Challenge to those who question legitimacy of plebiscite


I challenge the reasoning of those who question the legitimacy of plebiscites as a democratic option. I will go so far as to say that in this complicated world democracy is impossible without them.  I disagree with the opinion that an elected official automatically has carte blanche to do as they (and their lobbies) see fit and the electorate must wait for the next election (and the same process) to vote them out. That this narrow, rigid mandate is regressive and subverts the interests of the people  seems so obvious that it is hard to understand why it is not generally accepted.
Federal elections are won now in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere on fringe social issues or the splitting of votes on disparate but equally important issues like affordable health care and policy on foreign wars. That is not reasonable and might even represent a kind of blackmail or extortion: the electorate should not be forced to make such a choice. It’s like the candy you give to a baby while you stick a needle in its arm. What is necessary in this case is a blatant insult to the voter.
There has been a marked loss of faith in elected officials, and for good reasons. They are more apt to represent powerful lobbies than ordinary people. Turnout is low and getting lower, judging from the last U.S. and France elections.  At what point do we declare the system empty and invalid? As for our own small world, if the library plebiscite  was non-binding it shouldn’t have been on the ballot. If, further,  the turnout numbers  invalidate it, that factor also casts a shadow on the legitimacy of the mayor’s election and mandate.
Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert

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