Canadians in four ridings ought to have their little backsides twaddled. Bad voters. Use it or lose it.
One one level, you understand the comment, but in general it misses the mark badly. Politicians need to look at voters as their audience, and their performance as the draw. If people aren't turning out, is it not more a reflection of political failure, rather than an electorate shirking their democratic responsibility?
By-elections are notorious for low turnout, this last batch setting a new precedent, which I don't think is an anomaly. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if voter turnout hovers around 50% in the next federal election. There is a growing disconnect between our political class and the people, which is the root cause of apathy. There is a complete lack of inspiration, and our political parties are casually dismissed as mostly irrelevant.
If anyone comforts themselves in thinking lower voter turnout is simply a function of modern society, a quick glance down south, where voters have come out in record numbers, should pierce that vacade. Garth Turner shouldn't be spanking voters, he should be spanking some of his fellow MP's, the party spinmeisters, and everyone else who has contributed to turning our system into more circus than substance. Good gracious, political junkies find it hard to watch these days, you can hardly blame others for tuning you out. I'm at the point, where I would rather eat a bag of nails, than watch embarassing fools like Tim Powers, Scott Reid and Brad Lavigne kick sand in an absurd playground. These are the people in charge of getting the "message" out to voters? Lord help us all.
Here's the thing the political class needs to realize, people have a rather inate ability to smell the bullshit. They don't believe Dion when he rationalizes abstention with "Canadians don't want an election". They don't buy Layton when he answers a valid question about poor by-election results with "remember Outremont". They aren't impressed with a government that preaches accountability and transparency, while simultaneously implementing the tightest information control regiment in Canadian history. In other words, politicians words have lost their weight, they will say anything, do anything, spin anything, whatever it takes and this promotes cynicism, which in turn leads to apathy, which manifests itself in the ballot box.
If nobody is turning out to the performance, it might have something to do with a simple fact- the bands suck. Bad voters, or bad choices?