Trudeau backs Proportional Representation?

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JKR

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Wilf Day wrote:

To answer the thread title: Justin Trudeau and 14 other Liberal MPs didn't vote for Craig Scott's motion, but 16 of them did!

MPs from 5 Parties said: “Yes! We want proportional representation too!"

It's great to see that the movement toward open-list MMP is gaining steam among all the opposition parties. It seems that unlike STV and closed-list MMP, it's difficult for those who support FPTP to mount an effective argument against open-list MMP. The weakness of STV seems to be that it creates constituencies that are too big for the liking of most Canadians while closed-list MMP is flawed in that it gives more power to the parties than most Canadians are willing to give the political parties; but open-list MMP does not have these flaws. The only effective argument I see working against open-list MMP in Canada would be that it is too complicated a system. I think open-list MMP would have been able to pass in the referendums in Ontario and BC. That being said, I think it's important that open-list MMP be established without a referendum where biased and inaccurate information could derail the whole process of establishing a more democratic system. Widespread and open consultations with the public, politicians, and electoral reform experts, should be the method used to establish a suitable form of open-list MMP. Thankfully, both the NDP and LPC are supporting this method of establishing electoral reform in Canada. The Liberals might also support having a preferential ballot replace FPTP as part of an open-list MMP system. I think that would be an acceptable, even preferable model of open-list MMP.

Rokossovsky

Again, first you have to establish the mandate for "proportional representation" reform through referendum, and then debate the specific model, which can then be chosen through another vote on 2 or 3 options, with the most popular one being chosen. MMP was the form chosen in the Ontario referendum, and it lost because of all the nitpicking on the specific form, and did not better than STV in BC.

I personally DO NOT think that Prop. Rep. is a magic bullet for Canada's political woes, and in fact highly doubt it will shift the discourse substantially to the left as some people seem to think. However, I do believe that it will be somewhat better, and encourage more participation from excluded quarters.

Unlike, Wilf, I actually agree with Pondering that it will likely split up the big tent parties along factional lines, but don't think this will necessarily be regional, but more likely "political". I could forsee Quebec Solidaire becoming the basis of a wider Canadian "socialist" party, of some kind.

But, I don't think this is a "danger", I think it would be a good thing.

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

Again, first you have to establish the mandate for "proportional representation" reform through referendum,...

Why couldn't a mandate be established as it is done for all other issues in our political system, namely through the platforms political parties run on during elections? Canada has changed its constitution and established free trade deals and binding international agreements without the need for referendums, so why should electoral reform be a special case? This is especially so since any future parliament could re-establish FPTP unilaterally if it chose to. If a political party believes that proportional representation is inherent to a democratic system, then morally it should implement it if it is in a position to do so.

Rokossovsky

And why not? Doesn't bother me. But for some reason people think it requires a referendum, and I note that the parties that do run "on it" at least provisionally, also kill their own initiative by having a referendum on a specific model, which is the kiss of death. If you are going to have a referendum, it should first be about the general concept of "proportional representation".

But I don't see why a party should not run on prop rep, and then have a public commission for input, and have a referendum, or a vote in parliament.

But, the necessity for public input in the final decision making process is vital for gaining public buy in as to the legitimacy of the outcome.

Brachina

 Trudeau proves he doesn't believe in democracy with his vote against PR, but what do you expect from a silver spoon artistocract with an oger inflated sence of destiny.

mark_alfred

Brachina wrote:

 Trudeau proves he doesn't believe in democracy with his vote against PR, but what do you expect from a silver spoon artistocract with an oger inflated sence of destiny.

Yes.  But in fairness, he initially spoke against marijuana legalization during the Lib leadership run, but did speak out in favour of it after legalization was approved as a Lib policy by delegates during the Lib convention of 2012. 

That said, proportional representation was rejected as an option at this convention.  Instead they passed the following:

Liberal Delegates at 2012 Convention wrote:
79. Preferential Balloting System

WHEREAS it is recognized that first past the post voting systems do not properly reflect the will of the people in a multiparty country;

WHEREAS the current system does not produce clear electoral victors (candidates seldom win with more than 50 percent);

WHEREAS the Liberal Party of Canada already uses a preferential balloting system in its own leadership and riding nomination contests;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada implement a preferential ballot for all future national elections.

Liberal Party of Canada (Saskatchewan)

I'm not sure if they've changed this recently -- perhaps some of the Liberal cheerleaders who post at Babble may know.  Assuming this passed resolution of 2012 still stands, and given that Trudeau himself is opposed to proportional representation, I don't have much hope for the Liberals to implement proportional representation if elected.  Still, it's good that some of them are getting on board.  Perhaps there's hope for these dinosaurs yet.

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

Agreed: Trudeau siding with Cons against coalitions shows he has no intention of bringing electoral reform to Canada. Coalitions are the norm in countries that have implemented electoral reform (which is most of the developed world.)

Trudeau's commitment to democratic reform is just as absurd as the Con's "Fair Elections" act. Changing the appointment process of senators is not a democratic reform. Claiming it's impossible to amend the constituion is absurdly anti-democratic.

It is not democratic to try to make PR the sole choice for Canadians in 2015.

Brachina

 Actually yes it is, if people vote NDP they'll have had thier say. Why do you hate democracy pondering?

Pondering

Brachina wrote:

 Actually yes it is, if people vote NDP they'll have had thier say. Why do you hate democracy pondering?

That isn't what the motion said. The motion was a commitment to institute PR not to have a referendum on it or to study it or even to promote it.

mark_alfred

Actually, just to update my statement from post #58, seems a more recent resolution of the Liberals does leave the door open to proportional representation, which is good.  link  But given how luke warm it is, and given their past record on reliability to live up to anything they campaign on, I'd say they're not worth the risk for those who want the true electoral reform of proportional representation.

Brachina

 Trudeau voted against it, which in practical rwality means its dead to the Liberals, the libs that voted in favour were allowed to because Justin didn't want to piss off the fair vote folks completely.

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Brachina wrote:

 Actually yes it is, if people vote NDP they'll have had thier say. Why do you hate democracy pondering?

That isn't what the motion said. The motion was a commitment to institute PR not to have a referendum on it or to study it or even to promote it.

Where on earth do you get these talking points? Surely you can't make this up. This sounds like Harpercon bully-beef recycled and turned into Liberal spam.

There is no requirement for parliament to have any referendum on changes to the election act. Nor does it make it any more undemocratic than any other motion or bill passed by the house -- if it were, passing any laws or motions, without a supporting referendum would be "undemocratic". I have to say that our representative democracy is not as democratic as I would like, but it is still a democratic system, with rules and process.

I think you are under the impression that a non-binding motion is some kind of "unusual" procedural device like a filibuster or something. In fact they are pretty common and are used often to lay out a "intent" of parliament that can be agreed upon, even if the finer points of implementation can not be agreed to.

A dastardly and undemocratic trick designed to subvert democracy, for sure. Check this one out:

Quote:
Here the NDP not only put forward a motion that "threatened" to "impose" (as you put it elsewhere on this website) a policy against genocide but even succeeded in forcing "the other parties to do the same because it's what the NDP wants," which in this case was to "make the prevention of mass atrocities a foreign policy priority and join many of our international allies and partners in appointing a National Focal Point for the Responsibility to Protect."

All this voting in parliament stuff has got to stop!

Rokossovsky
Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

That isn't what the motion said. The motion was a commitment to institute PR not to have a referendum on it or to study it or even to promote it.

Where on earth do you get these talking points? Surely you can't make this up. This sounds like Harpercon bully-beef recycled and turned into Liberal spam.

Ridicule is a technique of bullies which I agree is very much like what the Harpercons and Harperites do.

Rokossovsky wrote:
There is no requirement for parliament to have any referendum on changes to the election act. Nor does it make it any more undemocratic than any other motion or bill passed by the house -- if it were, passing any laws or motions, without a supporting referendum would be "undemocratic". I have to say that our representative democracy is not as democratic as I would like, but it is still a democratic system, with rules and process.

I was using the philosophical definition not the legal definition. I want more from politicians than just following the letter of the law.

Rokossovsky wrote:
I think you are under the impression that a non-binding motion is some kind of "unusual" procedural device like a filibuster or something. In fact they are pretty common and are used often to lay out a "intent" of parliament that can be agreed upon, even if the finer points of implementation can not be agreed to.

Yes, intent of all parties to institute PR.  I don't want Trudeau to commit to PR in principle or any other way. If the NDP wants to make it part of their platform they should just go ahead and do it. Are they afraid to go it alone?

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:
When you make grandiose attacks on people and organization about anti-democratic behaviour, and attempts to "threaten", "Impose" and "force" measures upon people, you open yourself up to ridicule if you decide to apply personal "philosophical" definitions to commonly accepted practices, such as voting for or against entirely lawful motions among democratically elected politicians because the personal philosphical definitions you chose to apply sound like bizarre, histrionic, sensationalist and abusive demonizing bullying aimed at deligitimizing democratic process, and the rights of those who engage in it, in the name of your personal opinions, and nothing more.

BS

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

That isn't what the motion said. The motion was a commitment to institute PR not to have a referendum on it or to study it or even to promote it.

Where on earth do you get these talking points? Surely you can't make this up. This sounds like Harpercon bully-beef recycled and turned into Liberal spam.

Ridicule is a technique of bullies which I agree is very much like what the Harpercons and Harperites do.

Rokossovsky wrote:
There is no requirement for parliament to have any referendum on changes to the election act. Nor does it make it any more undemocratic than any other motion or bill passed by the house -- if it were, passing any laws or motions, without a supporting referendum would be "undemocratic". I have to say that our representative democracy is not as democratic as I would like, but it is still a democratic system, with rules and process.

I was using the philosophical definition not the legal definition. I want more from politicians than just following the letter of the law.

Rokossovsky wrote:
I think you are under the impression that a non-binding motion is some kind of "unusual" procedural device like a filibuster or something. In fact they are pretty common and are used often to lay out a "intent" of parliament that can be agreed upon, even if the finer points of implementation can not be agreed to.

Yes, intent of all parties to institute PR.  I don't want Trudeau to commit to PR in principle or any other way. If the NDP wants to make it part of their platform they should just go ahead and do it. Are they afraid to go it alone?

When you make grandiose attacks on people and organization about anti-democratic behaviour, and attempts to "threaten", "impose" and "force" measures upon people, you open yourself up to ridicule if you decide to apply personal "philosophical" definitions to commonly accepted practices, such as voting for or against entirely lawful motions among democratically elected politicians because the personal philosphical definitions you chose to apply sound like bizarre, histrionic, sensationalist and abusive demonizing bullying aimed at deligitimizing democratic process, and the rights of those who engage in it, in the name of your personal opinions, and nothing more.

Rokossovsky

A motion was put on the floor. It was voted upon. The motion failed. Those who voted for and against are duly noted. Democratic process was served.

No one was "threatened", nothing was "imposed", and no one was "forced" to do anything.

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

A motion was put on the floor. It was voted upon. The motion failed. Those who voted for and against are duly noted. Democratic process was served.

No one was "threatened", nothing was "imposed", and no one was "forced" to do anything.

Straw man. I never used any of those words so you aren't quoting me. You are trying to give the impression I said things that I did not.

For the motion to pass it required unanimous agreement. That would mean all the parties were committed to proportional representation.

Canadians would not have a choice of a party who was not committed to PR.

The place to introduce the NDP's commitment to PR is in the NDP platform.

Unless you are claiming that the intent of motions in the house is to present platform items? Or to manipulate other parties into "going on the record"? What was the purpose of the NDP motion again?

nicky

Pondering the purpose was to expose Justin as not being a progressive on the issue of electoral reform. It succeeded brilliantly in showing his essential conservatism.

Pondering

nicky wrote:

Pondering the purpose was to expose Justin as not being a progressive on the issue of electoral reform. It succeeded brilliantly in showing his essential conservatism.

A) Not being willing to commit to PR does not mean someone is non-progressive on electoral reform.

B) If Mulcair is serious about electoral reform then he should have released it as a platform plank so it would get proper discussion.

C) There is nothing to "expose" as the Liberal Party position on electoral reform is on their website.

Pondering

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/the-case-for-mixed-member-proportional-r...

By voting for my motion, it seems at least half the current Liberal caucus now agrees with the NDP, even if Trudeau does not.

And that is a very good thing, because there would be nothing healthier for the future of Canada’s parliamentary democracy than to have the NDP, Greens and Liberals all clearly and irretrievably committed before the next election to implementing proportional representation after the election.

So even though Canadians have not expressed a commitment to PR, or even much interest in it, the NDP wants all parties committed to it. Is the NDP that convinced they are going to lose?  

It's very amusing that the NDP is so focused on Trudeau. This type of electoral reform isn't even on the radar of most Canadians. Trudeau's plan of an all party committee on electoral reform is much more sensible. I hope the NDP makes their position better known on this. It would have been a better focus than the Roll up the Red Carpet Tour or the federal minimum wage talking point.

 

scott16

Pondering wrote:

nicky wrote:

Pondering the purpose was to expose Justin as not being a progressive on the issue of electoral reform. It succeeded brilliantly in showing his essential conservatism.

A) Not being willing to commit to PR does not mean someone is non-progressive on electoral reform.

B) If Mulcair is serious about electoral reform then he should have released it as a platform plank so it would get proper discussion.

C) There is nothing to "expose" as the Liberal Party position on electoral reform is on their website.

It would not be discussed in the media because the media is biased for the Libs and Cons.

Are you implying that there was no discussion in the house?

mark_alfred

Pondering I think it's fine to feel whatever you want.  Obviously you felt that there was some issue with Craig Scott's PR motion, which is fine.  People are free to think whatever they like.  Regardless, I do feel that some of your concerns are misplaced, so allow me a moment to fetch the motion and then review your concerns.

The actual motion

Craig Scott of the NDP wrote:
That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the next federal election should be the last conducted under the current first-past-the-post electoral system which has repeatedly delivered a majority of seats to parties supported by a minority of voters, or under any other winner-take-all electoral system; and (b) a form of mixed-member proportional representation would be the best electoral system for Canada.

I feel that's a pretty innocuous motion.  It's seeking an opinion.  Nothing more.  It is not prescriptive in any way.

Pondering wrote:

It is not democratic to try to make PR the sole choice for Canadians in 2015.

The motion did not say that.  It simply seeked the opinion of the House.  And the opinion it sought stated that next election would still be first past the post.

Pondering wrote:
The motion was a commitment to institute PR not to have a referendum on it or to study it or even to promote it.

No.  It was not prescriptive in any way.  It sought to see if the House was of the opinion that PR was the best option for the electoral system of Canada, and it sought to see if the House was of the opinion that FPTP was a problematic system (IE, not adequately reflective of the electorate).  Even if the House passed the motion, essentially saying "yes, we the House are of the opinion that FPTP is a problem and that PR would be best", that would not rule out anything (IE, it would not rule out having studies, forming committees to further research, having a referendum, or even keeping things the same and doing nothing.) 

Pondering wrote:

The place to introduce the NDP's commitment to PR is in the NDP platform.

It was in their last platform.  They are a part of government.  So, addressing this issue as a part of government in seeking an opinion of the House is what I would expect them to do.  Seems a good first step.  Sure, maybe they could have drawn up a bill and presented it, but if the opinion of the House is not in their favour, which in this case it wasn't, then that would be a waste of time.  Seems good in this case to seek an opinion first.  Likewise, on various issues of concern, I expect Liberals and Greens to also put forward motions, bills, petitions, questions, etc., rather than simply wait until an election time.  The opposition is a part of government, and should also strive to get things done.  The (implied) idea that only the ruling party can put forward bills, motions, etc., is wrong, I feel.

Regarding PR, I think committing to PR is essential to electoral reform.  Both the Greens and Liberals are open to it and the NDP is decisively for it.  The fact that the majority of the Liberal caucus present (16 of 31) supported Craig Scott's motion is good (IE, they did not share your concerns -- they found the motion fine).

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

Even on this feeble pretext for a cohrent argument you are completely wrong. Scott's non-binding motion would have committed the parties as presently constituted to "proportional representation" after the next election as Scott quite plainly stated. The motion intended to make "the next election the last unfair election", and requirefd no action from this parliament. Therefore, Canadians would have ample time to consider the issue and vote according to their conscience, on a clearly stated policy, perhaps with nuances around implementation, possible referendum or public commissions and so on and so forth. The only thing would be that sll parties would be in agreement. There is nothing undemocrstic about agreement on changes to the election act, no more than agreement around the need for "infrastructure" expenditures on principle or agreement on the need for a national heslth care program. Were there dissenting voices from the mainstream policy proposal, interested parties could form th FPTP party or whatever and vote for that, if theychose.

So, first they all agree on PR, then they ask Canadians what they think?

That is exactly what I object to. Who do I vote for if I don't want PR? Why is the NDP trying to push other parties into agreeing with PR? If the NDP wants PR why don't they just run on it? We are having an election in 2015. Make it an NDP main plank. Then if people want PR they will vote NDP. If not they will vote for another party.

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

A motion was put on the floor. It was voted upon. The motion failed. Those who voted for and against are duly noted. Democratic process was served.

No one was "threatened", nothing was "imposed", and no one was "forced" to do anything.

Straw man. I never used any of those words so you aren't quoting me. You are trying to give the impression I said things that I did not.

For the motion to pass it required unanimous agreement. That would mean all the parties were committed to proportional representation.

Canadians would not have a choice of a party who was not committed to PR.

The place to introduce the NDP's commitment to PR is in the NDP platform.

Unless you are claiming that the intent of motions in the house is to present platform items? Or to manipulate other parties into "going on the record"? What was the purpose of the NDP motion again?

Even on this feeble pretext for a coherent argument you are completely wrong. Scott's non-binding motion would have committed the parties as presently constituted to "proportional representation" after the next election as Scott quite plainly stated. The motion intended to make "the next election the last unfair election", and requirefd no action from this parliament. Therefore, Canadians would have ample time to consider the issue and vote according to their conscience, on a clearly stated policy, perhaps with nuances around implementation, possible referendum or public commissions and so on and so forth. The only thing would be that sll parties would be in agreement. There is nothing undemocrstic about agreement on changes to the election act, no more than agreement around the need for "infrastructure" expenditures on principle or agreement on the need for a national heslth care program. Were there dissenting voices from the mainstream policy proposal, interested parties could form th FPTP party or whatever and vote for that, if theychose.

And you most certainly used all those words to describe the NDP motion as linked to inthis thread above.

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Even on this feeble pretext for a cohrent argument you are completely wrong. Scott's non-binding motion would have committed the parties as presently constituted to "proportional representation" after the next election as Scott quite plainly stated. The motion intended to make "the next election the last unfair election", and requirefd no action from this parliament. Therefore, Canadians would have ample time to consider the issue and vote according to their conscience, on a clearly stated policy, perhaps with nuances around implementation, possible referendum or public commissions and so on and so forth. The only thing would be that sll parties would be in agreement. There is nothing undemocrstic about agreement on changes to the election act, no more than agreement around the need for "infrastructure" expenditures on principle or agreement on the need for a national heslth care program. Were there dissenting voices from the mainstream policy proposal, interested parties could form th FPTP party or whatever and vote for that, if theychose.

So, first they all agree on PR, then they ask Canadians what they think?

That is exactly what I object to. Who do I vote for if I don't want PR? Why is the NDP trying to push other parties into agreeing with PR? If the NDP wants PR why don't they just run on it? We are having an election in 2015. Make it an NDP main plank. Then if people want PR they will vote NDP. If not they will vote for another party.

Tough luck. No one is running around saying how undemocratic it is that there are no "socialist" federal parties, now are they? Agreement is not "undemocratic" it is just "agreement".

Hundreds of thousands of people on the left opt out of the whole election fiasco precisely because there are no mainstream parties that represent their interests, and the solution for them is the same as the solution for you. If you don't like it, start a new party, or vote for the one that accomodates your views the best.

And if you do start your own FPTP Party, you will probably be wanting Prop Rep after all, since your party will have pretty much no chance of getting any seats, under the system you prefer, ironically enough.

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

But I don't see why a party should not run on prop rep, and then have a public commission for input, and have a referendum, or a vote in parliament.

I think since most people care little about electoral reform and have little understanding of it, referendums on electoral reform are easily innundated with false information from politicians who want to keep their unfair FPTP advantage at all costs. I think if we have another referendum of PR vs FPTP, the Conservatives will spread all kinds of non-sensical arguments against MMP and portray it as an unfair nonsensical system. The Conservatives will likely get away with saying that MMP gives the parties too much power and too little power at the same time. They'll say it gives some voters more votes than other voters. They'll say it's too complicated. They'll say it will give tiny parties too much power. They'll say it takes power away from local politicians. They'll say that MMP ridings are too large. They'll say all this even if most political scientist feel that FPTP is a horrible system and open-list MMP is far better. And then the Conservative's will just label the experts as being against the common person!

I think if the NDP supports a referendum on electoral reform, they'll expend a lot of their political capital on a vital issue that will be voted down by the public and just hurt the NDP's long-term political viability.

Rokossovsky

I think a referndum on "proportional representation" or even "a faiir election system", ehen defined as one that better reflects vote share in terms of representatives, could be passed.

It is arguing about STV vs MMR, and whatever else that bogs down the referendum debate. Once you have that in the pocket you then go to the electorate again with 2 to 3 proposals for a system, and the winner takes all.

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:
And if you do start your own FPTP Party, you will probably be wanting Prop Rep after all, since your party will have pretty much no chance of getting any seats, under the system you prefer, ironically enough.

I don't necessarily prefer FPTP. I think the topic needs formal consideration and hearings over a period of at least a year probably more. Maybe a year for a commission to study the various systems and present findings to Canadians.

I might prefer a system in which we elect a local representative and a 5+ member team consisting of the PM and major cabinet posts, assigned in advance, who would not represent specific ridings. Other cabinet posts would be filled by riding representatives selected by the PM.

I have absolutely no idea if any such system already exists. Probably, I just don't know what it is.

Without a party apparatus riding reps would really represent their communities and answer only to them. Whichever PM "team" won the election they would have to sell their proposals to the reps therefore to their constituents.

The person running for PM would be judged on the team they assembled.

 

JKR

 

LPC Policy Resolution

Quote:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party pursue political reforms which promote:

  • Open, democratic nominations of candidates;
  • Fewer “whipped” votes in Parliament and more “free” votes requiring individual MPs to assume full responsibility for their decisions;
  • Stronger Parliamentary control over public finances, including an annual deadline for the budget; accounting consistency among the Estimates and the Public Accounts; more clarity in voting on Estimates; a costing analysis for each government Bill; and a requirement that government borrowing plans must get Parliament’s pre-approval;
  • A truly independent, properly resourced Parliamentary Budget Officer;
  • A more effective Access-to-Information regime with stronger safeguards against political interference;
  • An impartial system to identify and eliminate the waste of tax-dollars on partisan advertising;
  • Careful limitations on secret Committee proceedings, Omnibus Bills and Prorogation to avoid their misuse for the short-term partisan convenience of the government;
  • Adequate funding, investigative powers and enforcement authority to ensure Elections Canada can root out electoral fraud;
  • Pro-active disclosure of parliamentarians’ expenses, a more transparent Board of Internal Economy and better audit rules;
  • A truly independent Senate not based upon partisanship or patronage;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.

I think the LPC's resolution on electoral reform is very good. Wisely, it does not mention anything about a referendum. I think if a government followed this policy, an all-party process involving expert assistance and citizen participation would most likely reccomend the establishment of open-list MMP. They would do this within 12 months and this would allow the next election after 2015 to be held under a fair system of voting, namely open-list MMP.

Sounds great to me.

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:
And if you do start your own FPTP Party, you will probably be wanting Prop Rep after all, since your party will have pretty much no chance of getting any seats, under the system you prefer, ironically enough.

I don't necessarily prefer FPTP. I think the topic needs formal consideration and hearings over a period of at least a year probably more. Maybe a year for a commission to study the various systems and present findings to Canadians.

I might prefer a system in which we elect a local representative and a 5+ member team consisting of the PM and major cabinet posts, assigned in advance, who would not represent specific ridings. Other cabinet posts would be filled by riding representatives selected by the PM.

I have absolutely no idea if any such system already exists. Probably, I just don't know what it is.

Without a party apparatus riding reps would really represent their communities and answer only to them. Whichever PM "team" won the election they would have to sell their proposals to the reps therefore to their constituents.

The person running for PM would be judged on the team they assembled.

That is a far cry from saying that to saying that the NDP is being "undemocratic" because they are "threatening to impose it and trying to force the other parties to do the same because it's what the NDP wants," because they sought all party agreement on an policy principle to be implemented after the next election, during which Canadians will have an opportunity to weigh in on the subject.

The motion failed. Now it is clear that the NDP is the part of MMP in the next election, and they can run on it, as you desire, and you can choose to vote for them or not.

 

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

I think a referndum on "proportional representation" or even "a faiir election system", ehen defined as one that better reflects vote share in terms of representatives, could be passed.

It is arguing about STV vs MMR, and whatever else that bogs down the referendum debate. Once you have that in the pocket you then go to the electorate again with 2 to 3 proposals for a system, and the winner takes all.

During the first refendum opponents of fair voting would be able to say that people should stick with FPTP because there is no telling what crazy system the politicians will be offering the people in the second refendum. The Conservatives would just say that the politicians are trying a bait and switch on the public. During the first referendum the Conservatives would be able to juxtapose FPTP against all the worst aspects of all potential electoral systems. They would be able to use strawman arguments against electoral systems that would never have a chance in the 2nd referendum like the party list system in Israel or closed-list systems or STV with 9 seat ridings, etc....

Also if the NDP has some kind of real power within government after 2015, I think it would be wise for them not to let electoral reform become a huge political landmine that will rob them of the political capital and energy to work on other important issues like early childhood development, income equality, homecare, pharmacare, climate change, job growth, tuition affordability, affordable housing, labour rights, etc....

Rokossovsky

JKR wrote:

 

LPC Policy Resolution

Quote:

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party pursue political reforms which promote:

  • Open, democratic nominations of candidates;
  • Fewer “whipped” votes in Parliament and more “free” votes requiring individual MPs to assume full responsibility for their decisions;
  • Stronger Parliamentary control over public finances, including an annual deadline for the budget; accounting consistency among the Estimates and the Public Accounts; more clarity in voting on Estimates; a costing analysis for each government Bill; and a requirement that government borrowing plans must get Parliament’s pre-approval;
  • A truly independent, properly resourced Parliamentary Budget Officer;
  • A more effective Access-to-Information regime with stronger safeguards against political interference;
  • An impartial system to identify and eliminate the waste of tax-dollars on partisan advertising;
  • Careful limitations on secret Committee proceedings, Omnibus Bills and Prorogation to avoid their misuse for the short-term partisan convenience of the government;
  • Adequate funding, investigative powers and enforcement authority to ensure Elections Canada can root out electoral fraud;
  • Pro-active disclosure of parliamentarians’ expenses, a more transparent Board of Internal Economy and better audit rules;
  • A truly independent Senate not based upon partisanship or patronage;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.

I think the LPC's resolution on electoral reform is very good. Wisely, it does not mention anything about a referendum. I think if a government followed this policy, an all-party process involving expert assistance and citizen participation would most likely reccomend the establishment of open-list MMP. They would do this within 12 months and this would allow the next election after 2015 to be held under a fair system of voting, namely open-list MMP.

Sounds great to me.

THat sounds a lot like the beginning of the process that killed the Prop Rep referendum in Onatio, since it ended up having a bunch of policy wonks line up on one side or the other of the debate having entrenched position about complex issues that confused the voters, when it came down to the vote.

As we see even the Liberal party seems split on it, at this point based on the NDP motion.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

... I think the topic needs formal consideration and hearings over a period of at least a year probably more. Maybe a year for a commission to study the various systems and present findings to Canadians.

This sounds very sensible to me. I think a commission that has the input of experts would support open-list MMP. In fact the Law Commission of Canada did just that. They supported MMP way back in 2004.

http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/J31-61-2004E.pdf

http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2010/01/law-commission-of-canada-report.html

 

 

Rokossovsky

Quote:
Finally, the role of information in the referendum vote is analyzed. Over 65 percent of voters felt that they were either very familiar or somewhat familiar with the MMP system proposed by the citizens’ assembly, and these voters were more likely to support the electoral change. Only those who felt familiar with the MMP electoral system considered attitudes that related directly to electoral reform in their referendum voting decision.Those who felt less informed, even if they felt strongly about proportionality and fairness in elections, were not influenced by those attitudes to support the change to an electoral system that promised to address both of these issues. However, those who felt less informed were more likely to be swayed by partisan considerations, although not specifically by the preferences of their preferred party.

Ontario’s Referendum on Proportional Representation -- Why Citizens Said No

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

THat sounds a lot like the beginning of the process that killed the Prop Rep referendum in Onatio, since it ended up having a bunch of policy wonks line up on one side or the other of the debate having entrenched position about complex issues that confused the voters, when it came down to the vote.

The Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform failed to establish a good system because they were not given enough time to come up with a good system. Since they were all new to electoral systems and electoral reform in general they were not able to come up with an acceptable system within the artificial time limit put upon them.

A group of political scientists who are experts on electoral systems would be much better able to come up with a good system as they would not have to learn the intricacies of electoral systems. A consultation process led by electoral system experts with the participation of politicians from all political stripes, and public input would be able to come up with a very good electoral system within a year or so.

One flaw in Ontario was that the process didn't involve enough politicians and enough electoral system experts. That mistake should not be repeated again at the federal level.

Rokossovsky

It isn't necessary for people to learn the intricacies of the proposed electoral system. As has been pointed out a few times, the New Zealand model flew first by establishing the mandate. How that mandate is established, either through a clear campaign promise, or a referendum is really immaterial. The referendum worked in New Zealand precisly because the mandate was established with a simple referendum question.

As the above links shows, people who supported more "fairness" and "proportionality" voted against the Ontario proposal, and this demographic was made up of people who did not feel informed about it.

Complexity killed the Ontario referendum. Again, the central problem with all of the Canadian referendum on "prop rep" is that they packaged the mandate in with the specific system, which opened up a whole can of worms -- it meant that the "intricacies" of the system had to be understood in order to get people to vote for it, even those who support "prop rep" in principle.

One good reason for a referendum is that if you start out with a commission without a mandate through referendum the whole process will get bogged down and disappear, however, a referendum basically forces the government to comply.

JKR

When the Ontario Citizens' Assembly came out with their recommendation I felt that their proposal was doomed to failure even though I really wanted their proposal to win the day. The biggest weakness of their proposal was their recommendation to add more politicians to the legislature. That really put their proposal at a huge disadvantage. And choosing a closed system where parties could appoint anyone they chose to the legislature no matter what the general public thought was another major blunder of the Assembly. The Assembly did not have any street political sense at all. No politician would have put adding politicians to a general referendum or allowing political parties to appoint MLA's directly.

Personally I think closed-list MMP is a great system. I just don't think it's a system that has a chance of winning a referendum in Canada. Also supporters of the CPC and provincial PC Parties in Canada know that FPTP benefits the CPC and PC Parties because of vote-splitting on the left. These people won't admit this to pollsters, but they support FPTP simply because it gives their favourite party an unfair advantage.

Rokossovsky

Sure, as the study suggests. Those who were least informed were also the most likely to assign partisan values to their opposition.

Rokossovsky

Commissions are great ways to bury controversial policy decisions. A commission with a mandate from a referendum has some legs.

Pondering

The authors demonstrate that even if the referendum campaign had been more informative, the MMP proposal would not likely have obtained the 60 percent support required in order to pass. Even if individuals were familiar with the electoral system, and were influenced by concerns for proportionality and fairness, these attitudes were not dominant in society, and therefore having citizens more likely to make the connection between the referendum vote and these attitudes would not have changed the outcome.

Pondering

JKR wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

THat sounds a lot like the beginning of the process that killed the Prop Rep referendum in Onatio, since it ended up having a bunch of policy wonks line up on one side or the other of the debate having entrenched position about complex issues that confused the voters, when it came down to the vote.

The Ontario Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform failed to establish a good system because they were not given enough time to come up with a good system. Since they were all new to electoral systems and electoral reform in general they were not able to come up with an acceptable system within the artificial time limit put upon them.

A group of political scientists who are experts on electoral systems would be much better able to come up with a good system as they would not have to learn the intricacies of electoral systems. A consultation process led by electoral system experts with the participation of politicians from all political stripes, and public input would be able to come up with a very good electoral system within a year or so.

One flaw in Ontario was that the process didn't involve enough politicians and enough electoral system experts. That mistake should not be repeated again at the federal level.

Yes that is the sort of thing I mean. Dramatically changing our electoral system is something that Canadians should be involved in and it's not necessary to know all the finer details to have a valid opinion.

Rokossovsky

Exactly, which is why a general referendum on the idea could be followed by a more detailed exploration, and eventual implemenation. The problem with having a commission not backed by a referendum is that the government of the day can put its own best interests ahead of the public will, but if it is backed by a positive referendum, then the government has very little room to manouver.

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

It isn't necessary for people to learn the intricacies of the proposed electoral system. As has been pointed out a few times, the New Zealand model flew first by establishing the mandate. How that mandate is established, either through a clear campaign promise, or a referendum is really immaterial. The referendum worked in New Zealand precisly because the mandate was established with a simple referendum question. 

One difference between New Zealand and Canada is that FPTP did not systematically disadvantage one side of the political spectrum in New Zealand as it has in Canada.  In New zealand leftist and rightist political parties were not systematically disadvantaged by FPTP. In Canada FPTP has historically systematically worked against the left side of the political spectrum. Only during the period between 1993 and 2001 did FPTP work systematically against the right in Canada during the period when the Reform party split the right vote and gave power to the LPC by default. And during that that short period Conservatives like Steven Harper were opposed to FPTP. During other periods FPTP in Canada has systematically advantaged the right side of the political spectrum. It has almost always given the NDP far less representation than they deserve. Conservatives and Liberal supporters who prefer the CPC over the NDP favour this systemic unfair state of affairs. Any referendum in Canada will face opposition from these influential Canadians who appreciate that the left is usually systemically underrepresented in legislatures and the House of Commons because of FPTP. The NDP would be wise to take this all into account when contemplating the best process for electoral reform.

Rokossovsky

I just don't buy the view that proportional representation is going to radically alter governance outcomes. Understand I am being quite deliberate by saying "governance" outcomes, as opposed to "electoral" outcomes.

Initially there may be a slight shift, but these reforms are as likely to benefit the marginalize "radical" right, as the left. However these factions will generally be left out of centrist coalition, or made ineffectual, since they will have to perform in the context of a watered down governing coalition.

Israeli policy has marched consistently rightward, despitre proportional representation, and centrist coalitions ofen find themselves at the beck and call of more right wing elements, who hold the balance of power in the coalition.

There is a natural "ideological consensus" in any society, and prop rep doesn't change this fact.

So, from the point of view of parties that want to entrench and increase their power Prop Rep clearly has advantages, in terms of the parties representation, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the policy end of governance is going to change much.

Where prop rep probably succeeds where FPTP fails, in engaging citizens, because every vote counts, and a great number of excluded people in places like Alberta will have a reason to vote, for who they really want, not just as a strategic bid to outpace disaster from the other side.

Wilf Day

Great article by Craig Scott:

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/the-case-for-mixed-member-proportional-representation/

Quote:
By voting for my motion, it seems at least half the current Liberal caucus now agrees with the NDP, even if Trudeau does not.

And that is a very good thing, because there would be nothing healthier for the future of Canada’s parliamentary democracy than to have the NDP, Greens and Liberals all clearly and irretrievably committed before the next election to implementing proportional representation after the election.

. . . in our current system, voters have a single vote that is supposed to integrate one’s preference for which person should be MP and also one’s preference of a party to support. These preferences do not always mesh, for many voters. Voters are frequently faced with the dilemma of voting for a less preferred local riding candidate in order to support their favoured party, or for a less preferred party in order to support someone whom they see as the best person to be MP.

In contrast and what’s very important is that, under German, Scottish or New Zealand mixed-member proportional representation, a citizen can vote for a local MP from one party (or for an Independent) with her first vote and choose a different party to support with her second vote. This ability to separate the party from the local riding candidate makes it easier for local MPs to receive the support of people of all political stripes and to be supported for their constituency-representation credentials, versus only for the party they happen to belong to. This increases the nature and degree of support MPs bring with them into the House of Commons, thus strengthening their independence vis-a-vis party positions the MP may strongly oppose.

Is this type of electoral reform on the radar of most Canadians? It is supported by 70% or more.

 

Rokossovsky

JKR wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

It isn't necessary for people to learn the intricacies of the proposed electoral system. As has been pointed out a few times, the New Zealand model flew first by establishing the mandate. How that mandate is established, either through a clear campaign promise, or a referendum is really immaterial. The referendum worked in New Zealand precisly because the mandate was established with a simple referendum question. 

One difference between New Zealand and Canada is that FPTP did not systematically disadvantage one side of the political spectrum in New Zealand as it has in Canada.

The study I referenced above I think suggested that it was precisely because Ontarians had not historically experienced a lot of "wrong" election results where the vast majority of voters actually opposed the elected government, was one reason that there was no pressure to change the system. The existing system "worked" well enough, and so did not impel people to want to change it.

Rokossovsky

Note that "ranked balloting" for the election of the mayor in Toronto only became a hot issue with voters after the election of Ford. Prior to that people were generally satisfied with results. A "bad" election changed that for people.

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