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Friday, 14 June 2013

You Don't Have The Right

Occasionally a news article will get a rise out of me. Unlike yelling at the radio when ridiculous comments are made on the call in shows, yelling at the paper in my hand doesn't have the same level of satisfaction. And so here we are.

Yesterday I checked the mail and was delighted to find my most recent issue of the Municipal News. It is a quarterly paper printed and distributed by Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador and contains the usual updates and news stories relative to the municipal sector in NL. I've been reading it for 6 years or so now and you can get the digital copy over on the MNL website here.

In the most recent installment there is a cover story on electronic voting by Randy Simms. It's something I have an opinion about and as it turns out so does Randy. Reading through the piece I find that Randy is in favor of the idea and was hoping we might all have a go at it in the upcoming municipal elections in the fall. But alas, it is not to be this time around. The current Government has taken the unsurprisingly short sighted view that we're not ready for it just yet.

The article was generally informative and pretty well written but I actually had to pause in the middle of reading it to let out a few choice words that thankfully only my dog was close enough to hear. The offending paragraph contained a quote for the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Kevin O'Brien. Now to be upfront I'm not a big fan of "Farity O'Brien", as The Sir Robert Bond Papers like to call him. And I've heard him say some pretty darn silly and upsetting things, like the time he compared the departure of Danny Williams to the assignation of JFK. But this one really got my blood boiling. In reference to uninformed voters who might vote given an electronic ballot option he said:
"People who don't know what's going on, voting for people they don't know, is not appropriate"
So if I might take a moment to clarify that comment, it appears that he feels that not everyone has the right to vote. Now if I'm not mistaken the right to vote is accorded to every man and women of legal age and can show they are a resident of the district they wish to vote in. There are no tests to determine their intimate level of knowledge of the parties, the candidates or the issues at hand. One person, one vote.

But hey, he's only a Minister of our Government, if he doesn't believe in democracy then I guess it's no big deal. After all, if we did things his way and every voter had to know full details on the people running in an election and perhaps even their motivations for running, he might still be in private business and we might all be spared old Farity's version of democracy.




 

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