Proportional Representation Part 2

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White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

To legitimize second choices as a valid vote at the expense of not having a better representation of people's first choice pick is wrong.  And it will favour the centrist party over the left or right parties.  So Cullen's idea of inoculating the Liberals against accusations of self-interest by them not having majority control over the committee, but rather all parties present in closer proportion to the votes they received from Canadians, is a fabulous idea, IMO.  It would show true sincerity on the part of the Liberals, and certainly make it easier for the public to buy into the outcome of the committee.

Let's hope Trudeau listens to Cullen!

White Cat White Cat's picture

My guess is that the NDP has already written off Trudeau's electoral reform initiative. They are probably hoping to benefit politically from the fallout when the process implodes.

PR zealots from FVC are all rainbows and unicorns. They are politically senseless. But NDP politicians are regular players at political scheming. They know that they have no chance of arm-twisting the Liberals into legislating MMP. Therefore they must be opposed to Trudeau being successful.

Since ER is dead, the next step for progressives is to join the Liberal party and hope to achieve change from within. The NDP has gotten absolutely nowhere over its 80 year existence. A vote for the NDP is a vote for nothing. It too is a dead cause. 

mark_alfred

I'm surprised at how aggressively you are against the idea of a committee with all the parties proportionally represented, since you yourself favour proportional representation (STV, if I remember correctly).  In spite of your rant I still think it's an interesing idea.

mark_alfred

Good news!  Liberal MP Larry Bagnell tabled a petition in favour of PR electoral reform.  Granted, him sponsoring this petition does not necesarily mean he's in favour of proportional representation, but it's still a promising sign.  Many Liberals are in favour of PR.  So, in spite of some of the ranting naysayers who grace us on this board every once in a while, there certainly is a good hope for PR.

Quote:
Hon. Larry Bagnell (Yukon, Lib.):  Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a petition from a number of Yukoners on fair electoral representation. They note that the number of votes often does not reflect the number of MPs. They would like each community to have fair and accountable representation and that people can cast an equal and effective vote and be governed by a fairly elected Parliament.

note: quote from Hansard, 2016/02/03.

ETA:  granted, I haven't seen the actual petition, so I can't say for sure it's in favour of PR or simply ER of any sort.  His comments suggest PR though.  And a lot of Liberals do support PR (Dion being most notable).  Here's the vote on Craig Scott's motion of PR that happened a while ago, in which a lotta Liberals voted in favour of:  https://openparliament.ca/votes/41-2/291/  Anyway, vilifying agencies like Fair Vote is silly.  PR is the way to go and should be pursued.  Pursuing the most sensible ER (that being a form of PR) is not a recipe for doom.  Fear mongering about people pursuing their beliefs with government is stupid, in my opinion -- especially when government will be asking for opinions on the matter.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It's gets rounded up in the Green's case.  Lucky for them.

Then why not for every other party?

If I recall my grade school math correctly, when rounding, you round UP when the value being rounded is greater than 0.5, and down when it's less.

So 3.4 would round to 3, not to 4.  And certainly not to 8.3.

And if we were to consider 8.3 to be one "unit of representation", then wouldn't you still need at least half of that plus a bit -- let's say 4.2 -- in order to "round up"?

Sorry to any and all Green supporters if this math doesn't take into account how AWESOME May is, and how hard she works, and how she really deserves to be there.  But from a numbers point of view, she shouldn't be.

Pondering

mark_alfred wrote:

Hmm.  Seems Liberals are looking to their allies in the Senate for an out now.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/electoral-reform-constitutional-change-1...

Or it's a good suggestion for the government to ask the Supreme Court for an opinion before making plans that could be unconstitututional.

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

Pondering wrote:

We would rarely have a majority government which I favor.

This is actually a common myth.

What would happen in Canada under any kind of electoral reform is that we would end up with 2 major center-left parties and 2 major conservative parties. This will mean stable two-party majority governments that have checks and balances, whether center-left or conservative.

There is no benefit to giving a minority party absolute corrupt power. Look at how on-the-take Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne privatized Ontario's electricity system on the advice of bankers despite outrage from all opposition parties, the media, the public and the Financial Accountability Officer.

Look at Justin Trudeau's platform. He claims to be a progressive that represents the 60% of center-left voters. But his economic platform is tailor made for moderate conservatives: TPP free trade, upper-middle-class tax cuts and opposing daycare and federal carbon pricing.

If Trudeau had to work with the NDP, Canada would've gotten actual center-left government that represented an actual majority of center-left voters.

So electoral reform would mean an end to minority-party dictatorships that tend to implode in corruption and the beginning of real majority government that serves out the entire election term without polarizing FPTP drama.

A two party coalition is not a majority in the sense most people mean. It doesn't guarantee 4/5 years between elections. It doesn't give one party unfettered power. To many non-partisan Canadians that is a feature not a drawback as the leader must take full responsibility. If they win a minority of seats then they have to have the support of MPs outside the party but not necessarily a particular party.

Trudeau does not claim to be on the left or the right, he rejects both strongly. During the campaign he stated his support for trade-deals loudly. There has been no bait and switch.

The left/right thing is meaningless to most people except as an expression of extremes. They are perfectly comfortable with the Liberal mix of socially progressive ideals coupled with conservative economics.

Another detail I was thinking about is that PR doesn't necessitate that the party that wins the most seats agrees to a coalition to gain power. We have had many minority governments and they didn't have to form a coalition.

I like Dion's P3 model because it gives more power to MPS not just to parties.

mark_alfred

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
It's gets rounded up in the Green's case.  Lucky for them.

Then why not for every other party?

If I recall my grade school math correctly, when rounding, you round UP when the value being rounded is greater than 0.5, and down when it's less.

So 3.4 would round to 3, not to 4.  And certainly not to 8.3.

And if we were to consider 8.3 to be one "unit of representation", then wouldn't you still need at least half of that plus a bit -- let's say 4.2 -- in order to "round up"?

Sorry to any and all Green supporters if this math doesn't take into account how AWESOME May is, and how hard she works, and how she really deserves to be there.  But from a numbers point of view, she shouldn't be.

Oh boo Magoo, now you're just being an annoying shrew.  Anyway, whatever, it's greater than zero, so round it up to one place for the Greens on the committee, and viola, May is there sharing her charming thoughts with us all!

mark_alfred

mark_alfred wrote:

It's gets rounded up in the Green's case.  Lucky for them.

Nuts.  I'm making a lot more of these inexplicable typos lately.  I think my brain is melting.

It gets rounded up in the Green's case.  Lucky for them.

Pondering

Cullen made the point that the committee should represent the popular vote AND every party should be represented.

Democracy is an imperfect animal. Fairness is not necessarily rooted in precisely calculated power distribution based on one person one vote.

Indigenous peoples only represent 3.8% of the population.

It is important that a committee studying democratic reform includes small parties as their interests should also be represented at the table.

I don't like the 18 month limit. It isn't long enough. We should have a formal public commission on it so that the consultations are broad-based. The committee is also supposed to consider the voting age, internet and mandatory voting and other reforms. More public consultations would generate regular news helping to inform the public on the various measures being proposed.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Oh boo Magoo, now you're just being an annoying shrew.

I'm just thinking that if we can't do the math correctly when we're only talking about 12 representatives, maybe we're not ready for a new system.

Quote:
Anyway, whatever, it's greater than zero, so round it up to one place

For which parties would it be zero or less?

mark_alfred

Those who've not elected any MPs.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'm not sure I follow, mark_alfred.  The "proportional" representation on an electoral reform committee should be based on the number of seats won under a non-proportional system, rather than on percentage of popular vote?

Pondering

No, he is saying it should be by popular vote however a party that doesn't have any seats at all can't be represented because they don't have any elected MPs. The committee does have to meet the requirement that it be made up of elected MPs.

By including every party that has at least one seat it isn't precisely proportional but it would more closely approximate a fair representation of Canadians views with the exception of parties so fringe they couldn't get enough support to win even a single riding.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
By including every party that has at least one seat it isn't precisely proportional but it would more closely approximate a fair representation of Canadians views with the exception of parties so fringe they couldn't get enough support to win even a single riding.

I'm still not seeing how seat count -- under a non-proportional system -- is somehow a better indicator of the wishes of Canadians than plain old popular vote.  Heck, even popular vote is affected by our incumbent system, but as PR proponents will usually tell you, it's still more proportional than seat count -- in fact, it's what proportionality is measured against.

But maybe I can cut right to the chase here and wrap this up:  is there some special snowflake reason why the Greens should be part of this, if "proportional representation" math doesn't indicate any reason for them to be?  Would this be some exceptional exception that transcends mere math?

Again, if 3.4% of the vote translates to 8.3 % of the influence, can someone just tell me how that's proportional?  Isn't that the same kind of crap we're supposed to be trying to fix?

mark_alfred

True, the Greens don't make the 1/12 (8.3%) cutoff in popular vote for membership on the committee.  They don't meet even the halfway point of that.  It's not that important though since I doubt the Liberals will buy into Cullen's idea anyway.  I still think it's an interesting idea though, and I'm fine with giving May a charitable pass for it.  But yeah, chances of the Liberals accepting Cullen's idea (with or without May) are zero, in my opinion.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
By including every party that has at least one seat it isn't precisely proportional but it would more closely approximate a fair representation of Canadians views with the exception of parties so fringe they couldn't get enough support to win even a single riding.

I'm still not seeing how seat count -- under a non-proportional system -- is somehow a better indicator of the wishes of Canadians than plain old popular vote.  Heck, even popular vote is affected by our incumbent system, but as PR proponents will usually tell you, it's still more proportional than seat count -- in fact, it's what proportionality is measured against.

But maybe I can cut right to the chase here and wrap this up:  is there some special snowflake reason why the Greens should be part of this, if "proportional representation" math doesn't indicate any reason for them to be?  Would this be some exceptional exception that transcends mere math?

Again, if 3.4% of the vote translates to 8.3 % of the influence, can someone just tell me how that's proportional?  Isn't that the same kind of crap we're supposed to be trying to fix?

It isn't. That is why Cullen is recommending that it be done by popular vote not by seat count with the exception of the Green party. By winning a seat they illustrated they have enough concentrated support to have done so. Many also know or at least strongly suspect that because it is a small party many people who would vote Green don't just because they won't win the seat in that riding.

Sometimes technical precision or blind adherence to a theory isn't the best way to achieve a goal. In this case the goal is to have all the parties that are able to win seats represented when debating how those seats are won.

So, we start with one from each party. Maybe it would be even fairer to just have one from each but that would never have any chance of flying. One of each and the rest divided proportionally is a practical solution if not perfect.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It isn't. That is why Cullen is recommending that it be done by popular vote not by seat count with the exception of the Green party.

That's exactly my question:  why "with the exception of the Green Party"??

Quote:
By winning a seat they illustrated they have enough concentrated support to have done so.

To have done WHAT?  Not to have earned enough support to warrant 1/12th of the influence on a 12 person committee selected using proportional representation.

Quote:
Sometimes technical precision or blind adherence to a theory isn't the best way to achieve a goal.

Sometimes making an "exception" for no articulable reason isn't the best way either.

Seriously... despite the math, the Greens "deserve" a place "just because"??

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Pondering wrote:

We would rarely have a majority government which I favor.

This is actually a common myth.

What would happen in Canada under any kind of electoral reform is that we would end up with 2 major center-left parties and 2 major conservative parties. This will mean stable two-party majority governments that have checks and balances, whether center-left or conservative.

There is no benefit to giving a minority party absolute corrupt power. Look at how on-the-take Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne privatized Ontario's electricity system on the advice of bankers despite outrage from all opposition parties, the media, the public and the Financial Accountability Officer.

Look at Justin Trudeau's platform. He claims to be a progressive that represents the 60% of center-left voters. But his economic platform is tailor made for moderate conservatives: TPP free trade, upper-middle-class tax cuts and opposing daycare and federal carbon pricing.

If Trudeau had to work with the NDP, Canada would've gotten actual center-left government that represented an actual majority of center-left voters.

So electoral reform would mean an end to minority-party dictatorships that tend to implode in corruption and the beginning of real majority government that serves out the entire election term without polarizing FPTP drama.

A two party coalition is not a majority in the sense most people mean. It doesn't guarantee 4/5 years between elections. It doesn't give one party unfettered power. To many non-partisan Canadians that is a feature not a drawback as the leader must take full responsibility. If they win a minority of seats then they have to have the support of MPs outside the party but not necessarily a particular party.

Actually a two-party coalition is a literal majority in the sense that most people around the world understand. Only 26% of 181 democratic nations use FPTP, most at the bottom of the third world.

Most Canadians are ignorant of what democracy means because we have a culture of foolishness founded on our moderated-democracy heritage. Canadians are not taught what democracy means in the public education system. They are not informed about it in the corporate news media.

All our notions of democracy are embarrassingly stupid. A "majority" means giving a 40% minority party absolute power cutting the super-majority out of government. A "minority" is nothing more than an election campaign gone into overtime: parties politic and jockey for power instead of governing.

"Balance of power" is another idiotic concept: a minor party feels it has earned the right to blackmail the major party. Within 2 years, the major party introduces a poison pill budget and gets a "majority."

First step in trying to understand what democracy means is taking everything you think you know about democracy and throwing it in the garbage. It demands critical thinking, or common sense, which most people are very capable of. 

 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

Trudeau does not claim to be on the left or the right, he rejects both strongly. During the campaign he stated his support for trade-deals loudly. There has been no bait and switch.

The left/right thing is meaningless to most people except as an expression of extremes. They are perfectly comfortable with the Liberal mix of socially progressive ideals coupled with conservative economics.

Who knows what most people think, or what most people would think if they were properly informed.

I know Canadians resoundingly rejected Mulroney's right-wing economic reforms in 1993. They probably weren't expecting the Chretien Liberals running against them to be outright lying to voters.

The only thing that can be said about most people during the 2015 election is that another Harper term was unacceptable. That was the only choice voters had: more Harper or change.

With a democratic voting system, voters would have better choices, the debate would become broader and the people would become more informed. 

Instead of a phony choice between right-of-center and right-wing government, the 60% of center-left voters would get center-left government at least half the time (instead of never.) 

 

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

I'm surprised at how aggressively you are against the idea of a committee with all the parties proportionally represented, since you yourself favour proportional representation (STV, if I remember correctly).  In spite of your rant I still think it's an interesing idea.

I have to wonder if PR activists have any clue about what proportional representation actually means.

The alternative to giving a 40% minority party absolute power is for two or more parties to form a coalition that represents an actual majority founded on COMPROMISE.

Yet 'compromise' is not in the vocabulary of any of the PR zealots I have come across. So who knows what silly ideas they have about PR. They are certainly not founded on research on how countries around the world govern using PR systems.

So why not fill the committee with a bunch of uncompromising, grandstanding idiots chanting: "We want MMP! When do we want it? NOW!" That's what PR is all about, isn't it?

The reason I support a Liberal majority in the committee is because the only reasonable people involved in the whole process are in the Liberal party. They are attempting to find a compromise that is acceptable to CANADIANS. They are not playing politics. They are not acting like assholes.

So if the adults have the power to force a compromise on uncompromising infants, then CANADIANS have a chance at becoming a democracy.

But not to worry. The couple of NDP members on the committee will be enough to trash Trudeau's electoral reform initiative. The idiots will get what they want either way. 

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

First step in trying to understand what democracy means is taking everything you think you know about democracy and throwing it in the garbage. It demands critical thinking, or common sense, which most people are very capable of. 

Then the answer lies in informing the public but they might not agree with you. Some people see it like choosing a general contractor. You don't hire two and tell them to battle it out. You select one and expect them to carry out the job you hired them for. Under FPTP, even if the winning party does not have the majority of seats, we still hold that party responsible for all that happens unless they were blocked by other parties in which case the other parties get blamed or rewarded in the following election. Some people like that clarity. At the end of the night they want to know who they elected as Prime Minister and have clear expectations of what that win means. The thought of having to wait while the parties decide who will be PM and argue about the agenda feels more like the parties are gaining power at the expense of the people.

While Chretien didn't follow his platform and did make cuts he did get elected again so it seems Canadians were happy enough with his decisions while in office.

I'm sold on Dions P3 model but that doesn't mean FPTP has nothing at all going for it.

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

Who knows what most people think, or what most people would think if they were properly informed.

Given that a large number of people who vote don't pay attention to politics between elections and lot don't vote at all I think it's a stretch to divide people up by left and right. I think most people are a combination of both, left on some issues right on others.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/canadians-becoming-more-progressi...

Methodology: The poll of 1,549 adult Canadians was conducted Sept. 21 to Sept. 25, 2014 and has a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

47: Percentage of people who consider themselves “small-l liberal” now, compared to 24 per cent in 2008. The change comes as far fewer people say they have no ideology. Twenty-seven per cent say they are “small-c conservative” now, compared to 28 per cent in 2008.

I think Canada 2020 is a liberal think tank and they commissioned the poll. Even so it's a stretch to divy up Canadians as being on the left or the right.

http://canada2020.ca/news-ideas/opinion-and-commentary/

JKR

Pondering wrote:

At the end of the night they want to know who they elected as Prime Minister and have clear expectations of what that win means.

If we wanted to have a prime minister elected by the voters and given a mandate, we should elect the prime minister directly using an instant runoff ranked ballot.

But as it is under our FPTP parliamentary system, the prime minister is not directly elected by the voters. As it is, the majority of voters in our FPTP parliamentary system most often vote for candidates representing parties other than the party that ends up forming the government. So under FPTP, the government usual does not receive an endorsement from the majority of voters. As it is in our FPTP parliamentary system, sometimes the majority of voters prefer a party leader other than the person who becomes prime minister. This seemed to be the case recently when Harper was p.m., as it seemed that most of the voters probably preferred either the leader of the Liberals or the leader of NDP over Harper. Because of this undemocratic experience, many people now feel that FPTP has become an anachronism from a time when politics was dominated by just two political parties and the prime minister was generally supported by the majority of voters. Currently Trudeau is supported by a majority of the voters but this may not be the case in the future if the Conservatives are able to win another phony FPTP majority due to a split of the centre-left vote. This is why the Conservatives currently support FPTP and all the parties to the left of them are generally supporting electoral reform.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
If we wanted to have a prime minister elected by the voters and given a mandate, we should elect the prime minister directly using an instant runoff ranked ballot.

I agree, but Canadians are currently stuck with this system and most are voting based on which person they want to be Prime Minister even if technically they are voting for a rep who will then decide who the PM will be. Our elections focus almost solely on the leader and maybe a few key players or well-known MPs.

JKR wrote:
So under FPTP, the government usual does not receive an endorsement from the majority of voters. As it is in our FPTP parliamentary system, sometimes the majority of voters prefer a party leader other than the person who becomes prime minister. This seemed to be the case recently when Harper was p.m., as it seemed that most of the voters probably preferred either the leader of the Liberals or the leader of NDP over Harper.

You have to consider that some people accept that as better than the uncertainty of PR because it always leaves the possibility that next time around the person they want will win.

JKR wrote:
Because of this undemocratic experience, many people now feel that FPTP has become an anachronism from a time when politics was dominated by just two political parties and the prime minister was generally supported by the majority of voters.

And they have a right to promote a different system that they think would serve Canadians better but insisting that there are zero strengths to FPTP undermines any argument made for PR.

JKR wrote:
Currently Trudeau is supported by a majority of the voters but this may not be the case in the future if the Conservatives are able to win another phony FPTP majority due to a split of the centre-left vote. This is why the Conservatives currently support FPTP and all the parties to the left of them are generally supporting electoral reform.

I don't believe that will happen again in Canada and the flip side of that is if the person I do want does get elected they are free to implement their platform as Trudeau is now.

As I said, I support Dion's P 3 model which is a a form of PR. 

Although I still don't get to choose a PM completely separate from an MP I do get to choose the MP within the party of the PM. I think that gives the MP greater power because they can legitimately claim to have their own supporters and could more easily choose to become independents if they feel slighted.

JKR

White Cat wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

I'm surprised at how aggressively you are against the idea of a committee with all the parties proportionally represented, since you yourself favour proportional representation (STV, if I remember correctly).  In spite of your rant I still think it's an interesing idea.

I have to wonder if PR activists have any clue about what proportional representation actually means.

The alternative to giving a 40% minority party absolute power is for two or more parties to form a coalition that represents an actual majority founded on COMPROMISE.

Yet 'compromise' is not in the vocabulary of any of the PR zealots I have come across. So who knows what silly ideas they have about PR. They are certainly not founded on research on how countries around the world govern using PR systems.

So why not fill the committee with a bunch of uncompromising, grandstanding idiots chanting: "We want MMP! When do we want it? NOW!" That's what PR is all about, isn't it?

But isn't MMP the closest thing we currently have to a compromise? I think Conservatives and Liberals will be much more willing to support MMP-lite than either STV or Dion's P3 system. I think for people who are willing to give up on FPTP it will come down to the 2-round Plurality system, instant runoff voting, or MMP-lite. So the compromise in favour of proportionality will likely be MMP-lite. Personally I would choose 5-seat STV over MMP but I don't think the Conservatives and Liberals are about to go there. And the Greens and NDP are not going to be supporting STV or the P3 model either.

And speaking of Dion's P3 model, can anyone explain why it is significantly different or preferable over STV?

JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
If we wanted to have a prime minister elected by the voters and given a mandate, we should elect the prime minister directly using an instant runoff ranked ballot.

I agree, but Canadians are currently stuck with this system and most are voting based on which person they want to be Prime Minister even if technically they are voting for a rep who will then decide who the PM will be. Our elections focus almost solely on the leader and maybe a few key players or well-known MPs.

JKR wrote:
So under FPTP, the government usual does not receive an endorsement from the majority of voters. As it is in our FPTP parliamentary system, sometimes the majority of voters prefer a party leader other than the person who becomes prime minister. This seemed to be the case recently when Harper was p.m., as it seemed that most of the voters probably preferred either the leader of the Liberals or the leader of NDP over Harper.

You have to consider that some people accept that as better than the uncertainty of PR because it always leaves the possibility that next time around the person they want will win.

JKR wrote:
Because of this undemocratic experience, many people now feel that FPTP has become an anachronism from a time when politics was dominated by just two political parties and the prime minister was generally supported by the majority of voters.

And they have a right to promote a different system that they think would serve Canadians better but insisting that there are zero strengths to FPTP undermines any argument made for PR.

JKR wrote:
Currently Trudeau is supported by a majority of the voters but this may not be the case in the future if the Conservatives are able to win another phony FPTP majority due to a split of the centre-left vote. This is why the Conservatives currently support FPTP and all the parties to the left of them are generally supporting electoral reform.

I don't believe that will happen again in Canada and the flip side of that is if the person I do want does get elected they are free to implement their platform as Trudeau is now.

As I said, I support Dion's P 3 model which is a a form of PR. 

Although I still don't get to choose a PM completely separate from an MP I do get to choose the MP within the party of the PM. I think that gives the MP greater power because they can legitimately claim to have their own supporters and could more easily choose to become independents if they feel slighted.

Dion's P3 model, like 5-seat STV, is actually pretty proportional. It would very likely lead to the end of one party governments and replace it with continuous coalition governments. Would you be happy with that?

And why would you prefer Dion's P3 model over 5-seat STV that does not even require the existence of political parties?

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Dion's P3 model, like 5-seat STV, is actually pretty proportional. It would very likely lead to the end of one party governments and replace it with continuous coalition governments. Would you be happy with that?

Yes because the trade off is more qualified MPs that have their own support base so can more strongly represent the people of their community. To have the best and brightest of each party in parliament would change the balance of power.

Really good MPs would probably serve longer. Someone like Megan Leslie would be more secure and have more influence within the party because after a while she could run as an independent and win on her own reputation.

The option of choosing a rep feels like when I had the option to choose the Liberal leader. Right now I pay no attention at all to who my local MP is. I know who it is because Mulcair won but if the Liberal rep had won I doubt I would know her name.

If I was actually getting to choose a rep I would definitely look into their backgrounds and not just the reps of the party I prefer either. I'd be looking to see what their individual history is, if they have been involved in community causes, their profession.

I have said that if I lived in Linda McQuaig's riding I would have had to vote for her despite her being NDP and Trudeau being my preference for leader. It would give MPs that draw support to the party much more clout.

JKR wrote:

And why would you prefer Dion's P3 model over 5-seat STV that does not even require the existence of political parties?

STV doesn't require parties? My head is breaking.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
Dion's P3 model, like 5-seat STV, is actually pretty proportional. It would very likely lead to the end of one party governments and replace it with continuous coalition governments. Would you be happy with that?

Yes because the trade off is more qualified MPs that have their own support base so can more strongly represent the people of their community. To have the best and brightest of each party in parliament would change the balance of power.

Really good MPs would probably serve longer. Someone like Megan Leslie would be more secure and have more influence within the party because after a while she could run as an independent and win on her own reputation.

The option of choosing a rep feels like when I had the option to choose the Liberal leader. Right now I pay no attention at all to who my local MP is. I know who it is because Mulcair won but if the Liberal rep had won I doubt I would know her name.

If I was actually getting to choose a rep I would definitely look into their backgrounds and not just the reps of the party I prefer either. I'd be looking to see what their individual history is, if they have been involved in community causes, their profession.

I have said that if I lived in Linda McQuaig's riding I would have had to vote for her despite her being NDP and Trudeau being my preference for leader. It would give MPs that draw support to the party much more clout.

JKR wrote:

And why would you prefer Dion's P3 model over 5-seat STV that does not even require the existence of political parties?

STV doesn't require parties? My head is breaking.

I think PR-STV is the only proportional system that does not require political parties to be represented. That's why I think it is preferable over Dion's P3 system. Othersise PR-STV and Dion's system seem very similar. Five-seat STV would be a proportional system. Even 3-seat STV would be a vast improvement over what we have now even though it would be semi-proportional. One-seat STV is identical to instant runoff ranked voting. Five seat STV ridings would allow voters to pick and choose their favorite candidates from different parties and independent candidates. So a Liberal supporter could vote for candidates from other parties that they like, like Megan Leslie and Linda McQuaig, and still vote for Liberal candidates and independents too. STV is a great system but politicians generally don't like it as it forces politicians from the same party to compete against each other. So the all-party committee likely won't support it.

Policywonk

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
Dion's P3 model, like 5-seat STV, is actually pretty proportional. It would very likely lead to the end of one party governments and replace it with continuous coalition governments. Would you be happy with that?

Yes because the trade off is more qualified MPs that have their own support base so can more strongly represent the people of their community. To have the best and brightest of each party in parliament would change the balance of power.

Really good MPs would probably serve longer. Someone like Megan Leslie would be more secure and have more influence within the party because after a while she could run as an independent and win on her own reputation.

The option of choosing a rep feels like when I had the option to choose the Liberal leader. Right now I pay no attention at all to who my local MP is. I know who it is because Mulcair won but if the Liberal rep had won I doubt I would know her name.

If I was actually getting to choose a rep I would definitely look into their backgrounds and not just the reps of the party I prefer either. I'd be looking to see what their individual history is, if they have been involved in community causes, their profession.

I have said that if I lived in Linda McQuaig's riding I would have had to vote for her despite her being NDP and Trudeau being my preference for leader. It would give MPs that draw support to the party much more clout.

JKR wrote:

And why would you prefer Dion's P3 model over 5-seat STV that does not even require the existence of political parties?

STV doesn't require parties? My head is breaking.

Because it works just as well with independents, being essentially Alternative Voting with more than one successful candidate. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:

But isn't MMP the closest thing we currently have to a compromise? I think Conservatives and Liberals will be much more willing to support MMP-lite than either STV or Dion's P3 system. I think for people who are willing to give up on FPTP it will come down to the 2-round Plurality system, instant runoff voting, or MMP-lite. So the compromise in favour of proportionality will likely be MMP-lite. Personally I would choose 5-seat STV over MMP but I don't think the Conservatives and Liberals are about to go there. And the Greens and NDP are not going to be supporting STV or the P3 model either.

BTW, this post is a little absurd, is it not? We are expected to accept that NDP and Greens will oppose all forms of electoral reform except MMP. But we are supposed to consider what kind of compromises Conservatives are willing to make?

Cons oppose all forms of electoral reform. Period.

Liberals are divided 3 ways: FPTP, ranked ballots, and proportional voting (or semi-proportional like Stephane Dion.)

NDP: they stand to gain the most from any kind of ER; lose the most from FPTP. Not exactly the best time to be their own worst enemies. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

White Cat wrote:

First step in trying to understand what democracy means is taking everything you think you know about democracy and throwing it in the garbage. It demands critical thinking, or common sense, which most people are very capable of. 

Then the answer lies in informing the public but they might not agree with you. Some people see it like choosing a general contractor. You don't hire two and tell them to battle it out. You select one and expect them to carry out the job you hired them for. Under FPTP, even if the winning party does not have the majority of seats, we still hold that party responsible for all that happens unless they were blocked by other parties in which case the other parties get blamed or rewarded in the following election. Some people like that clarity. At the end of the night they want to know who they elected as Prime Minister and have clear expectations of what that win means. The thought of having to wait while the parties decide who will be PM and argue about the agenda feels more like the parties are gaining power at the expense of the people.

While Chretien didn't follow his platform and did make cuts he did get elected again so it seems Canadians were happy enough with his decisions while in office.

I'm sold on Dions P3 model but that doesn't mean FPTP has nothing at all going for it.

A general contractor on 40% of the vote? Could be someone the people want. Could be the very opposite.

In any case, it's good you did the research and changed your opinion on electoral reform after becoming more informed. It's too bad this is so rare among all the gum flappers in the social media. They tend to be bandwagon jumpers incapable of thinking for themselves, IMO. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Is this a bombshell or a WMD?:

Éric Grenier  wrote:

For all the political heat surrounding the issue of electoral reform in the House of Commons, this poll suggests that Canadians are largely satisfied with the FPTP system and not particularly interested in any of the alternative options on the table.

Seems like a referendum is inevitable now.

Trudeau is attempting to come to some kind of compromise but has absolutely no support from the other parties.

BTW, do most NDP and Green partisans live in their parent's basements? Given their penchant for unrealistic expectations, I can't see how they'd make it in our dog-eat-dog society. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

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White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:
White Cat wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

I'm surprised at how aggressively you are against the idea of a committee with all the parties proportionally represented, since you yourself favour proportional representation (STV, if I remember correctly).  In spite of your rant I still think it's an interesing idea.

I have to wonder if PR activists have any clue about what proportional representation actually means.

The alternative to giving a 40% minority party absolute power is for two or more parties to form a coalition that represents an actual majority founded on COMPROMISE.

Yet 'compromise' is not in the vocabulary of any of the PR zealots I have come across. So who knows what silly ideas they have about PR. They are certainly not founded on research on how countries around the world govern using PR systems.

So why not fill the committee with a bunch of uncompromising, grandstanding idiots chanting: "We want MMP! When do we want it? NOW!" That's what PR is all about, isn't it?

But isn't MMP the closest thing we currently have to a compromise? I think Conservatives and Liberals will be much more willing to support MMP-lite than either STV or Dion's P3 system. I think for people who are willing to give up on FPTP it will come down to the 2-round Plurality system, instant runoff voting, or MMP-lite. So the compromise in favour of proportionality will likely be MMP-lite. Personally I would choose 5-seat STV over MMP but I don't think the Conservatives and Liberals are about to go there. And the Greens and NDP are not going to be supporting STV or the P3 model either.

MMP is a pure PR system, like party-list. What compromise does it offer? Some directly-elected MPs instead of all party-list MPs? It might be considered a compromise if we had party-list PR.

But given the strong opposition to proportional voting in the country, any pure-PR system is the very opposite of compromise.

MMP-lite doesn't make much sense to me. How exactly do you partially top up seats given their wildly disproportional distribution? It's not a mechanism most Canadians would be able to wrap their heads around.

STV multi-member is the simplest way to expand our current system towards proportionality. It's our existing system, except there are more members per riding. Every MP is directly elected by voters.

Although I prefer STV, I wouldn't be stupid enough to oppose MMP. The goal is proportional voting, not FPTP if I can't get my way. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Policywonk wrote:

Pondering wrote:

STV doesn't require parties? My head is breaking.

Because it works just as well with independents, being essentially Alternative Voting with more than one successful candidate. 

Yes, STV is ranked ballot voting except instead of one candidate left standing (after instant elimination rounds,) there are many: 3 in a semi-proportional system; 5 or more fully-proportional.

Of course, AV/RBV/IRV can't be considered Single Transferable Vote because there's no mechanism to transfer party votes towards proportionality. That requires more than one member per riding.

I'd like to hear some wonkish reasons why MMP is superior to STV. The only thing I can see is "solidarity": PR supporters picked an arbitrary form of PR and believe their strongest play is to stick with it.

IMO, MMP-or-nothing is a bad play. It virtually guarantees nothing. Demanding proportional voting and framing electoral reform in a spectrum is the best tactic in getting the most out of Trudeau's ER initiative (as far as I can see.) 

Pondering

Part 1 of Dion's system is a five member riding (in most cases).

First part of the ballot ranks the parties with those below the threshold (I think 16.7) being knocked off with their votes being redistributed. (independents could also be listed)

Part 2 is choosing a candidate from your first choice party. Those could be ranked too but the way it is explained that part is FPTP. (this part wouldn't be needed for independents)

I watched a bunch of STV videos. It took quite a while to wrap my head around the people whose candidate wins gets excess votes redistributed. In the video they use a 3 member riding with five candidates. Under our system wouldn't each party theoretically have to run 5 candidates each in case they swept the riding? If not that at least 3 each. Times 4 parties if we include Bloc and Green in some ridings. People could concievably have to rank 12 candidates. They would probably rank all the candidates from their choice of party 1,2,3 then all the candidates from their second place party. It seems unnecessarily unwieldly and limiting.

Why would you prefer STV over Dion's system? It seems to accomplish almost the same thing only more elegantly by separating the party vote from the candidate vote.

One of the differences is that excess votes don't carry over. That could still be implemented in step 1 of the Dion ballot only it would be excess votes beyond multiples of 16.7. From watching the video it seems unnecessary but it wouldn't change the act of ranking the parties on the ballot. It would just be a different way of counting the votes. The other difference is that you don't get to rank candidates in a party that isn't your first choice.

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

Is this a bombshell or a WMD?:

Éric Grenier  wrote:

For all the political heat surrounding the issue of electoral reform in the House of Commons, this poll suggests that Canadians are largely satisfied with the FPTP system and not particularly interested in any of the alternative options on the table.

Seems like a referendum is inevitable now.

Trudeau is attempting to come to some kind of compromise but has absolutely no support from the other parties.

BTW, do most NDP and Green partisans live in their parent's basements? Given their penchant for unrealistic expectations, I can't see how they'd make it in our dog-eat-dog society. 

I don't think the poll is all that important at this point. We just had an election in which everyone is pretty satisfied with the outcome. While people may be satisfied with FPTP it isn't enthusiastically so. The poll cites different preferences ranking STV and other systems but most people do not know alternate systems that well if at all. They get the basic idea of seats assigned by proportion of popular vote but they just don't feel that strongly about it. If someone like me has had to study hard to figure it out and get comfortable I don't believe the people who only tune in during the election period are terribly aware of the alternatives and how they would work. The Fair Vote videos that show the ballot are important and so is settling on one system to offer.

I don't think the decision should be made in 18 months. I do think those of us who support electoral reform will need to pressure the parties to move forward and to debate the systems openly. I especially want to see colaboration on the part of the Liberals and the NDP. The more unified they are the more likely a referendum won't be necessary or if it is the more likely it will pass.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

White Cat wrote:

I'd like to hear some wonkish reasons why MMP is superior to STV. The only thing I can see is "solidarity": PR supporters picked an arbitrary form of PR and believe their strongest play is to stick with it.

In 2004 the Law Commission of Canada (abolished by Harper government in 2006) delivered a report on electoral reform, which recommended MMP. It is quite lengthy and detailed. See chapter 4 for their reasoning in coming to this conclusion.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Pondering wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Is this a bombshell or a WMD?:

Éric Grenier  wrote:

For all the political heat surrounding the issue of electoral reform in the House of Commons, this poll suggests that Canadians are largely satisfied with the FPTP system and not particularly interested in any of the alternative options on the table.

Seems like a referendum is inevitable now.

Trudeau is attempting to come to some kind of compromise but has absolutely no support from the other parties.

BTW, do most NDP and Green partisans live in their parent's basements? Given their penchant for unrealistic expectations, I can't see how they'd make it in our dog-eat-dog society. 

I don't think the poll is all that important at this point. We just had an election in which everyone is pretty satisfied with the outcome

61% voted against Trudeau. Pondering, in my view, your statement just made the case for PR. No more faux LPC majorities.

Pondering

Arthur Cramer wrote:
Pondering wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Is this a bombshell or a WMD?:

Éric Grenier  wrote:

For all the political heat surrounding the issue of electoral reform in the House of Commons, this poll suggests that Canadians are largely satisfied with the FPTP system and not particularly interested in any of the alternative options on the table.

Seems like a referendum is inevitable now.

Trudeau is attempting to come to some kind of compromise but has absolutely no support from the other parties.

BTW, do most NDP and Green partisans live in their parent's basements? Given their penchant for unrealistic expectations, I can't see how they'd make it in our dog-eat-dog society. 

I don't think the poll is all that important at this point. We just had an election in which everyone is pretty satisfied with the outcome

61% voted against Trudeau. Pondering, in my view, your statement just made the case for PR. No more faux LPC majorities.

My point is that the poll showing people satisfied with FPTP and supporting a referendum isn't that important because right now they are pretty happy with the outcome of the election and they aren't that aware of other systems. Support for changing the system could easily rise once the government is no longer in a honeymoon period and after the public becoming more informed about the alternatives.

You may not like it but Trudeau's popularity has risen since the election and is well over 60%. That influences satisfaction with the current system.

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Pondering wrote:

Arthur Cramer wrote:
Pondering wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Is this a bombshell or a WMD?:

Éric Grenier  wrote:

For all the political heat surrounding the issue of electoral reform in the House of Commons, this poll suggests that Canadians are largely satisfied with the FPTP system and not particularly interested in any of the alternative options on the table.

Seems like a referendum is inevitable now.

Trudeau is attempting to come to some kind of compromise but has absolutely no support from the other parties.

BTW, do most NDP and Green partisans live in their parent's basements? Given their penchant for unrealistic expectations, I can't see how they'd make it in our dog-eat-dog society. 

I don't think the poll is all that important at this point. We just had an election in which everyone is pretty satisfied with the outcome

61% voted against Trudeau. Pondering, in my view, your statement just made the case for PR. No more faux LPC majorities.

My point is that the poll showing people satisfied with FPTP and supporting a referendum isn't that important because right now they are pretty happy with the outcome of the election and they aren't that aware of other systems. Support for changing the system could easily rise once the government is no longer in a honeymoon period and after the public becoming more informed about the alternatives.

You may not like it but Trudeau's popularity has risen since the election and is well over 60%. That influences satisfaction with the current system.

It's risen because people don't care. He knows and he's using it to put through an agenda people don't want. How cynical he is! An Ur head pretty leader with nice hair and Chedhire Cat smile!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
61% voted against Trudeau.

I see this a lot, and I find it fascinating.

If I get some lunch at a restaurant, and I choose the club sandwich, does that mean I VOTED AGAINST the fish and chips and the chicken fingers?  Yes, I get that it surely means I didn't choose those, but did I vote AGAINST them?  Am I really trying to beat them down, or did I just choose the one I preferred more -- perhaps even only marginally more?

We dont "vote against" anyone in a Canadian election.  We only vote FOR.

JKR

White Cat wrote:

I'd like to hear some wonkish reasons why MMP is superior to STV. The only thing I can see is "solidarity": PR supporters picked an arbitrary form of PR and believe their strongest play is to stick with it.

In many ways MMP is closer to the current FPTP system than STV is. Most importantly, MMP preserves FPTP constituencies while STV requires disposing of FPTP constituencies. Like it or not, politicians from all the parties prefer having single-member constituencies over multi-member constituencies, and this is one reason MMP is generally preferred by politicians over STV and why a compromise solution by politicians will likely favor MMP over STV.

STV would also require increasing the size of current FPTP ridings to a much greater degree than MMP would. MMP would require increasing constituencies by 50% while STVwould require ridings that are 5times the size of current ridings! STV would require combining 5 of our current ridings into one single constituency! Most politicians will never agree to that be they Liberal, Conservative, NDP, BQ, or Green.

I don't think any federal politician in Canada prefers STV, so it will not be a likely compromise solution for the all-party committee. The only p.r. system supported in Canada by politicians is MMP. I also think many of our politicians, as a compromise, could support the two-round system and the supplementary vote, but of course these are non-p.r. systems.

takeitslowly

my thought is we are never going to get any democratic representation in canada because not enough canadians give a crap. the end. 

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
61% voted against Trudeau.

I see this a lot, and I find it fascinating.

If I get some lunch at a restaurant, and I choose the club sandwich, does that mean I VOTED AGAINST the fish and chips and the chicken fingers?  Yes, I get that it surely means I didn't choose those, but did I vote AGAINST them?  Am I really trying to beat them down, or did I just choose the one I preferred more -- perhaps even only marginally more?

We dont "vote against" anyone in a Canadian election.  We only vote FOR.

Restaurants allow each customer to purchase the item they want so thankfully the electoral system used by the restaurant industry is perfectly proportional. FairVote Canada would approve of how restaurants serve food to their customers.

On the other hand, if restaurants used FPTP to serve food they would have to take a tally of all the customers and serve the menu item that a plurality of the customers want. So let's say 7 customers in a restaurant choose pigs feet, 6 customers choose steak, 5 choose pizza, 4 choose cheeseburgers, 3 choose Caesar salad, 2 choose fried chicken, and 1 customer chooses a falafel pita. So in this scenerio under FPTP, every customer would have to eat pigs feet even if 3/4's of the customers want another item. FPTP is actually worse than New York's soup Nazi!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Restaurants allow each customer to purchase the item they want so thankfully the electoral system used by the restaurant industry is perfectly proportional.

It's still FPTP, but with a "riding" size of 1.

Pondering

So what is wrong with Dion's P-3 model? It seems extremely close to MMP in terms of creating a proportional system.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Restaurants allow each customer to purchase the item they want so thankfully the electoral system used by the restaurant industry is perfectly proportional.

It's still FPTP, but with a "riding" size of 1.

FPTP would be perfectly proportional if we had 36.5 million ridings in Canada, one for each citizen but we want to keep the size of the House of Commons to under 350 members, so we need a better electoral system for our multi-party politics.

Thankfully, every person who selects an item from a restaurant receives their chosen item but unfortunately most people who vote for a candidate in our multi-party FPTP elections don't end up receiving representation by the candidate they've selected. This is the basic problem with FPTP. Also unfortunately, the more candidates that contest an FPTP election, the greater the chance that a voter in the election will not be represented by the person they voted for. This is basically why there is a lot of momentum now to get rid of FPTP in Canada and the U.K. where they also have had a proliferation of parties in recent times doing relatively well in elections.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

So what is wrong with Dion's P-3 model? It seems extremely close to MMP in terms of creating a proportional system.

It would require ridings on average five times the size of our current ridings. Most politicians in Canada probably do not want to contest elections in huge ridings of almost 3/4 of a million people. That would be the size of P3 or STV ridings in metro areas in Canada like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary if we adopted the P3 system or STV.

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