Yesterday, the Toronto Star had this fun story about the upcoming referendum on electoral reform. My favourite part was the beginning:
To find out what people think about the Ontario referendum being held a month from today, the Toronto Star stopped some 50 people at Yonge and Bloor Sts.
Just one person knew about it.
Only three others were interested enough to listen to what was being proposed.
Clearly this issue represents a burning platform for the electorate… Or not.
And let’s be fair – it is not like Canadians can’t get passionate about issues: The Charlotte Town Accord, Meech Lake, Free Trade, all caught voters attentions. If electoral reform hasn’t, maybe that means something…
Of course, proponents of Electoral Reform will claim this is because of a lack of press coverage and/or awareness on the part of the public. But then, this is the same bitter claim of any group whose issue isn’t dominating the news agenda.
Problematically, they’ll keep making that claim until their issue makes the news agenda and pierces the public’s consciousness. The basic precept being – everybody would care about this as much as I do – if only they were as well informed as I am.
Perhaps, or perhaps there is a simpler explanation. Maybe electoral reform is not a pressing issue to most people. Certainly a system the strengthens the power of the parties and the backroom boys isn’t easily going to inspire people I know…