Risks -- and opportunities -- for our democracy
The Covid-19 pandemic presents a challenge for political leadership that we haven’t seen since the Second World War. Leaders around the world are responding in vastly different ways to this crisis -- with life or death consequences for citizens. In the US and the UK (the only countries in the OECD aside from Canada which still use first-past-the-post), party leaders have reacted to the crisis by ignoring other points of view.
In the US, Donald Trump’s pronouncement that COVID-19 was a “hoax” cost precious time - and Americans are divided in their responses to the pandemic along partisan lines. In the UK, an emergency measures bill may pass without even giving the MPs who represent a majority of citizens a vote or means of review.
Over time, power could become even more concentrated, creating a “new normal” that sets democracy back.
Even in Canada, the federal Liberals, elected to a minority with 33% of the vote, attempted to use a crucial COVID-19 relief bill to give themselves unprecedented and unnecessary powers, minus Parliamentary oversight. While these alarming proposals were thankfully reversed over a long night of negotiations, this episode serves as a stark reminder that we cannot take democracy for granted.
We need a commitment to greater cooperation!
Fair Vote Canada