The record low turnout of 59.1% and the government’s support among voters of 37.6% means that only 22.22% of all eligible voters in Canada voted for Harper. When factoring in people not on the list such as permanent residents who are not citizens, roughly 4 in 5 adults in this country did not vote for our new New Government. But, how does this compare with previous governments? Is there a crisis of legitimacy developing?
Let’s look at the 1945 to 2008 results…
Clearly, the major post-war pattern is a move away from broad-based support. Yet, our system continues to give near-total power to the Prime Minister and complete control of all cabinet files to the largest party. Our country is more and more divided while concurrently our citizens are less and less inclined to care.
What Canada needs now are serious investigations into the causes of absenteeism as well as a sober analysis of how best to reflect the diversity of opinion in the country in our parliament. We who are concerned with democracy in Canada – whether left, right, or center – need to sit down and assess the situation and come up with a plan to keep our system healthy for years to come.