The following letter was recently received from West Australia.
The Editor, 'Social Credit".
The Alberta Election — Social Credit — August, 1955.
Fact No. 3. Alberta uses a transferable vote or "proportional representation".
We in Australia use the transferable or preferential system of voting, but by no stretch of the imagination does it lead to "proportional representation". Generally the very opposite.
In 1931, 1½ million electors, using the preferential system of voting, put into the Federal Senate 33 members — every member — and 1¼ million electors had no representation at all!!!
The voice of the people!!
In 1934 Lyons got in with a fairly big majority of seats, but the total of votes against Lyons was not far short of 70,000. Every result has been the same under the preferential system. The 1st post the post as used in England also gives fantastic results.
My ballot paper has printed right across it "Proportional Representation", and thrown into the box. I refuse to vote for private monopoly (A Party) or for public monopoly (B Party), the only two parties that contest elections... or have any chance under the present system. Until we do have "proportional representation" my vote will be an informal one. It gets you nowhere, I grant you, but it does satisfy one's conscience.
Straightforward "P.R." would work out in this manner. In Australia we have, say, 116 Members of Parliament and approximately 4,000,000 electors or 1 MP for 34,482 electors. To save argument, make it a much higher figure — 35,000; 36,000 or 40,000 votes.
The constituencies would be for the convenience of the electors, as under our present system, but the ballot paper would have the names of each party putting up for election. The elector could either put a cross against or scratch out the parties he does not want in parliament.
In the event of a party not polling the stipulated number of votes, those votes would be distributed equally amongst the other parties, and that party would forfeit its deposit.
At the end of the election the Returning Officer would submit to the leader and Committee of each party, the number of votes cast and the number of Members each party is entitled to. Each leader and his committee would select from amongst those who put up, those whom they wish to represent the party. Members not chosen would not be required to forfeit a deposit.
I do not think that this is an unreasonable way of electing MP's. You can at least exercise your vote against an offending or objectionable member. Under our present system we can only do so by putting our head in a noose, or penalising ourselves. Nothing can be gained by voting for the lesser of two evils, as we do at present and have done in the past.
Major Douglas has stated that the objective of his system was:
(1) That incomes equal prices of goods for sale (Price Discount).
(2) That new production must be financed by new money:
(3) That eventually the National Dividend to individuals will take the place of the wage system, but in the meantime the National Dividend formula will be used for National purposes.
When we consider that interest, say 5%, depreciation 15%, and profit 5%, or a total of 25 percent, the price discount formula benefits the consumer very considerably in his immediate needs. The National Dividend formula for National requirements would also relieve us of much taxation, amounting to possibly another 25% of a man's income. Hence we can very well soft-pedal on the National Dividend to each person individually. No doubt it will come eventually but soft-pedal on it until the time comes. Let's have first things first. Don't put the cart before the horse as Aberhart did.
Mr. Jean Grenier, Secretary of the Institute of Political Action, which publishes this journal, replied on November 30th in these words:.
Dear Mr. —
Your letter of the 4th of November has been handed to Mr. Louis Even (Director of the IPA), who was invited to give his opinion regarding the two main points dealt with in your letter:
1) Proportional Representation for election to Parliament;
2) Soft-pedalling on the National Dividend to eachperson individually, and insisting first on the price discount formula and the use of the Dividend for national purposes.
Mr. Even is of the opinion that no particular method of election will help much to get better servants of the people, until the people themselves have learned to demand results from their representatives.
This means getting a sufficient number of citizens aroused to the facts and on their feet all the time, between elections even more than on election day, to press for results. This means also a press, different from the party-ridden or finance-ridden press, to spread the facts. Of course, this press must find a certain number of readers, not only to support it, but to create influence.
There is no short road to Social Credit. Trying the party game is just gambling: you may win, you may more likely lose, you may win one time and lose the next. A truth should not be tied to a game.
On election day, of course, a Social Crediter may vote or not vote; he may vote for the man he estimates best among the candidates; or, if none suits him, he may just not vote, or do as you do yourself: cancel his ballot paper by writing across it what he wants, such as SOCIAL CREDIT.
What you propose in the matter of voting seems to give more importance to the party than to the man, and estrange the M.P. from the constituency, the party leaders themselves selecting, after the election, from the total number of their candidates, those they prefer, up to the number they are entitled to by the calculation you explain.
Many people think that the M.P. should be an electors' man, not a party's man, responsible to his constituents at all times. And the ministers should be appointed by the M.P.s from their number, and responsible to them at all times. And the Premier should be appointed by the ministers, from their number, and responsible to them at all times.
But all this is just a dream, as long as the electors remain party-minded, and as long as the success of the candidate is mostly the result of powerful, well-financed organizations. The reform must start with the electors themselves, and that is where our movement directs its attention and efforts.
In your letter, you write:
"Major Douglas has stated that the objective of his system was:
1) That incomes equal prices of goods for: (Price Discount);
2) That new production must be financed by new money
3) That eventually the National Dividend to individuals will take the place of the wage system, but in the meantime the National Dividend formula will be used for National purposes.".
Mr. Even would like very much to know where and when Major Douglas has written that the "National Dividend formula should be first used for National purposes.
Your statement about prices now being inflated by financial charges and taxation, is quite correct; and you are quite right also to say that the adjusted and compensated price would benefit the buyer who would thus keep a good part of his income for other purchases. But what of the person — child, housewife, sick, old, unemployed — who has no income at all?
I think that Major Douglas has stressed now and again the supreme importance of the individual as against that of the State.
In fact, the whole of Social Credit is tied up together. You cannot drop one part for the other, or it crumbles.
Surely, in the fight for Social Credit, we advance step by step, but the objective must be kept clear to all fighters.
Our movement is just now leading a resistance to all public loans and to all new taxes or increases in present taxes. As also we are insisting on tying social measures to the physical possibilities of the country, not to the taxation possibilities.
None of these things can be realized without changes in the financial system. And that places the financial system and the Government on the spot.
But in expounding Social Credit, we by no means soft-pedal on the National Dividends to each individual. It is now, right now, that each and every one is by birthright entitled to a share of the cultural inheritance accumulated throughout the generations. The increment due to association must benefit all and each associate: This is the core of Social Credit, isn't it?
We know that you agree; but most likely you think that loud-speaking on a Dividend to all will raise howls and create more obstacles to the diffusion of Social Credit.
Mr. Even will never venture to write authoritatively on what may be the best manner to introduce Social Credit to the people in such or such country. But, as far as this, our country, is concerned, we feel we have nothing to lose, for the diffusion of Social Credit, in placing the Dividend to each individual where it belongs in the Social Credit principles.
We think Social Crediters, when expounding their creed, should be careful not to advocate the transfer of the control of credit from financial institutions to Governments, but to the people themselves, to each individual. Of course, a relief in taxation does that, a lowering of prices also; but without the national dividend to each individual, too many draw no benefit at all and get nothing of the credit which belongs to all.
We thank you for your letter and for the interest you take in the articles published in our paper.