Last night I caught the BBC news about India's national election which started yesterday and goes on for several days. The story reminded me what sets apart mature and immature democracies.
Of the 545 members of the Lok Sahba, India's lower house in Parliament, 162 (30%) have criminal cases pending against them.
Of those 162 criminal cases, almost half, (76) are serious in nature, including murder and abduction.
Of the $801 million raised in political funding by the six major parties, $601 million comes from undisclosed sources.
So let's look at our democracy with a certain level of pride. I certainly don't want to compare ourselves to India, but our election system is fair and efficient.
Most important is the level of maturity displayed by voters, where sovereigntists and federalists have respected the will of the majority without violence or rancour. It's a lot to be proud of.
Compare ourselves to the United States with all their voting machines and technology, where results are often murky, sometimes taking days to figure out, often leading to court challenges.
|Last Week I predicted..Lib-73..PQ-39...CAQ-9...QS-3..Pretty close to this final poll!|
Here in Quebec, as in the rest of Canada we count every vote by hand, but usually have results within an hour and a half of the polls closing.
There's little controversy, with recounts happening only when the tally is extremely close, a few dozen votes or less.
I haven't counted votes since I was a teen, but remember how a painless the process was, with scrutineers from all parties agreeing on just about every vote, once in a Blue Moon, referring a ballot to the returning officer.
These past two years have been somewhat humiliating for all Quebec citizens, the level and depth of corruption a shock and surprise to all regular Joes and Janes who pay their taxes without too much griping and certainly with no opportunity to thieve the system.
These past days have proven that the PQ is as dishonest as the Liberals and I'm not buying the argument that its a level of degree as the PQ proclaim
...Qui vole un œuf, vole un bœuf
(Someone dishonest enough to steal a small thing can steal a big thing as well.)
The reality is that this corruption has pervaded all strata of Quebec society, with no distinction for language, ethnicity, political persuasion or political affiliation. If the Liberals were more corrupt, it was a result of opportunity
But in respect to corruption, I remain hopeful that the worst is behind us. Like addiction, admitting the problem is half the solution.
Unlike certain crime which is a zero sum affair (like busting a cocaine distribution ring, only to have another pop up almost immediately to replace it,) corruption can be reduced significantly with the right safeguards and a commitment to stamp it out.
I think we are getting there..
I look at the Charbonneau Commission as our very own Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a necessary and cathartic exercise, that will hopefully see us move into an era where public officials are more honest, perhaps not out of integrity but fear of being caught and punished.
The over-riding opinion by miscreants that everybody was stealing and that they wouldn't be caught was the main impetus to corruption. That idea is in the process of being destroyed.
But I digress...and so back to the election;
To those of us who will lose 'their' election tonight I sympathize, it always tough.
I never was a big gambler, but I stopped altogether (even Lotto tickets) many years ago, because losing always hurt worse than winning felt good. I just hated losing.
It's the same with elections.
So with eager anticipation, we vote and then we live with the results, like or not.
By the way, not many people who drop by this blog omit to vote, but if you are oner of those, don't feel bad despite the holier-than-thou rhetoric of those who say that if you don't vote, you can't complain.
The real mark of a democracy is freedom, and those who demand that you vote are the same who demand a greater government intervention in our lives.
Freedom of choice includes the freedom not to participate. I loathe those commercials beseeching people to vote, they are a waste of money and a misguided effort to tell us how to live.
Those who don't vote gives more power to those who care, and that somehow in my humble opinion, is actually a good thing!...
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