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First-Past-the-Post turns Canadians off politics

nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

According to Susan Delecourt Canadians are not into politics: 

 “Politicians, partisans and political junkies may have to confront a harsh truth — Canadians just aren’t that into you.”

This comes from a study by Samara which says Canadians are political "lighweights."

I think the problem is our corrupt voting system, First-Past-the-Post. It engenders hyper-partisan, polarizing politics that make Canadians tune out. According to Andrew Coyne:

“When a candidate needs only a small slice of the electorate to win he has little incentive to make himself less obnoxious to the rest; indeed, he has every incentive to amp up the us-and-them rhetoric, the better to lock down his support.”

Canada and the UK are the only two developed countries that still use the antiquated system.

We need to upgrade to Preferential Voting (ranked ballot) or Proportional Representation so Canadians tune back in.

The Liberals support the first system, the NDP and Greens the second. Canadians should decide which democratic voting system they prefer.

Democratic Voting Canada: Study affirms FPTP turns Canadians off politics


Comments

Wilf Day
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Joined: Oct 31 2002

nakedApe42 wrote:
According to Andrew Coyne:

“When a candidate needs only a small slice of the electorate to win he has little incentive to make himself less obnoxious to the rest; indeed, he has every incentive to amp up the us-and-them rhetoric, the better to lock down his support.”

Canada and the UK are the only two developed countries that still use the antiquated system.

Indeed. And 70% of Canadians support proportional representation, while only 18% oppose it.

nakedApe42 wrote:
We need to upgrade to Preferential Voting (ranked ballot) or Proportional Representation so Canadians tune back in.

The Liberals support the first system, the NDP and Greens the second. Canadians should decide which democratic voting system they prefer.

So Ron Waller (part of the 18%) has a blog to promote Preferential Voting (also known as the Alternative Vote or Instant Runoff Vote). I've read his lines many times before. But Stéphane Dion is right: the Alternative Vote would not help Canada. 

Luckily, it`s not true that the Liberals support Preferential Voting. Many do, and Justin Trudeau talks about it. But officially, the Liberal Party remains open to proportional representation:

Quote:
Liberals are committed to exploring Parliamentary and Electoral reform in order to realign our institutions with democratic principles and to ensure more meaningful and effective representation.

Fair Vote Canada's new website is a good place to start.


David Young
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Joined: Dec 9 2007

Wilf Day wrote:

Luckily, it`s not true that the Liberals support Preferential Voting. Many do, and Justin Trudeau talks about it. But officially, the Liberal Party remains open to proportional representation:

Quote:
Liberals are committed to exploring Parliamentary and Electoral reform in order to realign our institutions with democratic principles and to ensure more meaningful and effective representation.

Yeah, and they also said that if they took power in 1993, that they would get rid of the G.S.T.

Didn't happen then, so I'm not gonna believe what they say now.

 


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

Wilf Day wrote:

nakedApe42 wrote:
According to Andrew Coyne:

“When a candidate needs only a small slice of the electorate to win he has little incentive to make himself less obnoxious to the rest; indeed, he has every incentive to amp up the us-and-them rhetoric, the better to lock down his support.”

Canada and the UK are the only two developed countries that still use the antiquated system.

Indeed. And 70% of Canadians support proportional representation, while only 18% oppose it.

nakedApe42 wrote:
We need to upgrade to Preferential Voting (ranked ballot) or Proportional Representation so Canadians tune back in.

The Liberals support the first system, the NDP and Greens the second. Canadians should decide which democratic voting system they prefer.

So Ron Waller (part of the 18%) has a blog to promote Preferential Voting (also known as the Alternative Vote or Instant Runoff Vote). I've read his lines many times before. But Stéphane Dion is right: the Alternative Vote would not help Canada. 

Luckily, it`s not true that the Liberals support Preferential Voting. Many do, and Justin Trudeau talks about it. But officially, the Liberal Party remains open to proportional representation:

Quote:
Liberals are committed to exploring Parliamentary and Electoral reform in order to realign our institutions with democratic principles and to ensure more meaningful and effective representation.

The purpose of the blog Democratic Voting Canada is to promote electoral reform. I don't presume to tell people what system is best. Canadians should be the judge of that. So I promote both systems (PR and PV,) which is what Fair Vote Canada would do if it represented Canadians on electoral reform.

You are wrong about the Liberals. They voted 73% at their last convention in favor of Preferential Voting.

Trudueau's position on the issue is:

I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties. I support a preferential ballot because I believe it will lead to a more substantive and civil debate during elections and a more representative government afterward.

I prefer PR to PV. But I respect Canadians who feel PR is too extreme. Whether they are right or wrong is all a matter of opinion.

It's better to promote both systems because it will cast a wider net. Once people look into the finer details, PR should become more appealing. Right now electoral reform in Canada is spinning its wheels. 


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

Wilf Day wrote:

nakedApe42 wrote:
According to Andrew Coyne:

“When a candidate needs only a small slice of the electorate to win he has little incentive to make himself less obnoxious to the rest; indeed, he has every incentive to amp up the us-and-them rhetoric, the better to lock down his support.”

Canada and the UK are the only two developed countries that still use the antiquated system.

Indeed. And 70% of Canadians support proportional representation, while only 18% oppose it.

In the both the 2002 Decima Research poll and 2013 Environics poll, most of the "support" for PR is soft support. In the first, 42% are "somewhat supportive." The second, 46% "somewhat support." 

That kind of soft support is not enough to stand up in a PR/FPTP referendum. In 3 of 4 provincial PR referendums, over 60% voted in favor of FPTP.

I go into more detail in the blog: Fallacy Watch: 70% of Canadians support PR.

The big problem is that in a referendum, the corporate media and business community will bring out the big guns to take PR down. That almost happened in NZ. First PR referendum, MMP got 71%. In the second, it squeaked by with only 54%.

For an example of how the corporate media will relentlessly attack PR check out: Toronto Star: fiercely against voting reform. It cites no less than 10 anti-voting reform articles. You can also use the blog to fix your broken links (the links I have go right to the desired pdf page.) 

 


Winston
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I was really sorry to hear that the Liberals were putting their eggs into the Preferential Ballot (PV) idea.  That is probably the only system I can think of that would be WORSE than our current First Past the Post (FPTP) system.  Preferential ballots do nothing except perpetuate "lesser of evils" tendencies in voting behaviour, which in turn tends to lock in a two party (or two bloc) system.  Given my firmly held belief that the only thing worse than a two party system is a totalitarian one, given a referendum on PV, sadly I would have to choose the status quo.

Offer me or Single Transferrable Vote (STV - basically like PV with multiple candidate constituencies), or better yet, Mixed Member Proportional, and I will fight tooth and claw to see it adopted.

The problem, as I see it is that the Liberals don't really have any interest whatsoever in fixing or improving the system (JT's pronouncements on the Senate are laughable). Rather, I firmly believe that they are just proposing PV for their own cynical self-interest.  Since they believe they will be the natural alternative choice in a 2-party system, they are seeking to rig the system to make it happen.  Same old Liberal sense of entitlement...


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

Winston wrote:

I was really sorry to hear that the Liberals were putting their eggs into the Preferential Ballot (PV) idea.  That is probably the only system I can think of that would be WORSE than our current First Past the Post (FPTP) system.  Preferential ballots do nothing except perpetuate "lesser of evils" tendencies in voting behaviour, which in turn tends to lock in a two party (or two bloc) system.  Given my firmly held belief that the only thing worse than a two party system is a totalitarian one, given a referendum on PV, sadly I would have to choose the status quo.

There's a lot of misinformation being spread about Preferential Voting among PR true-believers.

Is an NDP-Liberal minority worse than a Harper majority? Obviously not. But that's what we would've got if we had PV in 2011 according to the Globe and Mail

Here are the results: (FPTP/PV):

Con 166/142
NDP 103/118
Lib 34/46
Grn 1/1

The NDP/Liberal coalition would've formed a government with 53% of the seats on 50% of the vote.

Also according to the Globe and Mail, if we had PV and an election on March 19, 2013, we would've got a NDP minority instead of a Conservative one:

Vote: Con 32%, NDP 31%, Lib 24%, Grn 8%
Seats with FPTP: Con 147, NDP 108, Lib 76, Grn 3
Seats with PV: Con 117, NDP 126, Lib 93, Grn 2
Majority: 170 of 338

Australia uses PV and has a 4 party right-leaning voting coalition. Essentially "Anyone But Labor." It ensures right-leaning votes are distributed among right-leaning parties. We would have an informal "Anyone But Conservative" coalition in Canada ensuring center-left votes go to center-left parties.

Saying the 4 parties are really one party is the same as saying the German CDU/CSU and FDP are one party (which typically form right-wing coalitions.)

If we had PV back in 2004, the Reform party would not have swallowed up the PC party to stop the Liberals winning from right-wing vote splitting. So it's a fallacy it leads to a two-party system. It does away with the need for party mergers (to stop vote splitting) and the inevitable two-party state.

If PR supporters think their system is better, they should be able to sell Canadians on its merits. There's no need for rhetoric and politicking.


socialdemocrati...
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Joined: Jan 10 2012

I'm really skeptical of preferential balloting. Besides the fact that it doesn't lead to a true power-in-proportion-to-votes that you'd expect from a good democracy, it does seem to work to the "center" party's advantage as "everyone's second choice". But there's a lot of places where the NDP everyones second choice, and would win or could have won without vote splitting. It's possible that preferential voting could elect a party that would reform the voting system to proportional representation.

This is really wishful thinking though. Would we really reform the system twice?

I think there's much more hope in making the case to Liberal grassroots that proportional representation is good. There IS a split in the Liberal party about this one, and it could eventually break in PR's favor.


KeyStone
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Joined: Apr 23 2008

The problem with Proportional Representation is that it gives too much power to the parties, and expects far too much of the average voter.

Go and talk to regular people. Not your Toronto 416 friends that you meet for dinner parties, but cab drivers, hair dressers and people on your ball team. Ask them to tell you about the candidates in their last Federal election. Most of them won't be able to name them, let alone tell you their policies.

If we go to PR, not only will parties be able to pick and choose which candidates get the seats (ie party hack fundraiser types), but it will also mean that voters will choose their candidate based on the party, not on the individual running, since they'll now be responsible for knowing either the entire list of candidates from each party (PR) or all of the candidates from each party across several ridings (in MPP or STV)

This moves us even further away from democracy. I understand the goal of PR people is to ensure a fixed percentage of women, and various minorities, but much of the democratic system is thrown out in the process.


Stockholm
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Joined: Sep 29 2002

Right now the vast majority of people vote for the party brand and for the leader and are totally indifferent to who the local candidxates are - on top of that most of the local candidates are party hacks handpicked by the leader anyways...so what if parties choose lists for a PR elections - it would only codify what is already the case.


ghoris
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Joined: May 29 2003

First, let me state that I am not defending FPTP.

Secondly, there is absolutely nothing in the blog post linked to, nor the study it quotes from, that supports the statement that "First past the post turns Canadians off politics".  There is no doubt that Canadians are less politically engaged than in the past but I have seen no evidence that that has anything to do with the voting system. We have always had FPTP, but it is only within the last 25 years that voter turnout has seen a steep decline. There is no evidence that decline is because of FPTP, nor is there any evidence that going to a PV or PR system is a panacea for increasing voter turnout or political engagement. So the argument that FPTP is the cause of political disengagement is a completely fallacious one from my perspective.

Third, most Canadians might tell a pollster they support some form of proportional representation (and a much smaller subset saying they 'strongly support' PR), but we have seen time and again that proportional systems (be they STV or MMP) have been rejected by voters at the ballot box (cue the usual statements about corporate media conspiracies here). I suspect that vast majority of those people who say they support proportional representation would, if asked, say they also support motherhood and apple pie.  The fact is that proportional representation and voting systems are important to a few PR activists and political junkies, but it is not an important issue to the vast, vast majority of the public.

I'm all for trying to educate people about PR and the limitations of FPTP, but we should be honest and recognize that this is far from the uppermost issue in most people's minds. Nor do I think that if we enacted PR we would magically boost voter turnout or see greater engagement in politics. PR has its limitations to active public participation too.


JKR
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Joined: Jan 15 2005

nakedApe42 wrote:
We need to upgrade to Preferential Voting (ranked ballot) or Proportional Representation so Canadians tune back in.

The Liberals support the first system, the NDP and Greens the second. Canadians should decide which democratic voting system they prefer.

...

You are wrong about the Liberals. They voted 73% at their last convention in favor of Preferential Voting.

Trudueau's position on the issue is:

I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties. I support a preferential ballot because I believe it will lead to a more substantive and civil debate during elections and a more representative government afterward.

I prefer PR to PV. But I respect Canadians who feel PR is too extreme. Whether they are right or wrong is all a matter of opinion.

It's better to promote both systems because it will cast a wider net. Once people look into the finer details, PR should become more appealing. Right now electoral reform in Canada is spinning its wheels. 

The move to electoral reform could end up being based on a compromise the NDP and Liberals could make with each other. Both parties want to end the problem of vote splitting, so there is common ground there for them to bargain over. If no party wins a phony FPTP majority ggovernment in 2015, the NDP or Liberals will likely find themselves in position to implement their preferred version of electoral reform if they make their version of electoral reform part of their election platforms in 2015.

If the next election ends without another phony FPTP majority, the NDP and Liberals could compromise with each other and implement something like "STV light" with mostly 3-seaters and some 1-seaters. At this point, STV with mostly 3-seat ridings would be a huge improvement over FPTP. It wouldn't be as proportional as some might like but it would be much more proportional than FPTP and it would end FPTP's plague of vote splitting. "MMP light" might also be a compromise the NDP and Liberals could agree to.


socialdemocrati...
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There's definitely a gap between reform advocates and the average person. But it has nothing to do with the ability to use the system. In a lot of countries, FPTP asks people to pick the name of the candidate with no list of parties. Most people I know just vote for the party. Which is what they would be doing if they some kind of MMP proportional representation system.

The real knowledge gap is why PR would help. It sounds like we're adding more politicians. Do we really need more of those guys?

 


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

I think the incremental approach to electoral reform is best.

First legislate Preferential Voting direct on a party platform (which, it appears, the Liberals want to do.) Since this only upgrades our existing system — by changing the voter's ballot from single-choice to ranked — it does not require a referendum. (Like fixed election-date legislation.)

Next hold a PV/PR referendum — only democratic voting systems in the running.

Since PV is legislated directly, it's not the final say. (So it does away with the complaint, "opportunity for voting reform comes only once in a generation.")

Of course, some would say this "stepping stone" approach hasn't been used in any other country. But then again, has any other country suffered four regional PR referendum failures and gone on to adopt PR federally? I doubt it.


Winston
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nakedApe42 wrote:

If PR supporters think their system is better, they should be able to sell Canadians on its merits. There's no need for rhetoric and politicking.

No rhetoric or politicking intended, but thanks for the attack.  I was simply stating my preference for FPTP over PV, which I think is an asinine system for the reasons I stated (an opinion to which, I am sure you will agree, I am entitled).

I am open to all sorts of proportional voting systems, but a preferential ballot is absolutely NOT a proportional voting system; it is simply a more convoluted and less transparent way of getting the same results we have now.  

As an aside, the phony seat estimates based on the 2011 results that you presented do not make your case: it is simply a falsehood that all (or even most) Lib/NDP/Green voters have one of the other "progressive" parties as a second choice.  Indeed, here in the West (as well as in many other blue-collar and rural areas), there is a very significant NDP/Tory swing vote.

Using myself as an anecdotal example, if I was forced to cast a preferential ballot (and yes, I know that some PV systems allow you to rank only one choice), I would likely rank my choices as NDP/Green/Tory/Liberal.  Since my riding was a Tory/Lib race last election, that would have meant my ballot would have counted for the Tories.  In all honesty, I prefer having my ballot "wasted" on my first choice than settling for my third choice.


nakedApe42
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Winston wrote:

No rhetoric or politicking intended, but thanks for the attack.  I was simply stating my preference for FPTP over PV, which I think is an asinine system for the reasons I stated (an opinion to which, I am sure you will agree, I am entitled).

I am open to all sorts of proportional voting systems, but a preferential ballot is absolutely NOT a proportional voting system; it is simply a more convoluted and less transparent way of getting the same results we have now.  

As an aside, the phony seat estimates based on the 2011 results that you presented do not make your case: it is simply a falsehood that all (or even most) Lib/NDP/Green voters have one of the other "progressive" parties as a second choice.  Indeed, here in the West (as well as in many other blue-collar and rural areas), there is a very significant NDP/Tory swing vote.

Using myself as an anecdotal example, if I was forced to cast a preferential ballot (and yes, I know that some PV systems allow you to rank only one choice), I would likely rank my choices as NDP/Green/Tory/Liberal.  Since my riding was a Tory/Lib race last election, that would have meant my ballot would have counted for the Tories.  In all honesty, I prefer having my ballot "wasted" on my first choice than settling for my third choice.

Yes, everyone is entitled to thier opinion. Of course, I think opinions are more credible when there is no resorting to name calling. 

The Globe and Mail projections factored in polling data of participants' alternative voting choices. There's nothing phony about them.

No doubt, people are free to ignore the phenomenon of vote splitting. But clearly Elizabeth May and Joyce Murray are not among them. They pushed for electoral cooperation in about 16 to 22 key ridings where vote-splitting allowed Harper to win a fake majority: 53% of the seats on 40% of the vote.

Preferential Voting certainly puts a stop to vote splitting. In Australia, which uses PV, there is a 4 party right-leaning voting coalition. PV ensures right-leaning votes go to right-leaning parties. If this was Canada, the 4 parties would be forced to unite into 1 (like the Reform and PC parties.) Fact is PV is permanent electoral cooperation.

PV is not a fully proportional system. But the question remains whether or not that's what Canadians want. As Don Newman (formerly of CBC Politics) once put it: "First-Past-the-Post gives too much power to major parties. Proportional Representation gives too much power to minor parties." So PV offers a intermediate, moderate choice that Canadians may prefer over PR and FPTP. 

In any case, it's better to offer Canadians both choices. This casts a wider net. Once people become familiar with voting reform options, they won't think PR is an extreme choice. (In most provincial PR referendums, voters rejected PR by over 60%.)    

No doubt the Green party loses out on direct representation through Westminster with PV (where people elect a person to represent them, not a party.) Yet at the same time, other parties will reach out to Green voters to get alternative votes. As it stands right now, Harper embraces anti-environmental policy to divide and conquer the electorate. That wouldn't work under PV. 


Aristotleded24
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Joined: May 24 2005

nakedApe42 wrote:
Winston wrote:

I was really sorry to hear that the Liberals were putting their eggs into the Preferential Ballot (PV) idea.  That is probably the only system I can think of that would be WORSE than our current First Past the Post (FPTP) system.  Preferential ballots do nothing except perpetuate "lesser of evils" tendencies in voting behaviour, which in turn tends to lock in a two party (or two bloc) system.  Given my firmly held belief that the only thing worse than a two party system is a totalitarian one, given a referendum on PV, sadly I would have to choose the status quo.

There's a lot of misinformation being spread about Preferential Voting among PR true-believers.

Is an NDP-Liberal minority worse than a Harper majority? Obviously not. But that's what we would've got if we had PV in 2011 according to the Globe and Mail

Here are the results: (FPTP/PV):

Con 166/142
NDP 103/118
Lib 34/46
Grn 1/1

The NDP/Liberal coalition would've formed a government with 53% of the seats on 50% of the vote.

Also according to the Globe and Mail, if we had PV and an election on March 19, 2013, we would've got a NDP minority instead of a Conservative one:

Vote: Con 32%, NDP 31%, Lib 24%, Grn 8%
Seats with FPTP: Con 147, NDP 108, Lib 76, Grn 3
Seats with PV: Con 117, NDP 126, Lib 93, Grn 2
Majority: 170 of 338

I am getting so sick and tired of people trying to argue for PR on the basis that Harper would not have had a majority under that system. For one, neither would have Chreetien, but people don't seem to get up on that point. The second point is that it makes assumptions about where the votes and parties would have gone. Yes, technically under PR the Liberals and the NDP combined would have had enough seats to stop Harper. But what if the Liberals had gone with Harper instead? Nova Scotia in 1998 and Britain in 2010 are 2 examples I can think of off the top of my head with Liberal and right-leaning parties being in a coalition.


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

Aristotleded24 wrote:

nakedApe42 wrote:
Is an NDP-Liberal minority worse than a Harper majority? Obviously not. But that's what we would've got if we had PV in 2011 according to the Globe and Mail

Here are the results: (FPTP/PV):

Con 166/142
NDP 103/118
Lib 34/46
Grn 1/1

The NDP/Liberal coalition would've formed a government with 53% of the seats on 50% of the vote.

Also according to the Globe and Mail, if we had PV and an election on March 19, 2013, we would've got a NDP minority instead of a Conservative one:

Vote: Con 32%, NDP 31%, Lib 24%, Grn 8%
Seats with FPTP: Con 147, NDP 108, Lib 76, Grn 3
Seats with PV: Con 117, NDP 126, Lib 93, Grn 2
Majority: 170 of 338

I am getting so sick and tired of people trying to argue for PR on the basis that Harper would not have had a majority under that system. For one, neither would have Chreetien, but people don't seem to get up on that point. The second point is that it makes assumptions about where the votes and parties would have gone. Yes, technically under PR the Liberals and the NDP combined would have had enough seats to stop Harper. But what if the Liberals had gone with Harper instead? Nova Scotia in 1998 and Britain in 2010 are 2 examples I can think of off the top of my head with Liberal and right-leaning parties being in a coalition.

I certainly agree that no minority party should get majority power (the literal opposite of democracy.) But make no mistake, Harper is a big part of the electoral reform equation, just like "Rogernomics" was in New Zealand.

Either Preferential Voting or Proportional Representation will stop fanantics like Harper from getting absolute corrupt power. If we aren't smart enough to get the job done, some creep like Kenney will repeat the travesty of democracy all over again. 

Successful countries in northern Europe have a pendulum swings: left-wing coalitions and right-wing coalitions. It's not conservative government that's bad. It's radical conservatism the vast majority of Canadians are strongly opposed to that's intolerable.

Harper is the poster-boy for voting reform. We would be fools not to exploit it. 


Rikardo
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What's wrong with the Alternative Ballot (preferential) as a first step away from FPTP .Voters get a second choice (of the 2 first-choice leaders) so candidates need 50% (not 34% - if the other 2 are split evenly)  Aren't two or three) choices more democratic than just one ?  Maybe the New Democratic? Party is opposed because they often slide in with less than 38%

Maybe the Liberals will bring in AV without a referendum.  Next step PR based on the first vote, the first choice.

In Britain in 2011, the PRers voted against AV and set back reform for decades.


Aristotleded24
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Rikardo wrote:
What's wrong with the Alternative Ballot (preferential) as a first step away from FPTP .Voters get a second choice (of the 2 first-choice leaders) so candidates need 50% (not 34% - if the other 2 are split evenly)  Aren't two or three) choices more democratic than just one ?

As Winston explained, it entrenches a 2 party system more than FPTP, because at least under FPTP, a small party can concentrate its vote on one seat and possibly establish a beach head, for example Elizabeth May or Andrew Weaver. In the Australian context, voters have to fill out the whole ballot, and nearly every voter ends up electing either a Labour or Coalition MP regardless of who they actually want. The Alternative Ballot is not in any way a bridge to pro-rep, so that step should be scrapped entirely and just make the case for pro-rep.


Policywonk
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Aristotleded24 wrote:

Rikardo wrote:
What's wrong with the Alternative Ballot (preferential) as a first step away from FPTP .Voters get a second choice (of the 2 first-choice leaders) so candidates need 50% (not 34% - if the other 2 are split evenly)  Aren't two or three) choices more democratic than just one ?

As Winston explained, it entrenches a 2 party system more than FPTP, because at least under FPTP, a small party can concentrate its vote on one seat and possibly establish a beach head, for example Elizabeth May or Andrew Weaver. In the Australian context, voters have to fill out the whole ballot, and nearly every voter ends up electing either a Labour or Coalition MP regardless of who they actually want. The Alternative Ballot is not in any way a bridge to pro-rep, so that step should be scrapped entirely and just make the case for pro-rep.

Elizabeth May and Andrew Weaver would likely have won under Alternative Voting too. I don't see that AV by itself as an improvement over FPTP, as it doesn't necessarily result in an any more proportionally or fairly representative legislature or House of Commons. I can see MMP being used in combination with AV though. The statement that PR gives too much power to small parties is questionable, because it assumes that the larger parties will let them, and also depends on what the electoral threshold is to determine how large a party needs to be to win seats.


JKR
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Winston wrote:
As an aside, the phony seat estimates based on the 2011 results that you presented do not make your case: it is simply a falsehood that all (or even most) Lib/NDP/Green voters have one of the other "progressive" parties as a second choice.  Indeed, here in the West (as well as in many other blue-collar and rural areas), there is a very significant NDP/Tory swing vote.

The only way we could conclusively determine whether vote splitting favoured one party over another is to have had a PV election. If the Conservatives would have benefited more in 2011 from a PV election than the FPTP election we had than they would have deserved the extra seats as that would have better reflected the will of Canadians. Personally I think PV would have limited the Conservatives to a minority of seats and would have seen Jack Layton become PM.

Winston wrote:
Using myself as an anecdotal example, if I was forced to cast a preferential ballot (and yes, I know that some PV systems allow you to rank only one choice), I would likely rank my choices as NDP/Green/Tory/Liberal.  Since my riding was a Tory/Lib race last election, that would have meant my ballot would have counted for the Tories.  In all honesty, I prefer having my ballot "wasted" on my first choice than settling for my third choice.

If you had to settle for your 4th choice winning instead of your 3rd, would you still prefer having your ballot being limited to just your first choice? Wouldn't you have preferred to have a final say over which candidate ended up representing you in Parliament? Why would less choice be more democratic than more choice? Why should a riding be stuck with a representative that the majority of the riding likes less than the runner up? FPTP only makes sense for two-candidate elections. A democratic system must favour the will of the majority over the will of the minority so FPTP is inapropriate whenever an election has more than 2 candidates.

It seems to me that eventhough PR is much better than PV, PV is a much better system than FPTP because it eliminates the problem of vote splitting.

If PV is worse than FPTP why do all the parties in Canada use PV to elect their own candidates and not FPTP? The political parties have every interest in the world to pick the best candidates for their own sakes so it is telling that they choose PV over FPTP for themselves and not the public.

This leads me to think that the reason we still have FPTP in Canada is because right wing parties benefit from left wing vote splitting and will do everything they can to keep FPTP.


JKR
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Aristotleded24 wrote:

As Winston explained, it entrenches a 2 party system more than FPTP, because at least under FPTP, a small party can concentrate its vote on one seat and possibly establish a beach head, for example Elizabeth May or Andrew Weaver.

Nothing prevents small parties from concentrating their efforts on one seat under PV.

If we had PV there would be no talk of the NDP, Liberals, and Greens merging into one party. We also wouldn't have vote splitting and strategic voting.


JKR
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Joined: Jan 15 2005

Policywonk wrote:
I can see MMP being used in combination with AV though.

That would be a good compromise.


Ippurigakko
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Joined: May 30 2011

I prefer MMP over AV....

I notice NZ electoral system has two separate electorate seats (Non-Maaori seats and Maaori seats) I like it, they should same in here Aboriginal seats and non-Aboriginal seats.........


socialdemocrati...
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Joined: Jan 10 2012

Keep in mind that it would be impossible to use PR for the party leadership nominations. (How would that even work?) Preferential voting is the only solution there, if you want someone to have a legitimate majority.

Preferential voting -- I'm more skeptical than I am against it. But you can see how people would think it's a terrible idea for individual ridings. The problem isn't so much that it has everyone's second choice get a majority. The problem is it might present this "third preference" majority as somehow legitimate, and may interfere with the principle that we should have representatives in proportion to every voter's *first* choice.

People are so concerned with "who wins". It's actually very important that minority opinions are heard, and that we have a parliament that reflects the viewpoints of all Canadians.


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Keep in mind that it would be impossible to use PR for the party leadership nominations. (How would that even work?) Preferential voting is the only solution there, if you want someone to have a legitimate majority.

Preferential voting -- I'm more skeptical than I am against it. But you can see how people would think it's a terrible idea for individual ridings. The problem isn't so much that it has everyone's second choice get a majority. The problem is it might present this "third preference" majority as somehow legitimate, and may interfere with the principle that we should have representatives in proportion to every voter's *first* choice.

People are so concerned with "who wins". It's actually very important that minority opinions are heard, and that we have a parliament that reflects the viewpoints of all Canadians.

Under our current Westminster system, people in a riding elect a person to represent them. So it's very similar to electing a mayor or leader of a party.

If we award power to the leading candidate, we can end up awarding power to an arbitrary minority candidate against the wishes of constituents. So a ranked ballot would make our existing system democratic by ensuring MPs earn their seats with a majority.

Although PV is not directly proportional, it does increase representation. For example, the Liberals and NDP would have to reach out to Green voters to get alternative votes. So in that way, Green voters are much better represented than they are now.

Under FPTP, minor parties can become the adversaries of major parties and the policies they promote ignored. FPTP also rewards divide-and-conquer politics. E.g., Harper takes strong anti-environment positions to increase the Green vote and Balkanize the opposition (vote splitting.) PV actually punishes this behavior. (Check out March 2013 election simulation to see how this happens.) 

I think its best to legislate PV direct. Then hold a PR/PV referendum. Cut corrupt FPTP out of the picture.


Policywonk
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Joined: Feb 6 2005

nakedApe42 wrote:

socialdemocraticmiddle wrote:

Keep in mind that it would be impossible to use PR for the party leadership nominations. (How would that even work?) Preferential voting is the only solution there, if you want someone to have a legitimate majority.

Preferential voting -- I'm more skeptical than I am against it. But you can see how people would think it's a terrible idea for individual ridings. The problem isn't so much that it has everyone's second choice get a majority. The problem is it might present this "third preference" majority as somehow legitimate, and may interfere with the principle that we should have representatives in proportion to every voter's *first* choice.

People are so concerned with "who wins". It's actually very important that minority opinions are heard, and that we have a parliament that reflects the viewpoints of all Canadians.

Under our current Westminster system, people in a riding elect a person to represent them. So it's very similar to electing a mayor or leader of a party.

If we award power to the leading candidate, we can end up awarding power to an arbitrary minority candidate against the wishes of constituents. So a ranked ballot would make our existing system democratic by ensuring MPs earn their seats with a majority.

Although PV is not directly proportional, it does increase representation. For example, the Liberals and NDP would have to reach out to Green voters to get alternative votes. So in that way, Green voters are much better represented than they are now.

Under FPTP, minor parties can become the adversaries of major parties and the policies they promote ignored. FPTP also rewards divide-and-conquer politics. E.g., Harper takes strong anti-environment positions to increase the Green vote and Balkanize the opposition (vote splitting.) PV actually punishes this behavior. (Check out March 2013 election simulation to see how this happens.) 

I think its best to legislate PV direct. Then hold a PR/PV referendum. Cut corrupt FPTP out of the picture.

If you believe that your MP just represents the constituency rather than the Party they belong to, then I have a swamp to sell you. It is not the same as electing a mayor or party leader.


nakedApe42
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Joined: Oct 11 2010

Policywonk wrote:
If you believe that your MP just represents the constituency rather than the Party they belong to, then I have a swamp to sell you. It is not the same as electing a mayor or party leader.

The dilemma with democracy is that there are two completely different forms of representation: personal and party. That makes it impossible to design a perfect system that accommodates both equally. 

The real problem is with FPTP, which rewards polarizing, partisan politics. As Andrew Coyne points out, Preferential Voting punishes these kind of politics. This is also evident in a March 2013 election simulation done by Abacus Data. Under FPTP, the Conservatives get a big, unwarranted advantage. Under PV, they end up losing seats. 

So one should not mistake the kind of nonsense we have now, with what we would have under PV. I don't say Westminster PV is perfect. No system is.

 


JKR
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Joined: Jan 15 2005

Maybe the best way to deal with electoral reform is to have the experts on electoral systems lead the process of determining which system is best for Canada. Political science professors from across Canada who specialize in electoral systems could be brought together along with some foreign political science professors who are also international leaders in the study of electoral systems. This group of experts could form a committee that would hold public meetings across Canada and take public opinion into account. They could produce a few interim reports that allow for more input and hear any objections from the public and politicians. After a few stages of interim reports that satisfy as many objections as possible, their final recommendation could be put to a vote by the House of Commons for final approval. This process could be completed within a year or year and a half so the election after the one in 2015 could be run under a fairer democratic electoral system.


CanadaOrangeCat
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Joined: Apr 25 2013

Susan Delacourt reported that Canadians were not into politics, and then someone here says that if we make the political system more complicated, people will be more interested. Discussions of electoral systems are a huge yawner for the vast majority.

Like it or not, winner-take-all is more like the competitive society that we live in than some individuals would like. Only one team wins the Stanley Cup, and only one woman wins the singles at Wimbledon. Having everyone win a little bit is a bit too much like a 5-year-old's birthday party. People need to lose so they can learn how to do better next time.

Many people I speak to see the whole system (Ottawa and provincial governments, Alberta oil companies, Toronto and Montreal banks, and Toronto mining companies) designed to enslave and fleece the consuming, working, and investing public on behalf of a neo-Stalinist cadre of corporate management and government bureaucrats, all on ridiculous salaries.

The Conservative-Liberal-NDP political system is just an extension of this giant ripoff of the Canadian people, and many of us are not going to give them any more legitimacy than they deserve.  Whatever ideology is advocated is wrong.

 


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