassment to the government if they are placed between partisanship and good public policy. When was the last time you heard of a deputy minister resigning on a matter of good public policy vs. partisanship?
No, it was not the Green Party who introduced or supports the notion of political reform or MMP. It is a grass roots movement.
It just so happens that the Greens were listening to the voice of the people and seeing the glaringly obvious.
- Wayne Carver Long Creek is a supporter of electoral reform and comments frequently on social issues