Proportional Representation part 3

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mark_alfred

Craig Scott feels that Liberals are considering Mixed Member Majoritarian (MMM) rather than MMP.  MMM is not a great option.  Scott writes of it here:  http://digitalcommons.osgoode.yorku.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1061&...

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
Doug Woodard wrote:

JKR wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
...If the Liberals formed a coalition with the Conservatives very many voters on the left would abandon the Liberals and move to the NDP. As it is most voters on the left support the Liberals because they're the party that keeps the Conservatives out of power under FPTP.

Another possibility is that the Liberals would ally with the NDP in a sort of centrist coalition....

I think this is one of the majour reasons why the Conservatives are dead set against any form of PR and why they are going all out to keep FPTP.

I think the main reason why many Conservatives fear PR is that under it they would split into an extreme right wing faction which would be perpetually on the outside of government, and a coalitionable group resembling old PCs or Red Tories. This would reverse the present situation in which the right wing of the Conservatives controls the party and has a strong influence on the country.

I agree. The splitting up of the Conservatives would also be a messy process.

In fact they did split, did they not, in the current FPTP system. Or was I only dreaming there was a Reform Party?

mark_alfred

Here's a list of House of Commons Members’ Reports that have been submitted so far from the community meetings that happened.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/421/ERRE/WebDoc/WD8405589/Me...

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
Doug Woodard wrote:

JKR wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
...If the Liberals formed a coalition with the Conservatives very many voters on the left would abandon the Liberals and move to the NDP. As it is most voters on the left support the Liberals because they're the party that keeps the Conservatives out of power under FPTP.

Another possibility is that the Liberals would ally with the NDP in a sort of centrist coalition....

I think this is one of the majour reasons why the Conservatives are dead set against any form of PR and why they are going all out to keep FPTP.

I think the main reason why many Conservatives fear PR is that under it they would split into an extreme right wing faction which would be perpetually on the outside of government, and a coalitionable group resembling old PCs or Red Tories. This would reverse the present situation in which the right wing of the Conservatives controls the party and has a strong influence on the country.

I agree. The splitting up of the Conservatives would also be a messy process.

In fact they did split, did they not, in the current FPTP system. Or was I only dreaming there was a Reform Party?

And the right reunited again because of FPTP because they felt that the Liberals would continue winning elections indefinitely because of FPTP vote splitting. During the period when the right at the federal level was split, most right wingers wanted electoral reform. People like Harper and Kenney supported a fairer system when Reform and the PC's were splitting the vote.

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
...And the right reunited again because of FPTP because they felt that the Liberals would continue winning elections indefinitely because of FPTP vote splitting. During the period when the right at the federal level was split, most right wingers wanted electoral reform. People like Harper and Kenney supported a fairer system when Reform and the PC's were splitting the vote.

But that wasn't the point. the point being made was that some sort of PR voting would result in a split in the right-wing. My response was that they had also split in FPTP, so, at least in that respect, parties still split or re-form in FPTP as well as PR.

This about this as well. In a PR system, the right could split along financial/social conservative lines and still have a parliamentary majority.

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
...And the right reunited again because of FPTP because they felt that the Liberals would continue winning elections indefinitely because of FPTP vote splitting. During the period when the right at the federal level was split, most right wingers wanted electoral reform. People like Harper and Kenney supported a fairer system when Reform and the PC's were splitting the vote.

But that wasn't the point. the point being made was that some sort of PR voting would result in a split in the right-wing. My response was that they had also split in FPTP, so, at least in that respect, parties still split or re-form in FPTP as well as PR.

This about this as well. In a PR system, the right could split along financial/social conservative lines and still have a parliamentary majority.

Under PR the right would require the support of the majority in order to take power. Under FPTP they don't.

Under PR, Reform and the PC's would have stayed separate. Under FPTP they couldn't remain split and still have a chance at forming government.

I think the overarching point is that FPTP is a two-party system and PR is a multi-party system. With FPTP, third parties like the old Reform Party, the PC Party during the 90's, the current Greens and the current NDP are marginalized. So it makes sense for the NDP and Greens to support PR. If we are stuck with FPTP it would make sense for the Greens and NDP to merge with the Liberals where they could have much greater impact on implementing government policy.

mark_alfred

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/421/ERRE/WebDoc/WD8405589/Me...

Regarding the list of House of Commons Members’ Reports that have been submitted so far from the town hall meetings that happened, I did go through about 15 of them, and most of these indicated a preference for MMP.  Which is good. 

There are reports from two party caucuses here, that being NDP and the Conservative.  The Green, Liberal, and Bloc party caucus reports aren't there yet, which is too bad, as it would be interesting to see (particularly what the Libs have to say).

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/421/ERRE/WebDoc/WD8405589/Me...

The Conservative one advocates a referendum, and derides the town hall meetings as being unrepresentative of the population at large.  Which is true.  It's people who care and are passionate about the issue of electoral reform who largely went to these meetings.

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/HOC/Committee/421/ERRE/WebDoc/WD8405589/Me...

The NDP one advocates PR.

Quote:
Canadians were clear about what they wanted: fairer, more proportional results that actually reflect how they vote; to keep their locally elected representatives; and for all parties to work together to ensure that we move towards a system that makes sense for our modern and diverse country.

mark_alfred

http://www.everyvotercounts.ca/a-majority-of-canadians-want-liberals-the...

Quote:

TORONTO – A new poll by Environics Research, commissioned by the Every Voter Counts Alliance, shows that a majority of people agree that the Liberals should keep their promise to get rid of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and make every vote count. The survey was conducted online with 1,042 adults 18 years of age and over.

Support for keeping the commitment to electoral reform includes 67% of Liberal voters, 67% of NDP voters, and 74% of Green Party voters.

Only 10% of Liberal voters want the party to not follow through on electoral reform.

Conservative voters are split on the question, with 40% in support of keeping the promise, and 42% opposed.

[..]

The findings are supported by a recent analysis of the government’s electoral reform consultation process that shows most of the participants supported a move to a proportional representation system.

The analysis, undertaken by Fair Vote Canada and released yesterday, found that 88% of expert witnesses to the committee, as well as 88% of people who spoke at the committee’s open mic sessions were in favour of proportional representation. They also found that most other consultation events had a majority of speakers in favour of proportional representation. (More information on this at
http://www.fairvote.ca/strong-mandate/)

mark_alfred

Rev, you've got an error with a quote tag.  Anyway, as I mentioned before, "make every vote count" is a phrase used in the Liberal platform -- it's what they've promised to do.  The idea being that FPTP is insufficient when it comes to having the seat count reflect the votes cast.  Anyway, beyond that, what do you think of the results of the poll?

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

http://www.everyvotercounts.ca/a-majority-of-canadians-want-liberals-the...

Quote:

TORONTO – A new poll by Environics Research, commissioned by the Every Voter Counts Alliance, shows that a majority of people agree that the Liberals should keep their promise to get rid of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and make every vote count...

There's that 'Every vote counts', again. As everyone should know, everyt vote does not (and cannot) count, but that doesn't stop the PR proponents from shouting it from the rooftops.

Which leads me to ask, if they have such a great system in mind, why do they need to advertise it as 'every vote counts'?

Fixed quote box. Sorry, Mark.

 

Rev Pesky

mark_alfred wrote:

Rev, you've got an error with a quote tag.  Anyway, as I mentioned before, "make every vote count" is a phrase used in the Liberal platform -- it's what they've promised to do.  The idea being that FPTP is insufficient when it comes to having the seat count reflect the votes cast.  Anyway, beyond that, what do you think of the results of the poll?

To begin with, 'make every vote count' is not a slogan invented by the Liberals. Almost every PR website uses that as their introductory slogan. Which leads to my view of the poll, which is, without knowing the question, it's difficult to know how people would respond. For instance, if the 'make every vote count' phrase is somewhere in the question, you're very likely to get most people in favour. After all, who would support not counting every vote.

The real trick is getting people to agree to the kind of changes required for the new voting system. That's when suddenly people realize that it's not just some slogan, but something which could very well affect their local representation.

Or to put it another way, if you asked people whether they favoured allowing party leaders to say who got elected, while the voter only got to vote for a party, you might get a different response. Even if you asked people if they preferred larger ridings with many different representatives, but no single representative responsible for their area, again, you might get a different response.

I believe the PR supporters use that 'make every vote count' to avoid discussion of the nuts an bolts of a actual system. And even if they use it in all innocence, it's still not true.

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

mark_alfred wrote:

http://www.everyvotercounts.ca/a-majority-of-canadians-want-liberals-the...

Quote:

TORONTO – A new poll by Environics Research, commissioned by the Every Voter Counts Alliance, shows that a majority of people agree that the Liberals should keep their promise to get rid of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and make every vote count...

There's that 'Every vote counts', again. As everyone should know, everyt vote does not (and cannot) count, but that doesn't stop the PR proponents from shouting it from the rooftops.

 

It would be more accurate if they used the slogan "have more votes elect a candidate" but I don't think that's as catchy. Under FPTP often most votes don't elect someone. That doesn't seem democratic to a lot of people.

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
...It would be more accurate if they used the slogan "have more votes elect a candidate" but I don't think that's as catchy. Under FPTP often most votes don't elect someone. That doesn't seem democratic to a lot of people.

No, you're right, it's not as catchy, but it's true, as opposed to the more 'catchy' phrase.

But there's also a built-in assumption that politicians can't read polls. Believe me, every politician that gets elected knows very well how many people didn't vote for her/him. They know damn well that if they want to get elected again they're going to have to serve their constituents. 

Every vote is counted, and every vote does count.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Another reasonable slogan for Fair Vote would be "who says you'll never use math after highschool?"

Or, how about "Let's make sure only the stupidest of votes doesn't count!!"?

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

David Akin has an article in the National Post today with some real news.

David Akin wrote:
The Trudeau government is mailing postcards to every Canadian household this month to find out how people feel about the way they elect MPs, the National Post has learned.

More than 13 million full-colour postcards were being printed up this week which, when they land in mailboxes at the end of the month, will encourage Canadians to go to a website — mydemocracy.ca or mademocratie.ca — and answer questions about their democratic values.

The websites are “parked” right now with Internet web hosting company GoDaddy.com but will go live no later than Dec. 1, said a senior government official.

The online consultations, which will close Dec. 31, will be the last of three extensive rounds of consultations on electoral reform under way since the spring.

So what does this mean? Fair Vote Canada has put up a page which gives the counts of presentations in the consultations so far. Almost all seem to be overwhelmingly in favour of PR, which makes sense because most people who know and care about the issue are for PR. There was already an online questionnaire by the committee which some babblers, including me, filled out. But the results of that have not been announced.

Is it possible that the Trudeau government is looking for a less clearly pro-PR result, and hopes that by widening the number of participants they can get one? If that is their intention, I suspect they will fail again.

mark_alfred

Quote:
Is it possible that the Trudeau government is looking for a less clearly pro-PR result, and hopes that by widening the number of participants they can get one? If that is their intention, I suspect they will fail again.

That's what I think.  I believe they've been surprised at how little support for AV they received from their previous outreach efforts.

JKR

mark_alfred wrote:

Quote:
Is it possible that the Trudeau government is looking for a less clearly pro-PR result, and hopes that by widening the number of participants they can get one? If that is their intention, I suspect they will fail again.

That's what I think.  I believe they've been surprised at how little support for AV they received from their previous outreach efforts.

I think they're doing this also because they are dead set against holding a referendum that could be very divisive. I think they know that AV is not a viable alternative because it is opposed by the Conservatives, NDP, BQ, and Greens. It will be very interesting to see what kind of questions are put on this online questionnaire. At the end of the day I think the Liberals are counting on coming to some kind of agreement with the NDP and Greens.

Rev Pesky

Michael Moriarity wrote:
... Almost all seem to be overwhelmingly in favour of PR, which makes sense because most people who know and care about the issue are for PR...

You might just have this backwards. It may be that those who favour PR care about the issue. There is a difference.

The fact is, very few people care. Lots of polling numbers being tossed around, but is electoral reform at the top of anyone's list of priorities? Yes it is. Those who favour PR. That doesn't make them a majority.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I think that asking poll respondents "should we have an electoral system in which every (read: most) vote counts??" might be a bit like asking poll respondents "should we all eat a healthier diet, complete with lots of kale and brussels sprouts and quinoa?".

Oh, um... OK, sure.  Lots of those good things or whatever.  But this is anonymous, though... right?

mark_alfred

Here's something I was completely unaware of.  PEI apparently had a referendum recently.  And MMP won!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-plebiscite-electo... (article about referendum)

http://www.electionspei.ca/plebisciteresults (results)

faustus

These results from PEI are great news.  They will try and minimize it because it only had 36% participation, but we have use this for getting positive change throughout Canada.  

mark_alfred
mmphosis
Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
They will try and minimize it because it only had 36% participation

Won't they try to minimize it because it was a REFERENDUM?  And referenda are inherently anti-democratic, useless and unnecessary?

Well, maybe they'll let it slide just this one time.

JKR

I think minority rights should not be dependent on a referendum.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Do you mean the right to MMP?

JKR

The right for minorities to be fairly represented, within reasonable limits
prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. :) So in practice our electoral system should be expected to see to it that if let's say 9% of the voters vote for a party, that party should expect to get something like at least 3% of the seats. I think perfect proportionality isn't required but FPTP is too disproportional and perverse.

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:

The right for minorities to be fairly represented, within reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. :) So in practice our electoral system should be expected to see to it that if let's say 9% of the voters vote for a party, that party should expect to get something like at least 3% of the seats. I think perfect proportionality isn't required but FPTP is too disproportional and perverse.

What do you mean by 'minorities'? Normally the term refers to identifiable minorities, not to some group of citizens, unknown to each other, who all voted for the same ?party? (we don't vote by party, we vote by riding).

If you're referring to identifiable minorities, they are already represented in the constitution. They have rights which cannot be taken away by popular vote. Which is, of course, undemocratic, but you're not opposed to that bit on non-democracy, are you?

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:

The right for minorities to be fairly represented, within reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. :) So in practice our electoral system should be expected to see to it that if let's say 9% of the voters vote for a party, that party should expect to get something like at least 3% of the seats. I think perfect proportionality isn't required but FPTP is too disproportional and perverse.

What do you mean by 'minorities'? Normally the term refers to identifiable minorities, not to some group of citizens, unknown to each other, who all voted for the same ?party? (we don't vote by party, we vote by riding).

If you're referring to identifiable minorities, they are already represented in the constitution. They have rights which cannot be taken away by popular vote. Which is, of course, undemocratic, but you're not opposed to that bit on non-democracy, are you?

I am definitely not opposed to that bit on non-democracy. I think democracy should be limited in order to protect basic rights. The majority usually is able to protect their rights while minorities have a more difficult time doing so, so it is important that rights held by smaller groups never be decided by the majority.

The "minorities" I'm referring to are groups of people who vote for candidates who currently don't receive enough votes to be able to represent them as an elected member. I think if a group of people vote for a candidate or party they should mostly be represented by that person or party. In practice the "minorities" I am referring to in Canada are people who vote for the 3rd parties, the NDP or Greens. I think these people are unfairly shortchanged by our electoral system. I don't think people who vote for the Liberals or Conservatives have the right to take away democratic rights from people who vote for the NDP or Greens.

mark_alfred

Quote:

Quote:

They will try and minimize it [referendum approving MMP in PEI] because it only had 36% participation

Won't they try to minimize it because it was a REFERENDUM?  And referenda are inherently anti-democratic, useless and unnecessary?

Well, maybe they'll let it slide just this one time.

Indeed.  Thus,

what MacLauchlan should say wrote:

Well, only 36% voted.  And referendums aren't how decisions should be made anyway.  The fact is, votes cast should reflect seats won.  And our current system does not sufficiently do that.  It's time for a proportional system that also recognizes the importance of local representation.  Open list mix member proportional representation does this.  Helm!  Warp factor four commander first chair McIsaac!!"

And PEI is saved.

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
... In practice the "minorities" I am referring to in Canada are people who vote for the 3rd parties, the NDP or Greens. I think these people are unfairly shortchanged by our electoral system. I don't think people who vote for the Liberals or Conservatives have the right to take away democratic rights from people who vote for the NDP or Greens.

There is a democratic right to vote. There is no democratic right to have the person (or party) you voted for represent you in parliament.

That is true also of PR systems. There is no PR electoral system that provides everyone with a representative of their vote. So that isn't even on the table. What we're talkiing about here is a matter of degree, not principle.

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

What we're talkiing about here is a matter of degree, not principle.

I think the degree to which FPTP is dis-proportional is unacceptable. I think FPTP is only acceptable in elections where only two candidates are running. In order to be fair, elections with more than two candidates should use another electoral system meant for multi-candidate or mult-party elections. The politicians understand this and thus they never use FPTP for their own elections. If FPTP is such a great system why don't the politicians that support it use it for their own elections? Since they support FPTP, why don't the Conservatives use FPTP to elect their candidates vying to become MP's?

Rev Pesky

JKR wrote:
...I think the degree to which FPTP is dis-proportional is unacceptable.

Fair enough. I don't. But at least we realize that it is a matter of degree.

JKR wrote:
...If FPTP is such a great system why don't the politicians that support it use it for their own elections? Since they support FPTP, why don't the Conservatives use FPTP to elect their candidates vying to become MP's?

People in a political party are united around a specific set of principles, and a specific agenda. It is also important for the party members to 'get behind' their candidate. Thus you want the chosen candidate to have at least 50% support.

There is no such unity of purpose across the board in a general election. We did not pay money, nor espouse specific political principles, in order to become citizens of Canada. In fact, I don't remember even being asked whether I wanted to be a citizen or not.

Once a government is chosen, the citizenry are not called upon to support that government. In fact they may even actively oppose them. Try that from within the confines of a political party sometime.

Or to put it another way, there is no comparison between the operation of a political party and a country.

cco

Rev Pesky wrote:

We did not pay money, nor espouse specific political principles, in order to become citizens of Canada.

Unless you're an immigrant, in which case you have to do both.

Rev Pesky

cco wrote:
Rev Pesky wrote:

We did not pay money, nor espouse specific political principles, in order to become citizens of Canada.

Unless you're an immigrant, in which case you have to do both.

True enough. For the record, I don't think immigrants should have to do anything more than people born here to  become citizens. It creates two levels of citizen. At the same time, the children born here of immigrant parents are automatically citizens, so the unfairness is only for one generation.

But of course the point is that political parties are not countries. Political parties really only have a single objective, that is, to get elected. Thus you can't really have groups within the party that are opposed to the agenda. Those groups soon get tossed out.

In the broader country, you most definitely can have groups that are opposed to the government. In fact, are we not now engaging in conversation on a website, if not specifically opposed to the government, at least opposed to many government actions? Do we have to worry about losing our citizenship because of this? Obviously not (Harper and his ridiculous initiative aside - it most certainly would have been declared unconstitutional).

So equating countries and political parties in their electoral processes is a false comparison.

faustus

It looks the analysis of the PEI referndum voters indicates that the young supported PR while the older supported FPTP.

CBC Story

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-plebiscite-by-the...

There may be set backs but my bet is that the future belongs to electoral reform advocates.

 

Rev Pesky

faustus wrote:

It looks the analysis of the PEI referndum voters indicates that the young supported PR while the older supported FPTP.

CBC Story

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-plebiscite-by-the...

There may be set backs but my bet is that the future belongs to electoral reform advocates.

Or the young may change their minds when the get older...

JKR

Rev Pesky wrote:

JKR wrote:
...I think the degree to which FPTP is dis-proportional is unacceptable.

Fair enough. I don't. But at least we realize that it is a matter of degree.

JKR wrote:
...If FPTP is such a great system why don't the politicians that support it use it for their own elections? Since they support FPTP, why don't the Conservatives use FPTP to elect their candidates vying to become MP's?

People in a political party are united around a specific set of principles, and a specific agenda. It is also important for the party members to 'get behind' their candidate. Thus you want the chosen candidate to have at least 50% support.

There is no such unity of purpose across the board in a general election. We did not pay money, nor espouse specific political principles, in order to become citizens of Canada. In fact, I don't remember even being asked whether I wanted to be a citizen or not.

Once a government is chosen, the citizenry are not called upon to support that government. In fact they may even actively oppose them. Try that from within the confines of a political party sometime.

Or to put it another way, there is no comparison between the operation of a political party and a country.

I think political parties and countries both require fair electoral systems. The reason the Conservatives support FPTP for Canada and not for their own party is that they want to have a fair system for their own party but they want an unfair system for Canada so that they can win elections and form governments with minority support through vote splitting. This is why most current Conservative supporters opposed the unfair FPTP system when the PC Party and Reform Party were splitting the vote.

Because of the problem of vote splitting in milti-candidate FPTP elections, FPTP only provides fair results in elections where there are only two candidates.

mark_alfred

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/pei-plebiscite-poll-1...

Poll shows people of PEI feel the plebiscite results should be honoured.

Quote:
The poll [by Mainstreet Research] reached 1,772 Islanders on November 10, 12 and 13. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of 2.33 per cent.

 

mark_alfred

Seems Cullen has decided that the Liberals are not to be trusted when it comes to living up to their commitment to make 2015 the last election under FPTP and to make every vote count (IE, to have a system where the proportion of votes cast equals the proportion of seats won --> which hopefully clarifies any confusion suffered by the anally retentive members of Babble).  So, seems Cullen is now negotiating with the other parties on setting up a referendum.  I'm leery of referendums, but if that is what it takes, then fine.  In other words, I agreed with May's take on the situation, as described in the article.  It is a gamble, but perhaps it's the only way.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/ndp-says-its-...

mark_alfred

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/no-consensus-...

Quote:

The special committee recently undertook a cross-country tour where they found a high percentage of participants were in favour of a more-proportional system. Meanwhile, Monsef and her parliamentary secretary Mark Holland held almost 80 meetings, according to the letter obtained by the National Post.

A couple of weeks ago, the committee unanimously decided, upon a motion from the NDP’s Nathan Cullen, that the minister should be asked to share summaries from those meetings.

Instead of individual summaries of events, Monsef offers three bullet points covering “three overall themes” that stood out to her during meetings.

Monsef concludes in her letter that since her own work is underway, “I am not in a position to distribute more detailed information with the committee at this time."

She's withholding information, contrary to the motion.  It's borderline contempt.  No wonder the Green member (May) and the NDP are now considering agreeing with the Conservatives' call for a referendum.  Clearly the Liberals seem intent on obstructing this Committee.

Quote:

Those parties together [Cons, NDP, Green] make up half the committee and could challenge the Liberal members, should they decide not to support the report.

mark_alfred

Nathan Cullen wrote:

After four months, over 700 witnesses, and 22,000 online e-consultations, the evidence clearly points to proportional representation for Canada. But Liberals keep changing the goal posts in order to preserve the status quo. This is decision-based evidence-making at its worst. The committee has until the end of next week to finalize its recommendation - if you want to see PR happen in Canada before 2019, it's time to call your MP and demand it!

ETA:

Mine is Marco Mendicino. So, I called and had a good chat with the receptionist there who said he would pass on my concerns to someone who presumably will call me back. Very easy to do. Just took a couple of minutes. And it felt good to express myself.  The guy said they've been getting a lot of calls about this, which is great.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Poll shows people of PEI feel the plebiscite results should be honoured.

I thought referendums were inevitably anti-democratic?!?

Is this one democratic?  How did that happen?  How is it that referendum critics aren't all up on their hind legs telling us what a travesty this is?

mark_alfred

Quote:

I thought referendums were inevitably anti-democratic?!?

Is this one democratic?  How did that happen?  How is it that referendum critics aren't all up on their hind legs telling us what a travesty this is?

Your posts are getting repetitive.  You already posted this same sneer in post #474, which I answered in post #479.  Anyway, various new issues surrounding ERRE and referendums have developed (not that you care, but if you'd like to update your sneers, it may be useful to update your information).

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, you're half right.  I guess I did already comment on the referendum.

But you didn't answer it, unless this was supposed to be an answer:

Quote:
Well, only 36% voted.  And referendums aren't how decisions should be made anyway.  The fact is, votes cast should reflect seats won.  And our current system does not sufficiently do that.  It's time for a proportional system that also recognizes the importance of local representation.  Open list mix member proportional representation does this.  Helm!  Warp factor four commander first chair McIsaac!!"

Two sentences about nothing, and then a re-iteration of the awesomeness of MMP.

Where did that talk about how referenda are a good thing now, or where did YOU talk about how referenda are a good thing now?  Waht makes this referendum somehow different from all the ones that hate our freedoms?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Poll shows people of PEI feel the plebiscite results should be honoured.

I thought referendums were inevitably anti-democratic?!?

Is this one democratic?  How did that happen?  How is it that referendum critics aren't all up on their hind legs telling us what a travesty this is?

Let's say we had a referendum on whether Muslims should be required to take an oath that they are opposed to terrorism. Would this referendum be a travesty? I think it would be. If a majority of Canadians voted "no" in such a referendum, would it be wrong to say that the results of this referendum should be respected because it thankfully supported human rights? I think it also would be. I don't see a contradiction here.

I think Dennis Pilon writes insightfully about this in this article:

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/11/17/the-dogfight-over-electoral-reform-is-abo...

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The third position — that voting system reform is a matter of urgent democratic reform that should be implemented by the government as soon as possible — is the only one that has any serious academic support (i.e., from those who actually study how voting systems work in Canada and elsewhere). Canada’s traditional single member plurality voting system fails to represent what most individual voters say with their votes. It misrepresents legislative results for parties in terms of their popular support, and tends to create phoney majority governments that do not enjoy the support of a majority of Canadian voters, leading to all sorts of problems.

mark_alfred

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Where did that talk about how referenda are a good thing now, or where did YOU talk about how referenda are a good thing now?

I didn't, because I don't feel referendums are a good thing.  I think even if popular sentiment is against a rational and logical and just decision, that the rational and logical and just decision should prevail anyway. 

It seems that currently the government is belittling the evidence and expert opinions that was before the committee and is trying to manipulate the committee findings away from PR.  To repeat myself, here's what Nathan Cullen posted on FB:

Nathan Cullen wrote:

After four months, over 700 witnesses, and 22,000 online e-consultations, the evidence clearly points to proportional representation for Canada. But Liberals keep changing the goal posts in order to preserve the status quo. This is decision-based evidence-making at its worst. The committee has until the end of next week to finalize its recommendation - if you want to see PR happen in Canada before 2019, it's time to call your MP and demand it!

I did call my MP, which was easy to do.  I suggest that rather than simply posting here, people do likewise.  Very easy to do.

Regarding referendums, due (I believe) to the Liberal manipulation and withholding of data (Monsef still hasn't really reported on what occurred at the 80 hearings she had, in spite of a unanimously passed motion that she do so), Cullen has negotiated with both Elizabeth May and with the Conservative members to come to an agreement to have a referendum.  Both May and the NDP oppose a referendum, but each recognize that due to the absolute manipulation and intransigence of the Liberals, that this is the only (slightly) possible way to get electoral reform passed.  It has caused consternation amongst those who support electoral reform.

mark_alfred

Of course, the hope is that a referendum won't be required.  Here's an article from Rabble blogger Gary Shaul. 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/gary-shaul/2016/11/liberal-ambiguity-on-...

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Trudeau did make the promise to make every vote count -- in those exact words -- and repeated them in the Throne Speech. Words have meaning. "Make every vote count" was one of the key phrases used by voting reform advocates in Fair Vote Canada for many years. It results in proportional representation. Trudeau, the leader of the third party at the time he made the promise, knew what FVC meant. What did he mean? We still don't know. We know that he used to support the Alternative Vote (ranked ballots in single member ridings) but that won't make every vote count. We know that he's buying time to avoid taking a position once the Committee makes its recommendations on December 1.

How do we know? Because he is rolling out a new Canada-wide postcard campaign and consultation on democratic values. Will the questions be as biased toward the status quo, as reported yesterday after Fair Vote Canada released some sample questions provided by a supporter? But why does Trudeau want more time? Is he unhappy with what the Committee heard? Or didn't hear? Does he need more results that will counter the Committee's evidence? Or does he need more time to convince the backroom Liberals that there is indeed popular support for proportional representation? We just don't know why.

[..]

Having said that, kudos to Nathan Cullen, Elizabeth May and the others for applying pressure to get the Liberals on the right side of history as the Committee wraps up its work. I don't believe a referendum that was not promised is required or desirable to extend democratic voting. I hold out hope for a majority report recommending PR rather than an all-party report recommending a referendum. That would be a bold move by the Liberals right now. Then the debate can shift to where it ought to have been since the change of government a year ago -- what kind of proportional representation is best for Canada?

mark_alfred

Rabble blogger Karl Nerenberg also has an excellent article that discusses the Electoral College of the US, the electoral reform debate in Canada, and referendums as well. 

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2016/11/trump-helps-make-...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Let's say we had a referendum on whether Muslims should be required to take an oath that they are opposed to terrorism. Would this referendum be a travesty?

Sure.  Of course.  Why should Muslims be singled out, and required to demonstrate their opposition to terrorism?

But what does that have to do with ALL Canadians being asked whether they do or do not support a different system for electing our representatives??

If you're going to tell me that electors have the same basic human right to a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system with a 5% threshold that Muslims have to not being held accountable for terrorism then take your time.  Don't rush to answer.  This could take some homework.

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