Holding Liberal voters to account: Electoral reform first up

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Doug Woodard

mark_alfred wrote:

It seems the campaign to stop electoral reform and preserve FPTP has begun.  Check this article out:  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/trudeaus-electoral-reform-p...

The author says that the Liberals don't have a majority of votes for electoral reform, conveniently ignoring the fact that the three national parties that featured electoral reform in their platforms together amassed 62.6% of the popular vote. It's typical of the Globe and the anti-PR forces in general,

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It seems the campaign to stop electoral reform and preserve FPTP has begun.

Are folk solidly behind "electoral reform" and stopping FPTP?  Enough to put infighting aside, to stop FPTP?

If Trudeau recommends IRV, will the response be "we should support this, to beat FPTP" or will it be "we need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with FPTP and fight this"?

What if he proposes MMP?

What if he proposes STV?

I don't think that, nationwide, we're going to get a lot more shots at this if this fails, and if we're stuck with FPTP forever because electoral reformists chose to fight each other rather than FPTP then I'm not going to want to hear a bunch of complaining about how the government sabotaged it all.

mark_alfred

Anything different would be fine with me at this point.

Sean in Ottawa

Electoral reform -- either ranked ballots orfull PR would change how politics is done in ways that have not been considered yet.

First, a couple notes on the diffference:

PR would ensure that the House would match the proportions of the popular vote. This we understand. Ranked ballots on a riding by riding basis would herd the vote from smaller parties to bigger ones. As I have said before this does not produce a much more proportionate parliament and it still favours larger parties at dramatic cost to the smaller ones. On the plus side at the voting level people may feel free to mark their ballots for their preferred choice. It would avoid the kind of heartache many feel as abandonning their first choice would no longer be necessary.

However, it is not proportional and while you may be able to vote how you feel a dynamic of dropping the expression of smaller parties would be repeated across the land -- affecting some parties in dramatic ways. For example -- let's look at the Green Party. The Greens may get 10% of the votes in an election where people would not feel they are wasting their vote. Under PR, that party would be entitled to just under 40 seats. This would provide a parliament that represents how people actually voted. Under the FPTP system, their vote would be supressed to half that and deliver one seat, as we have seen. Ranked ballots, for the Green party, might increase the number of times they would be listed as the first party slightly by individuals but it is unlikely to increase their seat count much. In order to win the ranked ballot, Greens have to be the most popular first choice among one of the most common voting blocks. If they aren't, their vote can easily fall away in riding after riding. Ranked ballots might give the Greens perhaps 3-4 seats in place of the FPTP's one, but it is far short of the almost 40 they would get under PR. (If you want to see this just ask yourself how many times they came in second in a riding that was close.)

For the Liberals this is wonderful news and it is predictable that they would choose this. It would help the NDP in a few regions where it is ahead of the Liberals but it would help the Liberals, much much more. Liberals would gain in places where right of Centre Liberals want to keep out an NDP candidate combining with the Conservatives and Liberals would gain wher ethe NDP vote would be transferred to them to keep out the Conservative. For the NDP, ranked ballots could potentially serve up a screwing that could make them long for the FPTP system. The NDP would gain in some marginal ridings where it runs second to the Conservatives, no question but it also stands to lose seats that it could win under PR where many Liberals and Conservatives will be able to rank their ballots to each other to block out the NDP. The result could be -- in theory at least -- just as bad as under FPTP. The Liberals stand the most to gain in ranked ballots becuase they can be the compromise candidate BOTH for those blocking a Conservative or those blocking a New Democrat. The biggest screwing of course is that ranked ballots would claim to be the electoral reform people are looking for and remove any chance of PR. In this sense ranked ballots are worse than the present system that is more understood to be discredited.

On the other hand the Conservatives also gain in ways not being discussed. The Conservatives have a leadership convention coming. If they are smart they should just hold off and see if Trudeau keeps his promise, he has a gift for them.

Ranked ballots could favour the Conservatives in a dramatic way. In this case they could split in two. A more right of centre right wing party would defer to the Conservatives except in the regions they are strongest. The two parties would allow right of centre voters a reason to come out and a choice when a leader is in the doghouse. A more progressive Conservative option would pick up Liberal support from Liberals blocking the NDP at the same time as gaining the support form the more right wing alternative. the two options would motivate right wing voters to come out. If they are split in two -- one more reasonable version and one hardline, the right could avoid much of the dynamic of voters rejecting them through ranked ballots. the likley shift would be from more right to centre right and more left to centre left (if this is what you see as the Liberals). If the landscape ended up looking like the pre-merger Reform-PC era, both the Centre right PCs and the Liberals would find ranked ballots as an ideal way to stunt the growth of smaller parties -- perhaps more effectively than FPTP.

And let's not pretend that is not what they see as the point of electoral reform.

The Conservatives should wait to see if Trudeau gives them their gift -- if he does, rather than choose a red Tory, they should split into two Conservative parties, one moderate and one hard line, and let the ranked ballots do the job of combining them while screwing the NDP.

The NDP should consider ranked ballots to be a threat as dire as FPTP. Ranked ballots would likely make them even more of a regional party (helping them in pockets and hurting them in other places). The dynamic would be repeated on the left and the right -- a smaller party screwed to help a party closer to the centre. The Conservatives will want to create a smaller party to play this dynamic to the fullest and the NDP can look forward to the NDP getting slammed from coast to coast to coast -- except where they lead all versions of the negative vote blocks -- incidentally this is where the party already can get seats in the FPTP system.

As for democracy, people would find that ranked ballots serve to distort democratic expression a little less between the Conservatives and Liberals but possibly just as effectively against the smaller parties.

Liberal cheerleaders here will deny this but consider this carefully becuase this is why the Liberals may keep this promise: it would screw voting reform perhaps for ever and screw the NDP in ways the NDP likely has not even considered yet.

If you do not think Liberals and Conservatives can work together to keep the NDP out, well then you probably have not heard of BC. You should visit sometime, it is quite pretty.

New Democrats should be warned against going along with the ranked ballots "compromise." It is a Trojan Horse. And let's not forget that Trojans are about getting screwed.

 

Pondering

This seems to be all about how parties can divy up power rather than how people can gain more control over government.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

This seems to be all about how parties can divy up power rather than how people can gain more control over government.

There is no power to divvy up because the Liberals currently have 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote. The only reason the Liberals will likely go ahead with electoral reform is because they explicitly promised to do so during the election and because many of the people who voted for them support electoral reform. If the Liberals want to keep people from gaining more control over government, they will find a way to maintain FPTP plurality voting. I'm pretty sure many Liberals would love to maintain our two-party system.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Pondering wrote:

This seems to be all about how parties can divy up power rather than how people can gain more control over government.

There is no power to divvy up because the Liberals currently have 100% of the power with just 39% of the vote. The only reason the Liberals will likely go ahead with electoral reform is because they explicitly promised to do so during the election and because many of the people who voted for them support electoral reform. If the Liberals want to keep people from gaining more control over government, they will find a way to maintain FPTP plurality voting. I'm pretty sure many Liberals would love to maintain our two-party system.

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

Polls over the past years have shown that a majority of Canadians were satisfied with Harper's government even if they didn't vote for him.

The same will occur for the Liberals. The majority of Canadians will be in favor of Liberal economic policy.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

Polls over the past years have shown that a majority of Canadians were satisfied with Harper's government even if they didn't vote for him.

The same will occur for the Liberals. The majority of Canadians will be in favor of Liberal economic policy.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

People who vote for the NDP are also citizens. Many people who hate the NDP are happy that under FPTP the NDP very often gets a much lower percentage of representatives than the percentage of votes citizens give them. People who hate the NDP like it that 3/4 of the citizens who voted for the NDP in this election don't have an NDP representative. Many people who hate the NDP seem to love FPTP plurality voting because they love to see citizens who vote for the NDP marginalized.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
People who vote for the NDP are also citizens. Many people who hate the NDP are happy that under FPTP the NDP very often gets a much lower percentage of representatives than the percentage of votes citizens give them. People who hate the NDP like it that 3/4 of the citizens who voted for the NDP in this election don't have an NDP representative. Many people who hate the NDP seem to love FPTP plurality voting because they love to see citizens who vote for the NDP marginalized.

Yes they are and they still have a member of parliament whose job it is to represent them and the interests of their community. Representatives need more power and to be more answerable to their constituents.

Maybe PR would be better, but I am not convinced, but I am convinced there are many other ways to empower citizens to hold their representatives and government to account and that is more important than which party happens to be in power.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

JKR wrote:
People who vote for the NDP are also citizens. Many people who hate the NDP are happy that under FPTP the NDP very often gets a much lower percentage of representatives than the percentage of votes citizens give them. People who hate the NDP like it that 3/4 of the citizens who voted for the NDP in this election don't have an NDP representative. Many people who hate the NDP seem to love FPTP plurality voting because they love to see citizens who vote for the NDP marginalized.

Yes they are and they still have a member of parliament whose job it is to represent them and the interests of their community. Representatives need more power and to be more answerable to their constituents.

Maybe PR would be better, but I am not convinced, but I am convinced there are many other ways to empower citizens to hold their representatives and government to account and that is more important than which party happens to be in power.

What are some of these "many other ways" that will override the unfair and complete dominance of the party that has a phony FPTP majority government and that will empower the citizens who represent the majority of voters?

Doug Woodard

Pondering wrote:

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

Pondering, voters are citizens. Voters are people, whether they are Liberal, NDP, Bloc or Green. Proportional representation means that all voters are represented in Paliament in each election. That Parliament then governs. It's fairly simple, and I have trouble understanding why you apparently find it so difficult to grasp.

Sean in Ottawa

Doug Woodard wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

Pondering, voters are citizens. Voters are people, whether they are Liberal, NDP, Bloc or Green. Proportional representation means that all voters are represented in Paliament in each election. That Parliament then governs. It's fairly simple, and I have trouble understanding why you apparently find it so difficult to grasp.

There is no evidence for Pondering's contention that PR, more than any other electoral system serves a party. In fact ranked ballots used in a context where (by definition) you can have more than one winner (like an assembly rather than a single leader) serve more to cater to the interests of parties than any proportional result could.

The objective behind the proposition to have ranked ballots serves to maintain the present advantages given to the larger parties at the expense of respect for voters and representative government. PR only serves parties to the extent that removing the disadvantages of the present distortions can be said to serve anyone. The argument is cynical when you consider that ranked ballots serve the interest of preserving present distortions and advantages in favour of large parties -- including the favorite of Pondering who is the only known cheerleader here for such a system. There is little doubt that as more come to understand just how much ranked ballots can distort the system in favour of the old line parties, this system will likely gain more support among Liberals and Conservatives who really like their entitlement to electoral advantage. To that end, Pondering is slightly ahead of the curve.

mark_alfred

Susanna Kelly comments on why electoral reform is so important for Trudeau to follow through on.  In particular she feels that proportional representation is very important.

http://ontarionewswatch.com/onw-news.html?id=945%C2%A0

Quote:

For nine and a half years more than 60 per cent of Canadians have had to live under a government they did not want nor support.

That makes democratic reform, which has been promised by both the Liberals and the NDP, a critical priority for the Trudeau government.

Past promises by Liberal governments to do away with first past the post were reneged on - witness the weak referendum campaign Dalton McGuinty ran to change our system to a mixed member proportional electoral system in Ontario - a referendum that failed. Liberals in Ontario shed nary a tear, as by that point they'd been elected by the unfair first past the post system themselves by about 40% of the electorate in this province, so why rock the boat?

But if Mr. Trudeau really means what he says about trusting Canadians, he must make good on this, his most important promise.

Because the realization of Canadian voters' wishes from here on in - i.e., whether we have a real democracy or not - is riding on whether he does.

JKR

It is possible to have an MMP system that is proportional and that uses ranked ballots instead of plurality ballots.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Past promises by Liberal governments to do away with first past the post were reneged on - witness the weak referendum campaign Dalton McGuinty ran to change our system to a mixed member proportional electoral system in Ontario - a referendum that failed.

Did McGuinty actually promise to "do away with" FPTP?

Or did he promise to allow voters to decide?

jas

Pondering wrote:
Maybe PR would be better, but I am not convinced, but I am convinced there are many other ways to empower citizens to hold their representatives and government to account and that is more important than which party happens to be in power.

Would love to hear what ways these are that you mention, and why they haven't been tried yet.

Proportional representation would force parties to work together and would shape legislation and policy toward compromise. It would also force Parliament to deal more with the basics of government and less with ideological agendas, so we would see less silly legislation like C-51. It would allow parties to express and operate more boldy from their core principles, which would also better serve the democratic process in providing citizens a clearer idea of what each party stands for. 

Sean in Ottawa

JKR wrote:

It is possible to have an MMP system that is proportional and that uses ranked ballots instead of plurality ballots.

 

Absolutely not. The ranked ballots system is designed to narrow choices to just one with a majority. This defeats proportional objectives completely. It is a little like asking for a submarine that flies and cannot go under water.

Pondering

Doug Woodard wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

Pondering, voters are citizens. Voters are people, whether they are Liberal, NDP, Bloc or Green. Proportional representation means that all voters are represented in Paliament in each election. That Parliament then governs. It's fairly simple, and I have trouble understanding why you apparently find it so difficult to grasp.

Parties don't reflect all the views of individual citizens. That a party I choose to elect attains power doesn't mean I agree with all of their policies. Referendums allow citizens to force governments to their will regardless of party.

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

It is possible to have an MMP system that is proportional and that uses ranked ballots instead of plurality ballots.

 

Absolutely not. The ranked ballots system is designed to narrow choices to just one with a majority. This defeats proportional objectives completely. It is a little like asking for a submarine that flies and cannot go under water.

As I said in the other thread, the Jenkins Commission in the UK has already proposed an extra member system that combines proportionality and ranked voting. Here is the FairVoteCanada video on it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOyHLwYq6Nk

JKR

Pondering wrote:

Doug Woodard wrote:

Pondering wrote:

I'm not sold on PR. Under PR the parties gain more power not the people. I'm not convinced that FPTP is the problem.

PR seems to be more about making sure the NDP gets more power not that citizens get more power.

Pondering, voters are citizens. Voters are people, whether they are Liberal, NDP, Bloc or Green. Proportional representation means that all voters are represented in Paliament in each election. That Parliament then governs. It's fairly simple, and I have trouble understanding why you apparently find it so difficult to grasp.

Parties don't reflect all the views of individual citizens. That a party I choose to elect attains power doesn't mean I agree with all of their policies. Referendums allow citizens to force governments to their will regardless of party.

Unlike electoral reform, there is no strong grassroots movement in Canada supporting using more referendums. Experience with referendums in places like California is one reason referendums have little grassroots support here in Canada. But then again anyone is free to drum up grassroots support for establishing referendums within our system.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Referendums allow citizens to force governments to their will regardless of party.

We could have a system like California's, where any referendum that passes is binding.  So we, too, could demand that taxes be lowered, and education spending be increased, on the same ballot.

How??  Don't ask me.  I'm just a voter and I want what I want.  Let the politicians figure it the fuck out.

Oh, a decrease in spending on health care?  Well... hand me that "New Referendum Proposal Form".  I want to receive more, but pay less, and if our Political Elites can't figure out how to do that in a real-world context then hire someone from Hogwart's.

Cody87

Ranked ballots would strongly favour the Liberals, followed by the NDP (by raw seat count, but not by effective power), and hurt the conservatives. Even if the conservatives split into PC/Reform, they would still be unlikely to achieve a combined majority as the two parties combined would need more support  (or close to as much and more efficient support) than LPC/NDP combined which is unlikely. Consider that right now the LPC/NDP combined support is 60% compared with 30% for the CPC. In 2011, it was 50% LPC/NDP vs 40% CPC, and that was a perfect storm for the CPC.

I don't believe there are too many Liberals these days who would 2nd pick a PC party if that PC party is allied with Reform, though I could be wrong.

But honestly, IRV (ranked ballots) would be terrible for Canada. Liberals would form majority after majority. If they really started to piss people off, they might get stuck in the penalty box with a strong minority for a term.

PR is the way to go, the issue is the details...IRV is simple, there's only one way to run it. With PR, there's more than one form of PR, each with it's own flaws and advantages. MMP can be gamed, especially if the list seats are too few. But if the list seats are many, then we suddenly have close to half our HoC full of list candidates that might not ever be elected at the riding level. To illustrate why this might be an issue, imagine if Brad Lavigne was a top list candidate for the NDP in 2019. And for that matter, open list or closed list? STV has it's own problems, and the district size has a huge influence on how it works in practice. But with a fair district size, I think I would prefer STV.

Sean in Ottawa

Cody87 wrote:

Ranked ballots would strongly favour the Liberals, followed by the NDP (by raw seat count, but not by effective power), and hurt the conservatives. Even if the conservatives split into PC/Reform, they would still be unlikely to achieve a combined majority as the two parties combined would need more support  (or close to as much and more efficient support) than LPC/NDP combined which is unlikely. Consider that right now the LPC/NDP combined support is 60% compared with 30% for the CPC. In 2011, it was 50% LPC/NDP vs 40% CPC, and that was a perfect storm for the CPC.

I don't believe there are too many Liberals these days who would 2nd pick a PC party if that PC party is allied with Reform, though I could be wrong.

But honestly, IRV (ranked ballots) would be terrible for Canada. Liberals would form majority after majority. If they really started to piss people off, they might get stuck in the penalty box with a strong minority for a term.

PR is the way to go, the issue is the details...IRV is simple, there's only one way to run it. With PR, there's more than one form of PR, each with it's own flaws and advantages. MMP can be gamed, especially if the list seats are too few. But if the list seats are many, then we suddenly have close to half our HoC full of list candidates that might not ever be elected at the riding level. To illustrate why this might be an issue, imagine if Brad Lavigne was a top list candidate for the NDP in 2019. And for that matter, open list or closed list? STV has it's own problems, and the district size has a huge influence on how it works in practice. But with a fair district size, I think I would prefer STV.

Think about what you are saying -- A right wing Reform like party would support the PC party -- the NDP would support he Liberals. However the Liberals and Moderate Conservatives could easily support each other. If you agree that the moderate Conservatives might not support the further right Conservatives where would they go?

The presumption that it is the Conservatives who would get blocked rather than the NDP reflects a bias that might hold up under Steven Harper's shadow but it is less likely to hold when the government is not a right wing Conservative operation.

Cody87

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

It is possible to have an MMP system that is proportional and that uses ranked ballots instead of plurality ballots.

 

Absolutely not. The ranked ballots system is designed to narrow choices to just one with a majority. This defeats proportional objectives completely. It is a little like asking for a submarine that flies and cannot go under water.

This is incorrect. The "standard" vision of MMP is you have 338 ridings with FPTP, and then use a list to "top up" parties to their proportional amount. So in our most recent election, assuming that all the incumbents remained the same and party support ratios remained the same (for simplicity, it wouldn't have worked out the same of course), then the riding seats would be 184/99/44/5/1 IIRC.

With a 500-member HoC, the Liberals with 39.5% of the vote and 184 riding seats would be entitled to a total of 198 (rounding...) seats, so they'd get 14 list seats. By comparison, the Greens with only 1 riding seat but 3.45% of the vote would get 17 total seats, so they would get 16 list seats (assuming they met the vote threshold).

But if you elect the riding seats with IRV instead of FPTP, that shouldn't have any bearing on on the final seats in the 500 seat HoC because the list seats are going to compensate for any distortions at the riding level. Assuming there are enough list seats to allow full proportional representation, at least.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Here's a quick "shower thought" -- and a literal one, because I really did just have it while showering.

Why do we need "party lists" to balance out representation under MMP?  Why not just save a lot of needless "list MP" salaries and administrivia,  and pro-rate the votes of the MPs that were directly elected?

Say, for example, that the NDP wins 20% of the seats, but by popular vote they should have won 30%.  Why not just use the power of simple mathematics and pro-rate their votes to 1.5 votes each?  Same outcome, but no need to pay another 33 MPs to represent nobody.  No need to add even more seats to the HOC, and no need to re-jerrymander existing seats/ridings.

It's not like those list MPs are being paid to represent some specific population of voters other than "all Party X voters in general. 

If you look at it logically, increasing the party vote by the appropriate compensating factor could actually be MORE proportional and representative than just adding some "list seat" MPs whose only obligation is to vote along with the party.

Cody87

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Here's a quick "shower thought" -- and a literal one, because I really did just have it while showering.

Why do we need "party lists" to balance out representation under MMP?  Why not just save a lot of needless "list MP" salaries and administrivia,  and pro-rate the votes of the MPs that were directly elected?

Say, for example, that the NDP wins 20% of the seats, but by popular vote they should have won 30%.  Why not just use the power of simple mathematics and pro-rate their votes to 1.5 votes each?  Same outcome, but no need to pay another 33 MPs to represent nobody.  No need to add even more seats to the HOC, and no need to re-jerrymander existing seats/ridings.

It's not like those list MPs are being paid to represent some specific population of voters other than "all Party X voters in general. 

If you look at it logically, increasing the party vote by the appropriate compensating factor could actually be MORE proportional and representative than just adding some "list seat" MPs whose only obligation is to vote along with the party.

This also solves the issue of "how big should the lists be" and prevents overhang. There's a couple of little bugs that might need to be ironed out like how would independents work but assuming they had computers involved with the votes in the HoC to handle the math, I think it would be a fine system.

ETA: Oh, but are you comfortable with the idea of Elizabeth May wielding a vote worth 17 MPs? :P

Pondering

jas wrote:

Pondering wrote:
Maybe PR would be better, but I am not convinced, but I am convinced there are many other ways to empower citizens to hold their representatives and government to account and that is more important than which party happens to be in power.

Would love to hear what ways these are that you mention, and why they haven't been tried yet.

Proportional representation would force parties to work together and would shape legislation and policy toward compromise. It would also force Parliament to deal more with the basics of government and less with ideological agendas, so we would see less silly legislation like C-51. It would allow parties to express and operate more boldy from their core principles, which would also better serve the democratic process in providing citizens a clearer idea of what each party stands for. 

Another word for compromise is horse trading.

Things like having automatic open access to government data both financial and otherwise gives citizens more power.

I prefer parties to have to be moderate rather than adhering to "core principles". Bills like C-51 wouldn't necessarily be stopped because horse-trading could get it passed.

Government can also use it as an excuse for inaction because they can't move forward without the agreement of whichever party they happen to be in a coalition with.

Maybe you are right and MMP is the better system but if so then Canadians ought to get to choose it not have it imposed on them.

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Referendums allow citizens to force governments to their will regardless of party.

We could have a system like California's, where any referendum that passes is binding.  So we, too, could demand that taxes be lowered, and education spending be increased, on the same ballot.

How??  Don't ask me.  I'm just a voter and I want what I want.  Let the politicians figure it the fuck out.

Oh, a decrease in spending on health care?  Well... hand me that "New Referendum Proposal Form".  I want to receive more, but pay less, and if our Political Elites can't figure out how to do that in a real-world context then hire someone from Hogwart's.

We don't have to use California's system or even make the referendums binding. I'm sure if we went in that direction we could design a reasonable system for referendums.

If political parties in parliament had the power to force a referendum that could stop C-51.

Sean in Ottawa

Cody87 wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

JKR wrote:

It is possible to have an MMP system that is proportional and that uses ranked ballots instead of plurality ballots.

 

Absolutely not. The ranked ballots system is designed to narrow choices to just one with a majority. This defeats proportional objectives completely. It is a little like asking for a submarine that flies and cannot go under water.

This is incorrect. The "standard" vision of MMP is you have 338 ridings with FPTP, and then use a list to "top up" parties to their proportional amount. So in our most recent election, assuming that all the incumbents remained the same and party support ratios remained the same (for simplicity, it wouldn't have worked out the same of course), then the riding seats would be 184/99/44/5/1 IIRC.

With a 500-member HoC, the Liberals with 39.5% of the vote and 184 riding seats would be entitled to a total of 198 (rounding...) seats, so they'd get 14 list seats. By comparison, the Greens with only 1 riding seat but 3.45% of the vote would get 17 total seats, so they would get 16 list seats (assuming they met the vote threshold).

But if you elect the riding seats with IRV instead of FPTP, that shouldn't have any bearing on on the final seats in the 500 seat HoC because the list seats are going to compensate for any distortions at the riding level. Assuming there are enough list seats to allow full proportional representation, at least.

This is not a single system -- it is one evening out the distortions of another -- to create two classes of MPs. that is another thing.

Wilf Day

Preferential ballots, of course, are intended to help centrist parties, who hope to be everyone else’s second choice. But in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals swept all 32 seats, the preferential ballot would be a cure without a disease. See:
http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2015/10/what-would-results-of-2015-election.html

Stephane Dion’s 2013 line was “Preferential voting . . . does nothing to correct the distortion between votes and seats and the under-representation of national parties compared to regional ones.” 

This has never been more obvious. Surely very few in the Liberal Party will expect such a partisan quick fix to be acceptable. Only proportional representation will make every vote count.

Leading Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc told Fair Vote Canada, which posted this on its "Where They Stand" page, “I support reforms to add elements of proportional representation that also ensure that Members of Parliament remain directly accountable to their constituents first and foremost.”

With the Mixed Proportional system, you have two votes. With one, you help elect a local MP as we do today. The majority of MPs would still be local MPs. 

With the other vote, you can vote for the party you want to see in government, and for your favourite of your party’s regional candidates. So you help elect a few regional MPs, topping-up the local results to make them match the vote shares. Every vote counts: it’s proportional. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. There are no closed lists. Voters elect all the MPs.

The 2015 results under winner-take-all still left Liberal voters in the West under-represented.

Out of all Liberal voters across Canada, the 20% in the GTA elected 26% of the Liberal caucus, while the 11% in Atlantic Canada elected 17% of the Liberal caucus. Western Liberals cast 25% of the Liberal votes but elected only 16% of the caucus.

Liberal women are especially under-represented in the West. Since Justin Trudeau will make his first cabinet half women, gender parity has arrived in the federal Liberal Party. Polls show 90% of Canadians want to see more women elected. With good women among the regional candidates, voters will vote for them.

In the nine ridings of the BC Interior and North, Liberal voters cast 30% of the votes, but elected only Stephen Fuhr, while the Conservatives elected five MPs. A proportional system would have let voters in that region elect three Liberal MPs, three Conservative MPs, and three New Democrats. Liberal voters might have elected Karley Scott from West Kelowna and Tracy Calogheros from Prince George.
In the seven ridings of Vancouver Island, Liberal voters cast 21% of the votes, but elected no one, while NDP voters cast 33% of the ballots yet elected six of the seven MPs. A proportional system would have let Liberal voters on Vancouver Island elect one or two MPs such as David Merner from Victoria and Carrie Powell-Davidson from the City of Parksville.
In Alberta, the 25% of the voters who voted Liberal deserved to elect eight of its 34 MPs, yet elected only four, all men. A proportional system would have let voters in Alberta elect eight Liberal MPs, 21 Conservative MPs, four NDP MPs, and one Green. If they had elected four regional MPs, they might have been Kerry Cundal and Nirmala Naidoo from Calgary, Chandra Kastern from Red Deer, and Karen Leibovici from Edmonton.
In Saskatchewan, the 24% of voters who voted Liberal deserved to elect three of its 14 MPs, yet elected only Ralph Goodale. A proportional system would have let voters in Saskatchewan elect three Liberal MPs, seven Conservative MPs, and four NDP MPs. Liberal voters might have elected Tracy Muggli from Saskatoon and aboriginal leader Lawrence Joseph from Prince Albert.
The preferential ballot would not have helped western Liberals. Only two ridings in Saskatchewan elected Conservative MPs by less than 50% of the vote, and the NDP was second in both. In Alberta as well I see no riding where it would have helped Liberals.  In central Canada, if it did anything it would only have padded the Liberal majority.

wage zombie

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Here's a quick "shower thought" -- and a literal one, because I really did just have it while showering.

Why do we need "party lists" to balance out representation under MMP?  Why not just save a lot of needless "list MP" salaries and administrivia,  and pro-rate the votes of the MPs that were directly elected?

Say, for example, that the NDP wins 20% of the seats, but by popular vote they should have won 30%.  Why not just use the power of simple mathematics and pro-rate their votes to 1.5 votes each?  Same outcome, but no need to pay another 33 MPs to represent nobody.  No need to add even more seats to the HOC, and no need to re-jerrymander existing seats/ridings.

It's not like those list MPs are being paid to represent some specific population of voters other than "all Party X voters in general. 

If you look at it logically, increasing the party vote by the appropriate compensating factor could actually be MORE proportional and representative than just adding some "list seat" MPs whose only obligation is to vote along with the party.

I think that's a good novel idea that I've never heard before.

One issue with this would be gaming the regional balance.  Atlantic Canada elected all Libs, which means that it would be MPs in other provinces geting the extra vote boost.

Also I don't think the idea that some MPs will have more vote power than others is very sellable to an uninformed voter.

Doug Woodard

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Here's a quick "shower thought" -- and a literal one, because I really did just have it while showering.

Why do we need "party lists" to balance out representation under MMP?  Why not just save a lot of needless "list MP" salaries and administrivia,  and pro-rate the votes of the MPs that were directly elected?

Say, for example, that the NDP wins 20% of the seats, but by popular vote they should have won 30%.  Why not just use the power of simple mathematics and pro-rate their votes to 1.5 votes each?  Same outcome, but no need to pay another 33 MPs to represent nobody.  No need to add even more seats to the HOC, and no need to re-jerrymander existing seats/ridings.

It's not like those list MPs are being paid to represent some specific population of voters other than "all Party X voters in general. 

If you look at it logically, increasing the party vote by the appropriate compensating factor could actually be MORE proportional and representative than just adding some "list seat" MPs whose only obligation is to vote along with the party.

Then every vote in the House of Commons would depend on a complex mathematical calculation based on Elections Canada's records and attributions. We would continually have to remember that the Honourable Member for Kicking Horse Pass was worth 1.0137 standard MPs while the Honourable Member for East Dildo was worth 0.9547 SMPs. It might be worthwhile noticing that no jurisdiction anywhere in the world uses this so simple and rational system. And just what would the average Canadian voter think of it?

By the way, it's been thought of before.

Doug Woodard

Wilf Day wrote:

With the Mixed Proportional system, you have two votes. With one, you help elect a local MP as we do today. The majority of MPs would still be local MPs. 

With the other vote, you can vote for the party you want to see in government, and for your favourite of your party’s regional candidates. So you help elect a few regional MPs, topping-up the local results to make them match the vote shares. Every vote counts: it’s proportional. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. There are no closed lists. Voters elect all the MPs.

An interesting wrinkle of an MMP system where local constituencies are single-seat is that the MPs of the governing party, or the lead party in the governing coalition, will be elected mostly from the constituencies, and the opposition will be elected mostly from the regional lists. This may attract voters who hope to have their local representative extract goodies and a favourable hearing from the government.

Sean in Ottawa

Doug Woodard wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

With the Mixed Proportional system, you have two votes. With one, you help elect a local MP as we do today. The majority of MPs would still be local MPs. 

With the other vote, you can vote for the party you want to see in government, and for your favourite of your party’s regional candidates. So you help elect a few regional MPs, topping-up the local results to make them match the vote shares. Every vote counts: it’s proportional. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. There are no closed lists. Voters elect all the MPs.

An interesting wrinkle of an MMP system where local constituencies are single-seat is that the MPs of the governing party, or the lead party in the governing coalition, will be elected mostly from the constituencies, and the opposition will be elected mostly from the regional lists. This may attract voters who hope to have their local representative extract goodies and a favourable hearing from the government.

I don't think we are likely to get anything like this though. As I understand it many Liberals want a run-off mechanism and not the PR part. They of course will sell it based on these examples from countries very different from Canada who have developped systems that cannot easily be replicated here and there is little chance that the vested interests would want them to be.

Cody87

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I don't think we are likely to get anything like this though. As I understand it many Liberals want a run-off mechanism and not the PR part. They of course will sell it based on these examples from countries very different from Canada who have developped systems that cannot easily be replicated here and there is little chance that the vested interests would want them to be.

Many Liberals support PR. Trudeau likes run-off (as of early Liberal leadership days), supposedly because he's big on riding representation. STV is a good compromise and great for independents, but I acknowledge that it may not be feasible for the sparesly-populated portions of the country.

Whether we get PR or run-off will be an important indicator of what kind of leader Trudeau actually is, as opposed to what type of leader he presents himself as.

Sean in Ottawa

Cody87 wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I don't think we are likely to get anything like this though. As I understand it many Liberals want a run-off mechanism and not the PR part. They of course will sell it based on these examples from countries very different from Canada who have developped systems that cannot easily be replicated here and there is little chance that the vested interests would want them to be.

Many Liberals support PR. Trudeau likes run-off (as of early Liberal leadership days), supposedly because he's big on riding representation. STV is a good compromise and great for independents, but I acknowledge that it may not be feasible for the sparesly-populated portions of the country.

Whether we get PR or run-off will be an important indicator of what kind of leader Trudeau actually is, as opposed to what type of leader he presents himself as.

The fact that he has proposed a study means he can stack the study how he wishes and then take the position that the result did not come from him.

Hopefully it will be a more open process than that. Yes, we shall see. It is important for the smaller parties which the NDP is now one (again) to understand that ranked ballots are not helpful. Any system that included ranked ballots would only be as helpful as the mitigating other components are as there is nothing good about ranked ballots except to funnel support up to a more limited range of options which is exactly what that process is designed for and does well.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

Preferential ballots, of course, are intended to help centrist parties, who hope to be everyone else’s second choice. But in Atlantic Canada, where the Liberals swept all 32 seats, the preferential ballot would be a cure without a disease. See:
http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2015/10/what-would-results-of-2015-election.html

Stephane Dion’s 2013 line was “Preferential voting . . . does nothing to correct the distortion between votes and seats and the under-representation of national parties compared to regional ones.” 

This has never been more obvious. Surely very few in the Liberal Party will expect such a partisan quick fix to be acceptable. Only proportional representation will make every vote count.

Leading Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc told Fair Vote Canada, which posted this on its "Where They Stand" page, “I support reforms to add elements of proportional representation that also ensure that Members of Parliament remain directly accountable to their constituents first and foremost.”

With the Mixed Proportional system, you have two votes. With one, you help elect a local MP as we do today. The majority of MPs would still be local MPs. 

With the other vote, you can vote for the party you want to see in government, and for your favourite of your party’s regional candidates. So you help elect a few regional MPs, topping-up the local results to make them match the vote shares. Every vote counts: it’s proportional. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. There are no closed lists. Voters elect all the MPs.

The 2015 results under winner-take-all still left Liberal voters in the West under-represented.

Out of all Liberal voters across Canada, the 20% in the GTA elected 26% of the Liberal caucus, while the 11% in Atlantic Canada elected 17% of the Liberal caucus. Western Liberals cast 25% of the Liberal votes but elected only 16% of the caucus.

Liberal women are especially under-represented in the West. Since Justin Trudeau will make his first cabinet half women, gender parity has arrived in the federal Liberal Party. Polls show 90% of Canadians want to see more women elected. With good women among the regional candidates, voters will vote for them.

In the nine ridings of the BC Interior and North, Liberal voters cast 30% of the votes, but elected only Stephen Fuhr, while the Conservatives elected five MPs. A proportional system would have let voters in that region elect three Liberal MPs, three Conservative MPs, and three New Democrats. Liberal voters might have elected Karley Scott from West Kelowna and Tracy Calogheros from Prince George.
In the seven ridings of Vancouver Island, Liberal voters cast 21% of the votes, but elected no one, while NDP voters cast 33% of the ballots yet elected six of the seven MPs. A proportional system would have let Liberal voters on Vancouver Island elect one or two MPs such as David Merner from Victoria and Carrie Powell-Davidson from the City of Parksville.
In Alberta, the 25% of the voters who voted Liberal deserved to elect eight of its 34 MPs, yet elected only four, all men. A proportional system would have let voters in Alberta elect eight Liberal MPs, 21 Conservative MPs, four NDP MPs, and one Green. If they had elected four regional MPs, they might have been Kerry Cundal and Nirmala Naidoo from Calgary, Chandra Kastern from Red Deer, and Karen Leibovici from Edmonton.
In Saskatchewan, the 24% of voters who voted Liberal deserved to elect three of its 14 MPs, yet elected only Ralph Goodale. A proportional system would have let voters in Saskatchewan elect three Liberal MPs, seven Conservative MPs, and four NDP MPs. Liberal voters might have elected Tracy Muggli from Saskatoon and aboriginal leader Lawrence Joseph from Prince Albert.
The preferential ballot would not have helped western Liberals. Only two ridings in Saskatchewan elected Conservative MPs by less than 50% of the vote, and the NDP was second in both. In Alberta as well I see no riding where it would have helped Liberals.  In central Canada, if it did anything it would only have padded the Liberal majority.

I think a system similar to the one the Jenkins Commision recommended in the UK could work well in Canada. It would be proportional and have ranked voting. I think this is the type of system that could be the compromise required to get most people onside here in Canada.

Fair Vote Canada seems to support it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOyHLwYq6Nk

Cody87

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Cody87 wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I don't think we are likely to get anything like this though. As I understand it many Liberals want a run-off mechanism and not the PR part. They of course will sell it based on these examples from countries very different from Canada who have developped systems that cannot easily be replicated here and there is little chance that the vested interests would want them to be.

Many Liberals support PR. Trudeau likes run-off (as of early Liberal leadership days), supposedly because he's big on riding representation. STV is a good compromise and great for independents, but I acknowledge that it may not be feasible for the sparesly-populated portions of the country.

Whether we get PR or run-off will be an important indicator of what kind of leader Trudeau actually is, as opposed to what type of leader he presents himself as.

The fact that he has proposed a study means he can stack the study how he wishes and then take the position that the result did not come from him.

He can try. But it's well known that the NDP heavily favours MMP, and half the Liberal MP's openly supported MMP in 2014, when the Liberals were still leading in the polls, despite the fact that Trudeau did not. I'm not going to say it's impossible that we could get ranked ballots from a completely fair study, but chances are good that if we get ranked ballots, the study was stacked and it should be held against Trudeau.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Then every vote in the House of Commons would depend on a complex mathematical calculation based on Elections Canada's records and attributions.

Not at all.  Notwithstanding the occasional byelection, all we'd need to do is, once each election, determine a "correction factor" for each party in the House.  Maybe something like:

Libs:  x 0.9

Cons: x 1.1

NDP: x 3.2

Greens: x 8.4

And that's it.  Each Lib vote total would be multiplied by 0.9.  Each Con vote total would be multiplied by 1.1, and so on.

Nothing overly complex about that.  And logically it would be done by party, not by MP, so each MP from any party would have the same correction factor.

Quote:
We would continually have to remember that the Honourable Member for Kicking Horse Pass was worth 1.0137 standard MPs while the Honourable Member for East Dildo was worth 0.9547 SMPs.

The MPs wouldnt' be "worth more", just their vote.  Isn't that pretty much why we would have "list MPs" under MMP??  To make sure that the voting power of any party in the HoC is proportional to their share of the popular vote?

Quote:
It might be worthwhile noticing that no jurisdiction anywhere in the world uses this so simple and rational system.

It might be, but that would be true of ANY new system, wouldn't it?  Surely, at one point, someone must have said "I propose a new system which I shall call Mixed Member Proportional..." and it would be just as valid to dismiss it by saying "But nobody is actually using this new system".  No?

Quote:
And just what would the average Canadian voter think of it?

Dunno.  But we could remind them that this system might be cheaper than paying 40 or so "list MPs" $167,000 plus travel costs, administrative costs and pension just so that they can represent no riding, and do little more than vote along with their party in order to ensure proportionality. 

I'm just pointing out that you don't need a full human to do this if you just build that into the system.

So, no party "faithful" being rewarded with an MP synecure, no need to expand the HoC, no need to rejig any riding boundaries and just as much proportionality as we'd get with "list MPs".  Who knows, maybe they'd see some merits.

 

 

 

 

swallow swallow's picture

I just have to say that any system that makes Elizabeth May's vote worth 17 other MPs would probably have the full support of Elizabeth May.

"Vote Green across the country, but be sure not to elect any other Green local MPs! Elizabeth will cast all the votes!" 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

I'm not sure what would be harder to stomach.

1.  Elizabeth May wielding the power of 17 votes

2.  Elizabeth May standing in front of "Team Green" -- 16 hand-picked list MPs whose sole responsibility is to sit in the HoC and give May the power of 17 votes anyway, but at a cost of $2.6M per year.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I'm not sure what would be harder to stomach.

1.  Elizabeth May wielding the power of 17 votes

2.  Elizabeth May standing in front of "Team Green" -- 16 hand-picked list MPs whose sole responsibility is to sit in the HoC and give May the power of 17 votes anyway, but at a cost of $2.6M per year.

Or all the unrepresented Green voters under the present system? I am no Green supporter but I find that the hardest to stomach.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Well, some sort of proportional system would fix that right up.

But do we really need actual humans to go through the motions of voting along with their party in order to assure that party's proportionality in the HoC when simply prorating the usual vote would do the same but simpler and for free?

 

Arthur Cramer Arthur Cramer's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, some sort of proportional system would fix that right up.

But do we really need actual humans to go through the motions of voting along with their party in order to assure that party's proportionality in the HoC when simply prorating the usual vote would do the same but simpler and for free?

 

Unless they vote Liberal instead?

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, some sort of proportional system would fix that right up.

But do we really need actual humans to go through the motions of voting along with their party in order to assure that party's proportionality in the HoC when simply prorating the usual vote would do the same but simpler and for free?

 

If I was an MP I would feel very diminished if my vote was worth only a fraction of another MP's vote. I think my testosterone levels would suffer. I would then likely contemplate crossing the floor to join the Greens where my vote would suddenly increase ten fold. Floor crossing would become much more interesting if votes were prorated. On the bright side, the Rhinoceros Party would likely finally gain an MP.

Doug Woodard

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I'm not sure what would be harder to stomach.

1.  Elizabeth May wielding the power of 17 votes

2.  Elizabeth May standing in front of "Team Green" -- 16 hand-picked list MPs whose sole responsibility is to sit in the HoC and give May the power of 17 votes anyway, but at a cost of $2.6M per year.

What does "hand-picked" mean?

The MMP models that have been discussed for Canada (for example that of the Law Commission of Canada) provide either that the voters have the option of selecting a particular list member instead of accepting the list sequence provided by the party, or that each voter must select a list candidate. It's also accepted that one option for the electoral law would be that it require that the list candidates would be selected by the party members, not by a clique of insiders.

You seem to be interested in the question of proportional represention, judging by the number of posts you have made on it. Yet you seem to be remarkably ill-informed. Why is this? 

Doug Woodard

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Well, some sort of proportional system would fix that right up.

But do we really need actual humans to go through the motions of voting along with their party in order to assure that party's proportionality in the HoC when simply prorating the usual vote would do the same but simpler and for free?

You're assuming that all MPs vote acording to some externally determined party line delivered from on high and that caucus has no influence on either policy or party tactics; i.e. that every party must always act like Harper's Conservatives. Do you remember how Maggie Thatcher got dumped by her caucus? If this assumption is not fulfilled then your argument doesn't work.

wage zombie

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Not at all.  Notwithstanding the occasional byelection, all we'd need to do is, once each election, determine a "correction factor" for each party in the House.  Maybe something like:

Libs:  x 0.9

Cons: x 1.1

NDP: x 3.2

Greens: x 8.4

And that's it.  Each Lib vote total would be multiplied by 0.9.  Each Con vote total would be multiplied by 1.1, and so on.

Under those numbers,

Atlantic Canada, with 32 seats (32 L) would end up with 28.8 seat votes.

Saskatchewan, with 14 seats (10 C, 3 N, 1 L) would end up with 21.5 seat votes.

BC, with 42 seats (17 L, 14 N, 10 C, 1G) would end up with 64.2 seat votes.

I get that those numbers are arbitrary, but nothing about your proposed system accounts for regional support.

jas

swallow wrote:

I just have to say that any system that makes Elizabeth May's vote worth 17 other MPs would probably have the full support of Elizabeth May.

"Vote Green across the country, but be sure not to elect any other Green local MPs! Elizabeth will cast all the votes!" 

In this case, the Greens would likely insist on party-level input for each vote she makes.

I like the system Magoo proposes.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The MMP models that have been discussed for Canada (for example that of the Law Commission of Canada) provide either that the voters have the option of selecting a particular list member instead of accepting the list sequence provided by the party, or that each voter must select a list candidate. It's also accepted that one option for the electoral law would be that it require that the list candidates would be selected by the party members, not by a clique of insiders.

That's great.

Quote:
You seem to be interested in the question of proportional represention, judging by the number of posts you have made on it. Yet you seem to be remarkably ill-informed. Why is this?

Huh.  Not just "ill informed" but remarkably so!

Seems to me, though, that my totally ridiculous, clearly unworkable, far-too-complicated idea got under your skin.  Why is this?

You haven't said anything substantive about it, other than to suggest that the math is too complicated (what with involving division and such) and that nobody uses it.  Oh, and that somebody already thought about it (so there go my hopes of it being called "MMMPR").

Quote:
ou're assuming that all MPs vote acording to some externally determined party line delivered from on high and that caucus has no influence on either policy or party tactics; i.e. that every party must always act like Harper's Conservatives.

No, I'm just assuming that a list MP would vote with their party because if not, why not?  They don't have constituents, so it's not like they have to vote on their behalf.  "Voting their conscience"?  That's just a fancy way of saying "I don't care, I'm going to vote for what I as an individual want".

So a Green list MP is likely to vote against the Greens?  If that's not likely then replace them with some math, and save some $$$.

 

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