Troubling Election Stats…

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Warning: These are far from completed thoughts, but here are some dashed off comments (before I get to work) on what I see as some troubling stats from the election. 

Stat #1: Popular vote

I realize that various groups have been saying this for years, but isn’t there a problem with our electoral system when one party (the Bloc) gets 10% of the popular vote and gains some 48 seats, while another party (Green) gets 7% of the vote and gets zero seats? 

Stat #2: Voter turnout

Apparently, it may be the lowest turnout for a Canadian federal election ever (something like 59% of the eligible voters showed up).

 Stat #3: Media coverage

Ok, it’s not an official stat, but as I watched the CTV election coverage, I couldn’t help but get a sense of why Westerners and Atlanticers do feel somewhat alienated at election time. 80-90% of the air-time was about Ontario and Quebec. I realize that’s where the population is, but still…

So what does the Theommentator have to say about all these “stats”?

1) Popular vote – Frankly, I’m stuck on this. I can’t think of much of theological significance to say  about this. Maybe its a stretch (I’m sure it is), but maybe this election shows that popularity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…That’s awful, I know…Anyone else have an insight?

2) Voter turn-out – I thank God that I live in a country where political freedom is real– –where I can cast a vote and not have to risk my life to do it. Amazingly, in Afganistan voters took real risks to vote in their first democratic election, yet there was an 85% turn-out rate. Perhaps our national apathy and cyncism to elections is due to nothing more than–ingratitude. Ingratitude to God for the real peace, prosperity and freedom that we enjoy each and every day. Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like not to live in a democratic country. Not that I think that democracy is God’s chosen politic, but frankly, it’s better than lots of other systems…

3) Media coverage – Interestingly, I’ve watched 2 of the last 3 elections while here in Montreal. (I was in Montreal for the 2004 election). My hosts are very gracious Christians, but their political preferences were clearly different than mine. We joked a bit about the differences between West and East, but I didn’t say anything about how even the media coverage seems to exacerbate the feelings of Western alienation from the “real” political centres in Canada. And that is all said even when the Prime Minister is from Western Canada!

It’s a sad thing to report that I personal felt tinges of alienation while sitting in the home of my Christian brother and sister. It demonstrates to me, at least, that even things like “media coverage” are not theologically neutral, but may be perhaps an example of the “powers and principalities” (cf. Eph 6:12; Col 1:16) at work even against the most important spiritual bonds that we have with our fellow Christians.

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3 thoughts on “Troubling Election Stats…

  1. Neil E. Dainio

    I am unsure if I have anything Theological to say here but, I do have a couple of thoughts.
    On point 2: Voter Turn Out: I am also very upset at the low turn out. I do thank GOD for allowing me to live in the freedom I do and I have the right to take part in the system of Government. While I also believe that in some cases Democracy may not be the best system (some of you may be surprised at what system I prefer), Democracy is the best we have right now. One last point, and I will keep it short, (like me :-)). As someone who “Stood on Guard” for “The True North Strong and Free.” It does tick me off to see most of my country not showing up on election day. I know I never saw any active duty, but, there are others out there, attempting to gain the same freedoms, that we have. So wake up Canada…

    That’s all…
    No Theology Here, but just some thoughts.

  2. Not sure what to say that will clear the air, theologically or otherwise.

    I will offer a little math. Of 308 seats, 50 went to a party with no intention of representing voters in all of Canada. I didn’t have the option of voting for the “Block”. Those 50 seats basically take 50 available seats out of the pool for all other parties–all of which are truly national–leaving 258 seats up for grabs. Half of those seats plus 1 is 130, not the 155 needed to gain a majority. Am I the only one who is scratching his head here?

    All that said, I have to agree with both of you, David and Neil. The low voter turn out should be a concern to all. I don’t really like the political realm, but I vote. I vote because it is a honourable duty and privilege to care about this country.

  3. bill: lots of voters vote for the person who will best represent their riding, or their province, not necessarily the nation as a whole. plenty of voters also vote for someone who they think represents them on one or two particular issues, not necessarily on whether they will do the best for the nation as a whole. (in fact, plenty of christians, myself included, continue to vote for those who we think in their heart of hearts are pro-life, even though we know they’ll never do anything about it). so, while i relate and agree with the frustration, i don’t think the Bloc is really the only case where “selfish” (if i might use that word for it) or “regional” voting is going on.

    i had a friend tell me yesterday in alberta that if the Bloc ran here he’d vote for them. how’s that for provocative? ha ha.

    neil: i think those who “stood on guard” for our freedom can be proud that 40% of the voters feel comfortable enough letting everyone else decide. apathy is also a sign of comfort, and (though it has negative things to say as well) this comfort says something about how secure and free and content we feel as a people.

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