It doesn’t say much about our electoral system when 14 per cent of the total electorate can send an MP to Ottawa as it did in the recent federal by-election or when a mayor can be elected with less than 50 per cent of the electorate voting. But that’s the nature of our first past the post system.While not perfect by any means, it saw the election of a new mayor by 49.9 per cent of those who bothered to vote. This is a higher percentage than most federal elections.
However Canadian, Alberta and St. Albert democracy is not done by non-binding referenda. Concerning the branch library, 61.7 per cent of the 42.9 per cent of the vote reflects a vote of only 26 per cent of the total St. Albert electorate not a majority of the taxpayers. Most, if not all candidates recognized that the recent referenda were not binding. Perhaps a more adequate reflection of the views of the electorate can be found by looking at the councillor and mayoralty vote. In our first past the post system democracy only one of the anti-branch library, wedge issue slate was elected to council and the anti-branch library mayoralty candidate was resoundingly defeated. To be sure there is no need for more library branch planning. I believe that planning has been ongoing for the last 18 years. The planning has already been done and the funding by-law has been approved. It is now time to select the site and start building.
Bryan Corbett, St. Albert