Proportional Representation part 3

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Rev Pesky

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

Which might be applicable is I had ever made the argument that systems other than FPTP were too complex. I haven't.

My argument is now, and always has been that spending a lot of time and trouble changing voting system is a waste because in fact it will not change anything in the overall system.

And believe me, any change that requires changing ridings will never happen. I well remember the outcry in Vancouver when the Socreds tried to change a single riding. Multiply that by 338 and you'll soon figure out that any scheme that tries to change ridings is dead in the water.

But even if that hurdle could be overcome, so what? Show me a country that uses a PR system that is better run, that is run more in the interest of the average citizen. Greece? Spain? Israel? Germany? Italy?

Where is this workers paradise that has come about by the use of PR voting?

The whole PR voting thing has the feel of the student who can't answer a question after much trying, so decides to solve the situation by changing the question to one that he can answer.

 

mark_alfred

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

mark_alfred

Quote:
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.

[snip]

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.

Yeah, it was a bit problematic and had some leading or manipulative questions.  I kinda expected that.  It wasn't that bad, IMO.  And I think if it had "been preceeded by a description with adantages and disadvantages for each system as laid out by proponents and opponents of each" that it would have been way too long.

Mostly it'll be filled out by people who've already made up their minds.  Obviously it's a bit easier if you're a status quo person.  Change?  No no no.  Whereas if you're someone looking for change then it's oh, hey, a variety of new options....hmm, well, maybe this or maybe that or ... 

I think it's just important for those who want change to be equally decisive, and to follow the advice that the esteemed Arend Lijphart gave when he spoke on The Current:  advocates of PR should not be divided and should not worry too much about the specific system of PR -- both STV and MMP are fine, so advocate for both with equal enthusiasm.  Majoritarian systems like AV and FPTP are not.

Here's the government's electoral reform questionnaire link again (see the third green box):  http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=9...

Doug Woodard

Party MPs on electoral reform -

Liberals:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3711949

NDP:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3726632

Conservatives:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3732560

 

Doug Woodard

Ed Broadbent says proportional representation might have spared the West the National Energy Program, and Conservative dominance of its Commons contingent:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3740446

 

Doug Woodard

Wilf Day on Fair Vote Canada's Rural-Urban PR model:

http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2016/04/multi-mp-ridings-in-big-cities-single...

Note that this proposal would minimize the needed number of single-seat ridings for rural areas, and any increase in their size, limiting the need for compensatory list members. Also PR-STV in small to moderate size multi-seat city ridings (say 3-7 seats) would give the best proportionality for the riding size thus minimizing any need for additional list members.

Sean in Ottawa

Doug Woodard wrote:

Ed Broadbent says proportional representation might have spared the West the National Energy Program, and Conservative dominance of its Commons contingent:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3740446

 

Yes it would also have moderated regional differences across the country so that parties would have representation in parts of the country they may not have representation from under FPTP. So national parties would be less regional and all regions would have more say in all national governments.

Sean in Ottawa

Doug Woodard wrote:

Wilf Day on Fair Vote Canada's Rural-Urban PR model:

http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2016/04/multi-mp-ridings-in-big-cities-single...

Note that this proposal would minimize the needed number of single-seat ridings for rural areas, and any increase in their size, limiting the need for compensatory list members. Also PR-STV in small to moderate size multi-seat city ridings (say 3-7 seats) would give the best proportionality for the riding size thus minimizing any need for additional list members.

This is also quite workable.

mark_alfred

Quote:

Party MPs on electoral reform -

Liberals:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3711949

NDP:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3726632

Conservatives:

http://www.cbc.ca/1.3732560

 

Thanks Doug, this was fascinating to listen to. For different reasons they were all very illuminating.  In the Conservative one it was mentioned that perhaps due to the structure of the committee and due to the focus on hearing expert testimony, that this committee was less acrimonious and more pleasant than what is generally the case in parliamentary committees.  To me this says two things:  Democratic Reform Minister Maryam Monsef was correct to adopt Cullen's suggestion to structure the committee more in line with the popular vote, since it gives it more legitimacy and since it doesn't falsely give majority power to one party (something that simply increases acrimonomy, IMO).  Also, it hints that people's concerns about minorities are misplaced.

Anyway, the Cons' Scott Reid and Gérard Deltell argue for a referendum.  The NDP's Nathan Cullen and Alexandre Boulerice feel that MMP is certainly worthy of consideration but are also intrigued by Fair Vote Canada's suggestion of Canada's Rural-Urban PR.  The Liberals' Erskine-Smith and Joël Lightbound are quite open to MMP, which is good to hear.

mark_alfred

http://www.mississauga.com/news-story/6829247-mississauga-mps-hosting-to...

Here's an article on one of the town halls that will be happening across the country in accordance with the government's plan of electoral reform.

Quote:
The event is part of the federal government’s plan to axe the first-past-the-post voting system, which has been heavily criticized for being partisan and unrepresentative of the population.

Once the public consultations are completed, a 12-member electoral committee composed of five Liberals, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one member of the Bloc Québécois and a Green MP, Elizabeth May, will submit its report to Parliament for review. A final report is due no later than December 1, 2016.

I wrote my MP, who's a Liberal, asking him to let me know when he is going to be holding such a town hall.  They got back to me to say that they would let me know, which is good.  I did see an article yesterday describing how both May and Cullen were a bit critical of the government for not putting enough resources into these town halls.  Nonetheless, they seem to be happening.

mark_alfred

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/08/26/monsef-launching-monthlong-national-tour-...

Quote:

Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef is preparing to kick off a monthlong national tour on electoral reform.

The tour adds a layer of democratic reform consultation to the town halls already being held by many MPs on the issue and the work of the special parliamentary committee on democratic reform at a time when the Conservatives are still demanding a referendum on the issue — an option the government has all but ruled out as unwieldy and inefficient.

cco

CBC's Power and Politics just had a guy on from the Fraser Institute arguing for keeping FPTP. He made Donald Trump look like Pericles. I'm not certain I've heard a less coherent argument this year. "Canada has the best electoral system in the world, so to change it, we'd have to have something that's better than the best." I wish that were my paraphrase.

mark_alfred

I had been wondering what the Bloc's position was.  Discovered by reading Kady O'Malley's blog that their position is basically the same as the Conservatives -- they want a referendum.

Sean in Ottawa

mark_alfred wrote:

I had been wondering what the Bloc's position was.  Discovered by reading Kady O'Malley's blog that their position is basically the same as the Conservatives -- they want a referendum.

They are interested in division...

They have long backed PR though.

mark_alfred

Yeah.  Lemme see if I can find it again...

Kady O'Malley wrote:

Over to Bloc Quebecois leader Luc Theriault — who has returned to the fray, it seems, and who has taken it upon himself to outline his party’s position on electoral reform: they’re in favour, but don’t want to be rushed, and it has to be put to the people through a referendum.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/kady-liveblog-political-scientist...

JKR

At the all-party committee, Ed Broadbent mentioned that 46% of voters did not vote for their first choice in the 2015 election!!!

Pondering

JKR wrote:

At the all-party committee, Ed Broadbent mentioned that 46% of voters did not vote for their first choice in the 2015 election!!!

Did he offer a source?

The only reason not to put it to a referendum is the fear that Canadians won't make the choice the politicians want. So, if the people won't choose what politicians want, then obviously they shouldn't be given a choice.

The Conservative's support for a referendum is based purely in self-interest but same goes for the left. Opposition to a referendum is based in fear that the people won't choose the way the left has decided is best for them.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:

At the all-party committee, Ed Broadbent mentioned that 46% of voters did not vote for their first choice in the 2015 election!!!

Did he offer a source?

Really. Took me less than ten seconds to find it.

http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/canadians_want_the_new_government_to_ke...

JKR

Scott Reid, one of the vice-chairs of the all-party committee, has made his case for FPTP. He says that in order for our electoral system to be fair it must allow for the possibility that the current government will lose power in the next election. He says that AV and PR are unacceptable because those systems would preclude the possibility of the Liberals losing power in 2019. So it seems he is saying we must keep FPTP because it is the only electoral system being considered by the committee that would give the Conservatives a chance of forming a government in 2019 through vote-splitting. Reid seems to think that discerning the will of the majority is not an important function of an electoral system or for democracy. He seems to have no problem with a minority ruling over the majority. On the other hand, in an interview on the CBC Arend Lijphart said that discerning the will of the majority is probably the first principle of democracy.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:

At the all-party committee, Ed Broadbent mentioned that 46% of voters did not vote for their first choice in the 2015 election!!!

The only reason not to put it to a referendum is the fear that Canadians won't make the choice the politicians want. So, if the people won't choose what politicians want, then obviously they shouldn't be given a choice.

The Conservative's support for a referendum is based purely in self-interest but same goes for the left. Opposition to a referendum is based in fear that the people won't choose the way the left has decided is best for them.

Nope. But must I really repeat this? -- It is not as if this has not been discussed here enough.

Pondering makes claims about what motivates those she disagrees with. Particularly infuriating is this tendency to ignore what people say and then interpret back to them what they really mean in generalizations designed to help her case. This is her variation on the straw man theme.

She doesn't like it when people are rude but it is hardly surpirsing that people view her with hostility and anger, and yes, rudeness, when she spends more time talking about what others say and mean than actually listening and acknowledging what they have to say about it themselves.

Wouldn't it be great if people debating would say what they mean and let those who disagree with them represent their own views for themselves? It would be respectful and all -- and then we could return the favour.

Pondering

Thanks Sean, I was able to follow your link to the actual report at:

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/broadbent/pages/4770/attachments/o...

58% think the system needs no changes or only minor changes.

At no point is it asked how important it is for a single party to be reasonably able to win a majority of seats.

If support for proportional representation is as high as proponents claim then a referendum should be demanded not avoided.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

The only reason not to put it to a referendum is the fear that Canadians won't make the choice the politicians want. So, if the people won't choose what politicians want, then obviously they shouldn't be given a choice.

The Conservative's support for a referendum is based purely in self-interest but same goes for the left. Opposition to a referendum is based in fear that the people won't choose the way the left has decided is best for them.

I think opposition to a referendum is based on the fear that the majority will vote against minority rights. Many people feel that minority rights must never be put up for grabs in a general vote. This is based on the basic democratic principle that minority rights are inalienable.

If some politicians on the committee can't respect minority rights than maybe it would be a good idea for the all-party committee to support referring this issue to the Supreme Court?

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Scott Reid, one of the vice-chairs of the all-party committee, has made his case for FPTP. He says that in order for our electoral system to be fair it must allow for the possibility that the current government will lose power in the next election. He says that AV and PR are unacceptable because those systems would preclude the possibility of the Liberals losing power in 2019. So it seems he is saying we must keep FPTP because it is the only electoral system being considered by the committee that would give the Conservatives a chance of forming a government in 2019 through vote-splitting. Reid seems to think that discerning the will of the majority is not an important function of an electoral system or for democracy. He seems to have no problem with a minority ruling over the majority. On the other hand, in an interview on the CBC Arend Lijphart said that discerning the will of the majority is probably the first principle of democracy.

Well said.

Lost on him is the idea that public opinion and the will of the people might be more stable than electoral swings exaggerated by FPTP.

It is true that party alignments that favour centre-left could get a majority over a long term if that is where people are at, but this is only due to the fact that this reflects where the majority of the population actually is.

It is nice to see an admission from the Conservatives that they do not give a fig for the public will unless it means bringing them to power. If they did actually respect the will of the people they would accept that elections should demonstrate it accurately and they would align and develop their party to be something that could work with others in a majority to serve that will faithfully. Or, at their choice attempt to create a party so in tune that it could get behind it real majority support.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

The only reason not to put it to a referendum is the fear that Canadians won't make the choice the politicians want. So, if the people won't choose what politicians want, then obviously they shouldn't be given a choice.

The Conservative's support for a referendum is based purely in self-interest but same goes for the left. Opposition to a referendum is based in fear that the people won't choose the way the left has decided is best for them.

I think opposition to a referendum is based on the fear that the majority will vote against minority rights. Many people feel that minority rights must never be put up for grabs in a general vote. This is based on the basic democratic principle that minority rights are inalienable.

If some politicians on the committee can't respect minority rights than maybe it would be a good idea for the all-party committee to support referring this issue to the Supreme Court?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects minority rights.

Supporters of PR are claiming that the majority of Canadians support PR.

A political party is not a minority.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

Thanks Sean, I was able to follow your link to the actual report at:

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/broadbent/pages/4770/attachments/o...

58% think the system needs no changes or only minor changes.

At no point is it asked how important it is for a single party to be reasonably able to win a majority of seats.

If support for proportional representation is as high as proponents claim then a referendum should be demanded not avoided.

Love the twisting here because it is classic --

That particular statistic says 83 want change. 41 consider the changes required to be minor.

And guess what -- I would be included in them becuase I think that PR is a minor change to the system. I also favour retaining the Senate and reforming it -- another thing that I think is minor compared to alternatives.

I am not against a referendum so long as it is done properly with full information but I am not passionate about a referendum becuase I consider the changes to be both minor and reversible.

The multimember constituencies as laid out by Fair Vote Canada also would be minor when you consider you will still have an MP -- perhaps even more than one.

The effect of what are really minor changes would of course be significant and major but the point is that it only takes minor changes to achieve what is needed. These people are saying theya re minor becuase they also are saying that this is easy to do.

The report also provides the statistic that 44% want the government to keep the promise to change the system and 24% say they should keep it the same. That stat did not help you so you ignored it in your cherry picking. (32% were unsure).

You said that at no point does it ask how important it is for a party to get a majority. Not sure if you are knowingly not telling the truth, sloppy in reading, did not read it, are incapable of understanding, pretending, or what. Fact is there are no possible "polite" interpretations of your error. There is a whole paragraph talking about this:

Of note, respondents were offered a goal of "electing majority government" and despite this, only 25% ranked it in their top five issues,suggesting it is not the type of government a voting system produces that is important but the nature of the government. In other words, preference for a “strong and stable government” should not be confused forpreference for a system that produces majorities.

You always get so angry when people are rude to you. Such a pity that you have absolutely no clue as to why that would be. Sweeping assertions without regard for what is actually being said is your pattern. Please try to comprehend just how annoying that pattern is!

Now the stat you probably would like the most is that the current system gets a plurality support over the alternatives. This does not surprise anyone -- we all know the value of incumbancy well. And this is also why many who want change would like a comprehensive public discussion about all the choices before we consider a vote. Or for parliament, representing all Canadains to debate it and vote.

Abacus posits conclusions on page 22. This is worth a read.

BTW I just so happened to have been called for this survey.

Sean in Ottawa

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

The only reason not to put it to a referendum is the fear that Canadians won't make the choice the politicians want. So, if the people won't choose what politicians want, then obviously they shouldn't be given a choice.

The Conservative's support for a referendum is based purely in self-interest but same goes for the left. Opposition to a referendum is based in fear that the people won't choose the way the left has decided is best for them.

I think opposition to a referendum is based on the fear that the majority will vote against minority rights. Many people feel that minority rights must never be put up for grabs in a general vote. This is based on the basic democratic principle that minority rights are inalienable.

If some politicians on the committee can't respect minority rights than maybe it would be a good idea for the all-party committee to support referring this issue to the Supreme Court?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects minority rights.

Supporters of PR are claiming that the majority of Canadians support PR.

A political party is not a minority.

You have got to be kidding. What incredible ignorance of that document.

Show me the relevant clause. Trust me, I know the document very, very well. You are misreading this in a way that is absolutely hilarious.

Now there are minority language education rights -- Pondering is a minority here and may need education. Indeed the only reference to the word minority is with respect to minority language education rights.

There are rights with respect to holding and expressing minority opinions (conscience) -- this is protected but it does not mean we have to agree with these opinions or cannot give feedback.

There are rights with respect to religious freedom -- this might be relavent since the supporters of FPTP do sometimes present it like some kind of religion.

There are democratic rights -- but these do not provide for the minority to trump the majority.

But let me help Pondering dig her rhetorical hole a little further. Here is a link to the document:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html

 

 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

At no point is it asked how important it is for a single party to be reasonably able to win a majority of seats.

I think this is one principle of electoral systems that can be favoured without being based on partisanship to a political party. If the Conservatives truly believed in this principle, why aren't they supporting AV, a system even more likely to produce majority governments than single-member plurality?

It would also be possible to establish a MMP system that uses AV and is moderately proportional. It could have just 10-20% top-up seats. This would limit the amount of parties basically to what we currently have but it would be moderately more proportional than single-member plurality. The chance of having majorities would be less than it is now but it would be greater than in more proportional systems.

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects minority rights.

...

A political party is not a minority.

I agree that political parties are not minorities but I do think the supporters of political parties are minorities whose voting rights should be respected. For example, if 10% of the voters prefer the Green Party it should not be possible for their votes to help elect the anti-environmental Conservatives through vote-splitting. I think Green Party supporters could make a good case to the Supreme Court that their basic rights are violated by FPTP.

I think FPTP has some aspects that could be considered to be strengths by some people but I think these advantages of FPTP are undemocratic in political systems with more than two parties. One aspect of FPTP is that it forces political coalitions not to set up their own small parties but to enter into huge big-tent parties. In the case of political coalitions that support 3rd parties like the Greens and NDP it forces them to move their support to big-tent party like the Liberals or Conservatives to avoid vote-splitting. This does not seem democratic to me. I think people who support majoritarian government and multi-party politics should support AV.

While I don't think there is much by way of constitutional application -- there is an interesting analogy here going from your comment.

The constitution does provide freedom of association. The requirement that people are forced to identify into larger parties in order for their democratic expressions to be heard could be an issue of freedom of association -- both that they are forced to associate unreasonably and that they are unable to identify and associate with more appropriate options reasonably and have that respected and counted.

This argument may be far too much of a stretch legally but I agree that there is a moral principle here that you are raising.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects minority rights.

...

A political party is not a minority.

I agree that political parties are not minorities but I do think the supporters of certain political parties are minorities whose voting rights should be respected to a reasonable extent. For example, if 10% of the voters prefer the Green Party it should not be possible for their votes to help elect the anti-environmental Conservatives through vote-splitting. I think Green Party supporters could make a good case to the Supreme Court that their basic rights are violated by FPTP.

I think FPTP has some aspects that could be considered to be strengths by some people but I think these advantages of FPTP are undemocratic in political systems with more than two parties. One aspect of FPTP is that it forces political coalitions not to set up their own small parties but to enter into huge big-tent parties. In the case of political coalitions that support 3rd parties like the Greens and NDP it forces them to move their support to big-tent party like the Liberals or Conservatives to avoid vote-splitting. This does not seem democratic to me. I think people who support majoritarian government and multi-party politics should support AV.

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

It's interesting that even the Conservatives on the committee acknowledged that FPTP has issues.  Their argument for a referendum is that it will be a safeguard against the PMO giving us a manipulated system that favours the incumbent, since the final decision is the PMO's and not the ERRE Committee's (IE, the thought is to make the final decision up to the public in a referendum.  However, such minute details (riding boundaries, calculation off add-ons or quorums or whatever) would not be subject to a referendum, so I view that as a mute point.  Plus, these details will occasionally be adjusted.  Would that require a referendum each time?  Was it last time when the Conservatives made various adjustments to riding boundaries and ID requirements and other stuff?  No, it wasn't.

The fact is, as I mentioned earlier, it's easier to say yes to the known and no to something new.  If someone has eaten baloney sandwiches all his/her life and suddenly someone offers him/her the alternative choice of dim sum while handing him/her some chop sticks, he/she may look at the various dishes and think, uh, I'm not totally sure what to do, so I'll just go with a baloney sandwich.  However, taking the baloney sandwich guy/gal to a dim sum place that has no option for mac&cheese, well, once they're nudged into trying, they aren't coming back. 

In other words, it's hard to make a judgement on something you've never tried.  And if it seems complicated (good lord, chop sticks?  good lord, ranking and/or district reps?) then often people will simply defer to baloney/FPTP.  Thus, a referendum really shouldn't be considered.  Proper consultation and guidance with the chop sticks/voting system should be.  Toss the baloney.

Good analogy.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects minority rights.

...

A political party is not a minority.

I agree that political parties are not minorities but I do think the supporters of political parties are minorities whose voting rights should be respected. For example, if 10% of the voters prefer the Green Party it should not be possible for their votes to help elect the anti-environmental Conservatives through vote-splitting. I think Green Party supporters could make a good case to the Supreme Court that their basic rights are violated by FPTP.

I think FPTP has some aspects that could be considered to be strengths by some people but I think these advantages of FPTP are undemocratic in political systems with more than two parties. One aspect of FPTP is that it forces political coalitions not to set up their own small parties but to enter into huge big-tent parties. In the case of political coalitions that support 3rd parties like the Greens and NDP it forces them to move their support to big-tent party like the Liberals or Conservatives to avoid vote-splitting. This does not seem democratic to me. I think people who support majoritarian government and multi-party politics should support AV.

While I don't think there is much by way of constitutional application -- there is an interesting analogy here going from your comment.

The constitution does provide freedom of association. The requirement that people are forced to identify into larger parties in order for their democratic expressions to be heard could be an issue of freedom of association -- both that they are forced to associate unreasonably and that they are unable to identify and associate with more appropriate options reasonably and have that respected and counted.

This argument may be far too much of a stretch legally but I agree that there is a moral principle here that you are raising.

When I vote my first choice is the NDP but if I feel that the only two parties that can win my riding are only the Conservatives or Liberals I will most likely vote Liberal even though they are not my first choice. I think it is morally wrong that I am put into this situation by FPTP when a simple change to AV would allow me to make the NDP my first choice, and the Liberals a latter choice. Having said that, I think PR is much more democratic than AV as it would allow me to vote honestly AND give the party of my choice something resembling fair representation.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

At no point is it asked how important it is for a single party to be reasonably able to win a majority of seats.

I this that is one principle of electoral systems that can be favourd without being based on partisanship to a political party. If the Conservatives truly believed in this principle, why aren't they supporting AV, a system even more likely to produce majority governments than single-member plurality?

It would also be possible to establish a MMP system that uses AV and is moderately proportional. It could have just 10-20% AV top-up seats. This would limit the amount of parties basically to what we currently have but it would be moderately more proportional than single-member plurality. The chance of having majorities would be less than it is now but it would be greater than in more proportional systems.

 

Have the Conservatives ever stated their preference for FPTP is based on producing a majority government, or that they even have a preference for FPTP? All I have heard is that they want a referendum.

Dion's P3 system uses AV and is moderately proportionate but there doesn't seem to be any support for it here aside from my previous support for it which has since waned due to Spain's deadlock.

However, thinking about it again, due to the riding level AV portion, I am still open to P3 if more wary of it than before. My reasoning is that AV forces candidates to be less hostile in order to earn second choice votes. That in turn would make it easier to form coalitions. I think Dion's system would also increase the importance of MPs who are easier to pressure than leaders.

That brings me to another conversation that proponents of PR seem to avoid. Is Notley's government undemocratic and lacking in legitimacy? Should Alberta be run by a coalition between the Conservatives and Wildrose?

In Alberta, would that lock in a perpetual winning coalition between them, a virtual dictatorship practically in perpetuity?

This is going to come down to the ability of the democratic reform committee to work together across party lines. In a weird way it's a proof of concept. If they can come to a consensus maybe there is hope for coalitions.

 

mark_alfred

Quote:

Good analogy.

Thanks.  My first draft had FPTP as equalling "mac&cheese", but then I thought, naw, FPTP doesn't come close to "mac&cheese" -- it truly is just a baloney sandwich.  I mention it because in the quote you included, I note there was one reference to "mac&cheese" that I failed to convert.

Anyway, I dunno why people are arguing with an admanant and unchangeable opponent of PR.  To that person, there is an option for both advocating for a referendum and for advocating for FPTP on the questionnaire.  There's space to express worries about increased minorities being detrimental to Canada too (which is not my feeling -- in fact, most of Canada's most exciting and progressive legislation comes from minority governments such as Pearson's, something that both the NDPers on the committee and Liberals cite in their radio interviews that Doug posted earlier).  So, good luck advocating for stable majority governments elected via FPTP. Not my choice, but whatever.  ETA:  there's also room to add support for P3 in the final comments, though it's not included in the questionnaire in an officially recognized sense.

By the way, have people here done the questionnaire?  Here's the link again (look for the third green box entitled, "join the online consultation by answering the questionnaire":  http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE/StudyActivity?studyActivityId=9...

Share with all friends willing to sample dim sum!  Or mac&cheese!  Or if they like PR, then even your baloney sandwich eating friends.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

I did the questionnaire. I gave 5s to PR, STV and MMP. Since I have decided that even AV is better than FPTP, I gave it 3s, and FPTP 1s.

mark_alfred

It may be.  Seems like a crap shoot to me though.  Plus I feel there's likely enough Libs out there voting for it, so I just focussed on PR (though I did only give PR-List a 3, whereas STV and MMP both got 5s.)  Anyway, glad to hear you did it.  The more the better, I feel.

Here's a sample of an MMP ballot.  Found this on Facebook from Wilf:

 

Pondering

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I am not against a referendum so long as it is done properly with full information but I am not passionate about a referendum becuase I consider the changes to be both minor and reversible.

The multimember constituencies as laid out by Fair Vote Canada also would be minor when you consider you will still have an MP -- perhaps even more than one.

The effect of what are really minor changes would of course be significant and major but the point is that it only takes minor changes to achieve what is needed. These people are saying theya re minor becuase they also are saying that this is easy to do.

If the outcome is significant and major then the changes aren't minor no matter how easy they are to implement.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
The report also provides the statistic that 44% want the government to keep the promise to change the system and 24% say they should keep it the same. That stat did not help you so you ignored it in your cherry picking. (32% were unsure).

I was responding to cherry-picked data, showing the other side to what had already been presented. The point is if that survey shows such enthusiasm for change then a referendum should be no problem. I consider having multiple MPs to be a huge benefit not a minor change. As long as you support a referendum I have no bone to pick with you.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

You said that at no point does it ask how important it is for a party to get a majority. Not sure if you are knowingly not telling the truth, sloppy in reading, did not read it, are incapable of understanding, pretending, or what. Fact is there are no possible "polite" interpretations of your error. There is a whole paragraph talking about this:

Of note, respondents were offered a goal of "electing majority government" and despite this, only 25% ranked it in their top five issues,suggesting it is not the type of government a voting system produces that is important but the nature of the government. In other words, preference for a “strong and stable government” should not be confused forpreference for a system that produces majorities.

As an actual human being it is possible for me to miss something. Now that you pointed it out I went back and looked again.

That question and ranking of issues deserves its own post.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
You always get so angry when people are rude to you. Such a pity that you have absolutely no clue as to why that would be. Sweeping assertions without regard for what is actually being said is your pattern. Please try to comprehend just how annoying that pattern is! 

You're projecting again. I am not angry. Mildly disappointed maybe but not even as I don't really expect any different from you. You assume you are right therefore after you explain everything my disagreeing becomes stubborn or recalcitrant as though you are the authority. It doesn't even cross your mind that someone else's perspective might have some validity.

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Now the stat you probably would like the most is that the current system gets a plurality support over the alternatives. This does not surprise anyone -- we all know the value of incumbancy well. And this is also why many who want change would like a comprehensive public discussion about all the choices before we consider a vote. Or for parliament, representing all Canadains to debate it and vote.

It's not a game. I think comprehensive public discussion is a great idea, followed by a referendum. In my view it is the more respectful arguments that will win support not arrogance, petulance or hostility. 

 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Abacus posits conclusions on page 22. This is worth a read.

The poll was commissioned by the Broadbent Institute but if it is accurate then a referendum should have no trouble passing.

Pondering

mark_alfred wrote:

It may be.  Seems like a crap shoot to me though.  Plus I feel there's likely enough Libs out there voting for it, so I just focussed on PR (though I did only give PR-List a 3, whereas STV and MMP both got 5s.)  Anyway, glad to hear you did it.  The more the better, I feel.

Here's a sample of an MMP ballot.  Found this on Facebook from Wilf:

 

So if I want the NDP to win I am going to vote NDP both for my MP and for my party. If I vote Liberal for my local MP then I am undermining my NDP vote.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If I vote Liberal for my local MP then I am undermining my NDP vote.

If you vote Liberal for your local representative then probably it's because you believe that he or she is a good constituency MP.

And, being a rational person, you wouldn't do that unless it outweighed any party loyalties.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
No, you would not be undermining your NDP vote.  The first vote is solely for the local candidate -- it doesn't affect the overall calculation of the proportion of party votes.

But wouldn't it be undermining their NDP vote in the sense that they're voting for a Liberal MP who, if elected, brings the Liberals one MP closer to forming government (or at least a plurality of seats in the House)?

I think the problem -- not that we have to "fix it" -- is that what makes a good constituency MP is not necessarily their party affiliation. 

It's like having to choose the best doctor for your surgery, but at the same time he has to be the same religion as you.  Those two may sometimes be at odds with one another, and having to make ONE choice based on TWO unrelated (but important) criteria might be challenging.

mark_alfred

Quote:

So if I want the NDP to win I am going to vote NDP both for my MP and for my party. If I vote Liberal for my local MP then I am undermining my NDP vote.

No, you would not be undermining your NDP vote.  The first vote is solely for the local candidate -- it doesn't affect the overall calculation of the proportion of party votes.  So if there is a great Liberal local candidate that an NDPer likes, they can vote for that person without affecting the overall proportion of their preferred party vote (IE, the NDP), which is determined by the second vote for a local regional candidate.  ETA:  I mean, of course, it means the NDP candidate for the riding loses a vote, but that's it -- the calculation of add-ons to make the overall vote proportional is not affected by the first vote.

ETA2:  Of course, potentially it might be an odd situation if 100% of the ridings vote for candidates of one party (say the Liberals, because each of them are so fabulous) whereas 100% of the population votes for a specific party (say the NDP, because everyone wants their promise of nationalized barber shops), then the NDP get only 100% of the regional seats, whereas the Liberals get 100% of the riding seats, meaning the NDP get far less than 100% of the seats overall, despite achieving that in the party vote.  Chances of that are pretty well zero, but an interesting thing to contemplate, I suppose.

ETA3:  cross posted with Magoo below.

mark_alfred

Quote:

Quote:
No, you would not be undermining your NDP vote.  The first vote is solely for the local candidate -- it doesn't affect the overall calculation of the proportion of party votes.

But wouldn't it be undermining their NDP vote in the sense that they're voting for a Liberal MP who, if elected, brings the Liberals one MP closer to forming government (or at least a plurality of seats in the House)?

I think the problem -- not that we have to "fix it" -- is that what makes a good constituency MP is not necessarily their party affiliation. 

It's like having to choose the best doctor for your surgery, but at the same time he has to be the same religion as you.  Those two may sometimes be at odds with one another, and having to make ONE choice based on TWO unrelated (but important) criteria might be challenging.

I did mention above that of course it's undermining the party via taking away a vote from their candidate for the riding.  But that's it.  If the candidate loses, the party vote still counts and goes toward determining the proportion of candidates the party gets overall.  If an additional regional rep is needed to meet the proportion as determined by the party vote, then they get an addional regional representative.  So the proportion remains the same.  Thus, it doesn't matter who you vote for for the riding -- it won't affect the proportion your party receives from the party vote.

There likely is a point where, if differences between the riding vote and the party vote are high enough, that it would make the ability to address it to be beyond where the amount of add on of regional candidates can address the descrepency.  Beyond theoretical, I don't think that point is a possibility that can be reached. It's only in exceptional circumstances (like a late in the campaign riding candidate scandal) where voters may still vote for their party but vote for a different riding candidate.

I don't understand your doctor analogy.

cco

Pondering wrote:

At no point is it asked how important it is for a single party to be reasonably able to win a majority of seats.

It's completely possible for a single party to win a majority of seats even under the most purely proportional system. All they have to do is win a majority of votes. Under some systems even that isn't necessary (the SNP won 53% of the seats with 44% of the vote in 2011).

If it's absolutely vital that the party that got the most votes have a majority, even when a majority voted for other parties, that's possible to design into the system too -- Italy has, or formerly had (I haven't checked), a system where the plurality-winning party got enough bonus seats to bring them to an absolute majority. If that's the criterion, though, I wonder why we should bother electing a parliament at all. Just have a FPTP election for prime minister, who then has absolute power for however many years. We could call it an "elective monarchy", of which there have been plenty of examples.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

This is going to come down to the ability of the democratic reform committee to work together across party lines. In a weird way it's a proof of concept. If they can come to a consensus maybe there is hope for coalitions.

 

Looking at the deliberations so far I think the committee members from the Liberals, NDP, and Green Party will be able to reach some kind of consensus. At least I hope so.

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

It may be.  Seems like a crap shoot to me though.  Plus I feel there's likely enough Libs out there voting for it, so I just focussed on PR (though I did only give PR-List a 3, whereas STV and MMP both got 5s.)  Anyway, glad to hear you did it.  The more the better, I feel.

Here's a sample of an MMP ballot.  Found this on Facebook from Wilf:

 

I think it would be easy to make this MMP ballot preferential.

mark_alfred

It's interesting that even the Conservatives on the committee acknowledged that FPTP has issues.  Their argument for a referendum is that it will be a safeguard against the PMO giving us a manipulated system that favours the incumbent, since the final decision is the PMO's and not the ERRE Committee's -- IE, the thought is to make the final decision up to the public in a referendum.  However, such minute details (riding boundaries, calculation of add-ons or quorums or whatever) would not be subject to a referendum, so I view that as a mute point.  Plus, these details will occasionally be adjusted.  Would that require a referendum each time?  Was it last time when the Conservatives made various adjustments to riding boundaries and ID requirements and other stuff?  No, it wasn't.

The fact is, as I mentioned earlier, it's easier to say yes to the known and no to something new.  If someone has eaten baloney sandwiches all his/her life and suddenly someone offers him/her the alternative choice of dim sum while handing him/her some chop sticks, he/she may look at the various dishes and think, uh, I'm not totally sure what to do, so I'll just go with a baloney sandwich.  However, taking the baloney sandwich guy/gal to a dim sum place that has no option for baloney sandwiches, well, once they're nudged into trying, they aren't coming back. 

In other words, it's hard to make a judgement on something you've never tried.  And if it seems complicated (good lord, chop sticks?  good lord, ranking and/or district reps?) then often people will simply defer to baloney/FPTP.  Thus, a referendum really shouldn't be considered.  Proper consultation and guidance with the chop sticks/voting system should be.  Toss the baloney.

mark_alfred

Perhaps.  But I don't know why you'd want to.  I'm fine with the local rep getting by on a plurality.  So long as there's an adjustment for proportionality of the seats a party earns overall in the House, I'm fine.  As a compromise I guess it's okay.  For me I don't really have a second choice.  I'd almost rather PR-List than to start messing around with preferential balloting.  I found it difficult to even rank STV high on the questionnaire (though I did).  But somehow screwing up MMP just seems a faux-pas.

Pondering

cco wrote:

If it's absolutely vital that the party that got the most votes have a majority, even when a majority voted for other parties, that's possible to design into the system too -- Italy has, or formerly had (I haven't checked), a system where the plurality-winning party got enough bonus seats to bring them to an absolute majority. If that's the criterion, though, I wonder why we should bother electing a parliament at all. Just have a FPTP election for prime minister, who then has absolute power for however many years. We could call it an "elective monarchy", of which there have been plenty of examples.

It's not absolutely vital. I like the balance in Canada between majority and minority governments but as I said before I was partial to Dion's P3 model.

Currently the norm in Canada if no party gets a majority is for the party with a purality of seats to form the government. That party can work with any mix of parliamentarians to pass legislation whereas under PR the norm is to form a coalition with a particular party or parties.

Also, non-proportional representation is built into our system through the number of seats assigned to provinces. Dion's system honours that. I don't think MMP does although I am not positive on that.

One thing that bothers me it is does all seem to be about party power not people power.

If I could pick a system it would be none of the above. I would like all representatives to be entirely independent. A political "party" would consist of the candidate for PM but also the cabinet because who is chosen for cabinet tells us a lot about what we could expect were they to be elected. Communities would have much more influence over their MPs. To me that should be the goal. More community control over MPs. I'd like a recall option on MPs and Senators. No one should be unfirable between elections.

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

Perhaps.  But I don't know why you'd want to.  I'm fine with the local rep getting by on a plurality.  So long as there's an adjustment for proportionality of the seats a party earns overall in the House, I'm fine.  As a compromise I guess it's okay.  For me I don't really have a second choice.  I'd almost rather PR-List than to start messing around with preferential balloting.  I found it difficult to even rank STV high on the questionnaire (though I did).  But somehow screwing up MMP just seems a faux-pas.

I think if we keep FPTP, even within MMP, there will still be pressure for people to vote strategically if the MMP top-up seats make up less than 1/3rd of the overall total of seats.

I also think preferential voting would also make the voters intentions a lot clearer than FPTP. With preferential voting we would have a clearer idea which candidate or party is the most popular. With single-member plurality that is often unclear. For instance it is possible that the NDP was the most popular party in the 2011 election. If that election had used preferential voting we would have had a much clearer idea which party was more popular at the time, the Conservatives or the NDP. AV would have also limited the Conservatives to a minority in 2011.

All that being said, I do think using FPTP with MMP is fine if the MMP top-up seats make up at least 1/3rd of the overall seats.

Also I think if we use preferential voting, people should be able to choose just one candidate or one party.

Doug Woodard

JKR wrote:
mark_alfred wrote:

Perhaps.  But I don't know why you'd want to.  I'm fine with the local rep getting by on a plurality.  So long as there's an adjustment for proportionality of the seats a party earns overall in the House, I'm fine.  As a compromise I guess it's okay.  For me I don't really have a second choice.  I'd almost rather PR-List than to start messing around with preferential balloting.  I found it difficult to even rank STV high on the questionnaire (though I did).  But somehow screwing up MMP just seems a faux-pas.

I think if we keep FPTP, even within MMP, there will still be pressure for people to vote strategically if the MMP top-up seats make up less than 1/3rd of the overall total of seats.

I also think preferential voting would also make the voters intentions a lot clearer than FPTP. With preferential voting we would have a clearer idea which candidate or party is the most popular. With single-member plurality that is often unclear. For instance it is possible that the NDP was the most popular party in the 2011 election. If that election had used preferential voting we would have had a much clearer idea which party was more popular at the time, the Conservatives or the NDP. AV would have also limited the Conservatives to a minority in 2011.

All that being said, I do think using FPTP with MMP is fine if the MMP top-up seats make up at least 1/3rd of the overall seats.

Also I think if we use preferential voting, people should be able to choose just one candidate or one party.

If we have an MMP system it will probably have less than 50% of list (top-up) seats and if the constituency seats are all single-seaters they will probably give some bonus to the party that leads in the constituencies. Recollect that the Germans often have an overhang even with 50% list seats, and the consensus seems to be that we won't have a correction for overhang.

I would much rather have AV/IRV in any single-seat constituencies and eliminate strategic voting as much as possible. The inevitable weirdness from a single-seat component and say 30% list seats is going to be bad enough without our current amount of strategic voting.

JKR

Doug Woodard wrote:

JKR wrote:
mark_alfred wrote:

Perhaps.  But I don't know why you'd want to.  I'm fine with the local rep getting by on a plurality.  So long as there's an adjustment for proportionality of the seats a party earns overall in the House, I'm fine.  As a compromise I guess it's okay.  For me I don't really have a second choice.  I'd almost rather PR-List than to start messing around with preferential balloting.  I found it difficult to even rank STV high on the questionnaire (though I did).  But somehow screwing up MMP just seems a faux-pas.

I think if we keep FPTP, even within MMP, there will still be pressure for people to vote strategically if the MMP top-up seats make up less than 1/3rd of the overall total of seats.

I also think preferential voting would also make the voters intentions a lot clearer than FPTP. With preferential voting we would have a clearer idea which candidate or party is the most popular. With single-member plurality that is often unclear. For instance it is possible that the NDP was the most popular party in the 2011 election. If that election had used preferential voting we would have had a much clearer idea which party was more popular at the time, the Conservatives or the NDP. AV would have also limited the Conservatives to a minority in 2011.

All that being said, I do think using FPTP with MMP is fine if the MMP top-up seats make up at least 1/3rd of the overall seats.

Also I think if we use preferential voting, people should be able to choose just one candidate or one party.

If we have an MMP system it will probably have less than 50% of list (top-up) seats and if the constituency seats are all single-seaters they will probably give some bonus to the party that leads in the constituencies. Recollect that the Germans often have an overhang even with 50% list seats, and the consensus seems to be that we won't have a correction for overhang.

I would much rather have AV/IRV in any single-seat constituencies and eliminate strategic voting as much as possible. The inevitable weirdness from a single-seat component and say 30% list seats is going to be bad enough without our current amount of strategic voting.

I totally agree. The simple hard fact is that whenever there are more than two choices available in single-seat elections, preferential voting is required to get an adequate understanding of the voters intentions. The corollary to this this is, whenever there are more than two choices available in single-seat elections, plurality voting does not allow the voters intentions to be adequately processed and this causes the voters to not be able to vote their true intentions.This is what forces voters to vote dishonestly/strategically in FPTP elections.

The reason FPTP/plurality voting works adequately when there are only two choices available is because in such a case when a person selects their first choice, their second choice is automatically made as there are no other choices available to them.. So in a two candidate race when FPTP-plurality voting is used, when a person selects one candidate their intention is completely clear, the person they chose is their #1 choice and the other person is their #2 choice. So when there are only two choices in a FPTP-plurality vote, a preferential vote automatically takes place. The corollary to this is when there are more than two choices available in a single-seat race a preferential ballot is required in order to see the voters' true intentions. This is all just basic math that is used in game-theory. We can see that most politicians know this because they always choose some type of preferential voting for their own internal party elections. Politicians only favour FPTP when they think vote-splitting will unfairly favour their side.

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