May 6, 2011: Wayne Smith, Fair Vote Canada and the election; Victoria Cross and the Supreme Court decision for farm workers

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Listen to entire program here: 

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According to a media release by Fair Vote Canada, Canada has suffered through an election that is “…one of the least legitimate majorities in Canadian history”, with   , the Conservatives winning 54.22% of the seats with only 39.62% of the vote.  Vote splitting is a curse imposed by an electoral system designed for a two-party system. In the name of stability (did anyone count the number of times Harper used that word in the campaign?), the corporate elites would love to see Canada with only two parties so they could manipulate them as one. Stability is just a code word for allowing the elites to do what they want, whenever they want. Another name for that kind of “stability” is totalitarianism.

We can see what such stability means in the US with no difference today between the Democrats and Republicans, save perhaps the marketing companies they each use. What is the solution for this country if we are to save representative democracy? Proportional representation allows for all votes to count in a multi party landscape. If we are talking about real equality in a representative democracy we need to agitate for change all the more. Today, we’ll talk to Wayne Smith of Fair Vote Canada about electoral change, why we need it, how we can get it, and what other countries do to elect politicians.

 Also on the injustice front, last week saw the long-awaited Supreme Court of Canada judgement on the appeal launched by the Ontario government that, in short, ends up denying farm workers the right to unionize. We’ll talk to Windsor lawyer Victoria Cross about the decision, including ramifications for labour in general in Canada.

Mexican workers on farm near Chatham 2008 (Photo: Jennifer Luckhart)

According to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, “ … the decision by the highest court in the land is the latest chapter in a decades-long battle to provide statutory labour rights protection and collective bargaining for Ontario’s 80,000 domestic and migrant agriculture workers.”

Music on the program: 

Tara Watts

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David Newberry 

Click on image for more David Newberry (Track played was "We Reap What We Sow"


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2 Comments on “May 6, 2011: Wayne Smith, Fair Vote Canada and the election; Victoria Cross and the Supreme Court decision for farm workers”

  1. Dieter Heinrich May 11, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    This article goes too far. There are huge differences between US Dems and Repubs. Why would corporate manipulation be any different in a Canadian two party system? Need to keep strict donation limits. Progressives need to push for a merger of the Libs and NDP into the Liberal Democrats. There is no great point of principle separating them anymore. No reason to split the vote and give Conservatives comfort in becoming the perpetual governing party. Why wait until we are defeated again. Read the writing on the wall. Look ahead. Be proactive. Do it now so Canadians can get used to the new party.

  2. opirg May 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Thanks for the comment. One only has to look as far as Obama and George W Bush to see how both the Republicans and Democrats serve the corporate/military establishment.

    In the Canadian context, who gets to say there should only be two parties? The corporate elite and the business community? Isn’t it reasonable that in a true democracy and multi-ethnic country like Canada many voices should have the right to be heard? In a multi party democracy, a first past the post system simply corrupts the electoral process. The reality today is that a new electoral system that represents the reality of working class Canada is needed, not the fantasy of total control by the minority in the upper echelons of power.

    Looking ahead means critiquing the status quo, naming it for the corrupted system it is and moving to something just. With a Harper majority this will now mean massive mobilization for change.

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