Proportional Representation Part 2

587 posts / 0 new
Last post
JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

Yes there's always a chance some wild-eyed rightie will form a government, and proceed to try and wreck the joint, but that is a pretty small chance, and is just as likely to happen with a PR voting system.

I think a wild-eyed rightie did recently form a government. His name is Stephen Joseph Harper. Because of FPTP he was able to form a government with just 35% of the vote. Under PR he would have needed the backing of parties who represent almost half the voters to form a government.

And Stephen Harper was very much opposed to abortion on demand and medicare generally, but we still have both. Explain to me how it was that he was unable to implement the program he so clearly wanted.

He was unable to implement it because if he even tried to, the Conservative Party's level of support would have plummeted to under 25% and even under FPTP that low level of support would have marginalized his party for a generation. Under FPTP, the goal of the Conservative Party is to win around 35% of the votes and hope the Liberals and NDP both come in under 30%. The Conservatives count on FPTP vote splitting on the left to win elections. That's why they so desperately want to keep FPTP. If FPTP was replaced, the Conservatives would have to start appealing to at least half the voters to be able to form a government.

mark_alfred

Seems the prospect of PR is helping to line Con coffers.  https://ipolitics.ca/2016/07/12/conservatives-raising-cash-on-referendum...

mark_alfred

The Broadbent Institute presents a free webinar.  PR 101: All you need to know about electoral reform, on Wednesday, July 20, 201612:00 PM - 1:00 PM (Eastern Time). 

Quote:

PR 101 with political scientist David Moscrop is sure to help bust some myths out there about proportional representation. There’s a reason the majority of countries use a system of PR, and the webinar will walk you through why, just as the federal government ramps up consultations to change our voting system.

http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/pr_101

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Why do you think electoral reform is such a high priority for very many on the left?. Are we simply deluded?

Well, we all know that the NDP is the same as the Libs, and the Libs are the same as the Cons, and the Cons are the same as fascists, so in accordance with the transitive law of mathematics, they're all the same.

Who is it who says this, election after election?  The left or the right?

Rev Pesky

Gary Shaul wrote:

There is not one shred of evidence that PR system voting countries are any better governed than we are with FPTP. 

Actually, there is more than a shred of evidence. You could start here:

Fair Vote Canada: Why PR? A look at the evidece. 

Well,  bless their hearts for trying, but their paper, and the supporting documents fail to establsh the cause and effect relationship. In a similar vein, someone mentioned that PR electoral systems had fewer capital punishment regimes. Unfortunately, upon scrutiny, it turned out that many of those states had abolished capital punishment while they were still monarchies, and with very limited or non-existent elections.

To bring this to the Fair Vote paper, they try to link incarceration rates with PR or FPTP. But we have some evidence right in front of our eyes. The incarceration rate in Canada is 1/6 of what it is in the USA. Both have FPTP electoral systems, so how do we account for the huge difference in incarceration rates. Obviously there is something else at work besides the electoral system.

By the same token, incarceration rates in the Americas are generally higher than in other parts of the world. You could probable make a pretty good case that longitudinal position had something to do with incarceration rates. Then they are many countries with very low incarceration rates that have almost nothing in terms of electoral systems at all.

Another issue in the Fair Vote presentation is military spending, but let's not forget that the USA spends as much as the rest of the world together on military, and I doubt that has much to do with it's electoral system. On top of that, Germany and Japan in particular spend very little on military for the simple reason that they are prevented from doing so because of agreements signed after WW2.

Another element the Fair Vote article doesn't address is the fact that no two countries have the same PR system. According to them, PR systems encourage a particular type of behaviour, but don't break down from one system to the next.

The absoute best that one can say about their presentation is this: Some states exhibit characteristics that we generally view as progressive and have PR voting systems. Whether the voting system were a cause or a result of the progressive characteristics, or whether some different factor is involved, is unknown.

cco

Justifying electoral reform in terms of comparative policy outcomes has always seemed foolish and risky to me. The only relevant argument, in my eyes, is that PR produces a parliament that accurately reflects the votes of citizens. Maybe that leads to a swing left, maybe it leads to a swing right. Maybe it produces a smorgasbord of small parties fighting to assemble a coalition, or maybe it moderates the policies of large parties. There are as many possible outcomes as there are voters. I'm strongly in favour of MMP, but we shouldn't expect it to automatically produce a glorious new day policy-wise -- just to give voters a bit more leverage when parties abandon their principles.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

Yes there's always a chance some wild-eyed rightie will form a government, and proceed to try and wreck the joint, but that is a pretty small chance, and is just as likely to happen with a PR voting system.

I think a wild-eyed rightie did recently form a government. His name is Stephen Joseph Harper. Because of FPTP he was able to form a government with just 35% of the vote. Under PR he would have needed the backing of parties who represent almost half the voters to form a government.

And Stephen Harper was very much opposed to abortion on demand and medicare generally, but we still have both. Explain to me how it was that he was unable to implement the program he so clearly wanted.

He was unable to implement it because if he even tried to, the Conservative Party's level of support would have plummeted to under 25% and even under FPTP that low level of support would have marginalized his party for a generation. Under FPTP, the goal of the Conservative Party is to win around 35% of the votes and hope the Liberals and NDP both come in under 30%. The Conservatives count on FPTP vote splitting on the left to win elections. That's why they so desperately want to keep FPTP. If FPTP was replaced, the Conservatives would have to start appealing to at least half the voters to be able to form a government.

I think that is Pesky's point. No matter what the system there are limits on what the government can do even under FPTP and with a majority.

I find Dion's P3 system very attractive, it is proportional but addresses many of the objections to simplistic PR. I don't understand why it isn't more popular.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Why do you think electoral reform is such a high priority for very many on the left?. Are we simply deluded?

Well, we all know that the NDP is the same as the Libs, and the Libs are the same as the Cons, and the Cons are the same as fascists, so in accordance with the transitive law of mathematics, they're all the same.

Who is it who says this, election after election?  The left or the right?

Neither. Many people in the general public think politicians are all alike.

JKR

The all-party committee had a very interesting meeting today. Three experts on electoral reform spoke, Ken Carty, Brian Tanguay, and Nelson Wiseman.

http://tinyurl.com/hnwxoyz

JKR

Political scientists recommend against electoral reform referendum.

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/07/25/political-scientists-recommend-against-el...

Quote:

The Special Committee on Electoral Reform resumed its deliberations Monday after a two-week break, hearing from three political science professors who all opposed the option of a national referendum on electoral reform.

Though Ken Carty (professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia), Brian Tanguay (professor at Wilfred Laurier University), and Nelson Wiseman (professor at the University of Toronto) expressed different views on which electoral system is the best for Canada, they were in complete agreement on the politically charged question of whether a referendum on electoral reform should be held, expressing a consensus against a national plebiscite.

...

Carty, who served as the director of research for the B.C. Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, said the evidence from that referendum suggested a large majority of the people who cast ballots in that referendum knew nothing about the issue on which they were voting.

And that evidence from Ontario’s referendum suggests the same.

“You’re elected to make public policy, not to stick your finger in in the wind,” a more blunt Wiseman told MPs.

“I would not put the issue of an alternative voting system to a referendum. It’s unnecessary; it’s a waste of money; and it will almost certainly fail. You may as well recommend not changing the system and save Canadians the cost.”

In the committee earlier this month, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand estimated the price tag would be around $300 million.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I would not put the issue of an alternative voting system to a referendum. It’s unnecessary; it’s a waste of money; and it will almost certainly fail.

I'm sure he'd tell us how the money is chickenfeed, and the people's voice is crucial, were it not for that part I bolded there.

That's basically the only argument I've seen against referendums:  they might actually deliver the opposite of what someone wants.  I've even seen them criticized as "undemocratic" -- because (I guess) letting people choose what they want is somehow LESS democratic than just choosing for them.

And yes, I totally understand that uninformed dummies get to vote in referendums.  But those same uninformed dummies get to vote in the elections that give us the government that's somehow supposed to be wiser than all of us, and gift us us with their choice.  Joe the Dummy getting a vote isn't the opposite of democracy, it's the very spirit of it.

mmphosis

JKR wrote:

The all-party committee had a very interesting meeting today. Three experts on electoral reform spoke, Ken Carty, Brian Tanguay, and Nelson Wiseman.

http://tinyurl.com/hnwxoyz

Thanks for the link.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I would not put the issue of an alternative voting system to a referendum. It’s unnecessary; it’s a waste of money; and it will almost certainly fail.

I'm sure he'd tell us how the money is chickenfeed, and the people's voice is crucial, were it not for that part I bolded there.

That's basically the only argument I've seen against referendums:  they might actually deliver the opposite of what someone wants.  I've even seen them criticized as "undemocratic" -- because (I guess) letting people choose what they want is somehow LESS democratic than just choosing for them.

And yes, I totally understand that uninformed dummies get to vote in referendums.  But those same uninformed dummies get to vote in the elections that give us the government that's somehow supposed to be wiser than all of us, and gift us us with their choice.  Joe the Dummy getting a vote isn't the opposite of democracy, it's the very spirit of it.

Joe the dummy already got to vote in the FPTP election that established our current House of Commons. That's how our current system works. If we want it to be more democratic we'll have to get rid of FPTP.

mark_alfred

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2632049131/

A meeting of the special committee on electoral reform, live, right now.

Well, it's over.  Can't say I learnt much, but I start viewing rather late.

ETA:  I think it continues at 2PM today.  

It continues today:  [url]http://parlvu.parl.gc.ca/XRender/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20160727...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Joe the dummy already got to vote in the FPTP election that established our current House of Commons.

I'm pretty sure I said exactly that.

But given this, how is it more democratic if our "illegitimate" government, elected by an undemocratic system makes this choice for us, rather than a referendum?

Conversely, if this government "does what they were elected to do" and springs Ranked Ballot on us, is everyone who says this is the government's job going to stuff a sock in it?  Because if that happens I won't have the stomach to hear how "the people didn't have a voice" or "the government just chose the one that THEY wanted" or whatever.  If electoral reform really is up to them then let's all get out of their way and let them do their job.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Conversely, if this government "does what they were elected to do" and springs Ranked Ballot on us, is everyone who says this is the government's job going to stuff a sock in it?  Because if that happens I won't have the stomach to hear how "the people didn't have a voice" or "the government just chose the one that THEY wanted" or whatever.  If electoral reform really is up to them then let's all get out of their way and let them do their job.

I agree with this. Our only choice at this point is to accept graciously whatever the Trudeau government offers us (assuming that it is something other than no change, which I would howl about).

mark_alfred

The government itself doesn't have a mandate to "spring Ranked Ballot on us".  They were elected on a mandate to have 2015 be the last election done by FPTP via consultatation.  If ranked ballot results from that then so be it, but that's different from them alone springing ranked ballot upon us.  ETA:  Blaikie just asked (in the video of the meeting today) if the final recommendation should stem from the committee or from cabinet, to which the guy who was asked (not sure who it is, admittedly, but presumably some poli-sci expert) said that he imagined that cabinet would not have the sort of legitimacy that they're looking for; so, presumably, the decision will stem from the committee rather than from cabinet.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
They were elected on a mandate to have 2015 be the last election done by FPTP via consultatation.

So you're saying that 39.5% of the electorate should decide that we're going to have a new system?

If a majority government elected by 39.5% of the population is legitimate and representative enough to just go ahead and change our electoral system, then it's paradoxical to say that they need to in order to prevent illegitimate and unrepresentative majority governments.

mark_alfred

Whatever.  The whole argument of requiring referendums of the people for all important decisions of elected governments is bunk, in my opinion. 

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

Whatever.  The whole argument of requiring referendums of the people for all important decisions of elected governments is bunk, in my opinion. 

It's interesting how people who support FPTP say we need a referendum on this issue because it is a very important issue but they don't feel we need referendums on other issues that are even more important and much harder to change once they've been implemented.

I think it is obvious that pro-FPTP supporters know that FPTP is undemocratic. That's why their political parties don't use FPTP to elect the people who will represent their political parties in elections for the House of Commons. Instead of FPTP, these political parties use preferential ballots to select the people that run to be members of parliament in our winner-take-all system. If FPTP was democratic, people who support FPTP would use it to select the candidates running for election to the House of Commons for their own parties. I think clearly the Conservatives know FPTP is undemocratic. They support it for only one reason - it gives them an unfair advantage via vote splitting. They simply don't want to have to move to an electoral system where they will have to try to appeal to the majority of the voters. They are very happy having an electoral system that allows them to form government with just the support of a minority of voters even when the majority are against them.

So maybe we should have a referendum just between instant runoff voting, STV, and, MMP? Or maybe we should have a referendum on whether all important decisions should be decided by referendums. The Conservatives would be the last ones to support that referendum!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Whatever.  The whole argument of requiring referendums of the people for all important decisions of elected governments is bunk, in my opinion.

But we still need to know whether Canadians do or don't want a new electoral system, and a referendum seems a reasonable way to find out.  I don't think anyone's actually arguing that we need a referendum "for everything".

The problem of trying to use the results of last year's election to show that Canadians are on-board is that when we vote for an MP and their party, we're voting for a whole slate of different things, and it's unlikely that any voter values (or even agrees with) every one of them.

As an example, suppose the Liberals (and let's even say the NDP) promise that, if elected, they'll change the colour of stop signs from red to pink.  And of course all of the parties will be making dozens of other policy promises as well.

Can we say with confidence that, seeing as the Libs won, a majority want pink stop signs?  No, because a majority didn't vote for the Libs.

Can we add in the NDP support to make it a majority, since they too promised pink stop signs?  No, we still can't, because we have no idea whether NDP voters (or Lib voters) voted as they did BECAUSE of pink stop signs, or DESPITE them. 

If we want to be really thorough, we should note that there could be Conservative voters who support pink stop signs.  But how many?  If we're only looking at the fact that they voted for the party that didn't plan to change the stop signs we'd erroneously say "zero" but we know that wouldn't be the case.

If we really want to know what Canadians think about pink stop signs we need to ask them directly, uninfluenced by a hundred other questions about child care, foreign policy, deficit spending, pot legalization, etc.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Well, that is certainly a comprehensive argument in favour of referendums for everything. But I would suggest that such items as the repatriated constitution and Charter of Rights, NAFTA, and sending soldiers to a war are much more urgently in need of direct approval by Canadians than modest voting reforms.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Very well.  Let's symbolically make our first of many referendums a collective decision on whether to call more than one of them "referendums" or the more pretentious but probably more correct "referenda".

Meanwhile, though, the fact that we didn't hold referendums/referenda for other important things isn't really a logical argument against holding one for a change to our electoral system, and particularly if you believe that the others would have been a good idea.

JKR

Is there any mention of a requirement for referendums in the constitution?

I think it would make sense for the government to ask for a reference from the Supreme Court on electoral reform.

Personally I think that in such a case the Supreme Court should rule that FPTP is unconstitutional since it is not appropriate for eletions that have more than two candidates.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Is there any mention of a requirement for referendums in the constitution?

Ya, it's in the same paragraph that outlines our right to a PR electoral system.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Is there any mention of a requirement for referendums in the constitution?

Ya, it's in the same paragraph that outlines our right to a PR electoral system.

I'll take that as "no." So iI guess the government can go ahead without a referendum.

JKR

I think it would be a good idea for the government  to ask for a Supreme Court reference on electoral reform in order to clear things  up on the subject.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I'll take that as "no."

They're both a "no".

Quote:
So iI guess the government can go ahead without a referendum.

Based on the 39.5% who voted for that government?

Your commitment to representation is clearly very flexible.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I'll take that as "no."

They're both a "no".

Quote:
So iI guess the government can go ahead without a referendum.

Based on the 39.5% who voted for that government?

Your commitment to representation is clearly very flexible.

Based on our FPTP form of government.

I'd be flexible enough to support a more democratic form of government but the supporters of FPTP don't seem to want to go there. I think if we want to move to a system that respects majority opinion it should go beyond one referendum to keep minority rule.

mark_alfred

I think we should have a referendum on whether to bring back capital punishment first.  Apparently the government failed to properly consult the population via a referendum when they decided to eliminate the death penalty back in 1976.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Don't be silly, mark_alfred.  Our government is empowered by the will of a 39.5% majority, and can do as they wish.  No further consultation required until 2019.

mark_alfred

Two different things.  Consultation is required.  Referendums are not. 

Quote:
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906) (devil)
REFERENDUM, n.  A law for submission of proposed legislation to a popular vote to learn the nonsensus of public opinion.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

So they'll be coming around to our houses for a quick chat?

I'd better go tidy up.

Rev Pesky

Near as I can figure by reading the various PR proponents is that they don't care whether the majority wants a change in the voting system. And they're clearly not in favour of finding out.

mark_alfred

Quote:

So they'll be coming around to our houses for a quick chat?

I'd better go tidy up.

No need.  They're hosting. You can request to appear or submit a brief. 

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=9...

Quote:

Canadians who choose to submit a brief to the Committee must meet the following criteria/conditions:

  • only one (1) brief can be submitted per person and per organisation;
  • the deadline for the submission of briefs is 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, October 7, 2016;
  • briefs must not exceed 3,000 words (including the summary page and footnotes);
  • briefs that are longer than 1,500 words must be accompanied by a summary; and,
  • it is recommended that within the brief the author present a list of recommendations and their relationship with the principles set out in the motion adopted by the House of Commons on Tuesday, June 7, 2016, outlining the mandate of the Committee.

MegB

Continued here.

Pages

Topic locked