Proportional Representation Part 2

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Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
... 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...

That doesn't mean they don't have representation. As has been shown many times in the past, MP's who thought they could safely ignore someone because they didn't vote for them found to their dismay that being an MP means having to represent your constituents.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
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.

I don't understand how you reach your conclusion on that. STV almost won in BC.

Why wouldn't MPs want to contest in larger ridings? The average riding now is about 100K. That would increase to an average of 500K.

- They are no less likely to win a seat because the same number of seats is available.

- The more individually important MPs are more likely to win because they are competing for one of 5 seats not just one seat. Even if their leader doesn't pull off a win they personally are more likely to win a seat instead of some nobody who wins a seat based on the leader. Many of the seats won were won by Trudeau not by the individual MPs.

- The MP is higher profile, more responsible for having won their seat, therefore would have more clout within the party.

Under MMP I have two votes but if I wanted Trudeau to win I would give both votes to the Liberals. Voting for the Liberals as my "party vote" then giving my other vote to an MP from a different party would undermine my vote for the Liberals and even if the Liberals won I would be left without a Liberal MP. MMP gives parties even more clout because the MPs chosen from the list are completely beholden to their respective parties not the people who voted for them.

With P3 I not only get to vote for the party I want, but I also get to choose which MP I prefer.

I have often said I would have voted for McQuaig against Freeland. That would be even more likely under P3. In a P3 system I would assume that the Liberals are going to win a seat or two anyway which would elect Freeland. I could then vote for McQuaig because majorities would be unlikely anyway and voting for McQuaig would send a clear message about wanting progressive policies.

Great MPs would be more likely to win so people like Megan Leslie would most likely be assured of a seat regardless of the popularity of the leader of the party. They would have more clout within the party because if they went independent they would have a better chance of winning.

Individually MPs would represent more of the party's supporters so would have more clout within the party. If someone like Megan Leslie went independent the party would have to fear that she would bring her supporters with her. Same goes for MPs of other parties.

As a voter, after the election, I would have my pick of 5 MPs to approach with my issue.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Why wouldn't MP's want to contest in larger ridings?

One reason is that MP's generally don't like the idea of being pitted directly against MP's and politicians from their own party in elections. In the multi-member districts of STV and P3, politicians from the same party would have to compete against each other in general elections. This is also why politicians prefer closed lists over open lists. All the national versions of MMP have closed lists.

Personally, my favourite electoral system is STV with five or more member constituencies. But if I was a politician running for election I would probably prefer running in a safe riding in an FPTP election. The MP's on the all-party electoral reform committee will likely be made up of a lot of people who represent safe ridings so it might not be surprising if they don't relish changing to an electoral system where they would suddenly have to face competition from members of their own party.

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I think STV would be a good transition from FPTP to full PR. STV is not perfect, but you would get better results and you would get the people into discussing different systems. ER is shrugged off by many people because it is a headache for some and too boring for others.

JKR

montrealer58 wrote:

I think STV would be a good transition from FPTP to full PR. STV is not perfect, but you would get better results and you would get the people into discussing different systems. ER is shrugged off by many people because it is a headache for some and too boring for others.

STV is fully proportional when it has ridings that have more than 4 members.

sherpa-finn

It looks like the Every Voter Counts coalition (unions, progressive orgs, assorted cross-party figures) is now fully up and running in preparation for the imminent parliamentary debate on changing our electoral system.

 http://everyvotercounts.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/EveryVoterCountsCanada/

Twitter: @VoterEquality

 

mark_alfred

Thanks for the info sherpa-finn!  That's great.

mark_alfred

From the everyvotercounts.ca's faq:

Quote:
What about a ranked or preferential ballot?

A ranked ballot is not a voting system - it is a feature that can be part of a majoritarian “winner-take-all” system or of a proportional voting system. Using a ranked ballot in single member ridings, such as those we have today, is a variation of first-past-the-post. It would continue to waste about half of votes cast, produce distorted overall results (false majorities), and replicate many of the problems experienced under our current system. A ranked ballot can also be built into almost any proportional system, such as Single Transferable Vote or Mixed Member Proportional.

mark_alfred

Harper's former chief of staff, Guy Gioro, pushes for proportional representation.  link Good to see some Cons getting on board.  It's the fair system for everyone.  He's a member of the new Every Voter Counts Alliance.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:

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.

Interesting read.

Seems they favor MMP because it would be the easiest way to balance out disparities in representation among women, ethnic groups and First Nations through party-list appointments.

That's the best argument I've heard for MMP so far. Appears relevant given Trudeau's recent cabinet appointments "because it's 2015." That's a line MMP supporters could throw in his face.

But the ideal solution is not always the practical solution. The environment lawyers had in writing this report will be very different from the one inside the ER committee, which will not be on a truth-seeking mission.

It should be noted that if a semi-proportional system like 3-member STV is chosen, it can be upgraded at later time with party-list seats. If this process fails, it will likely be upgraded with nothing: ER opponents across the corporate news media will claim the issue was settled once and for all back when Trudeau was in power. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

BTW, this report has some interesting things in it.

For one, PR supporters often denigrate FPTP and AV/RBV/IRV as "majoritarian" systems. I've always wondered what on Earth they were talking about, because it didn't make any sense.

This report clears this up: AV and Two Round are defined as majoritarian systems because they require that representatives are elected with a majority of votes. FPTP is not defined as a majoritarian system. It, by contrast, is a plurality system.

The report also refers to FPTP alone as a "winner take all" system, which doesn't make any sense to apply to AV.

(Not that any PR true-believer who reads what the Law Commission report says on the matter — a report they often cite — will stop calling FPTP and AV "majoritarian winner-take-all" systems.) 

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

From the everyvotercounts.ca's faq:

Quote:
What about a ranked or preferential ballot?

A ranked ballot is not a voting system - it is a feature that can be part of a majoritarian “winner-take-all” system or of a proportional voting system. Using a ranked ballot in single member ridings, such as those we have today, is a variation of first-past-the-post. It would continue to waste about half of votes cast, produce distorted overall results (false majorities), and replicate many of the problems experienced under our current system. A ranked ballot can also be built into almost any proportional system, such as Single Transferable Vote or Mixed Member Proportional.

Just what the ER movement needs: another group of politicking ignoramuses who don't know what they're talking about.

Do these people really think they are going to bully an ER committee largely hostile to MMP and proportional voting with foolishness? Or perhaps they believe they are deceiving Canadians for their own good?

Here's a bullshit-free take on ranked ballot voting:

The Law Commission of Canada wrote:

An alternative vote system is used to elect representatives to Australia's lower house, and was used at one time in British Columbia and in rural ridings in Alberta and Manitoba. It has a number of strengths.

• It is simple to use: the ballot is relatively uncomplicated.

• It fosters fairness since the winning candidate enjoys broad support.

• It retains the direct link between voter and representative (geographic representation).

• It encourages political moderation, since parties must seek the second preferences of voters who support other parties. They must, therefore, make "broadly-based, centrist appeals to all interests, and not focus on narrower sectarian or extremist issues."

Among its disadvantages, it can be highly disproportional, although not as disproportional as most first-past-the-post or two round systems. As well, there are still disregarded votes in this system. For example, many observers are concerned about the fact that the eventual winner of an alternative vote election is "likely to be pushed over the 50 percent line by the redistributed votes of the bottom ranked candidate. Leading parties may be encouraged to pander to the supporters of small parties, even if their views tend to be foolish or repressive." In this respect, the second-choice votes of the rest of the parties are "wasted." In light of current concerns, the alternative vote system is not sufficiently proportional to constitute a viable alternative to the first-past-the-post system.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

White Cat wrote:

But the ideal solution is not always the practical solution. The environment lawyers had in writing this report will be very different from the one inside the ER committee, which will not be on a truth-seeking mission.

It should be noted that if a semi-proportional system like 3-member STV is chosen, it can be upgraded at later time with party-list seats. If this process fails, it will likely be upgraded with nothing: ER opponents across the corporate news media will claim the issue was settled once and for all back when Trudeau was in power. 

I agree with this. Any progress is better than no progress. I fear that a failure to make any change at all this time will push the question well beyond the lifetime of a 68 year old like me.

White Cat White Cat's picture

BTW, for anyone living in Ontario: just imagine the freedom of having even ranked ballot voting (AV.)

Right now we have an on-the-take Liberal premier who privatized the electricity system for the sole purpose of lining her pockets with post-public-service revolving-door largess.

This virtually ensures that a 40% minority of conservative voters will put the PCs back in power for a decade when the Liberals are rightfully destroyed in 2018.

Under "winner-take-all majoritarian" AV, however, conservative voters would need a 50% majority to get a majority government. And progressive voters absolutely disgusted with the ON Liberals could safely vote #1 NDP, #2 Liberal to allow the NDP to form the government as an alternative.

Funny how PC premier Mike Harris gave "common sense" a bad name. Now it seems if you want to be a progressive you have to fill your head with foolishness. Thinking for yourself is "populist". 

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

BTW, for anyone living in Ontario: just imagine the freedom of having even ranked ballot voting (AV.)

Right now we have an on-the-take Liberal premier who privatized the electricity system for the sole purpose of lining her pockets with post-public-service revolving-door largess.

This virtually ensures that a 40% minority of conservative voters will put the PCs back in power for a decade when the Liberals are rightfully destroyed in 2018.

Under "winner-take-all majoritarian" AV, however, conservative voters would need a 50% majority to get a majority government. And progressive voters absolutely disgusted with the ON Liberals could safely vote #1 NDP, #2 Liberal to allow the NDP to form the government as an alternative.

Funny how PC premier Mike Harris gave "common sense" a bad name. Now it seems if you want to be a progressive you have to fill your head with foolishness. Thinking for yourself is "populist". 

I don't know much about Ontario politics but I can't understand why the NDP can't beat them. The Liberal party of Ontario seems hugely inept and at least semi-criminal from the little I have heard.

mark_alfred

Wynne and Trudeau are very strong allies and each ran similarly themed campaigns.

mark_alfred

Interview on Rabble with Elizabeth May:

Elizabeth May wrote:
The Green Party has remained relatively agnostic with respect to what form of proportional representation (PR) we would want, but we want proportional representation.

If you look at where the Liberals have the legitimacy to make this change without having a referendum, it's not just from those who voted Liberal (in the last election), which was 39.5 per cent, it is also those who voted New Democrat (19.7 per cent) and Green (3.5 per cent) which totals 63 per cent of the popular vote. All these votes were cast for candidates whose parties favoured getting rid of first-past-the-post.  Beyond that, if you want to count on the NDP and Green votes for legitimacy, then the Liberals have to adopt proportional representation. 

First-past-the-post is a majoritarian system -- the majority, riding-by-riding wins, and all the other votes don't count. Preferential or ranked ballots are also a form of majoritarian voting -- as soon as you have reached a majority the rest of the votes don't count. So, if you are trying to claim that there is a legitimacy to move to a new voting system without having a referendum, then in my view it has to be a form of proportional representation.

We know that Justin Trudeau doesn't like PR; he prefers a preferential ballot system, which most of us who know about electoral reform see as being (inadequate), and which would entrench Liberal power for a very long time. So having proportional representation is fundamental.

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Interview on Rabble with Elizabeth May:

Elizabeth May wrote:
The Green Party has remained relatively agnostic with respect to what form of proportional representation (PR) we would want, but we want proportional representation.

If you look at where the Liberals have the legitimacy to make this change without having a referendum, it's not just from those who voted Liberal (in the last election), which was 39.5 per cent, it is also those who voted New Democrat (19.7 per cent) and Green (3.5 per cent) which totals 63 per cent of the popular vote. All these votes were cast for candidates whose parties favoured getting rid of first-past-the-post.  Beyond that, if you want to count on the NDP and Green votes for legitimacy, then the Liberals have to adopt proportional representation. 

First-past-the-post is a majoritarian system -- the majority, riding-by-riding wins, and all the other votes don't count. Preferential or ranked ballots are also a form of majoritarian voting -- as soon as you have reached a majority the rest of the votes don't count. So, if you are trying to claim that there is a legitimacy to move to a new voting system without having a referendum, then in my view it has to be a form of proportional representation.

We know that Justin Trudeau doesn't like PR; he prefers a preferential ballot system, which most of us who know about electoral reform see as being (inadequate), and which would entrench Liberal power for a very long time. So having proportional representation is fundamental.

This demonstrates how Trudeau's electoral reform initiative is doomed. No opposition party is willing to work with the Liberals to get something done. All they do is play politics, spew ignorance and take uncompromising positions.

So now everything boils down to a referendum. Of course, to get a fair referendum we must take all options off the table besides MMP, because they would put the Liberals in power perpetually according to the Greens, Dippers and Cons.

So another MMP referendum it is. Given 70% of Canadians support MMP, according to Fair Vote Canada, victory is assured!

Congratulations! Canada is now certain to become a democracy and it's all thanks to Elizabeth May, Tom Mulcair and Rona Ambrose!

montrealer58 montrealer58's picture

I think it is scandalous there has not been a serious discussion of what measures toward a fairer vote could be taken by a simple Act of Parliament. Making this a referendum issue (when the original system was imposed without referendum) is vile. 

It will take time to get from here to what most of would think would be preferable. Why would we need a referendum to require a winning candidate gets 50% of the vote? We could either use a preferential ballot or have another ballot as in France.

Cleverer and cleverer ways to pick between crooks and fascists.

mark_alfred

E. May gave a cogent rationale against a referendum, actually, if you read the interview.

mark_alfred

Recent exchange in the House (for what it's worth):

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP) wrote:
Mr. Speaker, the former chief of staff of the outgoing Conservative prime minister, the former clerk of the Privy Council, unions, and student groups are urging the government to adopt a new proportional representation system.    

The Prime Minister said that the October 2015 election would be the last one under the existing system, yet nothing has been done since then. The NDP suggested that we create a committee that would include all the parties represented by a member elected in the last election.    

Will the minister accept our suggestion so that we can finally move forward without partisanship?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.) wrote:
Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see an emerging consensus on this issue where even our Conservative colleagues agree that the status quo must end.    

We look forward to engaging in a meaningful conversation with Canadians that will ensure that all voices are heard.

link

swallow swallow's picture

White Cat wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Interview on Rabble with Elizabeth May:

Elizabeth May wrote:
The Green Party has remained relatively agnostic with respect to what form of proportional representation (PR) we would want, but we want proportional representation.

If you look at where the Liberals have the legitimacy to make this change without having a referendum, it's not just from those who voted Liberal (in the last election), which was 39.5 per cent, it is also those who voted New Democrat (19.7 per cent) and Green (3.5 per cent) which totals 63 per cent of the popular vote. All these votes were cast for candidates whose parties favoured getting rid of first-past-the-post.  Beyond that, if you want to count on the NDP and Green votes for legitimacy, then the Liberals have to adopt proportional representation. 

First-past-the-post is a majoritarian system -- the majority, riding-by-riding wins, and all the other votes don't count. Preferential or ranked ballots are also a form of majoritarian voting -- as soon as you have reached a majority the rest of the votes don't count. So, if you are trying to claim that there is a legitimacy to move to a new voting system without having a referendum, then in my view it has to be a form of proportional representation.

We know that Justin Trudeau doesn't like PR; he prefers a preferential ballot system, which most of us who know about electoral reform see as being (inadequate), and which would entrench Liberal power for a very long time. So having proportional representation is fundamental.

This demonstrates how Trudeau's electoral reform initiative is doomed. No opposition party is willing to work with the Liberals to get something done. All they do is play politics, spew ignorance and take uncompromising positions.

So now everything boils down to a referendum. Of course, to get a fair referendum we must take all options off the table besides MMP, because they would put the Liberals in power perpetually according to the Greens, Dippers and Cons.

So another MMP referendum it is. Given 70% of Canadians support MMP, according to Fair Vote Canada, victory is assured!

Congratulations! Canada is now certain to become a democracy and it's all thanks to Elizabeth May, Tom Mulcair and Rona Ambrose!

That's quite a take-away from May's interview. She is the leader of a political party, advocating for her preferred system. As she should. 

If Trudeau proposes something else, and she opposes it - well, then, maybe she is wrecking everything. But for now, she is promoting what she believes in. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's her job. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

montrealer58 wrote:

I think it is scandalous there has not been a serious discussion of what measures toward a fairer vote could be taken by a simple Act of Parliament. Making this a referendum issue (when the original system was imposed without referendum) is vile. 

It will take time to get from here to what most of would think would be preferable. Why would we need a referendum to require a winning candidate gets 50% of the vote? We could either use a preferential ballot or have another ballot as in France.

Cleverer and cleverer ways to pick between crooks and fascists.

Any kind of electoral reform will end the crook/fascist neoliberal tag team that has plagued the country the past 30 years.

(Anyone notice that any right-wing policy the Cons could never legislate, the Liberals bring in? And any policy the Liberals would never legislate, the Cons make happen? They have the perfect racket going: except for the fact that 3 decades of big bad businessmen looting the North American economy has put civilization on the verge of collapse. Guess they haven't figured out that getting paid to let barbarians rape and pillage, and having peace and prosperity, are mutually exclusive options.) 

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

E. May gave a cogent rationale against a referendum, actually, if you read the interview.

She said if the Liberals don't legislate a fully proportional system, they don't have the legitimacy to act without a referendum.

Of course, if the Liberals were to legislate a full PR system, they wouldn't have the legitimacy of elected Liberal MPs who have different positions on electoral reform: from FPTP, to ranked ballots, to semi-PR to full-PR. Trudeau would have to whip the vote.

What's the real rationale for not holding a referendum? The people would likely vote against it like they did 4 other referendums. (Well 3 others. The first one did get democratic support: 58% for BC STV in 2005. If only we lived in a democracy!)

Funny how PR ideologues are Ok forcing their will on others, but are utterly opposed to any kind of compromise. It's all or nothing; now or never. One doesn't have to be the Amazing Kreskin to see how that's going to play out. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

swallow wrote:

White Cat wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Interview on Rabble with Elizabeth May:

Elizabeth May wrote:
The Green Party has remained relatively agnostic with respect to what form of proportional representation (PR) we would want, but we want proportional representation.

If you look at where the Liberals have the legitimacy to make this change without having a referendum, it's not just from those who voted Liberal (in the last election), which was 39.5 per cent, it is also those who voted New Democrat (19.7 per cent) and Green (3.5 per cent) which totals 63 per cent of the popular vote. All these votes were cast for candidates whose parties favoured getting rid of first-past-the-post.  Beyond that, if you want to count on the NDP and Green votes for legitimacy, then the Liberals have to adopt proportional representation. 

First-past-the-post is a majoritarian system -- the majority, riding-by-riding wins, and all the other votes don't count. Preferential or ranked ballots are also a form of majoritarian voting -- as soon as you have reached a majority the rest of the votes don't count. So, if you are trying to claim that there is a legitimacy to move to a new voting system without having a referendum, then in my view it has to be a form of proportional representation.

We know that Justin Trudeau doesn't like PR; he prefers a preferential ballot system, which most of us who know about electoral reform see as being (inadequate), and which would entrench Liberal power for a very long time. So having proportional representation is fundamental.

This demonstrates how Trudeau's electoral reform initiative is doomed. No opposition party is willing to work with the Liberals to get something done. All they do is play politics, spew ignorance and take uncompromising positions.

So now everything boils down to a referendum. Of course, to get a fair referendum we must take all options off the table besides MMP, because they would put the Liberals in power perpetually according to the Greens, Dippers and Cons.

So another MMP referendum it is. Given 70% of Canadians support MMP, according to Fair Vote Canada, victory is assured!

Congratulations! Canada is now certain to become a democracy and it's all thanks to Elizabeth May, Tom Mulcair and Rona Ambrose!

That's quite a take-away from May's interview. She is the leader of a political party, advocating for her preferred system. As she should. 

If Trudeau proposes something else, and she opposes it - well, then, maybe she is wrecking everything. But for now, she is promoting what she believes in. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it's her job. 

Her position is that if Trudeau doesn't adopt proportional representation he doesn't have legitimacy in changing the voting system without a referendum. I don't see a lot of wiggle room built into that position.

She's also spouting ignorance and misinformation about ranked ballot voting.

For one, her majoritarian reference is nonsensical. If one reads the Wikipedia article it refers to an early 19th-century voting system: "Nowadays, at-large majoritarian representation is no longer used for national elections."

The Law Commission of Canada in its electoral reform report defines "majoritarian" as single-member-riding elected by a majority of votes: ranked ballots and two round. "Winner take all" FPTP is, by contrast, single-member-riding plurality.

It's also ridiculous to suggest that ranked ballots would "entrench Liberal power for a very long time." Notice that the BC and ON Liberals have been in power for a very long time after killing electoral reform with designed-to-fail referendums.

Also notice that both PR and FPTP zealots are vehemently opposed to ranked ballot voting and both use the same rhetoric. The latter are establishment political sharks polarizing the debate to ensure the status quo. The former are political guppies who don't know what they're doing. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

BTW, I don't buy the position that a party owns all the people who voted for it.

If Canada was a democracy, I would've voted NDP in the last election. (I live in David Christopherson's riding. Have a great deal of respect for him.) But I would be Ok with even ranked ballot voting. (It would be enough to make Canada a democracy: defined by a majority of voters being represented in government.)

So I don't care what partisans think about electoral reform. I care what Canadians think about electoral reform. If Canadians would rather ease into it than jump right in with a fully proportional voting system, then that's how it should be.

If Canadians are in the streets chanting: "We want MMP! When do we want it? NOW!" I'll jump on the bandwagon for sure.

In short, getting anything done is fundamental. Blowing this opportunity will kill ER for good. 

swallow swallow's picture

Oh, I disagree with May and agree with you on that part, sure. It just seems appropriate enough that she puts forth her views. As with all her views, they are far from perfect. 

mark_alfred

A bit of thread drift here, but this is loosely related to electoral reform.  The following is an article on how it would be a good idea to just get rid of the Senate now.

Quote:

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised, he has appointed an “Independent Advisory Board” to recommend candidates to fill 22 Senate vacancies.

[But] Unless senators are convicted of a crime, or resign on their own, they retain a sinecure until age 75. This, not surprisingly, can breed a certain sense of entitlement, especially when it comes to public funds.

When Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin were appointed, no one would have predicted that these eminent Canadians would find themselves in the trouble they do today. Ditto Raymond Lavigne, or Mac Harb, or Colin Kenny, or Don Meredith. They all had solid reputations and successful careers. They would likely have passed muster with any committee.

Trudeau has chosen the committee route because he has to do something about the Senate, and real change, such as abolition, faces serious constitutional hurdles. But at the same time, the Prime Minister has promised electoral reform, ostensibly to improve Canadian democracy. So why leave the Senate out of the equation? Why make all this fuss about jettisoning the first-past-the-post system, and yet leave an unaccountable, unelected body in place, one that costs taxpayers $90 million a year?

If there is a leader who could make the case to the provinces, it would be Trudeau. He knows their governments want increased federal support for a host of programs. Since he’s prepared to hand it over, why not get something in return? Is a Senate, appointed, elected, or other, really necessary in 2016? A unicameral legislative system would provide just as good, or better, government to Canada. In the rest of the world, countries such as New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, South Korea, Hungary — indeed, the majority of countries — have unicameral legislatures.

Forget elites recommending elites. Abolishing the Senate would revive Canadians’ faith in democracy and political ethics. It is time that our legislators served at the pleasure of the people, not their own.

Rev Pesky

A real case of PR-STV:

Ireland's divided parliament

Quote:
Ireland’s election has produced a parliament full of feuding factions and no obvious road to a majority government, spurring lawmakers to warn Sunday that the country could face a protracted political deadlock followed by a second election.

...“There’s a sense of bewilderment, first of all. We’re a long way from sitting down together and talking about what our next options are,” said Regina Doherty, a Fine Gael lawmaker for Meath, northwest of Dublin.

...While government collapses and grueling coalition negotiations are par for the course in many parts of Europe – Spain has gone the past two months without a government deal; Belgium spent much of 2014 without one, too – this would be highly unusual in Ireland.

...Ireland has not suffered back-to-back elections since 1982, but that spectre loomed. Finance Minister Michael Noonan of Fine Gael, speaking from an election centre in his native Limerick, said: “We may all be back here again very shortly.”

...Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said his party has told grass-roots activists to prepare for a second vote in 2016.

“We have put our people on a continued election standby,” said Adams,...“We said to our people: We don’t know how this is going to turn out. Stay on alert. Take your posters down and save them. They could be going up again very soon.”

As the article points out, confused, and confusing, election outcomes are standard issue in PR systems.

What could very well happen is a group of smaller parties unite, and present themselves to one of the leading parties as a route to a majority government. But then the system that is supposed to provide real democracy, instead provides a very small percentage of votes with the power to decide who governs, while another party that has near the same number of votes as the other large party, is shut out of governmemt. And here I thought that is what PR was supposed to prevent...

 

mark_alfred

Fair Vote Canada and others have been doing some very good work.  On Friday February 26, 2016, a number of MPs of all political strips presented petitions to the House of Commons in favour of proportional representation.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

As the article points out, confused, and confusing, election outcomes are standard issue in PR systems.

What could very well happen is a group of smaller parties unite, and present themselves to one of the leading parties as a route to a majority government. But then the system that is supposed to provide real democracy, instead provides a very small percentage of votes with the power to decide who governs, while another party that has near the same number of votes as the other large party, is shut out of governmemt. And here I thought that is what PR was supposed to prevent...

This isn't an argument against PR, it is an argument against representative democracy. Perhaps we should just elect a dictator once every decade or so, using multiple rounds or ranked ballot. That would be a very stable system. But not, in my opinion, a very democratic one. In fact, our current Canadian system, when it produces the stable majority governments that people like you value so highly, comes pretty close to the elected dictator model. Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

mark_alfred

Michael Moriarity wrote:
Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

Absolutely.  There's some comments by a few voters on an article (link) about the Irish election that shows people are engaged.  It's good stuff.

Rev Pesky

Michael Moriarity wrote:
..This isn't an argument against PR, it is an argument against representative democracy. Perhaps we should just elect a dictator once every decade or so, using multiple rounds or ranked ballot. That would be a very stable system. But not, in my opinion, a very democratic one. In fact, our current Canadian system, when it produces the stable majority governments that people like you value so highly, comes pretty close to the elected dictator model. Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

Perhaps you should address the reality of PR, the part about a very small percentage of the vote becoming the arbiters of which party will govern. You might also address the fact that PR systems are much more likely to produce no government at all when times are most difficult. While you're at it, you might address the fact that PR systems may require another election, as could happen in Ireleand. Another election, I'll remind you, that may not produce any more of a result than the current election.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:
Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

Absolutely.  There's some comments by a few voters on an article (link) about the Irish election that shows people are engaged.  It's good stuff.

Yeah, having engaged people is great. Well, people are engaged in Syria as well, so I'll suggest the engagement by itself is not necessarily a worthwhile goal.

However, I will grant that facile answers to the problems caused by PR voting systems is the norm.

mark_alfred

"facile answers"?  "people are engaged in Syria as well"?  So PR will turn Canada into Syria?  Seems hyperbolic answers are a common tactic of those who oppose giving commoners a system where their votes are more accurately expressed in election totals (IE, closer to every vote counting toward the result).  And historically that's always been the case when the subject of commoners being given a better means of participating in the political system was brought up and debated.

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

As the article points out, confused, and confusing, election outcomes are standard issue in PR systems.

What could very well happen is a group of smaller parties unite, and present themselves to one of the leading parties as a route to a majority government. But then the system that is supposed to provide real democracy, instead provides a very small percentage of votes with the power to decide who governs, while another party that has near the same number of votes as the other large party, is shut out of governmemt. And here I thought that is what PR was supposed to prevent...

This isn't an argument against PR, it is an argument against representative democracy. Perhaps we should just elect a dictator once every decade or so, using multiple rounds or ranked ballot. That would be a very stable system. But not, in my opinion, a very democratic one. In fact, our current Canadian system, when it produces the stable majority governments that people like you value so highly, comes pretty close to the elected dictator model. Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

If that is what the majority want then it is not a dictatorship. There is no such thing as an elected dictator unless the person elected suspends future elections. If the majority want a more stable system and get it, that is democracy. PR still excludes people from government as it only takes 50% to form it. So, 49% of the population can still end up unrepresented by your logic. 

There are many more aspects of democracy that could empower people a lot more than PR.

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:
..This isn't an argument against PR, it is an argument against representative democracy. Perhaps we should just elect a dictator once every decade or so, using multiple rounds or ranked ballot. That would be a very stable system. But not, in my opinion, a very democratic one. In fact, our current Canadian system, when it produces the stable majority governments that people like you value so highly, comes pretty close to the elected dictator model. Actual democracy is definitely more messy, but some of us believe that it's worth the bother.

Perhaps you should address the reality of PR, the part about a very small percentage of the vote becoming the arbiters of which party will govern. You might also address the fact that PR systems are much more likely to produce no government at all when times are most difficult. While you're at it, you might address the fact that PR systems may require another election, as could happen in Ireleand. Another election, I'll remind you, that may not produce any more of a result than the current election.

I think this is a good argument in favour of electing the prime minister directly or moving to a presidential system where the legislative and executive branches are separate. Electing a legislature by p.r. and an executive by instant runoff voting might be the best of both worlds. The Irish would probably be better off if they had directly elected a prime minister who would have had a clear mandate to implement their agenda but would still have to respect the majority of different viewpoints of Irish society. Here in Canada I think it would be better if we directly elected the prime minister through instant runoff voting and elected the House of Commons with an STV ballot.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

Perhaps you should address the reality of PR, the part about a very small percentage of the vote becoming the arbiters of which party will govern.

OK. To me, the important fact is that the resulting government will be made up of representatives of a majority of the voters in the election. The fact that the final 5% or so of that 50% + 1 comes from a small party doesn't bother me a bit.

Rev Pesky wrote:

You might also address the fact that PR systems are much more likely to produce no government at all when times are most difficult.

If the voting population is so badly split that their proportionally elected representatives can find no way of cooperating to form a government, then I accept that as the democratically correct result. If the voters don't like it, they can change their votes in the next election. I have no desire to substitute my ideas of what the government should be for those of the voters.

Rev Pesky wrote:

While you're at it, you might address the fact that PR systems may require another election, as could happen in Ireleand. Another election, I'll remind you, that may not produce any more of a result than the current election.

See the above answer. If repeated elections are necessary to reach a democratically elected government, then so be it. I don't think this would be likely to happen very often in Canada, but if it did, it would still be the correct, democratic result.

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:
 OK. To me, the important fact is that the resulting government will be made up of representatives of a majority of the voters in the election. The fact that the final 5% or so of that 50% + 1 comes from a small party doesn't bother me a bit.

That final 5% can hold the government hostage refusing support unless they get a pay-off. 

Michael Moriarity wrote:
 If the voting population is so badly split that their proportionally elected representatives can find no way of cooperating to form a government, then I accept that as the democratically correct result. If the voters don't like it, they can change their votes in the next election. I have no desire to substitute my ideas of what the government should be for those of the voters.

Does that mean you believe that if the majority of Canadians vote against PR and want to keep FPTP you will accept that as the democratic outcome?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Pondering wrote:

Does that mean you believe that if the majority of Canadians vote against PR and want to keep FPTP you will accept that as the democratic outcome?

Of course I will. I do not think that a referendum is necessary or useful, but if one should be held, naturally I will accept the outcome as democratic. It wouldn't change my own opinion, or prevent me from continuing my attempts to persuade others to agree with me, but I would fully accept it as the legitimate will of the population, as of that time.

Pondering

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Does that mean you believe that if the majority of Canadians vote against PR and want to keep FPTP you will accept that as the democratic outcome?

Of course I will. I do not think that a referendum is necessary or useful, but if one should be held, naturally I will accept the outcome as democratic. It wouldn't change my own opinion, or prevent me from continuing my attempts to persuade others to agree with me, but I would fully accept it as the legitimate will of the population, as of that time.

I totally respect that. One of the reasons I like Dion's P 3 model is that the parties are still required to be less partisan because it includes ranking the parties while still being proportional. 

swallow swallow's picture

Ireland has two conservative/Christian Democratic parties who together could easily form a majority. Under a FPTP system, neither one would have a majority.

In the previous parliament, it had a stable two-party majority coalition. That might or might not ahve been the case with FPTP. 

The electoral system really is not the issue in Ireland, one way or the other. Though their system sure does seem to show how to elect lots of independents in a proportional system! 

Policywonk

swallow wrote:

Ireland has two conservative/Christian Democratic parties who together could easily form a majority. Under a FPTP system, neither one would have a majority.

In the previous parliament, it had a stable two-party majority coalition. That might or might not ahve been the case with FPTP. 

The electoral system really is not the issue in Ireland, one way or the other. Though their system sure does seem to show how to elect lots of independents in a proportional system! 

That's one of the features of STV.

 

Wilf Day

sherpa-finn wrote:

It looks like the Every Voter Counts coalition (unions, progressive orgs, assorted cross-party figures) is now fully up and running in preparation for the imminent parliamentary debate on changing our electoral system.

 http://everyvotercounts.ca/

https://www.facebook.com/EveryVoterCountsCanada/

Twitter: @VoterEquality

A made-in-Canada model of proportional representation will never feature closed lists of candidates for MP. All MPs must be personally accountable to voters, not to just to those who nominated them as candidates.

Accountable MPs and Open Lists are the key to a Canadian proportional representation model.

Canadians don’t want a Parliament like the Netherlands, with 11 parties under their “pure proportional” model, nor like Israel’s. “Pure-list-PR” with candidates appointed by central parties, and no local MPs, will never work for Canada.
Even a mixed member model like Scotland’s with additional regional MPs elected from regional closed lists would not be fully accepted in Canada.
So we’re looking at mixed member models where you can vote for candidates both in a local riding and in a local region, like the one in this six-minute video designed by the Law Commission of Canada.

The majority of MPs are still local MPs. Regional MPs are elected by those voters whose votes did not elect a local MP. Every vote counts to help elect an MP, as far as reasonably possible.

An even better precedent exists in the German province of Bavaria. Open lists have worked well in their mixed member model since 1949. Unlike our Law Commission model, Bavaria has no option to vote for the party list. You vote only for a local candidate in your local riding and for a regional candidate in your local region.

Policywonk wrote:

That's one of the features of STV.

STV has many good features. It would be perfect for electing Vancouver's 10 member City Council, now elected at large by the Block Vote, winner-take-all on steroids.

However, for the 48% of Canadians living outside the eight major metropolitan regions, STV is unlikely to give us a champion for our local community. We need both a local MP and a small group of diverse regional MPs accountable to our local region, at least one of whom will reflect my values if my local MP doesn't. Fair Vote Canada says:

Quote:
We must change the voting system to give rural and urban voters in every province, territory and regional community effective votes and fair representation in both government and opposition.
 

 

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

"facile answers"?  "people are engaged in Syria as well"?  So PR will turn Canada into Syria?... 

The point was that just being engaged doesn't necessarily makes things nice. By the way, one of the reasons for the rise of the Nazis in Germany was the unstable political environment caused by PR voting. Certainly there were other reasons (i.e. Stalin), but that instability is cited by historians as a cause. The point is that at times when people want some level of stability in their government, PR voting systems are the least likely to achieve that.

But in the end, no matter how 'representative' the government, issues have a way of intervening. When there's an issue that has two outcomes, like say, for instance, withdrawing the Canadian Air Force from the middle east, there is no compromise position. It's either one, or the other. If the population is more or less evenly divided on the issue, that necessarily means that half of the population will not see the outcome they desire. If we apply the logic of the PR supporters, that half of the population has 'wasted' their votes.   

 

Rev Pesky

Pondering wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:
 OK. To me, the important fact is that the resulting government will be made up of representatives of a majority of the voters in the election. The fact that the final 5% or so of that 50% + 1 comes from a small party doesn't bother me a bit.

That final 5% can hold the government hostage refusing support unless they get a pay-off...

I'll also point out that the remaining 49% of voters don't, according to PR logic, have any representation because their choices are not in the government. That 5% weilds more power than the 49% that is shut out.

Rev Pesky

Wilf Day wrote:
...However, for the 48% of Canadians living outside the eight major metropolitan regions, STV is unlikely to give us a champion for our local community. We need both a local MP and a small group of diverse regional MPs accountable to our local region, at least one of whom will reflect my values if my local MP doesn't...

Why do you think any MP should 'reflect' your values?

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Recent exchange in the House (for what it's worth):

Ms. Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet (Hochelaga, NDP) wrote:
Mr. Speaker, the former chief of staff of the outgoing Conservative prime minister, the former clerk of the Privy Council, unions, and student groups are urging the government to adopt a new proportional representation system.    

The Prime Minister said that the October 2015 election would be the last one under the existing system, yet nothing has been done since then. The NDP suggested that we create a committee that would include all the parties represented by a member elected in the last election.    

Will the minister accept our suggestion so that we can finally move forward without partisanship?

Hon. Maryam Monsef (Minister of Democratic Institutions, Lib.) wrote:
Mr. Speaker, we are pleased to see an emerging consensus on this issue where even our Conservative colleagues agree that the status quo must end.    

We look forward to engaging in a meaningful conversation with Canadians that will ensure that all voices are heard.

link

Finally move forward without partisanship?? Really? Virtually everything the NDP and Green parties say on the electoral reform issue is loaded with partisan accusations against the Liberals.

Just as big of hypocrites as the Cons. But not near as likely to get their way... 

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:
...However, for the 48% of Canadians living outside the eight major metropolitan regions, STV is unlikely to give us a champion for our local community. We need both a local MP and a small group of diverse regional MPs accountable to our local region, at least one of whom will reflect my values if my local MP doesn't...

Why do you think any MP should 'reflect' your values?

Because we live in a democracy where general public opinion should be reflected by our political institutions?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
However, for the 48% of Canadians living outside the eight major metropolitan regions, STV is unlikely to give us a champion for our local community.

Just curious, but how would it provide that "champion" for the 52% living inside those eight major metropolitan areas?

Give "city slickers" their craft beers and arts festivals and they're happy?

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