Up here in the Great White North we are heading into another general election, something like the tenth in the last eleven years or at least that's what it feels like.
One of the problems with elections in Canada, like many other places in the Western world, is the low voter turnout. Part of it is ignorance - people don't know what the issues are or don't realize how important it is to participate. But for many, the reason is voter apathy. Unlike the United States and United Kingdom, for example, both major parties in this country are essentially identical to one another on the big ticket issues like foreign relations, economics and health care. The only real difference is that the Liberals want to raise government spending to decrease the amount of control we have over our lives by an obscene amount while the Conservatives only want to raise them by a very large amount.
In light of this, I have always thought that there should be an option on our ballots to reflect this foolishness. Many people spoil their ballots as a protest against our lack of real choice in government but that doesn't solve any of the problems. After all, a spoiled ballet doesn't say "I don't think any of you jerks are worth voting for". It merely implies you couldn't figure out that it's an "X" you have to put in the box, not a happy face.
Therefore, I suggest that all ballots should have a new line placed at the bottom under the list of candidates for the riding. This line should be labelled "None of the above".
What's more, "None of the above" should have legal meaning other than just being there to express protest.
Thus, if "None of the above" gets 40% or more of the vote in a riding, then the results would be thrown out and a byelection featuring an entirely different slate of candidates would have to be held, with "None of the above" remaining an option on this new ballot.
And if "None of the above" gets 40% of more of the national vote overall, then an entirely new election would have to be called with entirely new candidates, meaning the former prime minister, his cabinet and all the contenders would have to retire permanently from politics, at least at the federal level.
(And if "None of the above" gets over 50% we get to throw the bums into Hudson's Bay in January!)
Yes, there is a potential for the "None of the above" to bring about a great deal of chaos. The government might be paralyzed for weeks to months. Of course, that runs othe risk of people figuring out that this country would probably run better without them but still... Consider the alternative - political parties would suddenly realize that they now actually have to put forth quality platforms instead of the usual "Here's how I intend to bribe you to vote for me using your money". It would bring about a revolution (probably literally) in the way Canada is governed, and probably for the better.
Anyone in Ottawa listening? Probably not. And that's why we need "None of the above".