Electoral reform likelihood increases with 2019 election results

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
KarlL
Electoral reform likelihood increases with 2019 election results

If I am the Liberals today, I would be giving serious thought to electoral reform (cue hoots of derision) even though that inevitably means proportional representation. 

The broken 2015 promise was always going to stumble over Trudeau's interest in getting some form of ranked ballots - versus the NDP and Green preference for some form of PR.  The self-interest for the Liberals is obvious, as a party of the middle is apt, all other things being equal, to be the 2nd choice of voters to the left of them and to the right of them.  But that is even more of a non-starter in a minority parliament than in a majority.   I believe that PR may now be in even the Liberal Party's best interests, while also benefiting the NDP and Greens.

As I look at the map today, I see little prospect of Liberal majority government any time soon.  Atlantic Canada has returned to something like political normalcy, with a Liberal edge and the old loyalist New Brunswick ridings returning to the Conservative fold.  The Liberals are completely shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan and rural Manitoba.  The three-and-a-half way split and the geography of BC, shows that the Liberals are never going to get numbers above 20 and typically closer to 10.

At 157, Liberals need 15-20 more seats to have any prospect of a durable four-year majority.  The only road to that lies through an even more lopsided result in Ontario or through Quebec outside of Montreal.  But the return of the Bloc has scooped the best opportunity for those Quebec seats as the NDP waned there.  And the Conservatives' total of 10 shows that they are pretty well entrenched in East Quebec, despite a piss-poor performance from Scheer.  Only a fool would be betting on prying the Bloc (now funded as an official party) out of many of their seats.  

Strategists talk about "paths to victory" and I see the Liberal paths to majority as being as few and remote.  So in that crass political calculus, I might prefer results under a PR system where I hope to be the plurality party much of the time and the plurality party among the centre-left and left the rest of the time.

There are lots of issues to address on the path to PR but I think you might well find some converts among Liberal pragmatists.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Well, Karl, you've been posting very level-headed, reasonable things during the campaign, but I think this one is merely the triumph of hope over experience. I too hope you're right, but it doesn't sound like the Liberal party I've been watching since the 1960s. They just love majorities too much, and I think they will find a way to convince themselves that the next one is right around the corner.

quizzical

no electoral reform because CPC will side with Liberals on no.

KarlL

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Well, Karl, you've been posting very level-headed, reasonable things during the campaign, but I think this one is merely the triumph of hope over experience. I too hope you're right, but it doesn't sound like the Liberal party I've been watching since the 1960s. They just love majorities too much, and I think they will find a way to convince themselves that the next one is right around the corner.

 

They do love majorities but if the Liberal Party knows how to do anything well, it is to change tack when it is in its political interest do so.  My point is not that the Liberals will be interested in it from a better governance standpoint or that of a more representative democracy - but rather from being faced with the prospect that over the long run and for the next election in particular, they may well be better served by PR than FPTP (even though they would prefer ranked ballots but can't get to that).  

They may be fazed by the money and opposition that the Conservatives would bring to bear to thwart any such possibility and that the Bloc will be every bit as negative on it but at least they can look at the two options side-by-side and consider that it might be in their interest.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Well, if the Libs were to bring forward MMP legislation, I don't have any doubt it would get unanimous support from the NDP and Greens, making an easy majority. So it wouldn't really matter what the CPC or BQ said or did.

Pondering

I'm with MM in that I think it is highly doubtful. The Liberals were heavily damaged by Bill 21, SNC, and appealing the decision on compensation for indigenous children and their parents. They came very close to winning another majority. They are no where near humbled. 

nicky

Perhaps the Conservatives will look more kindly on electoral reform now that FPTP has saved the Liberals' bacon.

nicky

Seriously though, the reluctance of the Liberals with pro rep is not simply that the seats will be divided prportionately. It is because they will be deprived of the strategic voting ploy which they have predictably expoloited since Christ left Moose Jaw.

In the final stretch the NDP and the Greens each lost 2 or 3 points because their voters were scared of electing Scheer.

KarlL

nicky wrote:

Seriously though, the reluctance of the Liberals with pro rep is not simply that the seats will be divided prportionately. It is because they will be deprived of the strategic voting ploy which they have predictably expoloited since Christ left Moose Jaw.

In the final stretch the NDP and the Greens each lost 2 or 3 points because their voters were scared of electing Scheer.

I don't disagree with that but I will make two points.  First, even if the CPC had won a plurality of seats under that hypothetical PR-in-2019 scenario, and even if the Greens and NDP had not each ceded a couple of points in the final days due to strategic voting, the Liberals would still be the largest goup of seats within the LIB-NDP-GRN sphere, which would in aggregate be 56% of the seats in parliament, which is slightly ahead of the aggregate seat share under FPTP. 

The Liberal seat share would drop sharply under PR but would be much more resilient in the event of Conservative vote share growth in a future election.  It would also make the country more governable.  Even in Alberta, the Liberals, NDP and Greens would have won 5, 4 and 1 seats, respectively. In Saskatchewan the NDP would have won 3 and the Liberals 2.  

JKR

And nationwide under a proportional system the Conservatives would have won 4 fewer seats than they did.

Sean in Ottawa

I do not see this election helping the cause of PR. It is mostly a reward for breaking that promise.

I also see tha tthis campaign may serve to divert the need for electoral reform to party finance reform. The election illustrated the need for both but rewarded those on the wrong side of the equation.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Bold prediction...Liberal majority in 2021...Quebecers will get bored fatigue when they reakuze yet again that the Bloc is a spent force and can never really deliver on protecting Quebec's best interests and will want to support a Federalist Party that can and will.

Forget the Conservatives...their base is staunchly in Saskatchewan and Alberta.. 2 provinces that mean absolutely nothing (please Fuck off and separate)

The Liberals were ultimately slapped on the wrist. With all the scandals and drama and they still eeked out a minority government.
With the help of the NDP and Greens the Liberals will be forced to take up progressive projects. They can work with the Bloc to gain some ground they lost in Quebec

Finally, Andrew Scheer showed the country he's a fucking asshole during the debates and a complete sore loser.

Most people I know were REALLY turned off by the Con attack ads which purposely targeted ethnic groups with huge lies...the Cons will not win with Scheer. But it doesn't matter because the next 2 years will please a plurality of the electorate thanks mostly to the NDP who the Liberals WILL play ball with.

The real losers were the Prairies. Suck on it hard,Kenney!

bekayne

nicky wrote:

In the final stretch the NDP and the Greens each lost 2 or 3 points because their voters were scared of electing Scheer.

Or was it because their support was concentrated in an age demographic that didn't vote in high enough numbers.

JKR

Maybe the NDP should offer the Liberals support for  preferential instant runoff voting in exchange for a gradual move to proportional representation over the next few elections? Instant runoff voting could be established immediately while a move to PR could be made starting in the next election and continued on in the following few elections. For example, each of the next few elections could each add 50 proportional seats to the House of Commons until the House of Committee was deemed sufficiently proportional. In any case, using FPTP for elections including 6 viable parties makes no sense, especially in Quebec.

KarlL

JKR wrote:

Maybe the NDP should offer the Liberals support for  preferential instant runoff voting in exchange for a gradual move to proportional representation over the next few elections? Instant runoff voting could be established immediately while a move to PR could be made starting in the next election and continued on in the following few elections. For example, each of the next few elections could each add 50 proportional seats to the House of Commons until the House of Committee was deemed sufficiently proportional. In any case, using FPTP for elections including 6 viable parties makes no sense, especially in Quebec.

That is partly embedded in my point but was not articulated.  A three party split on the left and centre-left changes the calculation for the Liberals  One could in some respects add the Bloc to those three as well.  I know that there are a lot of CAQ voters in there but many of those were NDP voters federally in recent memory, 

So a three-way split in ROC and a four-way split in Quebec does not bode well for Liberal majority prospects, hence the likely revisitation of interest in the issue.  That, plus they know that it was a demotivator for some young people - both that Trudeau broke that promise and the preference for a PR system.

JKR

I agree that because of the problem of vote splitting that's inherent to FPTP, the Liberals, NDP, and Greens, have a common interest in getting rid of FPTP and establishing electoral reform. I think the Liberals, NDP, and Greens, would all benefit if they worked together and came up with an acceptable political process to enact electoral reform, probably through a citizens' assembly process that required no referendum. However, people on the centre-left in Canada seem to have a lot of difficulty working together due to the tribal divisions exacerbated by FPTP, so what makes common sense probably won't happen, all to the benefit of the Conservatives.

NDPP

The Lies Canadian Voters Tell Themselves At Election Time

https://twitter.com/FairVoteCanada/status/1186850525477658624

"In any given riding, depending on the vote split, an estimated 45% to 65% of ballots are of no direct consequence. But with plurality voting, many needn't bother. They don't end up contributing to the election of anyone..."

JeffWells

This election means there will never be electoral reform.

JKR

Never is a long time.

or

never say never?

Pondering

Why would the Liberals want electoral reform. This is the results of one election. Were it not for Bill 21 the Liberals would probably have a majority. The future looks bright and shiny for the Liberals. The Conservatives are still in climate change denial and weakened by reformers being incontrol of the party and people are still hesitant to vote NDP. 

I'm sure the Liberals are planning for a majority next time around and they will do their best to time the next election just right. 

Sean in Ottawa

bekayne wrote:

nicky wrote:

In the final stretch the NDP and the Greens each lost 2 or 3 points because their voters were scared of electing Scheer.

Or was it because their support was concentrated in an age demographic that didn't vote in high enough numbers.

Probably both and probably dependent on where you were.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Why would the Liberals want electoral reform. This is the results of one election. Were it not for Bill 21 the Liberals would probably have a majority. The future looks bright and shiny for the Liberals. The Conservatives are still in climate change denial and weakened by reformers being incontrol of the party and people are still hesitant to vote NDP. 

I'm sure the Liberals are planning for a majority next time around and they will do their best to time the next election just right. 

I'm also pretty sure the Liberals are planning for a phoney FPTP "majority" in the next election too. What party wouldn't want to get over half the seats with little more than a third of the vote? 

It's hard to believe but polls have shown that almost half of Canadians believe a "majority" government has received over half of the votes. In a way that makes sense since "majority" sounds like it means "over half."

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Why would the Liberals want electoral reform. This is the results of one election. Were it not for Bill 21 the Liberals would probably have a majority. The future looks bright and shiny for the Liberals. The Conservatives are still in climate change denial and weakened by reformers being incontrol of the party and people are still hesitant to vote NDP. 

I'm sure the Liberals are planning for a majority next time around and they will do their best to time the next election just right. 

I'm also pretty sure the Liberals are planning for a phoney FPTP "majority" in the next election too. What party wouldn't want to get over half the seats with little more than a third of the vote? 

It's hard to believe but polls have shown that almost half of Canadians believe a "majority" government has received over half of the votes. In a way that makes sense since "majority" sounds like it means "over half."

Sorry to say but I think the Liberals will believe propaganda about Justin following Pierre.

In my opinion he is not on the same track and the Liberals will be blown out in the next election unless they do something truly good. I do not know if Trudeau is capable of that. I would say a real gesture of reconciliation to Alberta and Sask is needed demonstrating that we are collectively in this together. Something like buy company who builds electric buses and move it to Calgary.

KarlL

Pondering wrote:

Why would the Liberals want electoral reform. This is the results of one election. Were it not for Bill 21 the Liberals would probably have a majority. The future looks bright and shiny for the Liberals. The Conservatives are still in climate change denial and weakened by reformers being incontrol of the party and people are still hesitant to vote NDP. 

I'm sure the Liberals are planning for a majority next time around and they will do their best to time the next election just right. 

This isn't like hitting a piñata and hoping that you get a good result.  There is a lot of arithmetic that goes into election planning, as most here know.  The simple truth of it is that the Liberals would need an even more lopsided victory in Ontario and also to win back seats from the Bloc in order to have any kind of path to majority government. 

My point is a simple one.  The Liberals may come to see the lower-risk, lower-reward option as the preferable one.  PR is definitely that when compared to FPTP. 

And even though people assume that there is no principle at all in the Liberal Party, they will not be oblivious to the hardening of attitudes in AB and SK and the challenges to governance and unity that this represents.  PR would provide a way back in, even if only for cabinet representation.