Poignant Tweeting on Electoral Reform

Like many people on Prince Edward Island, I’ve been glued to my TV set this week watching the live broadcast of the Legislative Assembly as members debated two contrasting motions related to the recent electoral reform plebiscite in which Islanders chose Mixed Member Proportional representation as our new mechanism for electing MLAs.

Motion 54, introduced by Peter Bevan-Baker and seconded by Sidney MacEwen was the “okay, let’s do this thing!” motion.

Motion 80, introduced by Hon. Wade MacLauchlan and seconded by Pat Murphy was the “hold your horses, let’s not get crazy” response.

During debate on Motion 80, Peter Bevan-Baker, as part of making the point that Islanders who didn’t vote should not be considered in the deliberations, quoted a tweet I made on November 8, in reaction to early signs from the government that it was not planning to act definitively on the results of the plebiscite:

I could not agree more. We cannot give these wasted votes any credence as we debate the result. Let us confine our  discussion to those Islanders who made the effort to get out and to vote.

As one Islander so poignantly tweeted the day after the results were released – by which time, I should say, the hon. Premier had so rapidly and casually dismissed the results as, I quote, doubtful – here’s the tweet: I studied and discussed the options. I  watched the videos, took the bus in the rain to the polling station to vote. My choice won. What did I do wrong?

Indeed.

This is the first time I’ve had a tweet quoted on the floor of the Legislature. It may be the first time I’ve had a tweet quoted anywhere.

The feeling behind the tweet is one that’s only amplified in the days since: I took the effort to learn the options available, inside and out; I took the effort to talk about the options with my able-to-vote 16 year old son; I discussed about the options with friends and colleagues.

And I did take the bus, in the rain, to vote.

And yet the government has chosen, for reasons I cannot completely fathom, to try to equally-as-much divine the intent of the non-voters in charting its course forward, reeling back the intent of the plebiscite to a generalized expression of a wish for change.

Although I didn’t ask my tweet be quoted – it was a surprise to hear it – I’m proud to have unknowingly loaned the words to Peter Bevan-Baker to help to make his case.

And I remain optimistic that we’ll be voting MMP in the next election.