Adequate Vote Weight is Essential II

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Gaian
Adequate Vote Weight is Essential II

September 24, 2011 - 8:39pm (new)
#100 (permalink).

"I am prepared to leave the discussion of OMOV and weighting till later on the condition that real effort is made that addresses the imbalance between Quebec's population, NDP support and membership. That is where the immediate emergency is. And there are other provinces where the NDP vote grew suddenly as well.

I don't want to fight this to the end on a single solution because I don't want the voting system question to trump the emergency of dealing with the issue. In other words I don't want to press one solution over all the others out of fear that opposition to one solution could leave the impression that there is an option to do nothing. Nor do I think it is right to polarize discussion between two options -- doing nothing and doing one thing. If we first accept that we must do something -- then we can debate which solution with doing nothing already off the table. That creates more pressure to find a solution and compromise than if we leave open the option of nothing. Does this logical order make sense?

So I am less invested in any one solution to our current predicament and more interested in opposing the status quo."

Thanks for your persistence, Sean. We should/must "do something."

StuartACParker

I think the "can't we be as egalitarian as the Harper Tories" has a rhetorically useful ring. An equal riding weigth resolution seems the best way to go in explaining the issue and galvanizing support even if that's not what is ultimately passed.

Caissa

If the NDP is a membership based party, OMOV is the only way to go. If it is something else, then other models which reflect that something else deserve to be examined. I tend to see the NDP as the former.

Gaian

And the relative success of NDP and Conservative parties in Canada is supporting evidence for that position. Alberta, like Quebec, can never feel unrepresented.

Sean in Ottawa

My sense is the debate between OMOV and equal-weighted ridings would tie us up for a long time. OMOV is the option currently adopted and we lack consensus to change that. For this reason I suggested we move past that to consider the other options for addressing this because if we fight it all on weighting ridings we could well end up doing nothing.

The party seriously must address this issue in the future. I believe that there should not be a huge difference in the weight from one vote to another and there should not be a huge difference between the weighting of provinces in the vote and their voting population. This means that there will be a problem regardless of voting method when we have a disproportionately low number of members in one part of the country compared to another. The solution cannot realistically be to match the two because support will never be even. The best that can be done is to minimize the difference and work hard to make it up in the weaker areas. That means a constant ongoing effort recruiting members in the weaker areas with substantial effort from the leadership employed in that direction. While it is harder to get new members in the weakest areas of the country -- if you want to make the NDP a governing party those new members are the group from which election activists come and support can be broadened. It is worth the effort.

In any case our problem is particularly acute in Quebec right now and I think we did at least have consensus to call for a heavily funded recruiting campaign in those areas where the membership is disproportionately low of both the population and recent voter support. If we agree on this this we could all agree that this place is calling for the leadership of the party to hear us and do this. I think the NDP should act on this right away and not use the OMOV principle to excuse inaction.

I suspect the weighting --  which I argued for only a few days ago would bring greater division than anything else.

It is important that we hear each other in these forums and adapt rather than just keep saying the same thing over and over. I have restated my bottom line as being something must be done. If we can't agree on weighting we need to look to something else. Clearly we can't agree on weighting.

 

Caissa

Where we disagree Sean is on whether or not there is a problem. Anyone in Canada can buy an NDP membership and the Party should attempt to sell memberships across Canada. Where we choose to sell memberships should not be depndent on how many MPs or MLAs (MPP, MNA, MHA etc.) the party cureently has. I write this coming from a province with one MP and no MLAs.

Gaian

Do you think the majority of voters in your province are as sanguine as yourself about provincial representation in Ottawa? It must be the calming effect of oil on water. :)

Sean in Ottawa

Okay then, we can disagree on that Caissa. I thought we already had agreement that we would want a stronger voice for the place almost 60% of our MPs and a large number of our votes came from.

I thought we were talking about means rather than ends.

Perhaps New Brunswick has more in common with its neighbors and expects less in national weight than Quebec. I'm not sure since I have not been making tons of political comparisons between Quebec and New Brunswick.

If the NDP screws up big time in New Brunswick how many MPs do we have to lose? 1. The membership in NB is low but the vote is not that high either. The membership in Quebec is extremely low and the vote is the highest we had in the country. Quebec has delivered to the NDP more seats than any province ever has to the NDP. Ever. But back to comparing it to New Brunswick.

Caissa you see the imbalance which is a factor of an over 1000% percent difference between the membership and any of the following: seats, votes and population. You say that is no problem and nothing needs to be done about it. That both saddens and terrifies me as I think the impact of this attitude could be catastrophic on the party.

Anyway thanks for correcting my false assumption that we at least had some consensus that this was important.

Sigh.

Caissa

We keep talking about different things, Sean. You want voices for areas where the NDP  have more MPs, you want to consider the political costs of screwing up in  an area where the NDP has more seats, you want to coinsider the political weight of provinces etc. I on the other hand believe the Party consists of its members  and each member should have an equal vote in the leadership race. I would love to see the NDP have more members across the country.  Where we part company is on the question of how we should allow the Party's electoral fortunes to drive its membership recruitment policy. We wouldn't be having this discussion if NB and Quebec had the same number of NDP Mps as they did in the previous Parliament.

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

We are having this discussion because the NDP won 58 extra seats in Quebec.  If there was no leadership campaign I can't imagine the party would not be attempting to mount a campaign to consolidate those seats by building a party foundation underneath the new MP's.  This leadership race is an opportunity to accelerate that process.  Imagine going into the next election with functioning riding associations in place across all Quebec ridings. That to me is the goal and the best way to ensure long term success. 

I want OMOV because I believe that democracy in any organization means one voter is equal to every other voter.  There can be no preferred shares in a democracy.  Do we want to put in place a system that will have the membership of the four PEI ridings outweighing four inner city riding's memberships views on the party and leadership direction.  If there is no voter support and no party to speak of in PEI why should their votes be worth more than any other member in the country. 

Quote:

The NDP has managed to attract only 14 candidates for the Oct. 3 provincial election — the lowest number in 25 years — but the party leader insists he's not disappointed by the numbers.

"I think we have a wonderful set of candidates and I think we've got the capacity to form a government," James Rodd said.

The NDP, which has always operated on a small budget, said it will spend $50,000 on this election. That's less than one-tenth of what the Liberals and Conservatives traditionally spend.


http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/peivotes2011/story/2011/09/19/peivotes-ndp...

Pogo Pogo's picture

Pogo wrote:

I don't think that voters are going to worry about the process unless they disagree with the outcome.   If a 'Quebec positive' candidate is chosen, Quebec voters are not going get up in arms about the process.

Wilf Day

Can you imagine how it would look if Topp wins, Julian is second, and Mulcair third? So I certainly support the Quebec Section getting help with a membership drive. Back when they once got 15,000 members, I believe they had staff paid by the national office.

Reply -

What would be wrong with that outcome? 

Sean in Ottawa

I think the issue is if Quebec votes one way and the rest of Canada votes another by a small margin and Quebec loses because its weight was so small.

If Quebec votes for the winner this is less of a problem or if Quebec's vote is not overwhelmingly in one direction that would also be less of a deal.

Put differently it is not just a question of whether the leader has ties to Quebec but whether the leader has a lot of support in Quebec. So the example explained would be if Topp wins with vote from the ROC and almost no support in Quebec and Mulcair gets most of the Quebec support the issue of the small voice of Quebec within the NDP would be a huge issue.

I am a little dismayed that there would be no concern at all for this -- not the rejection of the weighting in favour of OMOV, which I quite understand but also a refusal to acknowledge the need for a special effort to catch up membership in Quebec and other places where NDP support was so far ahead of membership which I simply cannot understand.

To me you would think that there would be no problem with this as it would be in the interest of the party. Why shoot yourself in the foot when you can aim a little higher?

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

I was one of the delegates at the convention to replace Ed Broadbent who campaigned and won the committment to OMOV.  I think it is an important issue.  However I am not convinced that this will blow up to the extent you indicate.  Already it is clear that Quebec MP's are supporting a variety of candidates.  I fully expect that the winner will be able to point to a Quebec base as part of their success (especially the three mentioned by WD).  Their big test is going to be acceptance by the Quebec electorate and who voted for them is going to be only a small part.

I would love to see the issue addressed.  I am just not running around saying the sky is falling.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

What's an Adequate Vote Weight? I tipped the scales at a pound or two over 200 last time I voted. Tongue out

Gaian

Boom Boom, you must hear a lot of discussion around the cracker barrel over at the trading post. What's the unweighted word up there on the Lower North Shore? And who is your MP again?

Northern Shoveler Northern Shoveler's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

What's an Adequate Vote Weight? I tipped the scales at a pound or two over 200 last time I voted. Tongue out

One vote for every 100 pounds of voter.  So since I am over 200 and under 300 I would get two votes.  Boom Boom If you keep your weight up you could have two votes as well.  The party will be rolling out a nutritional supplement program for members who want to increase their Vote Weight especially the under 100 crowd since they would have no votes at all.

Cool

Sean in Ottawa

that's funny Wink

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Gaian wrote:
Boom Boom, you must hear a lot of discussion around the cracker barrel over at the trading post. What's the unweighted word up there on the Lower North Shore? And who is your MP again?

I think this area is still mostly Liberal.

We have barrels of dill pickles, but mostly folks take them home to deep-fry.

Our MP (NDP; I voted BQ Embarassed ) is Jonathan Genest-Jourdain; we are FB friends. He's a young lawyer living in Sept-Iles. I wish my French was better.

Gaian

You were clearly not in tune with political discussion around the pickle barrel.
But do you think that you might - over fried pickles and poutine, sometime - find out what the scuttlepicklebutt is these days/ i.e.: it's either Mulcair or the cultural barricades, er somethin'...?

Gosh it would be nice to have "our man on the Lower North Shore..."

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Well, I live in a community of barely 100 people, and many have gone off the coast to work elsewhere, and I've been in and out of hospitals all this year, and I really haven't had a chance to get into deep political discussions here with anyone. Keep in mind that not only am I disabled with a profound hearing loss, but that hearing loss got much worse this summer following an accident in June. I've been pretty much confined to the house except for grocery shopping and getting the mail. It's been a tough year for me. Frown

Gaian

Boomer, my daughter and now my granddaughter are continuing to advance their ability to communicate in french. Perhaps this source would help us both (and then you could find your MP's web page ..

French-English Dictionary - French Online Dictionary - ARTFL ...

french.about.com/library/bl-artfl-fe.htm

This French-English dictionary is somewhat limited, with only 75000 terms, but it's a good place to start.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Oh, I have French language learning resources - and a new CD French learning program - just have to spend more  time with them is all. Conversational French is what I lack - first, hardly anyone speaks French here (the clinic nurse is the only person here I know of that speaks the language fluently), secondly, I'm very hard of hearing, and learning a new language spoken is difficult in my circumstance.

Gaian

I would have to function in french by writing. Reading the MP's website or anything in the way of newspapers would keep me out of trouble, entirely. :)