As public confidence declines representation becomes bastardized (lower in condition or worth).
Voter turnout has declined from 79% of registered voters in 1958/1962 to 61% in 2011 with only 25% of youth(under25) casting a ballot.
Couple the 61% voter turnout with the 40% of turnout required to form a majority government means that only 24% of the population at most is represented by the political party in control of the administration of government. Is this a true mandate? Do 24% of the people actually have the authority to enact their legislation over the other 76%?
In Canada, yes they do! That is the law. Is it right? No!
Is it democratically correct? That is the debate.
Regardless of the voting method used to elect the government, be it FPTP, STV, PR or any other, without voter confidence in who is elected, true representation is limited at best. Unless those in government represent the majority of the electorate, can it be called democracy? Has the government have legitimacy?
there is a broader concern about an apparent long-term decline in public confidence in politicians and political institutions. This trend was most recently documented in a report from the Minister for Democratic Reform, released on 10 September 2007. Based on extensive public consultations, the report identifies mistrust of members of Parliament (MPs) and frustration with the operation of the House of Commons as widespread attitudes. Perhaps reflecting this trend, voter participation in federal elections has declined from the levels of 75% to 80% typical of the 1950s and 1960s, to 61.5% in the 2004 election, for example, and 64.7% in 2006. Moreover, political engagement by young Canadians has fallen to extremely low levels from a traditional 50% voter participation rate to around 25% in recent elections. These figures have led to concern about an impending legitimacy crisis relating to Parliament and politics.
Canada needs to regain trust in government. People need to trust their representatives. Our representatives, Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies, need to be accountable to those whom they represent.
The Fair Elections Act proves one basic truth of Parliament. All attempts to improve or reform the House, the Senate or elections, only leads to making matters worse. When interviewed, Parliamentarians will spiel off a litany of wrongs along with ways to amend procedures. In 2003, the Library of Parliament conducted a survey of MPs called, “The Parliament We Want“. In over 12 years since not a single recommendation has seen the light of legislation. Why? Political Parties do not want change. Political Parties and their Politics have such a hold over Parliament, The House of Commons, the Senate and Elections, that Members of Parliament are not permitted to speak to the concerns of their constituents. And that is not democratic – that is a problem!
Reform was the reason the Conservatives were elected, what happened? All their motions either died on the floor or like the Fair Elections Act is no reform at all. The Liberals and NDP had near 6 years of minority government prior to 2011, what reforms did they propose? Nil, Nada, Nothing! NDP say they endorse Proportional Representation. Why then have they never brought the matter before the House? The Liberals, after 2011 election made a lot of noise over PR, now that they may form the government in 2015, Justin Trudeau has abandoned the notion.
We, the Canadian electorate, may have only one shot at bringing about reform to Parliament and elections and it won’t come via any particular party. Canada needs a contract between Members of Parliament and their Constituency. As of now, Candidates for election are under contract to their riding associations, hence, to the party. They are required to do the party bidding. We need to change that. MPs must be accountable to their constituents first, not the party.