More electoral maps 2

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Wilf Day
More electoral maps 2
Wilf Day

Debate continues tomorrow morning at 10:00AM on the amendments to this bill C-20 (Fair Representation Act), which will be voted on at 1:15PM after 3 hours and 15 minutes debate.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

No, Kevin Lamoureux doens't want to answer anything where he is afraid it will make him look bad, but he doesn't have any trouble asking other people questions. And to think that he won Winnipeg North, ugh!

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Wilf, I have no idea. Wish I had an answer.

lil.Tommy

The Easiest re-draw would indeed put Seven Oaks (and Jefferson, Garden City if need be) into Win N. I assume they would follow the UK in trying to keep as many ridings as intact as possible whiel avoiding the US style gerrymandering.

Do we have any idea how the rest of Winnipeg's ridings would get re-drawn? I'm assuming they will keep the 8 ridings in the Winnpeg mix? I'm looking to see if Elmwood-Transcona might become more or less NDP friendly...

Wilf Day

lil.Tommy wrote:

The Easiest re-draw would indeed put Seven Oaks (and Jefferson, Garden City if need be) into Win N. I assume they would follow the UK in trying to keep as many ridings as intact as possible whiel avoiding the US style gerrymandering.

Do we have any idea how the rest of Winnipeg's ridings would get re-drawn? I'm assuming they will keep the 8 ridings in the Winnpeg mix? I'm looking to see if Elmwood-Transcona might become more or less NDP friendly...

Remarkably, the total population of Winnipeg plus East St. Paul, West St. Paul and Headingley, is still exactly at eight Manitoba quotients. So the only changes will be adjustments within those eight seats.

We don't yet have 2011 populations. We have 2006 populations and 2011 voters on the voters list. Here they are:

Kildonan—St. Paul: 81,532; 63,866

Winnipeg North: 79,366; 51,894

Elmwood—Transcona: 78,700; 59,154

Saint Boniface: 84,473; 65,604

Winnipeg Centre: 81,017; 54,364

Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia: 81,469; 62,609

Winnipeg South Centre: 78,286; 58,075

Winnipeg South: 84,424; 64,144

Average: 81,158; 59,964

I don't know why Winnipeg Centre was at the average in 2006 and well below in 2011. Is it losing people? Or does it have an unusually high proportion of non-citizens and/or children? In 2006 Winnipeg Centre had 11.4% non-citizens, while Kildonan-St. Paul had 4.0% non-citizens. That's part of the answer, but not all of it, so I think Winnipeg Centre must still be losing population share compared to Kildonan-St. Paul. We may not find out for sure until February. Similarly, Winnipeg North was slightly below average in 2006 but well below average in 2011; why?

As to Elmwood-Transcona, it may not change.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

All I can say is if Winnipeg North goes more towards Lamoureux being re-elected, I am going to move out of the city.

Wilf Day

Highlights from Friday's debate in the House:

Mr. Andrew Cash:

Quote:
In this current Parliament, we have seen the government run roughshod, essentially, over democracy in this place. We have seen it invoke time allocation nine times. Now we hear the Conservatives talk about how it is important for Canadians to have their voices heard in the House of Commons when at every opportunity they try to curtail that voice from actually being expressed here.

One of my colleagues opposite has said that Canadians deserve to have representation that is fair and balanced. We agree that Canadians do deserve that.

However, we have a system of first past the post, which has created a scenario where, on the government side, 39% of Canadians voted for the government and, on this side, 61% of Canadians voted for other parties.

When we are talking about how we are going to fix the democratic deficit in this country, certainly the conversations that Canadians are having, and I think the hon. member opposite would agree, are more about the issues and distortions that first past the post create in our country than they are about the redistribution of seats.

Fast growing provinces are not accurately represented here. There is no question about it. However, at the same time, we as a country have passed a unanimous motion that the Québécois form a nation in a united Canada. It is incumbent upon us to maintain the weight that Quebec has in this House.

We need to move beyond the divide and conquest approaches of the government to actually truly fix the democratic deficit in this country, which certainly includes seat redistribution, but it also includes a real examination of our electoral system and first past the post.

Mr. Peter Stoffer (Sackville—Eastern Shore, NDP)

Quote:
The bill does nothing to bring more women to politics. It does nothing to bring more aboriginal people to politics. This does nothing for people with disabilities, the youth, or new immigrants.

The face of Canada is changing quite rapidly. The bill does not address any of those issues. All it does is recognize that three provinces have more people, so they should have more seats and we have to do it right away.

If the Conservatives truly want to nation-build, let us talk to the provinces, the municipalities and Canadians about what they think is fair representation. We in the NDP have two words that will really help our country: proportional representation.

We should think about this. The Green Party of Canada, with great respect to it, gets 4% or 5% of the national vote and gets one seat. The Conservative Party gets 38% of the vote, 55% of the seats, but has 100% of the power. Yet 62% of the voting people said “no” to that agenda. Therefore, what we have is a stable opposition majority.

I remember very clearly certain members sitting in the House complaining about the Liberals when they only received 36% of the national vote. They had 177 seats, but 100% of the power.

We do not have to divide and conquer or pick winners and losers. Everybody in Canada should win with fair representation and with proportional representation. We are one of the few western democracies without proportional representation.

The first past the post system is a failure. This is why so many Canadians refuse to exercise their most democratic right. The Conservatives can put 30 or 100 more MPs in here and they will not increase the voter turnout in our country. The way to do it is through proportional representation, to encourage all Canadians, whether they vote the Green Party in Charlottetown, or the NDP in B.C., or Conservative in Saskatchewan, or the Bloc Québécois in Quebec or whatever, to vote and know that their vote actually matters, that their vote will have a say in the general overall numbers. Right now, it does not.

We have lots of time for nation-building, but the only way we will to do it is if we co-operate with the provinces, municipalities, aboriginal groups and the territories to truly make the House of Commons what it should be, a reflection of Canadian society.

Why do we not have 50% representation of women in this place? The bill does not address that. Why do we have so few aboriginal people in this place? This does not address that.

Why do we not do it right? Why do we not get rid of the first past the post system, bring in proportional representation . . . .

Then we will see more young people voting. Then we will see more women wanting to get involved in politics. Then we will see more visible minorities, people with disabilities and more aboriginal people. If we are able to do that, then we would leave a legacy for the next generation of people and maybe our pictures would be in the Hall of Honour for building a new country.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=hansard&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1#Int-5255913

Wilf Day

Highlights from yesterday's debate:

Conservative Scott Reid wants to cut Northern Ontario:

Quote:
in the case of Ontario, the boundaries commission back in 2004 made the arbitrary and unfortunate decision to oversize the ridings of northern Ontario, which is to say to make them geographically smaller populations, thereby systematically under-represent everybody living south of Lake Nipissing, especially the folks in the fastest growing ridings in Toronto. Therefore, they are doubly under-represented.

I defy anybody to stand here and say that it is a good thing that Canada's visible minorities are under-represented in the House of Commons, that they are doubly under-represented both because of what happens when we distribute seats among the provinces and when we distribute within at least one of the provinces.

Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby-Douglas, NDP):

Quote:
Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House we think this bill is essentially a battle between two old parties. It is an outdated idea and we think the House needs to move to proportional representation.

We have never really had a proper debate in this country. In fact, the royal commission that looked at electoral reform in the 1990s was specifically instructed not to look at reforming our electoral system. Yet, we still have this back and forth debate about the number of seats and a system that does not work.

Why has the government not looked at the issue of proportional representation and when it will give Canadians a chance to discuss real electoral reform?

Scott Reid responds:

Quote:
With regard to proportional representation, some study has been done. I served on the procedure and House affairs committee when we travelled to Australia and New Zealand to look at their systems. Other members of committee travelled to Scotland and Germany to look at the systems that are in place there. I will point out that there may be merit to looking at those systems. That really is separate from this debate.

Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie, NDP):

Quote:
The purpose of the Conservative bill is basically to correct certain inequities by adding seats in the House. Yet, the Conservatives systematically gag members. So, what is the point of having more members if they are not allowed to speak in the House?

We are calling for a real democratic reform that would reform the voting system so that we have a proportional voting method and all political voices in this country are properly heard.

Members on the other side of the House talk about proportional representation based simply on demographic indicators. I would like to take this a little further and talk about proportional representation in the context of proportional representation within this House, and how we represent the voices of Canadians, their various affiliations and political ideas.

How is it that in this system, a government can have a strong, majority mandate with only 39% of votes, when nearly two-thirds of Canadians did not vote for it?

Francoise Boivin (Gatineau, NDP) 

Quote:
In 2004, when I previously held a seat in Parliament, I sat on the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. I remember my colleague, who was a political adversary at that time, but with whom I shared a vision of democratic reform. Indeed, reforming the manner in which people are represented in Parliament is fundamental to the very concept of reform and of democracy. When I sat on the committee with the honourable Ed Broadbent, he proposed—as part of the review of our democratic life in Canada—that we consider the concept of proportional representation: our electoral process as a part of our democratic life, the type of representation we have, whether we should have one or two chambers, and how many representatives there should be. That is all part and parcel of our democratic process.

I remember that, at the time, it was a glorious thing to behold. In fact, the Liberal party was in government and some parties with numerous representatives in the House had no intention of even considering the possibility of reforming our electoral process, or even of reviewing the electoral process and proportional representation. Over the weekend, I was quite surprised to read that the honourable acting leader of the Liberal Party started to make a number of proposals regarding proportional representation.

What that tells me is that when a party is strong and has a stable and solid majority government, that is the time to think about such reforms if the party really cares about them.

Carol Hughes (Algoma--Manitoulin--Kapuskasing, NDP)

Quote:
The member thinks this is such a great piece of legislation. I have one of the largest ridings in Canada, the third largest. I am very concerned that this bill will not even address the fact that my riding is such a huge riding. If anything, I am concerned that northern Ontario may end up losing a seat. I do not believe that he would be able to guarantee that will not happen.

David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP)

Quote:
. . we believe that we are in dire need of proportional representation to make sure that when Canadians vote, every vote would carry the same weight and all votes would be heard. We know that in this place, the demographics are not reflected accurately. The political beliefs of Canadians are not reflected accurately, particularly given the fact that we have a government that gets 100% of the power with only 39% of the vote. It does not take long to realize that the present system does not serve the kind of democracy to which Canadians are entitled.

Proportional representation may not be perfect, but it is a far cry better than the system we have right now. The current system leaves hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Canadians without their vote and their voice being reflected in this place. We would address that.

Hon. James Moore:

Quote:
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, in his speech, talked about the importance of proportional representation and how that would be the first principle of a possible NDP government in this country. He said that proportional representation is the most important electoral reform that we can put in place.

I do note that my hon. colleague used to be a cabinet minister in the province of Ontario. When he was elected in the province of Ontario, according to these numbers, I see that he was elected with 36% of the vote and 37% of the vote. I know he did not like proportional representation in those elections.

There is an NDP majority government in the province of Manitoba. There is an NDP government in Nova Scotia. There was an NDP government in British Columbia. If the NDP is so committed to proportional representation, then why does it not impose it now in the provinces in which that party governs? Is it possibly because NDP members are all talk and no action when it comes to this issue?

David Christopherson:

Quote:
I cannot speak for governments of which I am not a part.

Second, 21 years ago, which is the timeframe the member is talking about, this issue was not front and centre as it is now because we see us going in the wrong direction more and more, and we are seeing greater examples of it.

. . . that should not have happened. That should not be the way it is, but it is our system so we are all running under that system, but it is not right. It is not right to get 100% of the power when a party only gets 36%, 37%, 38%, 39%, or 40% of the vote. That is just not right.

Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent, NDP)

Quote:
To begin with, earlier members spoke about democratic reform and irony. I have recently noticed that the Liberal Party is starting to talk about introducing a form of proportionality to our voting system. I would like to point out the irony in this.

The Liberal Party was in power for a very long time and never attempted to make any changes in this area. All of a sudden, when the Liberals are no longer in power, this issue becomes relevant. The Liberals are saying that something needs to be done regarding proportionality. There is something extremely ironic about that. I would like the member to comment on this.

Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Liberal):

Quote:
This is not about proportional representation. I am not talking about that at all.

Jamie Nicholls (Vaudreuil--Soulanges, NDP)

Quote:
A troubling development in our system of governance has been recognized, and it is this increasing power in the Prime Minister's Office. We could multiply lots of members in this House, but if the Prime Minister's Office remains as powerful as it is, it does not matter if we add 30, 40, 50 or 60 seats; the Prime Minister's Office has the power to determine the way members vote, what they are going to say in the House, what questions they are going to ask.

I would like to end with a quote. It says:

Quote:

In today’s democratic societies, organizations share power. Corporations, churches, universities, hospitals, even public sector bureaucracies make decisions through consultation, committees and consensus-building techniques. Only in politics do we still entrust power to a single faction expected to prevail every time over the opposition by sheer force of numbers. Even more anachronistically, we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates.

Who said that? It was the Prime Minister of Canada.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=hansard&Lan...

Debater

Arthur Cramer wrote:

All I can say is if Winnipeg North goes more towards Lamoureux being re-elected, I am going to move out of the city.

I don't understand what you think is so terrible about this guy.  I haven't met him yet, but is he the most evil MP in Canada or something?  He must be liked locally to have won in an NDP stronghold.  And he obviously must have attracted some NDP supporters to win there.

Just be glad you aren't stuck in a Conservative riding like I am right now.

Wilf Day

Interesting projection of 2015 prospects:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/23/ubcs-richard-johnston-on-a-watershed-political-year/

Quote:
What was extraordinary about the Canadian system for many years was the domination of a party of the centre. That’s an unnatural thing. . .

Q: Is there any particular reason to doubt that the Liberals can rise again as a serious contender for power in a three-party system?

A: It’s never happened among the obvious comparators. Sometimes you get votes for the centre that are kind of a-plague-on-both-your-houses votes. So the recent rise of the Liberal Democrats in the UK was like that. But my hunch is we’ll look at the 2010 UK election was a blip on the screen. The Liberal Democrats must surely deeply regret going into coalition with the Conservatives, and I suspect at the next election they will pay the price. . . the NDP has its historical opportunity to build links to Quebec’s civil society and labour movement, and detach those segments from the nationalist project and attach them to the social democratic project more squarely. But it strikes me that they could easily blow it.

Chances are some of the Toronto-area seats they (Conservatives) picked off this time will be lost to the NDP next time. If the Liberals really are toast, it means some of those Liberal votes will go to the NDP in suburban Ontario. Some of those seats that were narrow victories for the Conservatives could easily go to the NDP.

ottawaobserver

Great read. Thanks, Wilf!

adma

One hitch with the 2010 UK Lib Dem reference point is that their blip didn't carry through to election day--they lost seats, remember.

bekayne

Wilf Day wrote:

Interesting projection of 2015 prospects:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/23/ubcs-richard-johnston-on-a-watershed-political-year/

Quote:

Chances are some of the Toronto-area seats they (Conservatives) picked off this time will be lost to the NDP next time. If the Liberals really are toast, it means some of those Liberal votes will go to the NDP in suburban Ontario. Some of those seats that were narrow victories for the Conservatives could easily go to the NDP.

If the NDP took 50% of the Liberal vote, & the Conservatives took 0%, they would gain a grand total of one of those suburban Toronto-area seats.

 

adma

Wilf Day wrote:
bekayne wrote:
If the NDP took 50% of the Liberal vote, & the Conservatives took 0%, they would gain a grand total of one of those suburban Toronto-area seats.

Irrelevant, since the boundaries will change. But just for fun, I make it Scarborough Centre, Don Valley East, and Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Along with Markham-Unionville, Scarborough-Guildwood, Scarborough-Agincourt, York West, Toronto Centre, St. Paul's, and Etobicoke North frm the Liberals.

It's also presuming that the Conservative vote will remain fixed in place, with no movement whatsoever t/w the NDP--but remember: even a lot of that vote is "parked" and shiftable.  Right under our noses IOW, there may be more potential Bramalea-Gore-Maltons in the making.  (And remember that prior to the last election, the one potentially-NDP suburban Toronto seat anyone would have bet on was, as per usual, Oshawa.  BGM was totally off-radar--and even if the Cons won, it was with a lower share than what they lost with the previous election.)

Wilf Day

bekayne wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

Interesting projection of 2015 prospects:

http://www2.macleans.ca/2011/11/23/ubcs-richard-johnston-on-a-watershed-political-year/

Quote:

Chances are some of the Toronto-area seats they (Conservatives) picked off this time will be lost to the NDP next time. If the Liberals really are toast, it means some of those Liberal votes will go to the NDP in suburban Ontario. Some of those seats that were narrow victories for the Conservatives could easily go to the NDP.

If the NDP took 50% of the Liberal vote, & the Conservatives took 0%, they would gain a grand total of one of those suburban Toronto-area seats.

Irrelevant, since the boundaries will change. But just for fun, I make it Scarborough Centre, Don Valley East, and Bramalea-Gore-Malton. Along with Markham-Unionville, Scarborough-Guildwood, Scarborough-Agincourt, York West, Toronto Centre, St. Paul's, and Etobicoke North from the Liberals.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

Hon. James Moore:

Quote:
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, in his speech, talked about the importance of proportional representation and how that would be the first principle of a possible NDP government in this country. He said that proportional representation is the most important electoral reform that we can put in place.

I do note that my hon. colleague used to be a cabinet minister in the province of Ontario. When he was elected in the province of Ontario, according to these numbers, I see that he was elected with 36% of the vote and 37% of the vote. I know he did not like proportional representation in those elections.

There is an NDP majority government in the province of Manitoba. There is an NDP government in Nova Scotia. There was an NDP government in British Columbia. If the NDP is so committed to proportional representation, then why does it not impose it now in the provinces in which that party governs? Is it possibly because NDP members are all talk and no action when it comes to this issue?

Moore makes a very good point. If the NDP supports fair voting/proportional representaion, NDP governments should implement it in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. By not implementing fair voting where it has the power to do so, the NDP exposes the hypocrisy of it position on electoral reform and drastically weakens its argument in favour of electoral reform.

Will the NDP put the interests of Canadians first and implement fair voting in Manitoba and Nova Scotia and in all jurisdictions in the future where they obtain power via FPTP?

OnTheLeft OnTheLeft's picture

This isn't a question of hypocrisy. When it comes to policy and platform planks, the provincial NDP are not beholden to the federal NDP, while the federal NDP is not obliged to the individual provincial parties. They have their own positions and platforms in their respective jurisdictions.

That said, the BC NDP and the Ontario NDP support proportional representation, and shame on the Manitoba and Nova Scotia NDP for not pursuing it.

But our federal MPs are doing a great job of raising and fighting for this crucial issue, well done!

Newfoundlander_...

No governing party will implement proportional representation because they know it won't be to their benefit. Manitoba is a perfect example, the NDP are the party that is benefiting from FPTP so why would they change election laws to have a minority?

OnTheLeft OnTheLeft's picture

The federal NDP have been getting screwed by first past the post for decades, and Jack Layton made it a priority for the party and is included in the federal platform. Layton also raised the issue in the English Leaders' Debate. The NDP are well aware that first past the post is an electoral system designed in the 1800s for two parties, which gives false majorities and complete rule to one party. The NDP could easily govern within a proportional system, seeing as the Bloc, Greens and even the Liberals can support much of their legislation (the Climate Change Accountability Act comes to mind, as does social housing, anti-poverty initiatives etc).

Newfoundlander_...

OnTheLeft wrote:

The federal NDP have been getting screwed by first past the post for decades, and Jack Layton made it a priority for the party and is included in the federal platform. Layton also raised the issue in the English Leaders' Debate. The NDP are well aware that first past the post is an electoral system designed in the 1800s for two parties, which gives false majorities and complete rule to one party. The NDP could easily govern within a proportional system, seeing as the Bloc, Greens and even the Liberals can support much of their legislation (the Climate Change Accountability Act comes to mind, as does social housing, anti-poverty initiatives etc).

FPTP is starting to benefit the NDP in some places. They won 59 of 75 seats in Quebec with less the 43% of the vote, they doubled the Liberals in sets in Ontario eventhough they won almost the exact same popular vote. If the NDP win a majority, or even a minority, the only way we will get a PR system is if they pass legislation without holding a referendum. I don't think a referendum on abolishing FPTP in favour of a PR system will ever pass because the major parties who can form government won't campaign hard enough in favour of PR. 

OnTheLeft OnTheLeft's picture

Well, left-wing and progressive parties do much better under PR.

But I agree, that an NDP government would be wise to pass an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, replacing first past the post with proportional representation, as opposed to a referendum, which the media and Conservatives would greatly distort and do their best to confuse everyone on the issue. 

 

Wilf Day

Newfoundlander_Labradorian wrote:

FPTP is starting to benefit the NDP in some places.

And not in others.

On the present electoral map, the MMP system recommended by the Law Commssion of Canada would (on the votes cast May 2) have let New Democrat voters elect 97 MPs (127 Conservatives, 56 Liberals, 17 Bloc Québécois, and 11 Greens, an NDP/Liberal/Green majority).

But look where they would have been. NDP voters in areas where they elected too few or no MPs would have elected 21 more MPs: five in Saskatchewan, four more in Alberta, two more in Manitoba, three more in Eastern Ontario, three more in the GTA, one more in each of West Central Ontario and Southwest Ontario, and two more in New Brunswick.

On the other hand, in Northern Ontario, four NDP MPs, not six. For the 21 MPs from Montréal and Laval, eight NDP MPs not 13. For the 12 MPs from Montérégie, seven MPs, not all 12. For the 14 MPs from Laurentides, Lanaudière, Outaouais and Abitibi, NDP voters would have elected nine MPs, but not all 14. For the 10 MPs from Estrie-Centre-du-Québec-Mauricie, four NDP MPs not seven. For the 18 MPs from the region of Québec City and eastern Québec, NDP voters would have elected seven MPs not 13.

http://wilfday.blogspot.com/2011/05/what-would-those-2011-election-resul...

Glenl

OnTheLeft wrote:

Well, left-wing and progressive parties do much better under PR.

But I agree, that an NDP government would be wise to pass an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, replacing first past the post with proportional representation, as opposed to a referendum, which the media and Conservatives would greatly distort and do their best to confuse everyone on the issue. 

 

If PR has the aim of improving democracy why not allow a referendum on it?

ottawaobserver

Glenl, I think most people who favour PR are democrats who would support the concept of a referendum. It is felt that the process leading up to the last referendum in Ontario was rushed through by a government that didn't want it to win.

It would represent a big chance to the system alright, one that would be worth the time to have a full discussion and consideration of the implications before pressing people to vote.

Another problem with the Ontario referendum was that the citizens' assembly did not recommend a specific method of PR, so at the time the very non-political folks I was working with thought they would be buying a pig in a poke. This also allowed opponents of electoral reform to go to town against "party lists" which was and still is the weakest link in the PR model, but as Wilf and others who live and breath all this will point out, the "open list" model redresses that problem. Too bad it wasn't the proposal on the table.

Also too bad that for some bizarre reason, the politicians seemed to think they couldn't take a position on the referendum during that election.

I think we're going to hear more about abolishing the Senate and replacing it with the PR side of MMPR from Brian Topp in the new year, and I would imagine he's thought out that proposal and how to achieve it better than most political people on our side of the fence. It's a proposal I'm very interested in seeing.

JKR

Glenl wrote:

If PR has the aim of improving democracy why not allow a referendum on it?

Minority rights should not be decided by a referendum.

JKR

OnTheLeft wrote:

This isn't a question of hypocrisy. When it comes to policy and platform planks, the provincial NDP are not beholden to the federal NDP, while the federal NDP is not obliged to the individual provincial parties. They have their own positions and platforms in their respective jurisdictions.

That said, the BC NDP and the Ontario NDP support proportional representation, and shame on the Manitoba and Nova Scotia NDP for not pursuing it.

But our federal MPs are doing a great job of raising and fighting for this crucial issue, well done!

I'd agree that the federal NDP are doing a great job on the issue but the lack of progress on this issue where the NDP is and has been government, weakens the argument in favour of fair voting.

If the NDP makes fair voting an issue, the Conservatives are going to argue that the federal NDP favours electoral reform because they want to "game the system" unfairly for partisan advantage.

Is there a strong counter argument to the Conservatives line that the NDP is just trying to game the system? If the NDP makes electoral reform an important issue it might be a good idea that the NDP have a good counter to this line of argument.

Quote:

Hon. James Moore:

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague, in his speech, talked about the importance of proportional representation and how that would be the first principle of a possible NDP government in this country. He said that proportional representation is the most important electoral reform that we can put in place.

I do note that my hon. colleague used to be a cabinet minister in the province of Ontario. When he was elected in the province of Ontario, according to these numbers, I see that he was elected with 36% of the vote and 37% of the vote. I know he did not like proportional representation in those elections.

There is an NDP majority government in the province of Manitoba. There is an NDP government in Nova Scotia. There was an NDP government in British Columbia. If the NDP is so committed to proportional representation, then why does it not impose it now in the provinces in which that party governs?

Newfoundlander_...

JKR wrote:

Glenl wrote:

If PR has the aim of improving democracy why not allow a referendum on it?

Minority rights should not be decided by a referendum.

What?

OnTheLeft OnTheLeft's picture

JKR wrote:

Is there a strong counter argument to the Conservatives line that the NDP is just trying to game the system? If the NDP makes electoral reform an important issue it might be a good idea that the NDP have a good counter to this line of argument.

Yes, that first past the post games the system, that it's a winner take all system, and that FPTP is an undemocratic and antiquated relic of a voting system from the 1800s designed for two parties. We're now in the 21st century and have five federal political parties. The Conservatives won 166 seats with FPTP, when under PR, they would have won approximately 122.

Wilf Day

Arthur Cramer wrote:

No, Kevin Lamoureux doens't want to answer anything where he is afraid it will make him look bad, but he doesn't have any trouble asking other people questions. And to think that he won Winnipeg North, ugh!

The west portion, yes:

http://www.the506.com/elxnmaps/can2011/46012.html

This riding is a bit smaller than average population, and Kildonan--St. Paul is a bit large. Do you think Seven Oaks might shift to Winnipeg North?

http://www.the506.com/elxnmaps/can2011/46006.html

Idealistic Prag... Idealistic Pragmatist's picture

Do Alberta next, Wilf! :)

theleftyinvestor

And BC!

Wilf Day

theleftyinvestor wrote:

And BC!

What should I assume will happen to the Kootenays and the three northern ridings?

In the rest of BC, the last Commission tried to keep with 10% of quotient.

By the 2006 census BC had 4,113,485 people, or 114,263 per riding.

Kootenay–Columbia was 18% below quotient when created with 88,640 people, and by 2006 had shrunk to 86,810 people, or 24% below quotient.

B.C. Southern Interior was 11% below quotient when created with 96,140 people. By 2006 it had shrunk to 95,477 people, or 16% below quotient.

Skeena—Bulkley Valley was 8% below quotient when created with 99,474 people. In 2006 it had shrunk to 91,925, or 20% below quotient.

Prince George - Peace River was 4% below quotient when created with 104,257 people. In 2006 it had grown only slightly to 105,870, now 7% below quotient.

Cariboo - Prince George was 3% above quotient when created with 111,486 people. By 2006 it had shrunk to 106,375, or 7% below quotient.

With BC getting 6 new MPs, people will be surprised if any area loses a seat. Yet the new quotient is 108,889. If Kootenay-Columbia is still 86,810 people, that’s 20.3% below quotient. Most Commissions aim at a 10% variance, or no more than 15% at the most. Should I freeze Kootenay-Columbia and Skeena—Bulkley Valley, or treat them like other ridings?

theleftyinvestor

Wilf Day wrote:
theleftyinvestor wrote:

And BC!

  If Kootenay-Columbia is still 86,810 people, that’s 20.3% below quotient. Most Commissions aim at a 10% variance, or no more than 15% at the most. Should I freeze Kootenay-Columbia and Skeena—Bulkley Valley, or treat them like other ridings?

 

That's an excellent question. I don't know. It's hard to imagine Nathan Cullen's riding getting even bigger. Perhaps you could just make two models, the "part-frozen" model (do not remove any ridings from the zone where ridings are unimaginably massive), and the "anywhere is fair game" model.

lil.Tommy

theleftyinvestor wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:
theleftyinvestor wrote:

And BC!

  If Kootenay-Columbia is still 86,810 people, that’s 20.3% below quotient. Most Commissions aim at a 10% variance, or no more than 15% at the most. Should I freeze Kootenay-Columbia and Skeena—Bulkley Valley, or treat them like other ridings?

 

That's an excellent question. I don't know. It's hard to imagine Nathan Cullen's riding getting even bigger. Perhaps you could just make two models, the "part-frozen" model (do not remove any ridings from the zone where ridings are unimaginably massive), and the "anywhere is fair game" model.

Would BC, at least those MP's from the rural areas not pull a "Northern Ontario" and try and demand that these large ridings not get any larger? Do we know if the Boundary commission will free these seats? is that even a consideration. It would be the same defence thats used to keep the smaller provinces with the same amount of representation they have now. Using a Frozen Model that would mean some seats in BC, ON and PQ would not be able to have any redistribution... and might make the attempt to redistribute SK into Urban/Rural seats more difficult (but since they are guranteed 14 i think its less a concern).

theleftyinvestor

lil.Tommy wrote:

theleftyinvestor wrote:

That's an excellent question. I don't know. It's hard to imagine Nathan Cullen's riding getting even bigger. Perhaps you could just make two models, the "part-frozen" model (do not remove any ridings from the zone where ridings are unimaginably massive), and the "anywhere is fair game" model.

Would BC, at least those MP's from the rural areas not pull a "Northern Ontario" and try and demand that these large ridings not get any larger? Do we know if the Boundary commission will free these seats? is that even a consideration. It would be the same defence thats used to keep the smaller provinces with the same amount of representation they have now. Using a Frozen Model that would mean some seats in BC, ON and PQ would not be able to have any redistribution... and might make the attempt to redistribute SK into Urban/Rural seats more difficult (but since they are guranteed 14 i think its less a concern).

I don't know. The true nerds among us might want to dig up the boundary commission reports from last decade and see what led to that decision. Remember BC will be getting new seats, so "freezing" the BC North still allows redistribution in the rest of the province. It just prevents incredibly large ridings from getting even bigger.

Wilf Day

(double post)

Wilf Day

lil.Tommy wrote:

Would BC, at least those MP's from the rural areas not pull a "Northern Ontario" and try and demand that these large ridings not get any larger? Do we know if the Boundary commission will freeze these seats? is that even a consideration. It would be the same defence thats used to keep the smaller provinces with the same amount of representation they have now. Using a Frozen Model that would mean some seats in BC, ON and PQ would not be able to have any redistribution... and might make the attempt to redistribute SK into Urban/Rural seats more difficult (but since they are guranteed 14 i think its less a concern).

Each province has its own Boundaries Commission. In my prediction for Ontario, above, I said what I think the Ontario Commission will do, consistent with the last one ten years ago. But I may be guessing wrong. As you can see, I suggested they would be unable to "freeze" the nine northern seats, but would compromise by adding Parry Sound to the North, and letting the North have 1.7 more MPs than their population calls for. The other 121 Ontario seats must therefore have, on average, 1.4% more people than the Ontario quotient; not a serious injustice.

The last Quebec Commission refused to give much consideration to their two potential extraordinary seats, so they may not have a problem this time, except in the Lower St. Lawrence where Guy Caron's seat could vanish.

BC had a huge problem in the last provincial redistribution. The Commission refused to give special consideration for the low-density areas, so the legislature (with all-party support) passed an amendment to the Act and told them to add six MLAs and try again; which worked. However, the BC federal Boundaries Commission will have to work with 42 seats. If they get the message from the provincial experience, they will say "with BC getting more MPs, how can we explain the Kootenays or the North having even larger ridings? If low density areas continue to have the seats they have presently, while we add six new seats to the rapidly growing urban regions of BC, will there be much objection?" That depends, in part, on whether there was much objection in BC to the provincial decision to add six MLAs in order to prevent low-growth areas losing seats. Was there?

Wilf Day

Here is my Christmas present for electoral map fans.

Where will Ontario’s 15 new seats in Parliament be? This will be determined by a Boundaries Commission to be set up in Feburary. But since there is so much interest, I have spent some time on the answer.

First, how many seats will be available for southern Ontario, after the North is dealt with?

Last time, in the 2004 Boundaries Commission Report after the 2001 census, the North (north of the French River) had enough people for 7.74 “quotients.” The Commission decided they could not give them more than nine ridings. This time, with 8.4% fewer people and a quotient 2.7% higher, that area has only 6.91 quotients.

But with Ontario getting more MPs, how can a Commission explain the North losing an MP? Conservative MP Michael Chong said in the House debate “the bill would ensure that rural Ontario continues to have the number of seats it has presently, while, at the same time, adding new seats to the rapidly growing urban regions of our province. One of the challenges with the bill that the Liberals have proposed is that, while it would add some new seats to the rapidly growing regions of urban Ontario, it would take seats away from rural Ontario and add them to urban Ontario. Our bill would not do that.” House debates are not binding on the Commission, but this comment does reflect the likely approach of most Commissioners.

There is a simple solution, since the Ontario government now defines the North as including Parry Sound. Adding Parry Sound, it is possible for the North to keep nine MPs without breaking any rules, as detailed below.

So I think the new 15 seats will be:

Peel-Halton gets 5 more seats (3.8 in Peel, 1.2 in Halton)

York Region gets 2 more (2.9 mathematically, considering they now share one MP with Simcoe, and will have to share one with Durham)

Toronto 2 more (1.6 mathematically, but they won't have an MP shared with Pickering)

Durham 1 more (0.9 mathematically; they won't have to share an MP with Scarborough East but will with York.)

Ottawa—Prescott & Russell 1 more (1.2 mathematically, since they won't have to share an MP with Lanark)

Hamilton 1 more shared with Brant; and Niagara will no longer have to share one with Hamilton)

Kingston to Peterborough 1 more (due to growth in Kingston and Frontenac, Napanee won't have to share an MP with Lanark anymore, and the urban area of Belleville-Quinte West will have their own MP)

Waterloo—Wellington—Dufferin 1 more (0.7 mathematically, but they won't have to share an MP with Perth anymore)

Windsor--Essex 1 more (0.7 mathematically), a new MP in suburban Windsor, by giving Essex-Kent-Lambton an extra half riding and London-Middlesex the other half, so they no longer have a riding straddling the regions' boundary.

Simcoe—Muskoka has growth worth 0.5 MP, accommodated by Muskoka not having to share an MP with Parry Sound anymore.

Total 15.5 mathematically, but there are only 15 new seats. The North loses 0.4 seats. Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry loses 0.1.

How do I calculate this?

We have some handy 2011 population estimates by districts and counties from the Ontario government:

http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/projections/table6.html

The results are shown below, with the exact quotients in brackets. Note that all my southern ridings are within 10% of quotient, although the Commission is allowed to deviate by up to 25%.

I have tried to follow districts and counties as much as possible, and District School Boards such as the Near North Board (Parry Sound—Nipissing). I have eliminated 13 boundary-straddling ridings, but created five new ones, sorry.

Toronto has 24.98 “quotients.” But no major region can get its quotients rounded up, after the North gets an extra 1.7 seats. Besides, the Commission will follow the census, with under-reported figures, and the under-reporting will likely be worse in Toronto. So Toronto will get 24 seats.

Toronto 24 (24.98) (note these 24 ridings will be only 4% over quotient.)

York—Durham 15 (15.30), including a Durham North—Georgina alignment.

Peel—Halton 17 (17.06), including a Halton Hills--Brampton Mount Pleasant.

Hamilton—Brant 6 (6.13), including an Ancaster-Dundas—Brant North.

Niagara Region 4 (4.04)

Haldimand-Norfolk 1 (1.01)

Waterloo—Wellington—Dufferin 7 (7.32) (4.6% over quotient, details below)

Oxford 1 (0.97)

London-Middlesex—Elgin—Perth-Huron 6 (6.22)

Windsor-Essex—Chatham-Kent—Lambton 6 (5.82) (details below)

Simcoe—Muskoka—Grey-Bruce 6 (6.23) (details below)

Peterborough—Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton—Northumberland 3 (2.88) (details below)

Hastings-Prince-Edward—Lennox & Addington 2 (1.85)

Kingston-Frontenac—Lanark 2 (2.00)

Leeds & Grenville 1 (0.93)

Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry 1 (1.03)

Renfrew 1 (0.93)

Ottawa—Prescott & Russell 9 (9.02)

Here are details of the more difficult areas where ridings will have to straddle the boundaries of counties, regional municipalities or districts, showing what amount of a “quotient” each riding has. I acknowledge the help of Krago's projections of local populations:

 

North 9:

Sudbury 0.85

Nickel Belt--Timiskaming (includes West Nipissing and Temagami) 0.81

Parry Sound-Nipissing (North Bay and east) 0.99

Cochrane 0.78

Sudbury-Algoma-Manitoulin (includes Bruce Mines) 0.82

Sault Ste. Marie (includes Michipicoten (Wawa) and Dubreuilville) 0.86

Thunder Bay – Superior (includes White River and Hornepayne) 0.76

Thunder Bay – Fort Frances 0.76

Kenora – West Rainy River 0.64 (recognized as exceptional already by the last Commission)

 

Waterloo—Wellington—Dufferin 7:

Kitchener—Waterloo 1.05

Kitchener—Wilmot 1.05

Kitchener—Hespeler—Puslinch 1.05

Cambridge 1.07 (still includes North Dumfries)

Waterloo—Wellington (N.W. Waterloo, Elmira, Mount Forest) 1.01

Guelph 1.07

Dufferin—Wellington (includes Fergus) 1.02

 

Windsor-Essex—Chatham-Kent--Lambton 6:

Windsor East 0.98

Windsor West 0.98

Essex Northwest 1.01

Essex—Kent 0.92

Chatham-Kent--Lambton 0.92

Sarnia—Lambton 1.01

 

Simcoe—Muskoka—Grey-Bruce 6:

Simcoe South 1.06

Barrie 1.10

Barrie-Midland 1.10

Muskoka—Simcoe North 1.08

Grey North--Simcoe West 1.09

Bruce--Grey--Huron 1.10

 

Peterborough—Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton—Northumberland 3:

Peterborough 1.01

Northumberland—Peterborough 0.94

Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton 0.93

theleftyinvestor

The first round of the provincial boundaries commission for the last election produced some truly bizarre results. They sliced the Davie Village in half, placing a few blocks of it in Vancouver-False Creek, such that anything from the south side of Davie to the water between Burrard and Thurlow was lumped in with Yaletown instead of Vancouver-West End. I personally wrote a letter to Xtra, which didn't notice it until I brought it to their attention. In the second round, those blocks were moved into West End.

But I don't recall much opposition to maintaining the rural seats. In terms of the all-party support, it didn't hurt that the North was/remained quite split between NDP and Liberal, so that neither would have felt unfairly disadvantaged by keeping the North a bit overrepresented.

Wilf Day

We can now be certain that Bill C-20 (the Fair Representation Act) will pass unamended this month. It was reported out of Committee, unamended, Nov. 30. The NDP Committee members were Joe Comartin, Chris Charlton, Alexandrine Latendresse and Philip Toone, with David Christopherson often replacing Philip Toone. The one Liberal, Marc Garneau, presented amendments to keep to 308 MPs, but it was not clear how this could be done.

Yesterday, the government imposed time allocation. Debate on the Act had begun Tuesday Dec. 6.

Bruce Hyer asked Stephane Dion

Quote:
The real issue is not representation by geography but representation by party. As I am sure the member knows, the party across the way received 39% of the vote, has over 55% of the seats and pretty much 100% of the power. Could the member tell me if the Liberal Party is ready to discuss getting behind true proportional representation based on parties?

Dion replied "I am ready to have this discussion . . ." but not, apparently, today.

Guy Caron has foreseen what may happen to his riding:

Quote:
The riding of Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques has a fewer people than the average used by the House of Commons, which could decrease my region's representation because of the exodus of people from rural regions to urban centres. The people of my riding have specific problems that deserve to be represented individually. . . it already takes me two and a half hours to drive from one end to the other to see my constituents, to talk to them and understand their concerns.

Michael Chong thinks it will not happen in Ontario (but I think he is too optimistic):

Quote:
Mr. Speaker, the bill would ensure that rural Ontario continues to have the number of seats it has presently, while, at the same time, adding new seats to the rapidly growing urban regions of our province. One of the challenges with the bill that the Liberals have proposed is that, while it would add some new seats to the rapidly growing regions of urban Ontario, it would take seats away from rural Ontario and add them to urban Ontario. Our bill would not do that, which is why I think it is not only principled but it is the political solution to this very difficult challenge.

Bruce Hyer tried again with Kevin Lamoureux (who did not answer either):

Quote:
We have a Liberal Party that for decades has resisted having real democracy on the issue that really matters, which is proportional representation based on parties. There are about 100 democracies in the world, but only five of them, all British colonies, including Zimbabwe, have our antiquated first past the post system.

The Liberals have resisted proportional representation. My question is this: now that they have 34 seats instead of the 58 that they would have with proportional representation, will the Liberals finally stand up for true proportional representation?

Libby Davies gave it another try:

Quote:
Here we have this bill on seat distribution and adding additional seats. However, it completely misses the fundamental issue in terms of our democratic and electoral systems, that being that the basic system by which we elect members of Parliament is fundamentally not fair.

It is not only a question of seats but also the way that we vote in this country, what we call first past the post. It is very revealing that when the government has an opportunity to bring forward these issues, it makes a decision to bring forward a bill that is actually flawed instead of focusing on a debate or a proposal to implement something that would fundamentally improve the democratic process in Canada and would enormously improve the way that people actually relate to politics.

What I think would be a good a debate is one that proposes proportional representation. Then we could really engage people and ensure not only fair representation but that when voters vote, their vote is actually counted in a way that is proportional to the aggregate votes for any given party. That is certainly not the system we have now.

Many of my colleagues have pointed out that we are now really one of the last remaining nations under parliamentary democracy that still uses first past the post. Why are we not having a debate on that? Why are we not seeing a bill that would bring that forward? Unfortunately, we know the answer. The government is afraid to lose what it sees as a monopoly that it has on the system that we operate under. We have seen that with Liberal governments before them.

I am very proud of the fact that the NDP has been a champion of proportional representation and has been in the forefront of that struggle to say that it is a fundamental reform that needs to take place in this country.

Pat Martin, bless him, talked about the real world:

Quote:
There is a bigger picture here than just the simplistic mathematics of ensuring that every seat represents 111,316 constituents. . . I represent an area where 47% of all the families live below the poverty line and 52% of all the children in my riding live below the poverty line. Low income people, in fact poverty, puts people in a constant state of crisis and those people need a disproportionate amount of support. The average family income in my riding is less than $30,000 a year. If the average family income in a riding is $130,000, people are not likely to go knocking on the door of their member of Parliament nearly as often as when people are thrown out of an apartment, their social assistance cheque has not arrived or their children have been scooped up by child and family services. Poor people are in crisis on a regular basis. I wish we could acknowledge and recognize that some members of Parliament are dealt with far more pressing casework than people who want to go to the Bahamas for their Christmas holidays and their passport is late arriving.

Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:

Quote:
I have heard a lot of words about democracy and representing our constituents. I was elected by my constituents on May 2 to come to the House to debate bills and deal with issues. Over and over again the majority across this aisle has muzzled my voice and has not allowed me to take part in debate. Therefore, by having 30 or 38 more voices in here who cannot take part in a debate because in its arrogance the government uses its majority to call for time allocation and time allotments, how can those same government MPs then sit in the House and talk about democracy?

Ms. Alexandrine Latendresse

Quote:
. . we should take a moment to reflect on the comical aspect of our debate. In our day-to-day lives, we do not commonly say that Prince Edward Island's seats are protected by the senatorial clause. It is a good thing we understand each other, because an outsider listening to us would be completely lost. . . the idea of representation is an ideal that can never be completely attained. Any attempt to approach it is bound to end in compromise. But Canada loves compromises. Compromise is the basis of all of our political realities. If Jacques Cartier had been able to foresee the path that the history of this country would take, perhaps instead of the word “Kanata” he would have chosen the Mohawk word for compromise: Ahsén :nen niió :re iahà :thne tsi ia 'teiorihwaientà : 'on.

I am not asking anyone here for declarations of unconditional love for Quebec and its culture. What I would like to add immediately is that I consider it to be somewhat irresponsible to perpetuate Quebec’s discomfort by introducing insensitive bills. But we must forgive the government. The Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords go back much further than the creation of the Conservative Party. Forgive them, they know not. They are wed to the ideal of fair representation. Good intentions are constitutional, I imagine. The conclusion I draw from these various points is this: fair representation and the justifications for it are fluid concepts.

When the House of Commons unanimously recognized Quebec as a nation, was the intention simply to get Quebeckers to keep quiet, or was the gesture supposed to mean something? Can the government not give them something to demonstrate that it was not just empty rhetoric? I wonder what concrete action could be taken in that regard

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=Hansard&Doc=61&Parl=41&Ses=1&Language=E&Mode=1#SOB-5175450

I assume the debate will be given one more day next week. The House adjourns Dec. 16.

By the way, I don't want to lose the handy link to these amazing maps showing the results in every poll in Canada:

http://www.the506.com/elxnmaps/can2011/

Polunatic2

Quote:
Another problem with the Ontario referendum was that the citizens' assembly did not recommend a specific method of PR
OO - you're misinformed on this. The Ontario Citizens' Assembly recommended the mixed member proportional (MMP) system of PR using a single (closed) province-wide list of top-up candidates nominated by the political parties. 

ottawaobserver

I did not think they got to the closed vs open list part. Maybe I confused what the assembly recommended with the actual question that wound up on the referendum ballot.

But that was the killer where I worked at the time, and was exploited very effectively by the pro-FPTP forces. Had the question on the ballot been MMPR with Open lists, I believe it might have stood a far better chance of passing. By being vague on it, the No forces were able to make it into whatever they liked. The party list idea was the death of MMPR (notwithstanding that the Liberal leader appointed more candidates, and re-appointed more incumbents that the leader of any other party, which in my view boils down to more or less the same thing).

Wilf Day

I said above:

Quote:

Guy Caron has foreseen what may happen to his riding:

Quote:
The riding of Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques has a fewer people than the average used by the House of Commons, which could decrease my region's representation because of the exodus of people from rural regions to urban centres. The people of my riding have specific problems that deserve to be represented individually. . . it already takes me two and a half hours to drive from one end to the other to see my constituents, to talk to them and understand their concerns.

Michael Chong thinks it will not happen in Ontario (but I think he is too optimistic):

Quote:
Mr. Speaker, the bill would ensure that rural Ontario continues to have the number of seats it has presently, while, at the same time, adding new seats to the rapidly growing urban regions of our province. One of the challenges with the bill that the Liberals have proposed is that, while it would add some new seats to the rapidly growing regions of urban Ontario, it would take seats away from rural Ontario and add them to urban Ontario. Our bill would not do that, which is why I think it is not only principled but it is the political solution to this very difficult challenge.

Actually, with some careful work by the Boundaries Commission, I now think it is possible to still have nine MPs from Northern Ontario (if you add Parry Sound) and to still have an MP from Goderich and smaller centres like the present Huron-Bruce, the most rural riding in Ontario. (At first I didn't see how to do it.) So I think Chong is right: rural Ontario will not lose seats.

JKR

It's amazing that OPEN-LIST MMP has been by far the most popular choice of electoral reform supporters and yet wasn't offered as a choice on the electoral reform referendum ballots in PEI, BC, and Ontario.

 

On the brighter side, New Zealand just voted to keep MMP and will likely fine tune it and move from their closed-list version to an open-list version.

 MMP now confirmed for future generations

 We've voted to hang on to MMP-now it's time to fine-tune it

Quote:

The MMP review will cover other bugbears in the system:

* The fact that MPs defeated in constituency contests can return through their party's list. Likewise, the increasing practice of list MPs standing as candidates in byelections.

* The rule that removes the 5 per cent threshold if a party wins an electorate seat.

This rule created anomalies, such as in 2008 when New Zealand First won more than 4 per cent of the party vote and remained seatless, yet Act got five MPs through holding the Epsom electorate despite securing fewer party votes.

One option would be to remove this apparent anomaly and lower the threshold, which is also subject to the review, say to 4 per cent.

* The fact that lists are compiled by parties with no voter input. The commission will look at whether to open party lists to voters and allow them to rank their preferences.

* The "overhang", whereby Parliament increases in size when a party wins more electorate seats than its share of the party vote.

* The longer-term problem of ratio of electorate seats to list seats.

One advantage of having not yet implemented electoral reform in Canada is that we can learn from the experience of having MMP in places such as New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, and Germany.

Looking at the New Zealand experience, the best version of open-list MMP for Canada might be one that does not allow candidates to run on both the constituency and list sides of the ballot. It seems like New Zealanders don't like having MP's lose at the constituency level and backing into Parliament via a list.

Another interesting wrinkle mentioned in the article above is the possibility of ranking candidates on the list side. Presumably an open-list MMP system could have poreferential balloting on both the list and constituency sides. This would eliminate vote splitting but make for a less simple system.

Wilf Day

ottawaobserver wrote:

Another problem with the Ontario referendum was that the citizens' assembly did not recommend a specific method of PR, so at the time the very non-political folks I was working with thought they would be buying a pig in a poke. This also allowed opponents of electoral reform to go to town against "party lists" which was and still is the weakest link in the PR model, but as Wilf and others who live and breath all this will point out, the "open list" model redresses that problem. Too bad it wasn't the proposal on the table.

I took OO's quote as referring to the method of nominating list candidates to the province-wide lists. They considered specifying democratic nomination methods, as German election law specifies (unlike Canada, in Germany parties cannot by law appoint any candidates either local or list).

http://wilfday.blogspot.com/2009/10/democratic-nominations-why-is-german...

The 103 Citizens decided this was beyond their mandate, and stated only "Before the election, parties must submit their lists, and the details of the process they used to create them, to Elections Ontario." This left it up to the parties to decide, just as they were in the middle of final election preparations, what to say when the media asked "how would you do it?" The ONDP's own policy called for MMP with regional lists, not an Ontario-wide list. The NDP could, given time, have replied "Just as the New Zealand Labour Party does it: hold democratic regional nominations in regions across Ontario (New Zealand Labour uses six regions, and then folds the six lists into one national list; with Ontario having three times the population of New Zealand I would have advocated at least nine regions for the Ontario NDP). There was no time to design and approve such a process.

As OO also points out, the recommendation of the Law Commission of Canada was for open lists. We still elect local MPs. Voters unrepresented by the local results top them up by electing regional MPs. The total MPs match the vote share. Your regional vote can be cast by marking your ballot with an X either for the list as nominated, or for any regional candidate standing on the regional ballot. That's the model the Ontario Citizens' Assembly almost chose, but ran out of time:
http://wilfday.blogspot.com/2010/03/ontario-mixed-member-model-citizens....

ottawaobserver wrote:

I did not think they got to the closed vs open list part. Maybe I confused what the assembly recommended with the actual question that wound up on the referendum ballot.

Yes, you did. The ballot question had no details.

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:

It's amazing that OPEN-LIST MMP has been by far the most popular choice of electoral reform supporters and yet wasn't offered as a choice on the electoral reform referendum ballots in PEI, BC, and Ontario.

One advantage of having not yet implemented electoral reform in Canada is that we can learn from the experience of having MMP in places such as New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, and Germany.

Agreed.

The BC Citizens Assembly were in the process of designing, I expect, an open-list MMP system when they ran out of time and had to decide between MMP and STV, so we'll never know for sure, but I strongly suspect they would have chosen open-regional list MMP with four regions. Whether it would have been "flexible open" (you can vote for the list if you want) or "fully open" (you must chose a regional candidate) I'm less certain. They did get as far as deciding that "flexible" was a type of "open."

Ontario also ran out of time before being able to revisit their model, once they had settled the thorny question of expanding the House and what percentage of MPPs would be local, so they may have chosen open list. Do you see a pattern? Citizens' Assemblies may not be the best way of doing detailed work on electoral systems. New Zealand used the Commission model to settle that, as did the UK with their Jenkins Commission, and PEI with its commission. Of those three, Jenkins recommended open regional list, the New Zealand Commission was torn and came down for closed list, and PEI went with closed list.

JKR wrote:

On the brighter side, New Zealand just voted to keep MMP and will likely fine tune it and move from their closed-list version to an open-list version.

 MMP now confirmed for future generations

 We've voted to hang on to MMP-now it's time to fine-tune it

Quote:

The MMP review will cover other bugbears in the system:

* The fact that MPs defeated in constituency contests can return through their party's list. Likewise, the increasing practice of list MPs standing as candidates in byelections.

* The rule that removes the 5 per cent threshold if a party wins an electorate seat.

This rule created anomalies, such as in 2008 when New Zealand First won more than 4 per cent of the party vote and remained seatless, yet Act got five MPs through holding the Epsom electorate despite securing fewer party votes.

One option would be to remove this apparent anomaly and lower the threshold, which is also subject to the review, say to 4 per cent.

* The fact that lists are compiled by parties with no voter input. The commission will look at whether to open party lists to voters and allow them to rank their preferences.

* The "overhang", whereby Parliament increases in size when a party wins more electorate seats than its share of the party vote.

* The longer-term problem of ratio of electorate seats to list seats.

Looking at the New Zealand experience, the best version of open-list MMP for Canada might be one that does not allow candidates to run on both the constituency and list sides of the ballot. It seems like New Zealanders don't like having MP's lose at the constituency level and backing into Parliament via a list.

I think that's because they want to be able to vote for the regional candidate (open list). The last Parliamentary review found "Survey information shows significant majority support for the principle of open lists" but the MPs, as usual, liked the system they won under. Forcing candidates either to gamble on winning the local seat or running regionally actually ends up limiting voters' choices. No surveys in Scotland or Wales found voters object to dual candidacy; it gives them MPs competing with each other to serve constituents, just as they do in Germany: "bad for politicians, good for voters" is the common verdict. The Wales Labour Party objected to it, because it helped all other parties compete with Labour, and recently managed to get it outlawed in Wales. I hope New Zealand doesn't go that route.

Quote:

Another interesting wrinkle mentioned in the article above is the possibility of ranking candidates on the list side. Presumably an open-list MMP system could have preferential balloting on both the list and constituency sides. This would eliminate vote splitting but make for a less simple system.

Yes, the ballot would be far more complex than even STV, as would the count. Hard enough to rank one set of candidates without ranking both. Ireland takes three days to count the local rankings, and you would have to do that first before even starting to count the regional rankings. Is there such a thing as too much voter choice? As for vote-splitting on the local ballot, MMP makes this a non-issue since the party make-up of the House is determined by the second vote (party vote, regional vote).

David Young

Ummm...thread drift, don't you think?

Will there be a map of the possible new ridings in Quebec too?

If Guy Caron is correct about rural Quebec losing a few ridings to the suburban Montreal area, where will the 3 new ridings be created, in addition to the redistributed ones?

 

Wilf Day

David Young wrote:

If Guy Caron is correct about rural Quebec losing a few ridings to the suburban Montreal area, where will the 3 new ridings be created, in addition to the redistributed ones?

See post #99 on the first thread:

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/more-electoral-maps

The only problem is the Bas-Saint-Laurent-Gaspésie regions lose a half a seat.

One more for Montreal, one for Montérégie, one-half for Laval (which now has 3.5), and 1.5 for Laurentides—Lanaudière.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:
 Ontario also ran out of time before being able to revisit their model, once they had settled the thorny question of expanding the House and what percentage of MPPs would be local, so they may have chosen open list. Do you see a pattern? Citizens' Assemblies may not be the best way of doing detailed work on electoral systems. New Zealand used the Commission model to settle that, as did the UK with their Jenkins Commission, and PEI with its commission. Of those three, Jenkins recommended open regional list, the New Zealand Commission was torn and came down for closed list, and PEI went with closed list.

After the next election, if the NDP is in a position to do so, setting up an electoral reform commission that embraces public opinion and then recommends a specific fair voting electoral system withn the first year of a government's mandate would likely be the best way to go. The NDP could then pass the legislation required to insure that the election in 2019 would use a form of fair voting.

 

Wilf Day wrote:

As for vote-splitting on the local ballot, MMP makes this a non-issue since the party make-up of the House is determined by the second vote (party vote, regional vote).

This is one reason why it's advantageous to have at least 25% of MMP seats derived from the list side. If list members represent less then 20% of overall members, vote-splitting would still be a big problem. An "MMP-light" system with less then 20% list representation would benefit from preferential voting to eliminate the problems of vote-splitting but the better way to go would be to have the list members represent at least 25% or more preferably 33% or more.

Vote-splitting is probably the aspect of FPTP that currently disturbs Canadians the most. That voting for your favorite party can preversely help elect your least favorite party is the aspect of FPTP that that probably causes the most consternation during FPTP elections.

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:

Vote-splitting is probably the aspect of FPTP that currently disturbs Canadians the most. That voting for your favorite party can preversely help elect your least favorite party is the aspect of FPTP that that probably causes the most consternation during FPTP elections.

Agreed. One of the great benefits of a mixed member proportional system (or mixed compensatory system as Quebeckers call it) is to keep local MPs while making vote-splitting a non-issue.

JKR wrote:

After the next election, if the NDP is in a position to do so, setting up an electoral reform commission that embraces public opinion and then recommends a specific fair voting electoral system withn the first year of a government's mandate would likely be the best way to go. The NDP could then pass the legislation required to insure that the election in 2019 would use a form of fair voting.

Yes, that's the way. The Liberals should agree to that too.

JKR wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

As for vote-splitting on the local ballot, MMP makes this a non-issue since the party make-up of the House is determined by the second vote (party vote, regional vote).

This is one reason why it's advantageous to have at least 25% of MMP seats derived from the list side. If list members represent less then 20% of overall members, vote-splitting would still be a big problem. An "MMP-light" system with less then 20% list representation would benefit from preferential voting to eliminate the problems of vote-splitting but the better way to go would be to have the list members represent at least 25% or more preferably 33% or more.

Quite right. In fact, even the 30% recommended by the Ontario Citizens' Assembly was "MMP-lightish". Wales 33% is the lowest found in the real world, and the recommendation of the Law Commission of Canada was "at least" 33%: four of the ten MPs from New Brunswick, and so on, a typical region being nine local MPs and five regional MPs (which matches Manitoba and Saskatchewan), average around 35% compensatory ("regional top-up" as they're called in Scotland) MPs. Besides, you never know what preferential voting may do: in 1952 in British Columbia the former coalition partners, the Liberals and Conservatives, had their voters so mad at each other that they made their second choice "none of the above" and accidentally elected a Social Credit government whose nominal leader was an Alberta federal MP!

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