Proportional Representation part 3

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Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Just suggesting that there's more to proportional representation than just a new voting system.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Just suggesting that there's more to proportional representation than just a new voting system.

If I recall correctly, what you are referring to is normally called "representation by population", and is quite a different subject than proportional representation.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I thought proportional representation meant that the proportion of any party's representation in the HoC was a reflection of the number of electors who voted for that party.  If one riding gets Party X as chosen by 40,000 electors, and another gets Party Y as chosen by 100,000 electors, something seems off.

Would some flavours of PR address this?  With list members or whatnot?  If so, I approve.

Pondering

What's to prevent this from happening?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/aug/25/spain-mariano-rajoy-third-...

As political impasse continues, Spain faces real prospect of its third general election in just over a year – on 25 December

.....

“There’s a certain exhaustion and very little appetite for a third election, especially if it has to be on 25 December, because the impression is that the second election didn’t provide a solution to the stalemate, and it’s negative in that it just widens the gap between citizens and politicians,” says Antonio Barroso, an analyst at the political risk-advisory firm, Teneo Intelligence. “It’s perceived as, basically, ‘These people can’t get their act together.’ It’s definitely negative in the sense of the confidence of citizens in the political system.”

The frustration and weariness are understandable: while the ship of government has languished in the doldrums, its crew have given the impression of being keener to make each other walk the plank than to plot a joint course towards a viable administration. Rajoy turned down the king’s invitation to try to put together a government after December’s election, knowing he did not have the necessary support. Sánchez’s attempts to do so were thwarted in March by the PP and Podemos.

 

mark_alfred

Spain apparently has some issues with its system that makes it not very proportional.  The main reason is the low number of seats per constituency.  link 

Quote:
The average district magnitude (the average number of seats per constituency) is one of the lowest in Europe, owing to the large number of constituencies.[25] The low district magnitude tends to increase the number of wasted votes (the votes that could not affect the election results because they have been cast for the small parties which could not pass the effective threshold), and in turn increase the disproportionality (so the number of seats and the portion of votes got by a party becomes less proportional).[26] It is often regarded as the most important factor that limits the number of parties in Spain.

mark_alfred

http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2694133432/

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-august-26-2016-1.3736...

Here's a discussion on The Current about proportional representation.  I only heard the latter end on the radio, which infuriated me.  There's some asshole named Erin Kelly who spreads misinformation to deride PR.  She plays into listener bias against the Bloc to deride PR*.  It's an interesting strategy. 

Then she comes out in favour of AV even after acknowledging that the last election would have been even more distorted under it!  And she does so without hesitation -- kinda like someone who looks you in the eye with sincereity while spinning horseshit. 

So, I wrote the station a letter (though in retrospect I wish I had listened to it again online so I could have more effectively derided the "60%" horseshit -- but whatever -- and just on that, the Bloc got 10 seats, but would have received 16 under PR, which frankly is "so what?".  However, Ms Kelly dramatically phrases this as "the Bloc would have got 60% more seats in PR than they should have!"  What an asshole.)

Anyway, here's my letter that I sent (and I ask others to also send letters, at [url]http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/contact[/url]):

Quote:
I support proportional representation (PR) rather than the current system of First Past The Post (FPTP).  The voting system should strive to recognize all votes cast, rather than only recognizing votes for the "winner" of a single riding and discarding all the rest as FPTP does.  So, for example, if a party receives 39% of the votes cast, they should get 39% of the seats in the House of Commons. 

Your guest (Erin Brown?) stated that she opposed this principle.  She cited the possibility of the Bloc winning a few more seats as a reason.  This is a disingenuous and foolish position.  Consider that in 1993, under FPTP, that the Bloc became the Official Opposition with only 13% of the vote.  This is ridiculous and it shows how FPTP distorts reality.  The Bloc in that election should have been the fourth place party after the Liberals, Reform, and the Progressive Conservatives, all who received more votes than the Bloc did.  But because many of the votes were discarded under the broken system of FPTP in this election, the Bloc came in second -- when they should have come in fourth!  This would never happen under PR.  Gross distortions like this are common in FPTP.  The Bloc, who run only in Quebec, would never become the Official Opposition in a proper PR system.  This distortion could only happen under our broken system of FPTP. 

Also, your guest mentioned Alternate Vote (AV), which is a ranked ballot.  She claimed that the Liberals in this past election, who earned 39% of the vote and yet received 54% of the seats, would have even received more seats under AV.  That possibility rules out AV as a choice, in my opinion. As citizens, we have a right to have a system that strives to have ALL our votes count toward who is elected, and not give false distorted results as FPTP gives. 

The fact that I voted for a member of a party that did not win in my riding means my vote did not count toward who is sitting in parliament.  My vote was discarded.  That's wrong.  My right to have my vote count was breached by the broken system of FPTP.  In both AV and FPTP, many votes are discounted.  Not in PR. 

Now, there is a balance between striving for a proportional representation of votes cast in the election result and the need to have local representatives.  This means that the proposed systems are not perfectly proportional, but they do come close.  There are two main proposals that effectively balances these needs, those being Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMP -- note, using an open list).  My preference is for MMP, since it relies exclusively on people's first choice votes rather than also utilizing  alternate choices which STV does.  However, both of these systems are far superior to FPTP.  And a hybrid between these two systems also exists (known as STV+) which I believe Fair Vote Canada recommends.  This too would be fine. 

FPTP must be replaced.  The Liberal government was correct to promise this.

___

* So for all the jackasses who oppose PR (you know who you are), take note, that's another line you too can use --> talk about the Bloc and make sure to emphasize "60% more seats".

Pondering

mark_alfred wrote:

Spain apparently has some issues with its system that makes it not very proportional.  The main reason is the low number of seats per constituency.  link

That does not explain the inability of the parties that do get elected to form an effective government. Spain has gone a full year without a government.

  • Due to the great disparity in population among provinces, even though smaller provinces are overrepresented, the total number of deputies assigned to them is still small and tends to go to one or two major parties, even if other smaller parties managed to obtain more than 3% of the votes - the minimum threshold for representation in the Congress.[24]
  • ....
  • The 3% threshold for entering the Congress is ineffective in many provinces, where the number of seats per constituency is so low that the actual threshold to enter the Congress is effectively higher, and thus many parties cannot obtain representation in Congress despite having obtained more than the 3% threshold in the constituency.[23] For example, the actual threshold for the constituencies having 3 seats is 25%, much higher than 3%, making the 3% threshold irrelevant.[24][27] However, in the largest constituencies like Madrid and Barcelona, where the number of seats is much higher, the 3% threshold is still effective to eliminate the smallest parties.[23]

Smaller provinces over-represented, sounds like Canada which was done deliberately as part of the bargain for joining Confederation. I don't think more small parties would improve the situation.

Vote share is the first number, seat share is the second

Vote share

PP    33.03%                             PP    39.14%                      (Conservative)

PSOE    22.66%                         PSOE    24.29%                  (Social Democratic)

Unidos Podemos    21.10%         Unidos Podemos    20.29%  (formed by Podemos, United Left, Equo and allied left-wing parties)

C's    13.05%                             C's    9.14%                       (centre left, liberal)

ERC–CatSí    2.63%                     ERC–CatSí    2.57%            (Catalan pro-independence left-wing electoral coalition)

CDC    2.01%                             CDC    2.29%                     (was a Catalan nationalist,[1][2] and liberal[1][3] party in Catalonia)

EAJ/PNV    1.20%                         EAJ/PNV    1.43%               (Christian democratic and Basque nationalist party.)

PACMA    1.19%                                                                 (The Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals)  

EH Bildu    0.77%                         EH Bildu    0.57%

CCPNC    0.29%                          CCPNC    0.33%

Others    1.28%

Blank ballots    0.75%

It seems sufficiently proportionate to me. That the Animalist Party didn't get a seat does not seem problamatic to me. I don't see how governing in Canada would improve by having a half dozen regional or special interest parties. Forced coalitions don't seem to work out all that well.

In Canada we have often had minority governments in which the party in power must work with others to get specific legislation passed. The parties can force an election and parties have the freedom to form a coalition as the NDP and Liberals almost did under Dion. Nevertheless, the day after an election, we know who the PM will be. It is not up to the parties to wheel and deal over it.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

Spain apparently has some issues with its system that makes it not very proportional.  The main reason is the low number of seats per constituency.  link 

Quote:
The average district magnitude (the average number of seats per constituency) is one of the lowest in Europe, owing to the large number of constituencies.[25] The low district magnitude tends to increase the number of wasted votes (the votes that could not affect the election results because they have been cast for the small parties which could not pass the effective threshold), and in turn increase the disproportionality (so the number of seats and the portion of votes got by a party becomes less proportional).[26] It is often regarded as the most important factor that limits the number of parties in Spain.

But of course if you had read Pondering's post, and even the article you posted, you would have noticed that the problem in Spain is not the limited number of parties. The problem is with the number of parties they have, they can't get enough together to form a government. In other words, the problem is not the 'disproportionality', it is the 'proportionality'.

What it does do is point out that when there is instability in a countries economy, precisely when a stable government would be a help, PR cannot deliver a stable government.

In the Wiki article you posted, it points to the 'disproportionality' as being the 'most important factor that limits the number of parties in Spain'.

What, pray tell, limits the number of parties in Germany, with almost perfect proportionality? In fact Germany has fewer parties in their parliament than Spain does.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

From your letter:

...The fact that I voted for a member of a party that did not win in my riding means my vote did not count toward who is sitting in parliament.  My vote was discarded.  That's wrong.  My right to have my vote count was breached by the broken system of FPTP.  In both AV and FPTP, many votes are discounted.  Not in PR. 

Surely you must understand the above statement is untrue. There is no system, proportional or otherwise, that provides representation for each vote. If that were the case, I would vote for myself in the next election, and receive my seat in parliament. In fact the only way to be perfectly proportional would be to have a seat for every citizen.

As above:

mark_alfred wrote:
...Now, there is a balance between striving for a proportional representation of votes cast in the election result and the need to have local representatives.  This means that the proposed systems are not perfectly proportional, but they do come close.

Which directly contradicts your statement above. Somewhere along the line you're gonna have to make up your mind.

mark_alfred wrote:
...* So for all the jackasses who oppose PR (you know who you are), take note, that's another line you too can use --> talk about the Bloc and make sure to emphasize "60% more seats". 

Strangely enough, I, jackass that apparently I am, have never even mentioned the Bloc Quebecois in discussing PR voting. And, despite your reccommendation, I doubt I will. What I would do is remind people that a proportional government could be formed by a party that didn't win a single seat outside of the ten most populated metropolitian areas.

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

My understanding of Spain is that there's two major parties and then a scattering of much smaller parties.  It's not like here where there's four (perhaps five including the Greens) parties that get sizeable vote counts.  So Spain, from my understanding, generally relies on one of the two major parties to win a majority.  When that doesn't happen, there's issues.  The fact that only two parties ever gain a sizeable representation is a symptom of them having a lot of wasted votes (IE, a system that's not very proportional).  That would not be the case in Canada under a well designed PR system.

Check out the German parliament. You'll find it is every bit as held in thrall by two major parties as Spain is (in fact even more so), and their system is not just proprotional, it is proportional to a T.

mark_alfred

Quote:
What I would do is remind people that a proportional government could be formed by a party that didn't win a single seat outside of the ten most populated metropolitian areas.

As long as the seats won is close to the votes cast, then that's fine.  What you mention above is a scenario that could happen under AV or FPTP as well, and likely the results in these latter two systems would be quite distorted and not reflective of the actual vote, which in a well set up PR system would not be the case (the seats won results would be closer to the votes cast).

mark_alfred

My understanding of Spain is that there's two major parties (or three? -- I'm not sure) and then a scattering of much smaller parties.  It's not like here where there's four (perhaps five including the Greens) parties that get sizeable vote counts.  So Spain, from my understanding, generally relies on one of the two major parties to win a majority.  When that doesn't happen, there's issues.  The fact that only two parties ever gain a sizeable representation is a symptom of them having a lot of wasted votes (IE, a system that's not very proportional).  That would not be the case in Canada under a well designed PR system.

ETA:

Anyway, regardless, the fact that Spain has some issues with getting proper proportional results due to flaws in their specific system and that Spain sometimes has issues with parties that at times can't cooperate doesn't over-ride the fact that votes should count and false majorities are wrong.  There's many countries where PR works fine, like New Zealand. 

mark_alfred

Quote:

In both AV and FPTP, many votes are discounted.  Not in PR. 

Surely you must understand the above statement is untrue. There is no system, proportional or otherwise, that provides representation for each vote.

Thanks for pointing that out.  Turns out the attempted email I tried to send via their website bounced back to me.  So, I took the opportunity to re-email them using my email client Thunderbird (that being to thecurrent@cbc.ca).  So, the update:

mark_alfred's email update wrote:

In both AV and FPTP, many votes are discounted.  Not in PR.  There is a far greater co-relation between votes cast and seats won in PR.

I also took the opportunity to add this additional edit:

mark_alfred's additional edit wrote:

So, for example, if a party receives 39% of the votes cast, they should get 39% of the seats in the House of Commons.  

Your guest (Erin Kelly) stated that she opposed this principle.  She mentioned the Bloc as a justification for her opposition to PR.  Under PR in the last election the Bloc would have won 16 seats rather than ten (Ms. Kelly phrased this as "60% more!").  So, Ms Kelly cited the possibility of the Bloc winning a few more seats under PR in the last election as a reason to oppose PR.

This is a disingenuous and foolish position.  Consider that in 1993, under FPTP, that the Bloc became the Official Opposition with only 13% of the vote. ...

Sean in Ottawa

Lots of issues with this Spanish example.

The idea that a system of PR is the reason for the instability does not hold up if you examine the facts.

Let's look at some of the characterisitcs the anti PR people ignore when they point to Spain as an example:

First -- Spain is not fully PR -- the Senate is FPTP and the Congress uses PR districts but they are not ideally sized due to being historic divisions without recent adjustments demographically.

But these are not the reasons the comparison is so inappropriate.

First-- Spain has a lot of parties -- if you did not know anything about Spain or its politcs you might think it has somethign to do with its electoral system. It doesn't. Spain has many parties becuase it is highly regional. Spain is a barely united country with a number of nationalist groups all getting strong local/regional mandates. Think the parliament of Canada with 5-6 parties like the BQ in it. Their local strength means they would (like the BQ here) still be successful under FPTP -- perhaps more so like the BQ is here.

Second, Spain has had a problem producing a government. People here have tried to pin that on PR but that is also wrong. the issue is the relationships among the parties and deadlock among voters. They don't have a pizza parliament. The vast majority of seats historically have been in the hands of few parties and this remains true. The Spanish system goes back to the 1970s. For the most part it was a 2-party system. In 2015 the rise of populist parties changed that to mainly a 4-party system and their inability to work together remains the problem.

Canada has been a 3-4 party system for quite some time and at times had five significant parties represented (prior to the unite-the-right). Now it is really mostly a three party system. But this is not due to PR. If you look at the regional nature and regional dominance of Spanish politics -- they would still have lots of parties and deadlock even if they were exclusively FPTP.

The Spanish political situation is related to it regional and economic instability and perhaps the fact that it is a young democracy less than 50 years old.

These off-shore examples are really unhelpful when people pick and choose the facts that interest them and try to draw (make up) conclusions based on those.

 

 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

What's to prevent this from happening?

Not to adopt the party list system that no one is proposing anyway?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
These off-shore examples are really unhelpful when people pick and choose the facts that interest them and try to draw (make up) conclusions based on those.

New Zealand is an exception, though.. yes?

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

What, pray tell, limits the number of parties in Germany, with almost perfect proportionality? In fact Germany has fewer parties in their parliament than Spain does.

The single-member ridings that make up half of Germany's MMP system limits the number of parties. The MMP systems that are being proposed for Canada would have more single-member ridings than Germany. Leading political scientists like Lijphart have shown that MMP establishes stable governments. MMP jurisdictions like Germany, the German states, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales all have stable governments.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
These off-shore examples are really unhelpful when people pick and choose the facts that interest them and try to draw (make up) conclusions based on those.

New Zealand is an exception, though.. yes?

If we move to a party list system like Spains's, Spain's example would be helpful. But nobody is proposing we move to a party list system. Most are proposing to move to a semi-proportional MMP system like New Zealand's but with open lists or closest runners-up lists.

JKR

I think even if the all-party committee proposes a moderate MMP system, the Conservatives will likely be able to portray it to very many people as being similar to a party list system like Spain's and Israel's and the system that was once used in Italy. I can't think of a major issue that is shrouded in as much ignorance as electoral reform. People could learn a lot by watching the all-party committees deliberations with electoral reform experts but I'm sure only a tiny fraction of Canadians are doing so. Maybe the Supreme Court could be brought up to speed on this issue and then provide a reference to the House of Commons that would help get rid of the undemocratic single-member plurality system?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Most are proposing to move to a semi-proportional MMP system like New Zealand's but with open lists or closest runners-up lists.

So basically one of those "off-shore" examples?  Or no?

Pondering

New Zealand's population is about the size of a Canadian city. 4.471 million (2013)

Whatever system leads to multiple parties having to form a coalition to form government has the potential to lead to a situation as has happened in Spain.

FPTP does not lead to false majorities. Our system is based on winning a majority of seats not a majority of individual votes. You may think it should be based on votes not ridings but that is your opinion.

No PR system that I can see guarantees that enough parties will get along to form a government.

In actual practice whichever Canadian government is in power generally has the support of a majority of Canadians. Trudeau certainly does and so did Harper. Just because someone voted for a different party does not mean they automatically feel unrepresented.

I feel the country is better off with a party with a common vision is managing the country. At the next election the public gets to hold them to account and either accept or reject them based on their performance. For three mandates Canadians held Harper to a minority government then finally gave him a majority. I hated it but the Liberals in particular defeated themselves.

Under our current system the NDP has the same opportunity to rise as the Conservatives did. Notley has a "false majority" too but her hands would have been tied under PR. This way she gets a chance to show what she can do over four years. Then the public gets to judge her and the party.

The default is always the current system which is FPTP. You have no answer to what happens if there is a deadlock as has happened in Spain.

I could be wrong but I am pretty convinced that Canadians won't find the idea of perpetual coalition governments appealing. Most Canadians view Canada as a wonderful country that became that way under our current political system.

You will need more than "it's not fair" and "trust us it'll work" to convince people to support PR. 

I just received a pamphet from Mulcair annoucing a public meeting on PR. He pitches PR governments as more stable saying Italy has had 18 elections since 1945 while Canada has had 22. That will be easily countered by negaive examples of PR governments. The truth is we don't know how it would play out in Canada. I think it's going to be a very hard sell. The Conservatives are dead set against it. Liberals are split. I doubt the committee will reach agreement.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering -- did you completely ignore what I wrote about Spain or disagree with it?

You did not answer but went on as if I never said it.

Spain's political party system is not to do with the electoral system and more to do with the history of Spain and very regional nationalist-- even separatist parties. They would have these regardless of electoral system and they grew out of movements much older than the current system. It is like having 6 BQ parties in the same country, running only locally for nationalist reasons.

Also their system is not true PR due to the small and inappropriate constituencies. The reason they are roughly proportional is really due to the fact that the small parties are extremely regional so are not shortchanged like the Greens in Canada.

In the last couple elections they had a rise in populist parties in reaction to the destabilized economy.

The use of Spain to compare with Canada is laughably ridiculous and ignorant about the politcal situation there.

If you want to be credible you have to use examples and arguments other than Spain is it is absolutely no help to you except when speaking to people who know nothing about Spain and have no access to the internet to look it up.

JKR

Germany's population of 81 million people is more than twice that of Canada's. I think the MMP system used in the German state of Baden-Württemberg would be perfect for Canada although with a smaller percentage of extra-member seats.

During the Conservatives reign, opinion polls usually showed that the majority of voters did not support the Harper Conservatives for most of the time they were in power. Opinion polls showed that the Harper Conservatives were able to obtain and maintain power through FPTP vote splitting. These opinion polls showed that the Conservative government had modest secondary support from people whose first choice was the Liberals, NDP, Greens, or BQ. During the 2015 election, voters who did not support the Conservatives learned that under FPTP they should vote Liberal if they want to remove the Conservatives from power. From this FPTP process, the NDP, Greens, and BQ have now been marginalized as support for these parties has naturally plummeted under the two-party FPTP system. So I think it makes sense that many people who favour the Liberal party support FPTP as it has given the Liberals a huge advantage.

It is true that the Lberals are now supported by a very large majority of the Canadian public who are understandably elated that the Liberals deposed the Conservatives who ruled mostly with minority support for a very long decade from FPTP vote-splitting. The Conservatives failed to get elected again in 2015 because their strategy of winning via FPTP vote-splitting finally failed. But they are hoping that when Liberal popularity eventually ebbs that they they will once again be able to win an election through vote-splitting. This is the reason the Conservatives are so adamant on keeping FPTP at all costs.

It is interesting watching the main argument in favour of FPTP during the all-party committee deliberations. The main argument in favour of FPTP has been that FPTP benefits big tent parties and diminishes smaller parties. In other words it diminishes smaller parties like the NDP and Greens and favours big-tent parties like the Conservatives and Liberals. So I think it makes sense for people who are against the NDP and Greens to support FPTP and people who favour the Liberals and Conservatives to support FPTP. I think the question to ask at this point is: do supporters of the NDP and Greens deserve to operate under an electoral system that treats them fairly? People should not be surprised that members of the NDP and Green Party on the committee are insisting that Canada establish a system that treats their parties fairly and people should also not be surprised that they are against the idea that a referendum could be used to maintain a system that treats them unfairly.

I think that if we maintain FPTP many people who would prefer the NDP and Greens will instead join the Liberals as they see the Liberals as the only viable vehicle for enacting left of centre policies in Canada. So I think many Liberals supporters are hoping we stick with FPTP that sticks it to the NDP and Greens.

faustus

Pondering I'm concerned about what your questions means. I thought you were keen on Dion's P3 model of electoral reform?  Are you now too scared of this Spain situation to step away from any reform and stick with tired old FPTP.

You would rather stick with a system where most people's ballots do not lead to any representation at all, and the same two old parties just swap places every 8 years?

I'm pretty excited about the ideas that are being put on the table to change the system. And I think Canadians want more parties to play a role in parliament.

Pondering

faustus wrote:
Pondering I'm concerned about what your questions means. I thought you were keen on Dion's P3 model of electoral reform?  Are you now too scared of this Spain situation to step away from any reform and stick with tired old FPTP.

Yes Spain has spooked me.

The explanation given, paraphrased, is that Spain is different due to their history but from the results of the election they don't seem that different. They have a top two/three like we do and a fourth like we do. Basically Conservatives to Green equivalents, then a handful of small parties.

All countries are different due to their history and population and culture. As far as I can tell there is no mechanism to force the parties to work together.

Dion's P# model still seems like it might work better because it is ranked ballots at the riding level so the parties and candidates are still incentivized to strive for second votes which they won't get if they are too vicious, like the Conservatives are. Ranked ballots also take away the fear of a "wasted" vote so there would be no need to vote second best to keep someone else out.

Another benefit is to be able to make sure the strongest candidates of all the parties get elected. No more contest between Chrystia Freeland and Linda McQuaig. They both would have been elected. That would seem to lead to a far better quality parliament in general.

Because the strongest candidates within their parties get elected they also have more power as MPs to defy the leader. Once an MP rises to a certain level they can run as independents and win.

Still, Spain has spooked me. The day the votes are counted I want to know who the PM is. I don't want the other parties to be able to block the lead party at every turn unless they make some deal.

faustus wrote:
You would rather stick with a system where most people's ballots do not lead to any representation at all, and the same two old parties just swap places every 8 years? 

That is not ineviable under our system. We have often had minority governments that can and have been overthrown. The NDP almost won. Technically the Conservatives are a 10 year old party. The Bloc had no trouble rising. It is the job of whomever was elected to your riding to represent you. Our MPs need more power to defy their parties. I bet the majority of Canadians do feel they are well represented by the Liberals.

Pipelines have been stopped which proves that we still do have the power to stop corporations and the politicians in cahoots with them. Any democratic system will bow to the wishes of the population. It isn't government we have to persuade, it's people. Then the people will put pressure on whatever government is in power, and they will support whichever party is addressing their concerns.

The NDP can win under FPTP. They came very close in 2015 and Notley has won in Alberta.

faustus wrote:
I'm pretty excited about the ideas that are being put on the table to change the system. 

I haven't heard much about what the committee is putting on the table.

faustus wrote:
And I think Canadians want more parties to play a role in parliament. 

I doubt it. I don't want to choose between a feminist party and an FN rights party and a big tent party. In my view all parties should be big tent parties.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

faustus wrote:
Pondering I'm concerned about what your questions means. I thought you were keen on Dion's P3 model of electoral reform?  Are you now too scared of this Spain situation to step away from any reform and stick with tired old FPTP.

Yes Spain has spooked me.

The explanation given, paraphrased, is that Spain is different due to their history but from the results of the election they don't seem that different. They have a top two/three like we do and a fourth like we do. Basically Conservatives to Green equivalents, then a handful of small parties.

All countries are different due to their history and population and culture. As far as I can tell there is no mechanism to force the parties to work together.

Dion's P# model still seems like it might work better because it is ranked ballots at the riding level so the parties and candidates are still incentivized to strive for second votes which they won't get if they are too vicious, like the Conservatives are. Ranked ballots also take away the fear of a "wasted" vote so there would be no need to vote second best to keep someone else out.

Another benefit is to be able to make sure the strongest candidates of all the parties get elected. No more contest between Chrystia Freeland and Linda McQuaig. They both would have been elected. That would seem to lead to a far better quality parliament in general.

Because the strongest candidates within their parties get elected they also have more power as MPs to defy the leader. Once an MP rises to a certain level they can run as independents and win.

Still, Spain has spooked me. The day the votes are counted I want to know who the PM is. I don't want the other parties to be able to block the lead party at every turn unless they make some deal.

faustus wrote:
You would rather stick with a system where most people's ballots do not lead to any representation at all, and the same two old parties just swap places every 8 years? 

That is not ineviable under our system. We have often had minority governments that can and have been overthrown. The NDP almost won. Technically the Conservatives are a 10 year old party. The Bloc had no trouble rising. It is the job of whomever was elected to your riding to represent you. Our MPs need more power to defy their parties. I bet the majority of Canadians do feel they are well represented by the Liberals.

Pipelines have been stopped which proves that we still do have the power to stop corporations and the politicians in cahoots with them. Any democratic system will bow to the wishes of the population. It isn't government we have to persuade, it's people. Then the people will put pressure on whatever government is in power, and they will support whichever party is addressing their concerns.

The NDP can win under FPTP. They came very close in 2015 and Notley has won in Alberta.

faustus wrote:
I'm pretty excited about the ideas that are being put on the table to change the system. 

I haven't heard much about what the committee is putting on the table.

faustus wrote:
And I think Canadians want more parties to play a role in parliament. 

I doubt it. I don't want to choose between a feminist party and an FN rights party and a big tent party. In my view all parties should be big tent parties.

Look at the parties that have any size in Spain and you can see it is not the number of parties but the context -- you are still ignoring the facts that are specific to Spain -- the fact that the volume of regional nationalist parties are no comparison to Canada. And you are ignoring the significance of the economic crisis in Spain and the way that boosted populist parties that have little ability to work ogether.

In this sense a fair comparison would be someone who is terrified about losing their home because it looks exactly like another home that is now lost except that the other home burned in a forest fire and the home you are comparing it to is nowhere near a forest or where there are large fires. But you say it had windows and doors and a balconey that looks just the same!

I find it diffiuclt to beleive that you are really worried about the Spanish example so much as trying to make it fit a narrative that you have been promoting here since before the Spanish crisis happened and has nothing to do with it.

It is true that the Spanish political crisis has been attractive to people who are fighting PR in Canada. It does not matter that the comparison is irrelevant and the argument is crap.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Here is an article about the Spanish election that is quite interesting:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/spain-election-guide-parti...

You will notice a few things.

They explain the cause of the crisis -- and it is not PR

They point out that "As a whole, Spain’s electoral system tends to disproportionately favour larger parties in each province." Which pretty much blows the blame-PR thesus out of the water when it comes to Spain since they have had this system of PR since the 1970s.

"Of further interest on Sunday will be the support for regional parties, especially in Catalonia where separatist parties won a majority of seats this spring."

"The country’s economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone, was in a deep recession until 2013, with the unemployment rate peaking at 27% and exceeding 50% among young people."

Now this article was written in the run-up to the 2015 election. The election played out that way and things have not changed since.

The deadlock in Spain is nothing to do with PR and everything to do with the nature of the parties, the nature of their economic crisis and the regional fracturing of the country.

Spain's electoral system of PR had been very good at producing governments for the last 40+ years and only with the latest crisis is there a problem.

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Here is an article about the Spanish election that is quite interesting:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/spain-election-guide-parti...

You will notice a few things.

They explain the cause of the crisis -- and it is not PR

They point out that "As a whole, Spain’s electoral system tends to disproportionately favour larger parties in each province." Which pretty much blows the blame-PR thesus out of the water when it comes to Spain since they have had this system of PR since the 1970s.

"Of further interest on Sunday will be the support for regional parties, especially in Catalonia where separatist parties won a majority of seats this spring."

"The country’s economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone, was in a deep recession until 2013, with the unemployment rate peaking at 27% and exceeding 50% among young people."

Now this article was written in the run-up to the 2015 election. The election played out that way and things have not changed since.

The deadlock in Spain is nothing to do with PR and everything to do with the nature of the parties, the nature of their economic crisis and the regional fracturing of the country.

Spain's electoral system of PR had been very good at producing governments for the last 40+ years and only with the latest crisis is there a problem.

I'm not "blaming PR".  I'm saying under PR it is possible for parties to fail to form a coalition. Under FPTP it is not possible.

I posted the results of the 2015 election. Here it is again. The first number is vote share, the second is proportion of seats won:

PP    33.03%                             PP    39.14%                      (Conservative)

PSOE    22.66%                         PSOE    24.29%                  (Social Democratic)

Unidos Podemos    21.10%         Unidos Podemos    20.29%  (allied left-wing parties)

C's    13.05%                             C's    9.14%                       (centre left, liberal)

The above seems very close to Conservative/Liberal/NDP/Green balance in Canada. None of those parties are regional or separatists.

The rest of the parties, the separatists and regionals hardly won any seats so they are not the spoilers. Apparently PSOE, Podemos, and C's can't get it together enough to oppose PP yet none will work with them to form government either.

ERC–CatSí    2.63%                     ERC–CatSí    2.57%            (Catalanpro-independenceleft-wing electoral coalition)

CDC    2.01%                             CDC    2.29%                     (was a Catalan nationalist,[1][2] and liberal[1][3])

EAJ/PNV    1.20%                         EAJ/PNV    1.43%               (Christian democratic and Basque nationalist party.)

PACMA    1.19%                                                                 (The Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals)  

EH Bildu    0.77%                         EH Bildu    0.57%

CCPNC    0.29%                          CCPNC    0.33%

Others    1.28%

Blank ballots    0.75%

Canada is not suffering severe unemployment or economic crisis but the Bloc was extremely strong at one point. Under PR I could definitely see an Alberta/Saskatchewan rising, and maybe a BC party too. An FN party would make sense.

Harper is certainly an argument for PR but it just isn't as clear cut as you try to present it to be. FPTP has imperfections and weaknesses but under our current system Canada is a pretty successful country and has enormous potential. Some of the weaknesses can be addressed in different ways. I remain convinced that Canada is ever more progressive with each generation. I am greatly encouraged by the rise of indigenous leaders.

There are many ways to strengthen democracy. Maybe PR is one of them but so far I am not convinced that it would lead to Canada being governed better.

If the majority of Canadians want to stick with FPTP you cannot say it is undemocratic.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Here is an article about the Spanish election that is quite interesting:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/spain-election-guide-parti...

You will notice a few things.

They explain the cause of the crisis -- and it is not PR

They point out that "As a whole, Spain’s electoral system tends to disproportionately favour larger parties in each province." Which pretty much blows the blame-PR thesus out of the water when it comes to Spain since they have had this system of PR since the 1970s.

"Of further interest on Sunday will be the support for regional parties, especially in Catalonia where separatist parties won a majority of seats this spring."

"The country’s economy, the fourth largest in the eurozone, was in a deep recession until 2013, with the unemployment rate peaking at 27% and exceeding 50% among young people."

Now this article was written in the run-up to the 2015 election. The election played out that way and things have not changed since.

The deadlock in Spain is nothing to do with PR and everything to do with the nature of the parties, the nature of their economic crisis and the regional fracturing of the country.

Spain's electoral system of PR had been very good at producing governments for the last 40+ years and only with the latest crisis is there a problem.

I'm not "blaming PR".  I'm saying under PR it is possible for parties to fail to form a coalition. Under FPTP it is not possible.

I posted the results of the 2015 election. Here it is again. The first number is vote share, the second is proportion of seats won:

PP    33.03%                             PP    39.14%                      (Conservative)

PSOE    22.66%                         PSOE    24.29%                  (Social Democratic)

Unidos Podemos    21.10%         Unidos Podemos    20.29%  (allied left-wing parties)

C's    13.05%                             C's    9.14%                       (centre left, liberal)

The above seems very close to Conservative/Liberal/NDP/Green balance in Canada. None of those parties are regional or separatists.

The rest of the parties, the separatists and regionals hardly won any seats so they are not the spoilers. Apparently PSOE, Podemos, and C's can't get it together enough to oppose PP yet none will work with them to form government either.

ERC–CatSí    2.63%                     ERC–CatSí    2.57%            (Catalanpro-independenceleft-wing electoral coalition)

CDC    2.01%                             CDC    2.29%                     (was a Catalan nationalist,[1][2] and liberal[1][3])

EAJ/PNV    1.20%                         EAJ/PNV    1.43%               (Christian democratic and Basque nationalist party.)

PACMA    1.19%                                                                 (The Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals)  

EH Bildu    0.77%                         EH Bildu    0.57%

CCPNC    0.29%                          CCPNC    0.33%

Others    1.28%

Blank ballots    0.75%

Canada is not suffering severe unemployment or economic crisis but the Bloc was extremely strong at one point. Under PR I could definitely see an Alberta/Saskatchewan rising, and maybe a BC party too. An FN party would make sense.

Harper is certainly an argument for PR but it just isn't as clear cut as you try to present it to be. FPTP has imperfections and weaknesses but under our current system Canada is a pretty successful country and has enormous potential. Some of the weaknesses can be addressed in different ways. I remain convinced that Canada is ever more progressive with each generation. I am greatly encouraged by the rise of indigenous leaders.

There are many ways to strengthen democracy. Maybe PR is one of them but so far I am not convinced that it would lead to Canada being governed better.

If the majority of Canadians want to stick with FPTP you cannot say it is undemocratic.

Again you are making sweeping comparisons that are conjecture while ignoring what has been placed in front of you. One of the biggest is of course the stunning statement that FPTP could not produce a deadlock of this kind in Canada.

Your comment in this regard suggests that you have little understanding of debates within the BQ that occurred from its inception, debates that occurred both within the Liberal party and on the national stage during the 2008 Constitutional crisis. In fact the comment makes it clear that you really have not well understood Canadian parliamentary history since 1991.

If you have no natural majority and parties not able to work together due to having campaigned themselves into corners it makes no difference how they got there -- you will have a hung parliament and deadlock where all parties have made promises and relationships that make it impossible to overcome.

But then you go and make the astonishing admission that it is not the small parties but the nature of the larger parties that prevented them from working with each other. From there you make the truly astonishing and completely unsupported suggestion that this dynamic that prevent coalition could only be possible with PR. We could easily get there -- all you would need is a block of seats being controlled by a populist party. Then you could have a Populist party that could not work with either establishment parties and two left -right establishment parties who could not work together. Imagine A Conservative party, a Liberal party and a new populist right of centre but anti trade , immigrant etc party opposed to both the Conservatives and Liberals created out of anger related to unemployment. You would have a parliament with no possible government. In fact FPTP exaggerating a BQ vote, should they recover, and a leadership in that party that did not want to work with the other parties and you would have a multiple-level deadlock. Delivered with a bow on it by FPTP.

And you forget that if you have more coalitions in theory at least parties that find it hard to work with each other would be more likely rather than less likely to find a way. The public would be used to parties fighting in an election and then working with each other thereafter. But instead you paint your bias completely over all the facts and make a completely logic free assertion without a shred of defence.

Then you go on -- without a single bit of evidence  -- to presume that parties would become regional because of PR -- in the way of Spain. To make this suggestion you have to be completely oblivious to the reality of Spain and its history. Unless you think that Saskatchewan would suddenly be like Catalan, or the Galacia or the Basque region when it comes to nationalism. The level of ignorance of Spain is truly jaw-dropping.

But you are not done yet. From there you go on to make the absolutely ridiculous suggestion that Canada is only a relatively stable political and economic unit due to FPTP. Of course you once more just say these things and provide no argument for them at all -- just pleading with us to accept your bias as a big can of white wash to place over all the differences that are more significant.

That Canada did not fight a civil war and have a dictatorship follow it, to you is somehow not relevant when you decide to suggest that PR is the reason for Spanish disunity. You ignore the role that the organization of Confederation and those agreements played in Canada. Certainly Canada is not an absolutely easy union -- the division of powers were done with considerable care to allow a measure of independent action for the provinces. But you discount this to nothing.

Lastly you create the spectacular blind spot related to both the economic crisis and populism. And you refuse to acknowledge the 40 years that Spain easily produced governments from PR-type elections. You try to say that PR, when it was there all along, is responsible for a sudden crisis and the economic difficulty that came up at the time of the political crisis is not.

And, while doing all this you choose to ignore countries that are stable that have PR and routinely go to the polls and elect governments – Denmark, Sweden, Norway.

Now to be fair it is true that there are few unstable FPTP countries but the reason for this is that very, very few countries in the world use such an outdated –antiquated system. So it is also true that there are few stable countries with FPTP

It is amazing what you have to ignore, distort, forget, deny, and be ignorant of in order to keep going with this most absolutely ridiculous comparison.

So sadly, Pondering you are back to your pretzel logic where things don't need to add up and you just rinse and repeat no matter what people say. It would be great if you could enter into conversations with an open mind, back up your points rather than just repeating them and modify your positions through a real conversation based on facts presented. But I know I am dreaming.

 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

If the majority of Canadians want to stick with FPTP you cannot say it is undemocratic.

Would it have been democratic if women or First Nations had been denied the vote because those decisions failed to pass referendums?

I think voting rights are rights that are also included under minority rights, subject only to reasonable limits that can be justified in a free and democratic society. So I think it would be a good idea for the committee to have their decision ratified by the Supreme Court if they support a system other than single-member plurality. This would give the committee's decision more than enough legitimacy. I also think it would be just if the Supreme Court ruled that single-member plurality should not be able to be used in elections involving more than two candidates.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Would it have been democratic if women or First Nations had been denied the vote because those decisions failed to pass referendums?

I think voting rights are rights that are also included under minority rights, subject only to reasonable limits that can be justified in a free and democratic society.

Our rights are enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, something that came into existence under our current system.

JKR wrote:
So I think it would be a good idea for the committee to have their decision ratified by the Supreme Court if they support a system other than single-member plurality. This would give the committee's decision more than enough legitimacy. I also think it would be just if the Supreme Court ruled that single-member plurality should not be able to be used in elections involving more than two candidates.

The committee only has the power to make a recommendation to Parliament. They can put it to the Supreme Court to ask if that change would be legal, but the Supreme Court cannot order Parliament to accept the recommendation. That would be akin to declaring FPTP illegal. This is a parliamentary committee that reports to parliament.

I think it is very farfetched to think there will be a consensus supporting PR. The Conservatives will never agree. The Liberals are far from sold on it. To sell this to the public it would have to have a lot more support. That is just my opinion of course. Maybe you are right and Canadians are dissatisfied with our current system so will welcome PR as an improvement.

Sean, I will answer you tomorrow.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Maybe you are right and Canadians are dissatisfied with our current system so will welcome PR as an improvement.

I never said that most Canadians are dissatisfied with single-member plurality. I think most Canadians don't care about electoral systems and thus they have little awareness of electoral systems including our current system. There have been opinion polls that show that very many Canadians actually think that the winners of single-member plurality elections receive a majority of the votes in their ridings. It makes sense that they would think that because one should be able to take for granted that our electoral system is able to determine the will of the majority.

I think it is the supporters of political parties that have been short-changed by single-member plurality that make up most of the people who are dissatisfied with single-member plurality, not the general public.

JKR

Arend Lijphart, one of the world's most respected experts on electoral systems brought up an important aspect of electoral systems when he spoke to the all-party committee. He stated that PR is preferable over single-member plurality because PR represents a consensus approach to politics while single-member plurality represents a competitive approach to politics. This might explain why right-wingers prefer single-member plurality as they tend to believe in the desirability of having a competitive winner-take-all society.

mark_alfred

Quote:

Arend Lijphart, one of the world's most respected experts on electoral systems brought up an important aspect of electoral systems when he spoke to the all-party committee. He stated that PR is preferable over single-member plurality because PR represents a consensus approach to politics while single-member plurality represents a competitive approach to politics. This might explain why right-wingers prefer single-member plurality as they tend to believe in the desirability of having a competitive winner-take-all society.

He was also on the Current's show about electoral reform.  [url]http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/the-current-for-august-26-2016-1.3736....

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Arend Lijphart, one of the world's most respected experts on electoral systems brought up an important aspect of electoral systems when he spoke to the all-party committee. He stated that PR is preferable over single-member plurality because PR represents a consensus approach to politics while single-member plurality represents a competitive approach to politics. This might explain why right-wingers prefer single-member plurality as they tend to believe in the desirability of having a competitive winner-take-all society.

Yes and stability "trumps" a more accurate reflection of what the voters wanted. Hence the preference for strong leaders over leaders doing wha tthe population actually wants.

But even then the reaching for examples of instability even when they do not fit is common and you see that from right wingers.

Surprisingly, people who are not right wing get sucked into the same argument as we have seen here.

 

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Again you are making sweeping comparisons that are conjecture while ignoring what has been placed in front of you. One of the biggest is of course the stunning statement that FPTP could not produce a deadlock of this kind in Canada.

You are the one making comparisons. I used Spain purely as an example of what is possible under a system that requires coalition governments. I did not say that is what will happen in Canada. I said is is a possible outcome of PR systems.

It could not as easily lead to this sort of deadlock in Canada because whomever is in first place automatically gets to form government and present a throne speech. The other parties can vote against it but they would have to justify to Canadians why they are not giving the lead party an opportunity to try to govern. Minority governments cannot operate without the support of a majority of MPs but they need not form a formal coalition with another party. They can obtain support from any party on an issue by issue basis. Usually within a couple of years the other parties are ready to fight an election and find an excuse to defeat the government.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hung_parliament

If the state of the parliament is such that a majority government cannot be formed, the government may be referred to as a "minority government". The term hung parliament is used mainly in systems with two parties or two party blocs. ....

In a multi-party system with legislatures elected by proportional representation, it is rare for a party to win an outright majority of seats, so a "hung parliament" is the norm and the term is rarely used. However, the term may be used to describe an election in which no established alliance among the parties wins an outright majority, such as the 2005 German election.

In Canada a minority government is not a hung parliament. You are far more familiar with various electoral systems than I so it is not ignorance that leads you to infer that a "hung parliament" is as likely in Canada under FPTP as it would be under PR. Under PR the parties must come to consensus to form a government. Until they do there is no government. That to me is a hung parliament which is very different from a minority government. In Canada, historically, minority governments have not been "hung" parliaments.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
If you have no natural majority and parties not able to work together due to having campaigned themselves into corners it makes no difference how they got there -- you will have a hung parliament and deadlock where all parties have made promises and relationships that make it impossible to overcome. 

To me in practical terms a hung parliament is one that is unable to govern forcing a new election. In Canada that happens when a minority government loses the confidence of parliament and it triggers a new election call immediately. Under PR parliaments are automatically hung the moment they are elected and remain hung unless and until the various parties make a power-sharing deal. Formal coalitions are formed which together represent a majority then that coalition calls the shots until the next election or until they can't get along anymore. The people who voted for parties that aren't part of that coalition are wasted votes. In Canada a minority government is not unwillingly married to one or more parties. They still need majority support but it can come from any party without forming a formal coalition. So yes, it makes a big difference how they got there.

Given how educated and knowledgable you are I find it difficult to believe you need me to explain that to you. It seems to me you are using the term "hung parliament" to obsure rather than illuminate the possible outcomes under PR and Canada's version of FPTP.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
But then you go and make the astonishing admission that it is not the small parties but the nature of the larger parties that prevented them from working with each other.

I said no such thing. I am not discussing the causes of Spain's hung parliaments only that they are possible under PR systems that require coalitions. Under PR it is very rare for a party to win a majority of seats. To do so they would have to win a majority of votes which tends not to happen in a multi-party system. In Canada minority governments, which you refer to as "hung parliaments" do not require the lead party to form a coalition with other parties.

If under PR the same situation existed, the lead party did not have to form a formal coalition with other parties, I would be more likely to support it even though it would lead to perpetual minority governments.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
From there you make the truly astonishing and completely unsupported suggestion that this dynamic that prevent coalition could only be possible with PR. We could easily get there -- all you would need is a block of seats being controlled by a populist party. Then you could have a Populist party that could not work with either establishment parties and two left -right establishment parties who could not work together. Imagine A Conservative party, a Liberal party and a new populist right of centre but anti trade , immigrant etc party opposed to both the Conservatives and Liberals created out of anger related to unemployment. You would have a parliament with no possible government. In fact FPTP exaggerating a BQ vote, should they recover, and a leadership in that party that did not want to work with the other parties and you would have a multiple-level deadlock. Delivered with a bow on it by FPTP. 

Possible and plausible are not the same thing. Whichever party won the largest block of seats would present a throne speech and a budget. Each party that voted against it would have to explain to the people that elected it why they triggered an immediate new election without even giving the winning party a chance to govern for a few months. That winning party would try to present a throne speech and budget that people who voted for other parties would be satisfied with making it difficult for all the other parties to force an immediate new election.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Then you go on -- without a single bit of evidence  -- to presume that parties would become regional because of PR -- in the way of Spain. To make this suggestion you have to be completely oblivious to the reality of Spain and its history. Unless you think that Saskatchewan would suddenly be like Catalan, or the Galacia or the Basque region when it comes to nationalism. The level of ignorance of Spain is truly jaw-dropping. 

What is jaw dropping is your inability to read the election results of Spain right in this thread. The regional and separatist parties hardly won any seats. They are not the spoilers in Spain's inability to form a government. The grand majority of seats were won by non-regional and non-separatist parties.

The Conservative party's heartland is Alberta, the Bloc had enormous success in Quebec. I never suggests that Saskatchewan would become separatist in any way but they would most certainly support an Alberta/Saskatchewan regional party. Do you not recall the existence of the Reform Party?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
But you are not done yet. From there you go on to make the absolutely ridiculous suggestion that Canada is only a relatively stable political and economic unit due to FPTP. Of course you once more just say these things and provide no argument for them at all -- just pleading with us to accept your bias as a big can of white wash to place over all the differences that are more significant.

I never said that. Presenting such a straw man argument only illustrates your inability to deal with the points being made.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
You try to say that PR, when it was there all along, is responsible for a sudden crisis and the economic difficulty that came up at the time of the political crisis is not.

And, while doing all this you choose to ignore countries that are stable that have PR and routinely go to the polls and elect governments – Denmark, Sweden, Norway.

No, I am not saying that at all and I am not ignoring the countries that are successful under PR.

Some countries are successful under PR, some not so much. As there is no such thing as a psychic neither of us can say what the outcome would be of PR in Canada. We just don't know.

We do know how Canada has faired under FPTP. Could be far better but could be far worse too. Whether or not this is due to FPTP it all happened under that system. We have no idea what would have happened under PR over that same timeframe. It is an unknown. You can't say FPTP has been an abject failure in Canada.

In proposing PR advocates are asking people to take a leap from the known to the unknown on major electoral reform. It is fair for me and others to ask why we should accept such a radical change to our voting system and what the possible outcomes would be of such a radical change.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
So sadly, Pondering you are back to your pretzel logic where things don't need to add up and you just rinse and repeat no matter what people say. It would be great if you could enter into conversations with an open mind, back up your points rather than just repeating them and modify your positions through a real conversation based on facts presented. But I know I am dreaming.

You are projecting. You complicate the discussion with an avalanche of irrelevant arguments that side step the concerns raised by people with doubts about PR.

Reasons for PR

-The NDP doesn't get its fair share of seats in comparison to the number of votes it gets country wide. Oh, and the Greens too.

-That means people votes were wasted so they have no representation.

-Parties can win a "false" majority meaning they can win a majority of seats without a majority of the popular vote.

Reasons for the status quo

- Canada has done very well under FPTP. Why mess with success?

- I like majority governments because it gives them the power to fully implement their vision for Canada. They can't use the excuse that other parties blocked them or are equally responsible. It makes rapid dramatic change possible.

- I worry about the possibility of stalemates or parties with disproportionate power because they are coalition king-makers, not just this year or this decade but for decades, even centuries to come.

I happen to think our system of government is not something to toy with lightly and its effectiveness is judged over decades and centuries not years.

I might be okay with perpetual minority governments but not perpetutal coalitions.

Sean in Ottawa

“You are the one making comparisons.”

Nope – you brought Spain in as an example to a discussion of what would happen to Canada so you are comparing. Now you say it is a possible outcome.

Another "outcome" therefore of PR could be an asteroid hitting the earth. Your statements clearly were that you thought the problems in Spain were due to PR and a risk for Canada. To suggest that you were not linking these is ridiculous.

“whomever is in first place automatically gets to form government and present a throne speech. The other parties can vote against it but they would have to justify to Canadians why they are not giving the lead party an opportunity to try to govern. Minority governments cannot operate without the support of a majority of MPs but they need not form a formal coalition with another party. They can obtain support from any party on an issue by issue basis. Usually within a couple of years the other parties are ready to fight an election and find an excuse to defeat the government.”

The reality in Spain is no different than here. You are just making presumptions that it is different in order to pretend to have a relevant example. Here is the description from a Spanish context:

“Other possibilities exist, such as a minority PP government relying on PSOE and Citizens not to vote against it in parliament; or a PSOE-Podemos government relying on similar tacit support from all the parties except the PP. Other unlikely scenarios, such as PSOE-Citizens-Podemos or PP-PSOE coalitions, are also being broached.”

Then you say:

“Under PR the parties must come to consensus to form a government.”

This is pure rot that you made up and not at all true as the discussion from the Spanish election above illustrates.

Your discussion about what is or is not a hung parliament is uninformed. The same issues exist. And Spain also had a very good history under PR of not needing coalitions. Recent circumstances that you ignored are the reason for the change.

Then you go for this fantasy:

“Under PR parliaments are automatically hung the moment they are elected and remain hung unless and until the various parties make a power-sharing deal.”

Trying to split a hair on a bald head pretty much. Canada can have a situation where an election produces no party capable of governing – it just has not happened yet. But if you look at our history and some of the debates around the BQ it certainly was possible.

And then you go on with this made up fantasy:

“PR systems that require coalitions.” Not necessarily.

Then you say:

“Under PR it is very rare for a party to win a majority of seats.” Except they are very common in Spanish history in the same system you are trying to make an example of – just till last year.

Then you say this:

“If under PR the same situation existed, the lead party did not have to form a formal coalition with other parties, I would be more likely to support it even though it would lead to perpetual minority governments.”

Oh – this should settle it right now. So your objection to PR is only founded on your completely made up false presumption that the system cannot allow for a minority government and a coalition was somehow required. Nope – a minority government can exist in a PR country. PR is how you elect. The rules of what they do when elected are up to the country. Sad to see this long argument come down to one false presumption you made but thanks for clarifying. (Again read the paragraph where the options in Spain laid out exactly the option you claim does not exist.)

Then the la-la land continues:

“Each party that voted against it would have to explain to the people that elected it why they triggered an immediate new election without even giving the winning party a chance to govern for a few months.”

There is no legal or constitutional requirement for this. It is a political question (and when it comes to Spain you appear completely ignorant.) Parties in Spain have been explaining to the people why they cannot work together for a year now. Then they had another election and almost nothing changed. Some parties can simply not work together. This happens based on electoral commitments based on serious incompatibility. The BQ was never going to get into government but it is willing to oppose. So it is quite easy to see that this could have happened here.

Then you say this:

“Possible and plausible are not the same thing.” Sounds out of context like a reasonable statement but when you look at the context I said not possible and you are suggesting plausible. Look up the definition here – not possible is not plausible. Not Plausible in theory might not mean impossible.

You have this weird thing about Throne speeches. Spain does not have them. Yes you are correct in this if you want to play semantics as you do. In Spain they have exactly the same thing but they are called “investiture votes.” And I guess you are correct in that they don’t have a Governor General – they have a King. The function is the same so you can play with that as well. But nothing makes your “example” relevant. These are differences in language not function.

“In order to be confirmed as prime minister, the chosen candidate would need to win an absolute majority in the lower house of parliament in what is called an investiture vote, or, failing that, a simple majority within 48 hours of the first vote.

Should the first choice candidate fall short of the required support, the king can give the mandate to someone else to have a go at winning the required parliamentary support. However, if a government isn’t formed within two months of the first investiture vote, parliament will be dissolved and new elections called.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/datablog/2015/dec/21/spanish-elections...

then you say this:

“What is jaw dropping is your inability to read the election results of Spain right in this thread. The regional and separatist parties hardly won any seats. They are not the spoilers in Spain's inability to form a government. The grand majority of seats were won by non-regional and non-separatist parties.”

Classic Pondering doubling down when you have no clue. Spanish politics is extremely regional and it is not just the independence parties to think about. Do some reading on the civil war there. I assume you are aware they had one?

Here is how the Guardian put it:

“The difficulty is that the fissures that run through Spanish politics are not simply between left and right but are also defined by regional and nationalist divides. Unionists and nationalists, on both the left and right, would find the cost of stomaching a deal unpalatable.”

Then you say this:

“I never suggests that Saskatchewan would become separatist in any way but they would most certainly support an Alberta/Saskatchewan regional party. Do you not recall the existence of the Reform Party?”

Indeed I do and I certainly remember that Joe Clark stated he would not work in a coalition with Manning. Canada could have had a crisis in 1993 but the Liberals won a majority. Many blame Kim Campbell who was leading until half the campaign was over but then said you don’t discuss policy in an election and they did an ad making fun of Chrétien’s face and lost half their support in less than ten days.

Then there was this exchange:

Me:

“From there you go on to make the absolutely ridiculous suggestion that Canada is only a relatively stable political and economic unit due to FPTP. Of course you once more just say these things and provide no argument for them at all -- just pleading with us to accept your bias as a big can of white wash to place over all the differences that are more significant.”

You:

“I never said that. Presenting such a straw man argument only illustrates your inability to deal with the points being made.”

Your suggestion came from these comments:

“I'm saying under PR it is possible for parties to fail to form a coalition. Under FPTP it is not possible.”

“FPTP has imperfections and weaknesses but under our current system Canada is a pretty successful country and has enormous potential.”

You SUGGEST that there is a link between FPTP and Canada being successful.

Perhaps you just type on and have no clue what you are saying.

You wrote:

“Yes Spain has spooked me… The explanation given, paraphrased, is that Spain is different due to their history but from the results of the election they don't seem that different. They have a top two/three like we do and a fourth like we do. Basically Conservatives to Green equivalents, then a handful of small parties.”

I stated what the issues were in Spain – you ignored all of that and stated that other than PR they “don’t seem that different.” Your words. You also when you say Spain spooked you are clearly saying their situation makes you think that if we had PR this could happen here. Clearly you are not trying to run away from that suggestion?

Then you go and introduce your straw man argument – and yours is really incredible: “You can't say FPTP has been an abject failure in Canada.” That’s right. I can’t and I never did. I do say it is not as good as a PR system that it is antiquated and it does not reflect the will of the people with accuracy but “abject failure.” Nope. I don’t even use words like that—I understand that it has worked very well – some benefited and some did not. It has delivered successfully some very lopsided majority governments to parties that did not get near a majority vote. So it worked well for them.

Then you say this:

“In proposing PR advocates are asking people to take a leap from the known to the unknown on major electoral reform.” Uhuh. So do you think women would not have gained the ability to vote? That was quite the leap! And let’s see now – how many countries in the world exist with some form of PR? We can examine them all and see what works and what does not.

Then you conclude your post trying to frame the whole discussion. I love it how you put all the reasons to keep the system we have with your personal preferences. Certainly as silly as they are I cannot argue that you do or do not like something. But this whole bit of ignoring arguments and then playing both ends against the middle is more akin to self pleasure than debate which involves another person who may not frame things as you do.

You conclude with the almost unbelievable:

“I happen to think our system of government is not something to toy with lightly and its effectiveness is judged over decades and centuries not years.”

Yeah we are just toying. I cannot say more about this stupid comment without being really rude.

And the final conclusion:

“I might be okay with perpetual minority governments but not perpetutal coalitions.”

Right – except YOUR example does not have perpetual coalitions and as I said above there is no requirement that a minority can’t govern.

Pondering

I was going to respond point by point but it would be a waste of time. You are rude, disrespectful, condescending and hostile. I came across an article about Spain that gave me pause even though I was previously sold on Dion's P3 model. I am not an enemy of PR trying to come up with propaganda arguments to defeat it. I'm just an average Canadian forming my own opinion on whether or not it is a good idea to take a chance on PR.

I have acknowledged that you have a more sophisticated political analysis, know more history, but that does not translate into me being too incompetent to make up my own mind.

This is the argument I got from the NDP in the mail including bolding and typo:

Fewer elections = a better Canada

Defenders of the status quo will likely tell you that proportional voting systems lead to chaos-with endless elections and instability. But the reality is that the exact opposite is true.

Canada already has a lot of federal elections. In fact we've had 22 in total since 1945. That makes us more "unstable" than Italy, a country that uses proportional representation and has had just 18 elections over the same period.

Proportional elections eliminate "false majorities" by ensuring no party gets a higher percentage of seats than their percentage of the vote. That forces political parties to work together and deliver results in stable, coalition governments.

Beyond making our elections fairer and more stable, proportional systems have many other positive impacts on the countries that use them. For example they tend to have stronger economies with higher surpluses, lower deficits and less debt.

Countries where parties work together collaboratively are also more likely to tackle two of the biggest issues of our time: climate change and income inequality.

With consultations on democratic reform underway, we have a once it a lifetime opportunity to build a better Canada with fairer elections. We have to get it right.

Canada hasn't had a problem with unstable governments in my life time so it's not a problem that needs to be addressed.

This:

Proportional elections eliminate "false majorities" by ensuring no party gets a higher percentage of seats than their percentage of the vote. That forces political parties to work together and deliver results in stable, coalition governments.

The NDP is claiming that PR forces political parties to work together and deliver results in stable, coalition governments. According to you that is fantasizing. According to me if you are right the NDP is lying. 

Beyond making our elections fairer and more stable, proportional systems have many other positive impacts on the countries that use them. For example they tend to have stronger economies with higher surpluses, lower deficits and less debt.

That certainly isn't true of Italy. The NDP is obviously cherry picking data and claiming that positive outcomes for everything from the economy to climate change are due to PR. Right now my opinion is that the NDP wants PR on the federal stage because the NDP would benefit from it.

Whether or not you consider us ignoramuses qualified to have an opinion we still get to have one. You have to convince us ignoramuses that we should support PR. FPTP doesn't have to be defended. The status quo is the default condition.

One thing we ignoramuses do know is that under our current system Canada has become a pretty great country with a strong economy and stable government. It is up to you to convince us that we would be better off under PR.

mark_alfred

Hmm.  Billion word essays about PR.

Regarding Spain, or other nations with a form of PR (I think Spain is PR-List, rather than STV or MMP), sure, perhaps sometimes there's some mess if a result leads to a situation of parties not cooperating or whatever.  I dunno.  Who cares?  Democracy can be messy sometimes.  

I mean sure, one-party dictatorships may sometimes look at us and our protests and stagnation and rituals and think, hey, too wasteful, complicated and expensive for us -- we're sticking to the simple one-party dictatorship.  Fine for them.  For us, even if change for the better may bring about some friction (goodness, look at the civil rights/women's lib movement in the 60s early 70s -- lotta friction, but worth the change in the end), it's worth it.  

An electoral system where the seats won is so fucking different from the vote earned that a party can get 16% of the vote and only win 2 seats (PCs in '93) is clearly broken.  And the vote count being quite far off from the seats won is commonplace in FPTP.  There's no question.  That's gotta be improved.

Sean in Ottawa

It was these frantic "I am worried that PR will ruin my country becuase of Spain" posts that really wound this up -- when I gave specific information about Spain to respond to you, you came back again and ignore what I wrote to go on about the same thing.

You see as far as I am concerned rude actions are ruder than words. This debating trick of going into something and then once a person takes you up on it going on as if they never said anythig is infuriating. This is the point Pondering -- if you get into something and someone takes the trouble to unpack and provide information you can drop the topic or enage in what has been said but to go on and repeat as if they did not take the trouble to respond to you is rude. You are just getting a mirror held up to you.

I am trying -- apparently unsuccessfully to get you to see that this tactic does not work becuase it turns your posts into a series of monologues where you merely repeat over and over what you said ignoring any input from other people -- even when they are responding to the concerns you raise.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

Hmm.  Billion word essays about PR.

Regarding Spain, or other nations with a form of PR (I think Spain is PR-List, rather than STV or MMP), sure, perhaps sometimes there's some mess if a result leads to a situation of parties not cooperating or whatever.  I dunno.  Who cares?  Democracy can be messy sometimes.  

I mean sure, one-party dictatorships may sometimes look at us and our protests and stagnation and rituals and think, hey, too wasteful, complicated and expensive for us -- we're sticking to the simple one-party dictatorship.  Fine for them.  For us, even if change for the better may bring about some friction (goodness, look at the civil rights/women's lib movement in the 60s early 70s -- lotta friction, but worth the change in the end), it's worth it.  

An electoral system where the seats won is so fucking different from the vote earned that a party can get 16% of the vote and only win 2 seats (PCs in '93) is clearly broken.  And the vote count being quite far off from the seats won is commonplace in FPTP.  There's no question.  That's gotta be improved.

Spain was never a relevant example -- the constituencies are uneven and small. The crisis there was regional, nationalist and economic rather than to do with an electoral system.

Now the issue you raise with FPTP is shunted aside for various fantasies about applying a Spanish example to Canada. It was a way of creating a panic about the potential for PR while ignoring any of the problems with FPTP. Classic.

cco

mark_alfred wrote:

An electoral system where the seats won is so fucking different from the vote earned that a party can get 16% of the vote and only win 2 seats (PCs in '93) is clearly broken.  And the vote count being quite far off from the seats won is commonplace in FPTP.  There's no question.  That's gotta be improved.

In Québec in 1998 the PQ won a large majority with fewer votes than the Liberals. This was under essentially a two-party system, even (the ADQ held only one seat and got around 11% of the vote), due to the different concentration of Liberal and PQ votes geographically. I wonder how the FPTP proponents here would've felt if they'd taken that as a clear mandate for their version of "rapid dramatic change".

mark_alfred

Quote:
Now the issue you raise with FPTP is shunted aside for various fantasies about applying a Spanish example to Canada. It was a way of creating a panic about the potential for PR while ignoring any of the problems with FPTP. Classic.

Of course.  Why even fret over the musings of some majoritarian fan-gal?  She likes things as is, others here see the potential for improvement.  Even a zillion words won't change that fact.

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

It was these frantic "I am worried that PR will ruin my country becuase of Spain" posts that really wound this up -- when I gave specific information about Spain to respond to you, you came back again and ignore what I wrote to go on about the same thing.

I did not ignore, I disagreed nor was I frantic nor did I suggest it would ruin Canada.

Rock paper scissors, only one person can win, flip a coin, only one side can win, but only two can play unless you use rounds. These are methods or systems separate from their individual applications. In comparing these two systems we can criticize rock, paper, scissors as more limited because people with physical handicaps that affect their arms or fingers can't participate whereas flipping a coin can be done with multiple parts of the body. On the other hand with rock paper scissors everyone gets to make a choice whereas with flip a coin only one person gets to do it for each round making it easier to cheat by using a loaded coin. On the other hand, a loaded coin can be tested. There are pros and cons to all systems including FPTP and PR but in your analysis FPTP has only weaknesses and PR has only strengths. 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
This debating trick of going into something and then once a person takes you up on it going on as if they never said anythig is infuriating.

That is exactly what you did. You are arguing that what happened in Spain couldn't happen in Canada because Spain's history is different. Spain's history is different but it does not follow that what happened there could not happen here under the same political system but under conditions unique to Canada's history.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
This is the point Pondering -- if you get into something and someone takes the trouble to unpack and provide information you can drop the topic or enage in what has been said but to go on and repeat as if they did not take the trouble to respond to you is rude. You are just getting a mirror held up to you.

And there is the superiority complex and arrogance. I did engage in what you were saying. I disagreed with you. Regardless of Spain's history the systems themselves provide for different possible outcomes and different likelihoods which you refuse to acknowledge.

Under a system with multiple parties PR is far less likely to lead to one party having a majority of seats allowing them to act without any cooperation with other parties even though they don't have a majority share of votes.

That is the core argument of PR proponents but according to you single party majorities are just as likely under PR as they are under FPTP.

The NDP says PR is better because parties are FORCED to enter into coalitions.

You insist that isn't so. That minority governments can take power just like they do under FPTP. They don't have to enter into a coalition. You can't both be right so I am getting different stories from different proponents of PR.

The NDP uses Italy as an example of more stable government due to PR yet my use of Spain as an example of hung parliament is invalid due to Spain's history as if Italy and Canada are similar historically.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
I am trying -- apparently unsuccessfully to get you to see that this tactic does not work becuase it turns your posts into a series of monologues where you merely repeat over and over what you said ignoring any input from other people -- even when they are responding to the concerns you raise.

I'm allowed to counter your responses. I don't just repeat what I already said. I say why I don't think your argument is valid.  Apparently the NDP agrees with me not with you on the issue of whether or not PR requires coalitions as the norm. 

It is only under exceptional circumstances PR allows for minority rule without entering a coalition and it is under exceptional circumstances that FPTP leads to a coalition government.

Wikipedia:

In a parliamentary system of government, a hung parliament is an expression used to describe a state of a parliament when no single political party (or bloc of allied parties) has an absolute majority of seats in the parliament (legislature). It is also less commonly known as a balanced parliament[1][2] or a legislature under no overall control.[3][4][5] If the legislature is bicameral, and the government is responsible only to the lower house, then "hung parliament" is used only with respect to that chamber. It is the objective of parliamentary systems for the parliament to be able to form a stable government, preferably that lasts until the next election. This requires the government to be able to muster up sufficient votes in parliament to pass important legislation, especially to be able to pass the government's budget. It also needs sufficient votes to defeat votes of no-confidence in the government. If the state of the parliament is such that a majority government cannot be formed, the government may be referred to as a "minority government". The term hung parliament is used mainly in systems with two parties or two party blocs. Most general elections in such a system will result in one or other party having an absolute majority and thus quickly forming a new government; a "hung parliament" is an exception to this pattern, and may be considered anomalous or undesirable. One or both main parties may seek to form a coalition government with smaller third parties, or a minority government relying on confidence and supply support from third parties or independents. If these efforts fail, a dissolution of parliament and a fresh election may be the last resort.

In a multi-party system with legislatures elected by proportional representation, it is rare for a party to win an outright majority of seats, so a "hung parliament" is the norm and the term is rarely used. However, the term may be used to describe an election in which no established alliance among the parties wins an outright majority, such as the 2005 German election.

The term "hung parliament" is used mainly in systems with two parties or two party blocks as per Wikipedia. It is not a term we use in Canada because it implies a government can't govern. We use minority government because under our system a minority government can govern without any formal agreement with a particular party. They can just present their legislation and dare the other parties to force another election.

Wikipedia states that a "hung parliament" is the norm under PR. That is because the norm is for parties to have to form a coalition before the lead party takes power. During the time between the election and a coalition being formed parliament is "hung up" meaning no one is in a position to take power and start presenting legislation.

Apparently Wikipedia also fantasizes. You are not automatically right because you know more history and have more facts about politicians at your fingertips.

Most Canadians do not have the background political and historical knowledge that you have but we don't need to in order to vote nor do we need to for our opinions about what we prefer to be valid.

Before providing a solution, PR, you will need to convince Canadians that we have a problem that needs to be fixed and that PR would do it.

There are many avenues to democratic reform. PR may be best for the NDP but I am not convinced it is best for Canada. I think the more important issue is getting money out of politics which has severely undermined democracy and getting people informed.

JKR

cco wrote:
mark_alfred wrote:

An electoral system where the seats won is so fucking different from the vote earned that a party can get 16% of the vote and only win 2 seats (PCs in '93) is clearly broken.  And the vote count being quite far off from the seats won is commonplace in FPTP.  There's no question.  That's gotta be improved.

In Québec in 1998 the PQ won a large majority with fewer votes than the Liberals. This was under essentially a two-party system, even (the ADQ held only one seat and got around 11% of the vote), due to the different concentration of Liberal and PQ votes geographically. I wonder how the FPTP proponents here would've felt if they'd taken that as a clear mandate for their version of "rapid dramatic change".

And here in BC in 1996 the BC NDP won far fewer votes than the BC Liberals but still formed a majority government. On top of that the BC Liberals and BC Conservatives split the right wing vote that would have given the BC Liberals even more votes. After the election the BC Liberals never let anyone forget that the BC NDP government was illegitimate. To make their point they promised to support electoral reform. That's why they had to establish the citizens' electoral reform assembly even after they won their huge phoney FPTP win that left the BC NDP with just two seats. Before the 2001 election, the right here killed off the BC Conservatives because they learned what vote-splitting does under FPTP. Without vote-splitting on the right, there was no longer an appetite on the right for electoral reform so they undermined the electoral reform process from there on in.

Sean in Ottawa

Since your post is long and full of the same type of stuff, I will take just the first BS example and unpack that. You said:

"You are arguing that what happened in Spain couldn't happen in Canada because Spain's history is different."

I said nothing of the sort. What I said was that the Spanish crisis was not applicable to Canada because the reasons for it were unique to Spain and not to do with PR. You twist and twist until you say that I said that what happened there could not happen here. Except I said the exact opposite -- it could happen here with or without PR – and this example had nothing to do with PR.

So how do I deal with a long post like yours loaded with stuff like this? Unpacking and refuting one BS statement can lead to a paragraph of explanation – or letting you away with saying something absolutely ridiculous.

Of course this posting style of yours is either due to you simply not being capable of following logic in which case I could be sympathetic but you are too aggressive to be forgiven for this. I have known people who cannot engage in this type of discussion but they don’t get involved on boards like this and drag conversations in endless circles.

The more plausible alternative is just to think that this is your tactic and you play games here wearing people down. It never works to debate with you because it leads to a bottomless pit where light and logic cannot penetrate. The result is that you can say what you like as often people don’t want to go down the rabbit hole with you and if they do you will wear them down until you “win” your point because they either walk away grumbling or blow up and be rude so you can label them as unreasonable.

If this is not a tactic of yours and you really are just incapable of debating using logic, then I can be sympathetic I would wonder why you would subject yourself to contacts where logic is central.

I could point out other exaples from just this last post of your where the logic is just ridiculous. But you post this stuff and if someone respects your post enough to look at it and reply it ends like this.

mark_alfred

There's a questionnaire that the ERRE committee has which some may want to fill out. 

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

Side note:  I did PM a couple of people about this questionnaire, but I may have sent the wrong link.  Links on the internet today always have oodles of personal ID numbers and other tracking references, and initially that's what I sent, so that may not work.  This one above is to the page which contains a link to the questionnaire.  It's near the top under the heading "participate", and it's the third green box entitled, "Join the online consultation by answering the questionnaire."

It's pretty easy and takes about 30 minutes. 

It asks you to rank things from 1 to 5, with 1 being strong disapproval to 5 being strong approval (there's also a "don't know" slot right after the "5" slot, so be careful not to accidentally use this slot if you intend it to be "5").  It covers mandatory voting, online voting, having a referendum, is it important for independents to be able to run, and then it covers the following systems:  FPTP, AV, PR-List, MMP, and STV.

There's also some intro questions to determine if in fact you feel this is an issue.  Very easy for me:

Quote:
The current electoral system adequately reflects voters’ intentions --> strong disagreement!
If I vote for a candidate in my riding who does not win, my vote is wasted --> strong agreement!
The current electoral system should be maintained --> strong disagreement!
The current electoral system should be changed --> strong agreement!

While I prefer MMP, I did also give a "strong agreement 5" to STV.  PR-List got 3s from me.  AV and FPTP got 1s.

Regarding AV, besides the section where they directly ask about it, there's lots of subtle questions that could be misconstrued as supportive of AV.  Stuff like, "a winning candidate [for a riding] should have over 50% of the vote".  That I had to think about for a while, and then I thought, well, no, if it's STV, the idea of 50% is mute, and if it's MMP, then proportionality is achieved by the votes for district reps, which is my interest [though granted, the riding member could be chosen via preferential ballot, I suppose -- still, I felt that question could lead to a case for AV).  So, for me, that question got "1, strong disagreement". 

ETA:  In the final comment, I tried to appeal to the Cons and Libs, stating "Sometimes under FPTP there is just too great a difference, like in 1993 when the Progressive Conservatives got 16% of the vote but only two seats," and also saying, "I do think it's great of the Liberal Party, who often benefit from false majorities, to consider fixing this for the greater good. Please do the right thing and fix this. Thank you." Doesn't hurt to butter them up, I figure.

Pondering

mark_alfred wrote:

Submission from the Broadbent Committee: 

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/broadbent/pages/5254/attachments/o...

 

For P~ng & Rev, here's something for you:  http://www.keepvotingsimple.ca/read-me/ 

No need anymore to waste your own time on researching anti-change pro-FPTP propaganda.  "keepvotingsimple.ca" has it for you.

Another ally for you is Tony Clement:

http://www.tonyclement.ca/?p=3860

It sounds too much like the flip side of the NDP pitch. Both are insulting.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

There's a questionnaire that the ERRE committee has which some may want to fill out. 

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

Side note:  I did PM a couple of people about this questionnaire, but I may have sent the wrong link.  Links on the internet today always have oodles of personal ID numbers and other tracking references, and initially that's what I sent, so that may not work.  This one above is to the page which contains a link to the questionnaire.  It's near the top under the heading "participate", and it's the third green box entitled, "Join the online consultation by answering the questionnaire."

It's pretty easy and takes about 30 minutes. 

It asks you to rank things from 1 to 5, with 1 being strong disapproval to 5 being strong approval (there's also a "don't know" slot right after the "5" slot, so be careful not to accidentally use this slot if you intend it to be "5").  It covers mandatory voting, online voting, having a referendum, is it important for independents to be able to run, and then it covers the following systems:  FPTP, AV, PR-List, MMP, and STV.

There's also some intro questions to determine if in fact you feel this is an issue.  Very easy for me:

Quote:
The current electoral system adequately reflects voters’ intentions --> strong disagreement!
If I vote for a candidate in my riding who does not win, my vote is wasted --> strong agreement!
The current electoral system should be maintained --> strong disagreement!
The current electoral system should be changed --> strong agreement!

While I prefer MMP, I did also give a "strong agreement 5" to STV.  PR-List got 3s from me.  AV and FPTP got 1s.

Regarding AV, besides the section where they directly ask about it, there's lots of subtle questions that could be misconstrued as supportive of AV.  Stuff like, "a winning candidate [for a riding] should have over 50% of the vote".  That I had to think about for a while, and then I thought, well, no, if it's STV, the idea of 50% is mute, and if it's MMP, then proportionality is achieved by the votes for district reps, which is my interest [though granted, the riding member could be chosen via preferential ballot, I suppose -- still, I felt that question could lead to a case for AV).  So, for me, that question got "1, strong disagreement". 

ETA:  In the final comment, I tried to appeal to the Cons and Libs, stating "Sometimes under FPTP there is just too great a difference, like in 1993 when the Progressive Conservatives got 16% of the vote but only two seats," and also saying, "I do think it's great of the Liberal Party, who often benefit from false majorities, to consider fixing this for the greater good. Please do the right thing and fix this. Thank you." Doesn't hurt to butter them up, I figure.

The survey is problematic in that it gives the information as it goes on therefore biasing the survey as it proceeds. It should have provided all the information upfront and let people choose all options with the same information in front of them.

The survey does recognize the relative importance of questions to the participants. It does not record how important one disagreement or agreement is compared to another and it merely counts the level of disagreement.

I thinik it should have laid out the information first -- allowing all questions and options to be visible before asking a person to start filling them in.

This survey is poorly produced and would not meet the most basic integrity standards for a survey of its kind. It offered few head to head choices and ranked opinions by gathering them out of context of the whole even though they were effectively choices.

It is a little like doing a survey to see what icecream you like best as follows:

Question 1: do you like Strawberry -- rank 1-5

Question 2: do you like Vanilla -- rank 1-5.

Question 3: do you like Tigertail -- rank 1-5.

Question 4: do you like Maple Walnut -- rank 1-5.

Question 5: do you like Butterscotch-- rank 1-5.

Performed like this the order biases the answers as you choose Strawberry without any knowledge of options. Maybe one you like better is coming maybe it isn't. The last option you are aware of all the previous ones.

This is a completely invalid approach to an opinion survey. It made me wonder if anyone who understands market research was involved.

I am not a fan of contracting out but perhaps this is one that should ahve been done by experts. This clearly was not produced by experts.

There were also leading questions (where the question biases the answer).

Overall it is discouraging to think that this survey could in any way be used to help decide the future of our electoral system.

Ideally the questions should have been preceeded by a description with adantages adn disadvantages for each system as laid out by proponents and opponents of each in order to be certain to have all the rationales and information there before you start to collect responses.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

For P~ng & Rev, here's something for you:  http://www.keepvotingsimple.ca/read-me/ 

No need anymore to waste your own time on researching anti-change pro-FPTP propaganda.  "keepvotingsimple.ca" has it for you.

Another ally for you is Tony Clement:

http://www.tonyclement.ca/?p=3860

This one lists several facts without any support and some of them are flat wrong. Take turnout. It claims that PR leads to lower turnout. In fact countries with PR tend to have higher turnout. There is some debate as to whether this is due to PR itself or other factors but the argument that PR leads to lower turnout is completely unsupportable.

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