Friday, September 01, 2006

Democracy at Ottawa City Hall

There's a scene in the fourth book of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where aliens have landed on Earth and ask, "Take me to your lizard." Ford Prefect explains to Arthur that the aliens are from a very ancient democracy, ruled by lizards. The people hate the lizards. Arthur asks why the people would vote for the lizards, if they hate them, and Ford explains that if they didn't vote for the lizards, the wrong lizard might get in.

The departure of the only rural, conservative voice from the campaign for Ottawa mayor reminds me of this scene. Terry Kilrea has withdrawn, and thrown his support between Liberal establishment figure and incumbent Bob Chiarelli. All this to keep the left-wing Alex Munter out. This is not democracy in the sense of people voting for what they want; it is democracy where the people are being asked to vote for what they dislike least.

Whatever your view on the mayoral race, and I don't really have a strong one since I don't live in Ottawa, it's a sad day for democracy, and especially for the rural residents of Ottawa who are already under-represented and ill-served by the megacity.