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LETTER: It’s party time … seriously

Politics can be daunting to the people who should be running.
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And then the penny dropped. (An analogy my buddy uses.)

The crystal-clear sound a penny makes when it hits a hard surface. Sort of like a eureka moment or when everything comes into focus.

For me it was while watching a panel of political pundits discuss the recent back and forth popularity of various political parties.

One of them (Andrew Coyne), reminded us of how the equation works. He indicated that as long as two federal parties that we’ve always elected keep growing their party membership, and the third- and fourth-place parties don’t grow faster, then we will always be destined for what we’ve always got.

If we’re OK with that, then fine.

But most of us always hear our neighbor bemoan that fact that … “it’s always the same two parties all the time!”

If that’s all that a lot of us prefer, then it definitely will be.

But, I lament that perhaps most of the people that make that complaint, are not a member of any party. Choose a party based on the one that reflects your needs and beliefs, join it and support it with at least your vote, come election time. For me, I heard the penny drop.

If that party betrays you horribly or your ideology changes, then move off to another party.

Not a problem.

Until most of us join a party, then the first- and second-place parties will always prey on this un-committed portion of the electorate.

The two larger parties will then work on solidifying or “hardening” their membership by inviting new members and keeping them happy, especially if that party forms government. If you don’t prefer the first- or second-place parties, then you’re joining a third or fourth-place party will begin to grow and harden the base of that party, too. Then you’re being a builder in growing choices for Canadians.

I don’t mean to arrogantly say “hush up and join a party.” I just mean to remind you that that is how it works. Parties run elections on ideas. Then one (or a coalition if we are brave enough) form government. Then governments begin to form public policy based on their ideas conveyed during the election.

Please join a party, some of them don’t even charge for membership.

Maybe the installation of a minority government that needs the help of the third or fourth-place party is what you prefer. That’s how we’ve gotten a lot of what we enjoy as Canadians and couldn’t live without. The electorate in a provincial riding in BC recently had everyone holding their breath in that regard.

Good on them. That’s when we, the electorate, can truly hold the power.

Shiny, new parties have recently formed governments in some provinces. And, at least one new federal party was just created.

And please don’t let me hear that refrain, “I vote for the person and not the party.”

In our current system, that “person” has to be a candidate for “a” party. So, you need to align yourself with the beliefs and public policy preferences of a party before you support their candidate. Because the House of Assembly is not comprised of 48 parties nor the House of Commons of 338 parties.

One last thing, if I have come near to convincing you to join a party – any party, then please seriously consider donating $2, $20 or $200 to that party, whatever you can afford. Or nothing, just join a party.

Donating is not dirty or under-handed as some think. It’s actually tax-deductible. How do you think the only two parties we’ve ever made as our government, have always been successful in getting elected?

By the way, during 2018, the federal Conservatives raised $24 million from 49,000 donors. There are about 25 million eligible voters in a federal election. Recently on the provincial front, the polls say the provincial PCs and Liberals are tied.

Did you hear the penny drop? If not, I hope you will before the two elections this year. There’s going to be at least four parties on most ballots in those two elections.

Mark Power

St. John’s.

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