"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Amazing Atrophying Democracy (III)

Another depressing milestone has passed in the long, slow decline of whatever passed for democracy in Newfoundland and Labrador.

With Saturday's release of the final list of candidates for the upcoming provincial election, the 2011 election has the fewest number of people running as independent or minor-party candidates since 1982. There are just three independents, and no minor parties running at all.

This chart shows the historical trend, with the number of indepedent or minor-party candidates shown in grey, with the exception of several minor parties which are highlighted by colour:

The minor party episodes include the 1956 attempt by the CFF (forerunner to the NDP) to break into provincial politics; the 1959 Newfoundland Democratic Party; the 1970s and 2000s (New) Labrador Party*; the 1975 Smallwood "Liberal Reform" schismatic party; and 1999's Newfoundland and Labrador Party.

This next chart shows the cross-jurisdictional comparison in the current (or latest) provincial and territorial* elections, and the 2011 federal election. To adjust for the differing sizes of the various elected chambers, the figures are shown as the number of candidates per available legislative seat. So, for example, in the current Newfoundland and Labrador election there is an average of less than 1/10th of a minor candidate running per district.

"Minor parties" for the purpose of this comparison excludes the Liberals and (Progressive) Conservatives, and the NDP in every province except PEI, where the NDP could not put up a full slate of candidates.

It also excludes the Quebec-specific Parti Québécois and ADQ, as well as the Saskatchewan Party and Yukon Party, which are the rebranded successors to those jurisdictions' former Progressive Conservatives. Also shown, for comparative purposes, is Québec Solidaire, the closest Quebec equivalent to an NDP, as well as the Green Party in all provinces and federally.

Current elections are marked with an asterisk. As the nomination deadline has not yet passed for Saskatchewan's current election, 2007 data is shown.

What does it say when the democratic margins are healthier in Yukon, a territory with roughly the population of Mount Pearl or Conception Bay South, than in a province? There are more independent candidates currently vying for one of the 17 seats in the Yukon legislature — including, improbably, Elvis Aaron Presley in Pelly-Nisutlin — than there are in the 48 districts in Newfoundland and Labrador.

* The New Labrador Party came before the Labrador Party; the "New" governs "Labrador", not "Party".

** The electoral systems in Nunavut and the NWT are not organized on party lines; all candidates are unaffiliated for territorial electoral purposes.

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At 12:03 PM, October 02, 2011 , Blogger Edward Hollett said...

The incumbents have successfully skewed the political system to favour themselves and close the system to all but the current incumbent members and parties.

It's the party control aspect that is most troubling since it really precludes anyone from running outside their control.

Politics is a closed system in this province, moreso now than ever.

At 1:30 PM, October 02, 2011 , Blogger Wm. Murphy said...

Politics is a closed system in this province, moreso now than ever

Yes Ed you are 100% correct.

The reasons are many however I would place the blame squarely at the feet of the Yvonne Jones`, Party leadershp and back room people in the Lib Party as the culprits for this "closed system"

If anyone had taken the time to grow and include the District associaton and grass root support during the last four years.... there would be no closed system. Instead, there would be a system of inclusion and support for the Libs in trying to unseat the incumbent and Party in power.
The Party in power always tries to skew the is no different during Clyde or Tobin tenures...except today the Cons took advantage of no real leadership and direction during the last 8 years of Liberal opposition.

I laugh uncontrollably as I remember the times where I was lectured that Leadership has no bearing on the success of Party`s.

When I stop giggling, I must have a look for those award winning pronouncements


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