Proportional Representation part 3

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
1) vote on the concept of PR rather than a particular varient and then narrow the many possibilities after

"Canada, would you like to trade our existing electoral system for what's inside this box?"

[IMG]http://i63.tinypic.com/2djz3fl.jpg[/IMG]

swallow swallow's picture

New Zealand had a vote on the best alternative system to FPTP, then a referendum on picking the top choice vs. FPTP. They now have a much better system in place. Canada could do much worse than copy that example. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Referendums are a great way of controlling the agenda. My favourite was the one that got Thunder Bay its name. The people were given three choices The Lakehead, Lakehead and Thunder Bay. Strangely enough  Thunder Bay came up the middle and won.  Having grown up in Northern Ontario I like everyone else called the area the Lakehead not either Fort William or Port Arthur.  

In BC the referendum on STV passed the first time but fell short of the ridiculous super majority that was required. The second referendum in 2009 saw prominent NDP'ers and Socreds leading the No vote.  I am sure the NDP brain trust were convinced that the NDP was going to win and form a majority government again. If STV had been in place Christy Clark would not have gotten majority government and Site C and pipelines would be debated in a very different manner.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

And much better.

Just tell people, plainly, what system they're voting for.  Not the "mystery box".

And FWIW, any arguments that a referendum is unnecessary, or a waste of money, fall flat if the next suggestion is that we should break that referendum into two referendums because we're afraid that if we name the proposed new system, people will think it's a venereal disease or whatever.

Just put the options on the ballot:

1.  FPTP

2. MMP

3.  STV

... etc.  That's how we hold elections, isn't it?  All the options on the ballot, and voters choose the one they like best?

Rev Pesky

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

There are many ways to get to a more proportioanl system. This is not the fault of those who want one nor is it a problem with a more proportional system.

But the fact they won't commit to any particular form is their fault. As I've pointed out before, you can't have a variety of electoral systems for the federal parliament. So just tell us the one you want, and then we can discuss it.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...That said those who want a more proportional system will accept other models than their favorite before FPTP.

Are you absolutely sure about that. The record in BC was that when the Citizen's Assembly finally agreed on a system, they picked the least proportional, and at that at least two of the members fought valiantly against the adoption of the agreed system.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...This debate here keeps coming down to something like this:

Let's assume the majority hate yellow and want one some shade of blue.

Or how about this. Let's assume the majority could care less, but a tiny minority want a change...

 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...So also what has been covered here many times --- the options are:

1) vote on the concept of PR rather than a particular varient and then narrow the many possibilities after

or

2) have an organized method to find a consensus on an acceptable option first

But this vote must include the existing system as an option.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
That said those who want a more proportional system will accept other models than their favorite before FPTP.

Quote:
The second referendum in 2009 saw prominent NDP'ers and Socreds leading the No vote.

I don't think both of these statements can be true, at the same time, in the same universe.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Just put the options on the ballot:

1.  FPTP

2. MMP

3.  STV

... etc.  That's how we hold elections, isn't it?  All the options on the ballot, and voters choose the one they like best?

So what should happen if one system wins with just a minority of the votes? I think there is a good chance STV and MMP voters would split the vote among people who prefer proportional representation and FPTP would ironically win a phoney FPTP victory with far less than a majority of the votes. And if AV was added to the ballot a system could with little more than 1 in 4 votes.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

JKR wrote:
Mr. Magoo wrote:

Just put the options on the ballot:

1.  FPTP

2. MMP

3.  STV

... etc.  That's how we hold elections, isn't it?  All the options on the ballot, and voters choose the one they like best?

So what should happen if one system wins with just a minority of the votes? I think there is a good chance STV and MMP voters would split the vote among people who prefer proportional representation and FPTP would ironically win a phoney FPTP victory with far less than a majority of the votes. And if AV was added to the ballot a system could with little more than 1 in 4 votes.

To be fair, any referendum of this sort would have to be done using a ranked ballot. That would have fixed the Thunder Bay problem, and I'll bet that very few STV and MMP voters would have FPTP as their second choice.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
So what should happen if one system wins with just a minority of the votes? I think there is a good chance STV and MMP voters would split the vote among people who prefer proportional representation and FPTP would ironically win a phoney FPTP victory with far less than a majority of the votes.

I'm not averse to Mr. Moriarity's suggestion of a ranked ballot.  But I'll still point out that STV and MMP aren't the same thing.  If "PR" supporters can't work out, amongst themselves, which to support that's not FPTP's problem any more than if the the Libs and Cons split the "NOT NDP" vote and both lose.

Maybe it's time for supporters of various flavours of PR to mend fences.  Which is most likely to win?  If it's true that "those who want a more proportional system will accept other models than their favorite before FPTP." then just pick one and go with it.  Exactly what is the problem here?

If the government just "get's 'er done" like some propose they should, won't we be looking at pretty much the same sort of choice?

Anyway, here's my thinking.  When there's an incumbent in a riding. we don't hold two separate votes -- one to ask "should this incumbent be re-elected, or should they be replaced by 'someone else', and then hold a second election to decide that 'someone else' if needed.  Everyone's name goes on the ballot and voters can vote as they wish.

Where did we get the idea that we need to first vote AGAINST the incumbent, as a pig-in-a-poke, and THEN vote for the actual person/electoral model to replace them?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Everyone's name goes on the ballot and voters can vote as they wish.

I think almost no one proposes to have referendums using FPTP where there are more than 2 choices available because most everyone understands that that would be undemocratic. This in itself shows that FPTP is undemocratic when there are more than 2 options available.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think almost no one proposes to have referendums using FPTP where there are more than 2 choices available because most everyone understands that that would be undemocratic.

So you're saying that asking the electorate to choose between:

a.  MMP

b. STV

c. FPTP

... is somehow undemocratic?

Are you worried that supporters of a. and b. won't be able to put their differences aside long enough to defeat c.?

I think that's already been dealt with:

Quote:
That said those who want a more proportional system will accept other models than their favorite before FPTP.

Sean in Ottawa

It is easy to miss the point when you are not aiming for it.

mark_alfred

Why would FPTP be on the ballot?  The Libs promised 2015 would be the last election using FPTP.  If the committee feels it needs guidance on which system is best to replace it, be it AV, STV, MMP, or P3, then I could see these as options.  But having FPTP on the ballot makes no sense in the circumstances.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Why would FPTP be on the ballot?  The Libs promised 2015 would be the last election using FPTP.

What makes you think they will keep that promise?  You don't strike me as being that naive.

mark_alfred

I was commenting more on people here musing on the idea of a referendum (which I don't feel is either useful or necessary for electoral reform) rather than on whether I feel they'll live up to their promise or not.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I think almost no one proposes to have referendums using FPTP where there are more than 2 choices available because most everyone understands that that would be undemocratic.

So you're saying that asking the electorate to choose between:

a.  MMP

b. STV

c. FPTP

... is somehow undemocratic?

Are you worried that supporters of a. and b. won't be able to put their differences aside long enough to defeat c.?

I think that's already been dealt with:

Quote:
That said those who want a more proportional system will accept other models than their favorite before FPTP.

What if polls show that MMP and STV are tied in support at 33%? Which system should pr voters vote for strategically then? And why should voters have to vote for their 2nd choice in order to make an electoral system work properly?

And why not include other electoral systems on the ballot? Unfortunately that would make the outcome likely even less legitimate as the winner would be more likely to obtain a minority of the votes. Maybe we should have a multi-choice referendum on electoral reform using regular FPTP rules to show how defective FPTP is? We could have all the main systems on the ballot, FPTP, two-round FPTP, AV, MMP, STV, and P3. That would be fun to watch. Almost as much fun as watching Donald Trump's campaign for President.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think almost no one proposes to have referendums using FPTP where there are more than 2 choices available because most everyone understands that that would be undemocratic. This in itself shows that FPTP is undemocratic when there are more than 2 options available.

As was suggested, go with ranked ballot then.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I think almost no one proposes to have referendums using FPTP where there are more than 2 choices available because most everyone understands that that would be undemocratic. This in itself shows that FPTP is undemocratic when there are more than 2 options available.

As was suggested, go with ranked ballot then.

I think if FPTP isn't used in a multi-choice referendum because that would be undemocratic, then FPTP should no longer be used in any further multi-choice elections because that is also undemocratic.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

Why would FPTP be on the ballot?  The Libs promised 2015 would be the last election using FPTP.  If the committee feels it needs guidance on which system is best to replace it, be it AV, STV, MMP, or P3, then I could see these as options.  But having FPTP on the ballot makes no sense in the circumstances.

It only makes sense if you want to give people a choice.

mark_alfred

If you ask for the public's assistance in what to replace FPTP with, in line with your promise to replace FPTP, then it makes no sense to include FPTP.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

As I recall, that promise was endorsed by a minority of the electorate, yes?  39.5%?

If the Liberals had promised to institute Ranked Ballot, nobody would be saying "well, they promised, so they need to just do it!".  And nobody would be saying "OK, let's just go with RB, and if we don't like it then we can use RB to elect a new government who can reverse that and introduce something proportional". 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I recall, that promise was endorsed by a minority of the electorate, yes?  39.5%?

If the Liberals had promised to institute Ranked Ballot, nobody would be saying "well, they promised, so they need to just do it!".  And nobody would be saying "OK, let's just go with RB, and if we don't like it then we can use RB to elect a new government who can reverse that and introduce something proportional". 

In the hypothetical you propose, I would be saying both of those things. I might be the only one, but still.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I recall, that promise was endorsed by a minority of the electorate, yes?  39.5%?

If the Liberals had promised to institute Ranked Ballot, nobody would be saying "well, they promised, so they need to just do it!".  And nobody would be saying "OK, let's just go with RB, and if we don't like it then we can use RB to elect a new government who can reverse that and introduce something proportional". 

A very selective interpretation. Suggests that the rest supported FPTP, however a smaller number backed a party that does. The rest supported parties in favour of PR.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Suggests that the rest supported FPTP, however a smaller number backed a party that does. The rest supported parties in favour of PR.

Again, I find this kind of loosey-goosey logic.  An election is like twenty refrendums at once -- everything from the environment to local jobs to foreign policy to terrorism all gets lumped in under individual parties and their candidates, and theres's simply no way to somehow "extract" some kind of meaningful statistic about any one of these issues based on the electoral vote.

How many times have we talked about voters "holding their nose" and voting for the party that dissatisfies them the least?  And yet, if they voted for Party X, we can go ahead and assume their enthusiastic support for EVERYTHING that Party X campaigned on??

Make it ONE question.  Then we all know, and there's no doubt, and we can proceed from there.

JKR

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I recall, that promise was endorsed by a minority of the electorate, yes?  39.5%?

If the Liberals had promised to institute Ranked Ballot, nobody would be saying "well, they promised, so they need to just do it!".  And nobody would be saying "OK, let's just go with RB, and if we don't like it then we can use RB to elect a new government who can reverse that and introduce something proportional". 

In the hypothetical you propose, I would be saying both of those things. I might be the only one, but still.

I would be saying both of those things too.

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

Why would FPTP be on the ballot?  The Libs promised 2015 would be the last election using FPTP.  If the committee feels it needs guidance on which system is best to replace it, be it AV, STV, MMP, or P3, then I could see these as options.  But having FPTP on the ballot makes no sense in the circumstances.

It only makes sense if you want to give people a choice.

I think people were given a choice in the FPTP election of October 2015.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Suggests that the rest supported FPTP, however a smaller number backed a party that does. The rest supported parties in favour of PR.

Again, I find this kind of loosey-goosey logic.  An election is like twenty refrendums at once -- everything from the environment to local jobs to foreign policy to terrorism all gets lumped in under individual parties and their candidates, and theres's simply no way to somehow "extract" some kind of meaningful statistic about any one of these issues based on the electoral vote.

How many times have we talked about voters "holding their nose" and voting for the party that dissatisfies them the least?  And yet, if they voted for Party X, we can go ahead and assume their enthusiastic support for EVERYTHING that Party X campaigned on??

Make it ONE question.  Then we all know, and there's no doubt, and we can proceed from there.

I think the ONE question should then be: " Should important decisions by government concerning issues such as the environment, local jobs, foreign policy, and terrorism be decided by referendum instead of by Parliament?"

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I think the referendum question should then be: " Should important decisions by government concerning issues such as local jobs, foreign policy, and terrorism be decided by referendum instead of by Parliament?

Let's do it.  Direct democracy, baby!

Instead of some wishy-washy committee compromise where we set the cutoff just high enough that the Christian Values party will never see the inside of the House of Commons, and we let northern and rural ridings decide that after all, FPTP is "right for them" and whatever.

Revolution, not evolution!!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

JKR wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:

Suggests that the rest supported FPTP, however a smaller number backed a party that does. The rest supported parties in favour of PR.

Again, I find this kind of loosey-goosey logic.  An election is like twenty refrendums at once -- everything from the environment to local jobs to foreign policy to terrorism all gets lumped in under individual parties and their candidates, and theres's simply no way to somehow "extract" some kind of meaningful statistic about any one of these issues based on the electoral vote.

How many times have we talked about voters "holding their nose" and voting for the party that dissatisfies them the least?  And yet, if they voted for Party X, we can go ahead and assume their enthusiastic support for EVERYTHING that Party X campaigned on??

Make it ONE question.  Then we all know, and there's no doubt, and we can proceed from there.

I think the ONE question should then be: " Should important decisions by government concerning issues such as the environment, local jobs, foreign policy, and terrorism be decided by referendum instead of by Parliament?"

I agree with this sentiment. Its one thing to have politicians breaking their promises but it is a totally different thing to attack them if they actually keep a promise without having a referendum to ensure that the policy they ran on and want to enact was really something that voters voted for.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, as I noted above, if we really want to assume that if a majority of voters chose parties that agree on this or that policy then a majority of Canadians, therefore, support all of those policies then:

Quote:

We can, for example, skip over any kind of consultation or debate on TPP, for example.  Both the Conservatives and the Liberals campaigned on it, and between them they received over 70% of the popular vote.  So really, Canadians were consulted on October 19 and the overwhelming majority said "Yes please!".

Same with lots of stuff.  A two-state solution, continued NATO participation... pretty much anything that the Libs and Cons agreed on.

So, it's settled,  TPP, a two state solution, continued NATO participation... the majority has spoken loud and clear on these, so why all the sour grapes?  Why are we still even talking about them?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
I think the referendum question should then be: " Should important decisions by government concerning issues such as local jobs, foreign policy, and terrorism be decided by referendum instead of by Parliament?

Let's do it.  Direct democracy, baby!

Instead of some wishy-washy committee compromise where we set the cutoff just high enough that the Christian Values party will never see the inside of the House of Commons, and we let northern and rural ridings decide that after all, FPTP is "right for them" and whatever.

Revolution, not evolution!!

I think even if we moved to direct democracy it would still be undemocratic to use FPTP to decide multiple choice questions. Ranked ballots would then be the way to go. I think any way you slice it, multiple-choice questions and multi-candidate elections can not be democratically decided through using FPTP.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, as I noted above, if we really want to assume that if a majority of voters chose parties that agree on this or that policy then a majority of Canadians, therefore, support all of those policies then:

Quote:

We can, for example, skip over any kind of consultation or debate on TPP, for example.  Both the Conservatives and the Liberals campaigned on it, and between them they received over 70% of the popular vote.  So really, Canadians were consulted on October 19 and the overwhelming majority said "Yes please!".

Same with lots of stuff.  A two-state solution, continued NATO participation... pretty much anything that the Libs and Cons agreed on.

So, it's settled,  TPP, a two state solution, continued NATO participation... the majority has spoken loud and clear on these, so why all the sour grapes?  Why are we still even talking about them?

I think we are still talking about them because in a few years time we are going to have another election where we will reevaluate
our support for political policies, political parties and political candidates.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Nothing like a good head start.

But the NDP and Greens (LOL!) would need to earn a proper majority of the popular vote before this would change.  Nothing I'm reading these days suggests that's likely, even with PR.

Why not just accept that the majority has clearly spoken, and give your time to things that can be changed?

JKR

Like electoral reform.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

*gracious golf clap*

mark_alfred

Quote:

As I recall, that promise was endorsed by a minority of the electorate, yes?  39.5%?

All their promises were "endorsed by a minority of the electorate ..  39.5%"  Presumably according to your logic, none of their promises are valid until they have a referendum to endorse each and every one of them. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
All their promises were "endorsed by a minority of the electorate ..  39.5%"  Presumably according to your logic, none of their promises are valid until they have a referendum to endorse each and every one of them.

Actually, my logic would be that none of them has the gravitas of a majority, and there's no urgency to implement any one of them because "clearly the electorate wished it".

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I thought this article on the consultation process was enlightening.

Quote:

It’s the Tuesday evening after the August long weekend, and I have just returned home after attending a “town hall” meeting hosted by Liberal MP John Aldag on the subject of electoral reform. This was part of the “consultation” with Canadians that was supposed to be so much more comprehensive than a referendum. I went with a jaundiced view because I don’t think the day after the August long weekend is when you hold meetings when you want to hear from Canadians — it’s when you hold meetings when you don’t want to hear from Canadians, but you want to be able to say you consulted.

...

By the end of the night there had been 20 speakers. Of those, 11 were opposed to any change to the electoral system without a referendum, while seven were in favour of change without any consensus from them on which of the alternatives we should adopt. They were just in favour of changing to something or other without a referendum. I couldn’t quite make out what the final two meant to say. Interestingly, of the seven in favour of anything but what we do now, four were from outside of the riding. This leads me to believe the electoral change advocates are making the rounds, attending meetings in multiple ridings, to make it seem as if there are more of them than there actually are. Great, the “consultation” version of double voting.

I guess this is the open and transparent government that Prime Minister Trudeau promised. I think we are all about to get a collective elbow to the chest.

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-consultation-on-electoral-reform...

 

Centrist

Why would you quote an opinion piece from Dean Drysdale? The 2015 Con candidate from the same riding!

Sean in Ottawa

Again, here we have the false concept that there is greater accountability through referenda. It is actually the opposite and that is the point of representative democracy.

The public votes in secret ballot elections. We do not make a voter responsible for the implications of their vote and they do not face personal criticism if their choice turns out to be a bad decision, contradicts or is incompatible with another decision.

To make this work and introduce some measure of accountability and cohesion, we choose representatives whose choices are not secret. They are accountable and we elect them for the leadership and decisions over a program not a single policy. Politicians’ reputations are damaged (usually) when they break promises and they are expected to explain themselves. They are expected to stand behind the quality of their decisions for their entire careers.

And those representatives are themselves representatives of programs expressed by parties all of which have a process to consult with their membership. In this way we choose representatives knowing by their party affiliation quite a bit about what they generally believe and what they are likely to do.

Direct democracy takes all of the accountability out of representative democracy. Decisions are made without any risk of individuals being held responsible for them and there is no requirement for these decisions to make sense in context.

Of course a desire for direct democracy (whatever you think of it) is separate from the issue of how representative of the public’s opinion a body selected through representative democracy is.

PR is an attempt to make the representatives in party numerically more reflective of the public they are representing. As politics has become increasingly less about the personal leadership of MPs and more about the collective decisions of parties, this more accurate representation has become more urgent. In many cases, voters know very little about the candidates other than their affiliations and vote based on the leadership and positions of the party rather than the candidates with few exceptions. The reason is this affiliation is the most predictive of the positions they will take in parliament. Evolution to this political reality is what is firmly behind PR.

PR is a principle shared by a number of proposed electoral options. This is why so often people propose to make a decision first on the principle then on the specific means to achieve it. And there are many.

We have people here wanting to confuse the two in order to deny that principle from driving a reform. They raise the completely bogus idea that there must only be one way to achieve something and we must all agree on it before we embark on examining the details. The idea of course is if you put the cart before the horse you can prevent the cart from moving. These same people raise the impossible, unrealistic, and entirely unreasonable expectation that there be some magical consensus among all those who share a common principle regarding the specific mechanics of how it should be delivered. The insults come thick and fast but they never explain how this impossible mind-meld is supposed to happen other than to say that it can’t and therefor their minority opinion should stand. They criticize people who agree on an objective simply because they have not, prior to the discussion, already worked out details when in many cases they might find a number of options equally or almost equally acceptable.

The idea of course is to bully and insult, finding minor divisions to create the same false majorities they are so satisfied with in our current system. This is why they seek to divide PR from a principle shared widely to the details, the more minor the better, so that a minority can defeat the will of a majority. They say that they think they are in the majority but they prove that they do not believe this – otherwise they would be happy to have a vote about PR in principle stand against a vote for FPTP.

A decision on the principle should be made followed by a real examination of the alternatives and then a vote on which of those alternatives is preferable.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

*gracious golf clap*

lol

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Again, here we have the false concept that there is greater accountability through referenda. It is actually the opposite and that is the point of representative democracy.

The public votes in secret ballot elections. We do not make a voter responsible for the implications of their vote and they do not face personal criticism if their choice turns out to be a bad decision, contradicts or is incompatible with another decision.

To make this work and introduce some measure of accountability and cohesion, we choose representatives whose choices are not secret. They are accountable and we elect them for the leadership and decisions over a program not a single policy. Politicians’ reputations are damaged (usually) when they break promises and they are expected to explain themselves. They are expected to stand behind the quality of their decisions for their entire careers.

And those representatives are themselves representatives of programs expressed by parties all of which have a process to consult with their membership. In this way we choose representatives knowing by their party affiliation quite a bit about what they generally believe and what they are likely to do.

Direct democracy takes all of the accountability out of representative democracy. Decisions are made without any risk of individuals being held responsible for them and there is no requirement for these decisions to make sense in context.

Of course a desire for direct democracy (whatever you think of it) is separate from the issue of how representative of the public’s opinion a body selected through representative democracy is.

PR is an attempt to make the representatives in party numerically more reflective of the public they are representing. As politics has become increasingly less about the personal leadership of MPs and more about the collective decisions of parties, this more accurate representation has become more urgent. In many cases, voters know very little about the candidates other than their affiliations and vote based on the leadership and positions of the party rather than the candidates with few exceptions. The reason is this affiliation is the most predictive of the positions they will take in parliament. Evolution to this political reality is what is firmly behind PR.

PR is a principle shared by a number of proposed electoral options. This is why so often people propose to make a decision first on the principle then on the specific means to achieve it. And there are many.

We have people here wanting to confuse the two in order to deny that principle from driving a reform. They raise the completely bogus idea that there must only be one way to achieve something and we must all agree on it before we embark on examining the details. The idea of course is if you put the cart before the horse you can prevent the cart from moving. These same people raise the impossible, unrealistic, and entirely unreasonable expectation that there be some magical consensus among all those who share a common principle regarding the specific mechanics of how it should be delivered. The insults come thick and fast but they never explain how this impossible mind-meld is supposed to happen other than to say that it can’t and therefor their minority opinion should stand. They criticize people who agree on an objective simply because they have not, prior to the discussion, already worked out details when in many cases they might find a number of options equally or almost equally acceptable.

The idea of course is to bully and insult, finding minor divisions to create the same false majorities they are so satisfied with in our current system. This is why they seek to divide PR from a principle shared widely to the details, the more minor the better, so that a minority can defeat the will of a majority. They say that they think they are in the majority but they prove that they do not believe this – otherwise they would be happy to have a vote about PR in principle stand against a vote for FPTP.

A decision on the principle should be made followed by a real examination of the alternatives and then a vote on which of those alternatives is preferable.

I think this is an accurate summation of the situation.

mark_alfred

Agreed.

Sean in Ottawa

I should add that when it comes to accountability and referenda there is another elephant in the room -- with so-called direct democracy we remove the accountability of a representative democracy but we leave the other problematic elements.

Left to influence the public, now with any accountability removed, will be private interests, lobbying of voters, advertising, misinformation etc.

Generally I think big money would love an endless stream of votes that only they can afford to buy influence over. Any non-profit would be out of money in a few months but the profitable companies can go on like that forever and just blame the witless public for any votes that go wrong.

Direct Democracy was a nice idea in Athens when the handful of free men made decisions. It works in a room of up to 50 stakeholders. It does not work in a modern society where people are further from specific decisions and there are well-equiped mass market influencing tools and organizations. And it certainly is not "responsible" government.

Rev Pesky

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...The idea of course is to bully and insult, finding minor divisions to create the same false majorities they are so satisfied with in our current system. This is why they seek to divide PR from a principle shared widely to the details, the more minor the better, so that a minority can defeat the will of a majority. They say that they think they are in the majority but they prove that they do not believe this – otherwise they would be happy to have a vote about PR in principle stand against a vote for FPTP.

More dodging and weaving. The voting system people will use is not a voting system in 'principle'. It is a voting system with full details attached.

In any case, I know why PR supporters don't want a referendum, even on the principle. The think they would lose, which they probaby would.

And as far as the 'impossible, unrealistic, and entirely unreasonable expectation that there be some magical consensus among all those who share a common principle', all I've ever asked for is the system you (not all PR supporters - just you) support.

You have been unable to answer that simple question. After you have answered that simple question, we can discuss the in and outs of the system you support. Otherwise the argument is like this:

"I fully support PR voting, but I can't say which of the several hundred PR voting systems I support. Any attempt to get me to commit to a single PR voting system will be bullying, unreasonable, and insulting."

The devil, as they say, is always in the details. What you want is support for a voting system when you are unable to tell people what it is.

Let us take a concerned voter who is convinced that FPTP is wrong, creating false majorities, etc., etc. So they go along with the principle of PR voting and accept a parliamentary vote to institute PR voting in Canada. Yet, when the specfic system has been decided on, they don't like it, and feel that FPTP is a better system. What do you say then? Sorry, you already gave your approval. Too bad for you.

Next time you go looking for a car, I can only hope you get the salesman who says, when you ask about the available cars, "Before we can look at the inventory, I'll need you to sign a sales agreement. Once you've done that, then we can look at the wide variety of perfectly good vehicles we have for sale."

Tell me, would you sign that sales agreement?

mark_alfred

I completely agree with what Sean has said in posts 190 and 194.

Sean in Ottawa

Rev Pesky wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...The idea of course is to bully and insult, finding minor divisions to create the same false majorities they are so satisfied with in our current system. This is why they seek to divide PR from a principle shared widely to the details, the more minor the better, so that a minority can defeat the will of a majority. They say that they think they are in the majority but they prove that they do not believe this – otherwise they would be happy to have a vote about PR in principle stand against a vote for FPTP.

More dodging and weaving. The voting system people will use is not a voting system in 'principle'. It is a voting system with full details attached.

In any case, I know why PR supporters don't want a referendum, even on the principle. The think they would lose, which they probaby would.

And as far as the 'impossible, unrealistic, and entirely unreasonable expectation that there be some magical consensus among all those who share a common principle', all I've ever asked for is the system you (not all PR supporters - just you) support.

You have been unable to answer that simple question. After you have answered that simple question, we can discuss the in and outs of the system you support. Otherwise the argument is like this:

"I fully support PR voting, but I can't say which of the several hundred PR voting systems I support. Any attempt to get me to commit to a single PR voting system will be bullying, unreasonable, and insulting."

The devil, as they say, is always in the details. What you want is support for a voting system when you are unable to tell people what it is.

Let us take a concerned voter who is convinced that FPTP is wrong, creating false majorities, etc., etc. So they go along with the principle of PR voting and accept a parliamentary vote to institute PR voting in Canada. Yet, when the specfic system has been decided on, they don't like it, and feel that FPTP is a better system. What do you say then? Sorry, you already gave your approval. Too bad for you.

Next time you go looking for a car, I can only hope you get the salesman who says, when you ask about the available cars, "Before we can look at the inventory, I'll need you to sign a sales agreement. Once you've done that, then we can look at the wide variety of perfectly good vehicles we have for sale."

Tell me, would you sign that sales agreement?

 

 

So let's look at your analogy.

What you are proposing is more like requiring a person who has decided they want a small car to decide before see the options which one they want or admit that they really do not want a small car at all -- their inability to choose before the options are fully explored means they want a boat not a small car. And if everyone who wants a small car cannot decide on having the same model -- without an organized conversation it means nobody wants small cars and we should just make SUVs or boats. But in this case we are talking about something that has to be built.  So the analogy might be like a fuel efficient car. Governments brought in regulations that pushed the industry to make a more efficient, less poluting car based on a commitment to have one. We did not know what it would look like but we knew we wanted one. We did not even agree all on what it was. What we did is set a commitment to an objective. Just like PR.

It will take some negotiation and a formal, organized conversation to agree on the best specific model for electoral reform. Many people want that discussion. We cannot start that discussion without an agreement to do so. Your position is to tell people that they cannot have a legitimate  opinion unless they already have settled on which alternative they want AND that everyone has agreed to the same alternative. PR is not a specific model, is is a requirement for models that we can agree to and then work on. Then we can choose which is best.

I presume youa re not in favour of funding curing cancer. After all we cannot commit to that unless we agree on the specific research avenue. You know the devil is in the details.

Human progress has been made by commiting to a change and building it. In this case it is an idea. A basic one: to make parliament more representative of the choices made by the people. It is an idea worth aspiring to and worthy of commitment. It is a general idea that can be achieved in a number of ways. And if you want to  try to prove the idea is impossible -- fill your boots. But to say that we have to pick and agree on an example, before we are allowed to commit to the direction (in order for you to try to pick at it) is bogus.

I could probably design myself several models of PR that could work -- and most people here could. But you would criticize them complaining that there are too many options. This is the logic that says if your house is on fire you should stay in it if you cannot all agree which window or door to go out of. After all some windows might have something better to land on below them. People should not agree to the idea of getting out before picking which way out is best.

Democratic ideas have always been aspirational and commitments made that push us to do better. Every country has started as an idea and a commitment to have one before the details were worked out. If people can agree to having a whole country before working out every detail, simply deciding that a parliament's proportions should better reflect the proportions of voter's choices is not a great leap.

 

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

Let us take a concerned voter who is convinced that FPTP is wrong, creating false majorities, etc., etc. So they go along with the principle of PR voting and accept a parliamentary vote to institute PR voting in Canada. Yet, when the specfic system has been decided on, they don't like it, and feel that FPTP is a better system. What do you say then? Sorry, you already gave your approval. Too bad for you.

I would say that since you think that FPTP is the best electoral system you should accept the kind of results that are derived from the FPTP system.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What you are proposing is more like requiring a person who has decided they want a small car to decide before see the options which one they want or admit that they really do not want a small car at all -- their inability to choose before the options are fully explored means they want a boat not a small car.

Well, it seems that you and the Reverend do, at least, agree that when buying a car, you should be permitted to see the options before committing.

So on the one hand I get your point that right now you and others might prefer to just explore options -- the electoral reform equivalent of checking out Auto Trader, and searching for reviews and prices online.

But at the same time it's been suggested more than once that if we were to have a referendum on the issue, we should refrain from mentioning any particular system of PR by name.  And I'm thinking that if we get to the point where we're considering holding a referendum, shouldn't that happen after everyone's had some time to discuss and debate and "online shop", and shouldn't we know what specific system we're talking about as a replacement for the status quo?

And to return to the car analogy, PR proponents are the car salesmen.  They can't really expect to sell a new car just by saying "But Sir, all of our cars are better than the one that you've got!".  Nor should it be a problem if a potential customer asks why others who've bought a new car from you have experienced poor gas mileage, or frequent breakdowns, or expensive and constant maintenance.

JKR

I think we're already driving a car we bought last October. It's a red 2015 Liberal government that, according to its specifications, is supposed to eliminate FPTP by 2019.

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