The NDP not serious about proportional representation - #3

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psmith
The NDP not serious about proportional representation - #3

Thread continued from here.

psmith

Previous thread closed before I could respond:

wage zombie wrote:

You're dreaming.  "Major policy initiative"???  It would probably take a day or two to come up with a complete list of the people who would need to be involved, and it would probably take more than a day or two in order to schedule an inital conference call.

Come on... you're assuming they're starting from a blank page, when in reality David Christopherson has been the critic at least since the 2008 election. You mean to say that Christopherson and his staff don't even know anything about the file?

It would be realtively easy, as far as initiatives go: just turn the NDP official policy into legislation and introduce it. Hold a press conference. That alone would show they are serious and be more progress than any other federal party has ever done. It wouldn't be official policy already if it wasn't discussed, debated with stakeholders, and debated and voted on again at convention. The NDP's policy to implement MMP for federal elections is ready-made and already vetted. Broadbent was even instrumental in creating it, so he is probably still supportive, along with most the the NDP base.

From the last referendum in Ontario (on MMP), we already know that the unions support this policy, we know that the electoral reform organizations support it, we know that groups concerned about the representation of women and minorities support it... both the idea in general, and the NDP's specific approach (which doesn't get into specifics). What more do you want?

The point is, it would be relatively easy to do. I reitterate that party apologists will try to make action seem more difficult/costly that it actually is, because that's the only defence they have for a party that has done nothing on electoral reform for years - regardless of what "official policy" is supposed to be.

wage zombie wrote:

You think the federal NDP has 100+ people employed on policy/communications/legislation work?!?!  Are you kidding??!?

 

Close to it: each MP gets 1 to 2 people to work on that stuff - that's approaching 50 right there. Then there's the 36 MPs themselves - at least some of them are well-versed and care about democratic reform, and have something to say about the party's stance and how to communicate it. Then add all the people work at the party's headquarters on communications: At least a couple dozen. Plus however many work in the NDP caucus research bureau on policy: A couple dozen more for sure.

A $5 million annual vote subsidy plus $4 million more in party revenues, plus $1-2 million more from parliament for MP staff pays for a lot of communications and policy wonks.

If the NDP don't have anything to offer on electoral reform, its not because they can't. It's because it simply isn't important to the party.

Caissa

KenS wrote:Like I said, is this all and only about whipping the NDP?

Caissa though that was the long-gun registry thread. Wink

 

In all seriousness, PR is a product of a view that political parties are and should be the primary vehicle through which citizens are represented in a legislature. In NB, people are pretty attached to their local member whoserepresentation is governed by geography.

KenS

Take that up with the party about pooling resources from MPs staff. The only time it was ever done was post-1993 when the NDP had no official status. Its not done for any issue- which i guess means nothing is important to the NDP.

Maybe its not the most ideal division of resources- but MPs do have to do their own jobs, and at most one staff member does part of their work in the MPs critic area. Singular, and their critic priority only.

Like I said, is this all and only about whipping the NDP?

The strategy being to ridicule and browbeat people in the NDP to getting us PR?

Wilf Day

Caissa wrote:
In all seriousness, PR is a product of a view that political parties are and should be the primary vehicle through which citizens are represented in a legislature. In NB, people are pretty attached to their local member whose representation is governed by geography.

As in most in Canada. That's why the Law Commission of Canada recommended a mixed-member model in which 2/3 of the MPs would still be elected from local ridings, and 1/3 from provinces or mid-sized regions in provinces, like the 12-MP regions or 16-MP regions found in Wales and Scotland.

So, if people had voted under this model as they did in 2008 in New Brunswick, and assuming the six larger ridings went 3 Con, 2 Lib and 1 NDP, the four provincial MPs would have been one Conservative, one Liberal, one NDP and one Green. The Law Commission's model lets voters vote for their favourite candidate out of the party's provincial nominees, so every MP has faced the voters and been personally elected. For example, those four might have been Rob Moir or Alice Finnamore from the NDP, Mary Lou Babineau or Alison Ménard from the Green Party, for the Conservatives maybe Daniel Allain in place of Rodney Weston, and for the Liberals maybe Paul Zed or Sally McGrath in place of Brian Murphy.

Note that this is only if people voted as they did on October 14, 2008. In fact, if voters knew every vote would count, more would have voted -- typically 6% or so more -- and some would have voted differently. We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We could have different parties. However, this example shows how it works.

psmith

KenS wrote:

Geez, at least the earlier thread titles tilted in a direction it wasnt just all about slapping the NDP around.

 

Criticism where criticism is due. You have to admit the NDP has fallen down on electoral reform in recent years. It's not that I want to criticize; I want to believe they are serious about proportional representation. Just give me a reason to.

 

KenS wrote:

In the last thread you joined in saying something about the GPC as well as the NDP. So I asked the question if you think that PR is in the interests of both parties, and you also think that neither makes it a priority.

 

Feel free to start a "Green Party pays lip service to proportional representation" thread if you want to... this one is about the NDP and PR. There's enough to discuss within the NDP context already, and as you maybe have noticed already I'd prefer not to take the bait and get distracted from the topic at hand.

Don't feel alone, you're not the only one who poses questions that don't get answered. No-one except Fidel has even attemtped to give me reasons why provincial NDP governments - who have had all chance in the world to introduce PR provincially and jump-start electoral reform right across the country - have failed to do so.

I don't view fair criticism of the NDP as slapping them around. There is nothing wrong with being plainly honest about where a party falls down. In fact I believe that's the only way problems can be recognized and addressed, and a party improve itself.

The party can take the criticism. It's the people sheltering it from that criticism (reducing any push to improve) that it can't take.

KenS

Yes, but I asked a question directly following on a point you made.

I even narrowed it down when you changed what you wanted to say about the NDP, without disputing that.

what the hell, I'll go right back to your original post:

psmith wrote:

Bravo. Recently NDP strategists have been copying the unsuccessful strategy of the Green Party on this. Every election, I end up arguing with Green Party activists that put 75% of their time and effort into making noise so that Elizabeth May gets into the TV debates. If they spent as much time & energy to educate Canadians on why electoral reform was so important, they would be much farther ahead in the long term. But like NDP activists (and leadership, apparently), they can't see beyond the latest hot-button issue.

For a minute let's set aside the obvious democratic and policy advantages that proporational representation could offer Canada, and look at naked self-interest. The NDP have to start playing the long game, and they have to start realizing that for them to get real power to change things - consistently for every election going forward - there has to be fair and proportional voting system in place. No other single policy reform will put the federal NDP closer to the levers of power, forever.

 

You were the one who talked about both parties. And there is some kind of common thread. Why did you make this point?

currents

Just a few comments.

1. The NDP has no credibility on proportional representation because when it is in power provincially it does not do anything to promote it. The argument that the NDP provincially and federally live on other planets only goes so far. I would have thought that there would be some convergence within the NDP about what democracy is and that one test of democracy is that parliament (provincially and federally) reflects the expressed will of the elctorate. It should be a matter of principle not of convenience. As it stands the NDP position on PR seems hypocritical: in favor if we would get more seats; not in favour if we would lose seats.

2. As mentioned by several commentators it is unlikely that proportional representation will happen soon at the federal level. If the NDP were committed to this cause it could already have been established in some provinces. The first attempt at electoral reform will almost certainly come in a province and if it can then be shown that the world did not fall, then it may well be attempted at the federal level.

Wilf Day

currents wrote:
As it stands the NDP position on PR seems hypocritical: in favor if we would get more seats; not in favour if we would lose seats.

It's important to understand how this can be. In all parties in Canada, the issue is between the caucus and the party.

In 1976 the PQ, which had been screwed by FPTP for a couple of elections, managed to win. They still favoured PR, as one would expect. But then they lost the referendum, and managed to get re-elected in 1980. Levesque proceeded with PR, until his caucus shot it down.

In 1979 the federal Liberals under Trudeau lost power to Joe Clark in a wrong-winner election: the PCs had fewer votes but more seats. Then in 1980 the Liberals regained power but with 16 fewer western MPs than their western voters deserved. Trudeau's speech from the throne proposed a Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform. His caucus shot it down.

In BC the NDP as a party favoured PR. The leader initially told the Citizens' Assembly that the NDP favoured PR and took no position as to which model. But then the caucus had cold feet.

Parties win seats under FPTP in their regional strongholds, and win none in the regional strongholds of other parties. The unrepresented voters -- who need PR -- are, of course, unrepresented in the caucus. In Saskatchewan, the rural NDP voters needed PR, and after long debate, finally convinced the party to proceed with a Citizens Assembly -- too late. In Ontario, the Liberal voters outside the GTA, with only a handful of MPPs before 2003, needed PR and got McGuinty to include an electoral reform referendum in the 2003 platform. But then his new caucus got cold feet.

Convincing the federal NDP caucus to take action in support of PR is, or should be, far easier than convincing the party's caucus in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, or BC to proceed with it. Federal MPs from those provinces understand the appearance of hypocrisy very well. Bill Blaikie struggled with it. Lorne Nystrom tried to sell the provincial party on it. I don't know whether Ed tried to sell Bob Rae on it after 1990. I do know the federal NDP MPs from BC virtually all endorsed BC-STV. 

Fidel

psmith wrote:
There's enough to discuss within the NDP context already, and as you maybe have noticed already I'd prefer not to take the bait and get distracted from the topic at hand.

So, what would the Greens have to say to themselves sacrificing something for the cause? What about strategic voting in ridings where the NDP or Greens might benefit by voters cooperating to beat Bay Street's candidates?

KenS

currents wrote:

The NDP has no credibility on proportional representation because when it is in power provincially it does not do anything to promote it.

This is a question.

Obviously the NDP lacks credibility with people around here, and the like minded people many more.

Do people think that means the federal NDP also lacks credibility with taking PR to the public. Which is a different matter, not necessarily related. If you think it lacks creibility all around, then support that contention.

For me, this is a practical question.

Fidel

[url=Hampton">http://ontariondp.com/howard-hampton-statement-citizens-assembly-decisio... endorses CA's choice in Ontario - chastises McGuinty for imposing super-majority gauntlet to reform[/url] 2007

I believe one of the conditions of the referendum in Ontario was that no party would campaign for or against ER. And the same was true of B.C.'s referenda on ER.

KenS

Geez, at least the earlier thread titles tilted in a direction it wasnt just all about slapping the NDP around. That strength of tilting the start gets people snarling even more than they would just over the substance of where the discussion goes.

Anyway.

In the last thread you joined in saying something about the GPC as well as the NDP.

So I asked the question if you think that PR is in the interests of both parties, and you also think that neither makes it a priority... why is it like that.

That seemed to get you to reconsider whether you felt it was in the NDP's best interest, at least as evidenced by the leaderhsip in general, and all us apologists here at Babble.

So I said, forget about the NDP. Same question, except about the GPC only: why is there that difference between interests of the party and the priorities of what is actually done?

I dont know if you think maybe I'm just trying to deflect attention away from the NDP. Mind you, thats to be expected when people statr thread 'discussions' with "The NDP not serious about proportional representation".

But thats not me. I want to discuss how people think things work. Check out this thread. I challenge people over how they see the NDP not to defend the party, but because I think the lashing of the NDP obscures people from taking a good general look- not just at the NDP or even electoral politics on the whole- but at how pursuing small 'p' politics works.

 

So anyway, about the question I asked about the GPC...

psmith

KenS wrote:

Do people think that means the federal NDP also lacks credibility with taking PR to the public.

 

Not sure about losing public credibility on PR yet. Maybe in provinces where there are NDP governments, it doesn't have much credibility to begin with. Probably in provinces it's never had much chance of being government, it has good credibility still. But federally, I know it's rapidly losing cred with electoral reform activists, since the NDP hasn't done anything but sat on the file for years. Apparently some NDP MPs won't even meet with constituents who want to talk about proportional representation. When activists get turned down or put off, word starts getting around.

Maybe the NDP isn't the friend that those electoral reformers thought it was.

Fidel

How many times has the Green Party introduced motions to restart the federal study on electoral reform?

NDP 1 Greens nil

BTW, what is the Green Party's policy plank regarding Canada's [url=http://www.senatehalloffame.ca]unelected and unnecessary senate?[/url] Who loves big, bloated and expensive government bureaucracy? We know!

KenS

I phrased/misworded this in a way that may have confused what I was asking:

"Do people think that means the federal NDP also lacks credibility with taking PR to the public."

What I meant was: granted the federal NDP lacks credibility around here and with electoral reformer, but do people think it will also lack credibility with the general public?

But there's also some lack of clarity in the situation being looked at. The public by and large doesnt think about PR. Its not an issue in play. Assuming it is in play, then you have to assume that the NDP will be talking it up too. Even if you think the NDPs interest is totally cynical: if its an issue, they will be there. [Leaving aside it probably can never become an issue in play unless the NDP is at least following along getting it moving more.]

So some situation like that is what the question speaks to.

So if PR is in play, as it is not now, and the NDP is talking about it, would you still say:

psmith wrote:

Not sure about losing public credibility on PR yet. Maybe in provinces where there are NDP governments, it doesn't have much credibility to begin with. Probably in provinces it's never had much chance of being government, it has good credibility still.

JKR

currents wrote:
As it stands the NDP position on PR seems hypocritical: in favor if we would get more seats; not in favour if we would lose seats.

I think it's to soon to harshly judge the NDP's position on fair voting. Electoral reform has only been a major issue during the last decade as strong support for fair fair voting has occurred in New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, BC, Ontario, Quebec, PEI, and most recently, the UK.

During this period, the NDP has only been in a position to implement PR in two provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. If the NDP had won the last election in Sask they would have established a citizens assembly on electoral reform there. And in Manitoba, electoral reform has to date never been an issue. Hopefully that will change and the NDP will lead the way there.
 
Now that electoral reform is a major issue in Canada, I think the NDP will respond strongly in favour of it. To date Broadbent has been as strong a supporter of fair voting as there is in Canada. The next decade or so will tell the tale on how well the NDP responds to the movement for fair voting. Hopefully groups like Fair Vote Canada will help the NDP move strongly in favour of fair voting.
 
I think the NDP will be vindicated on this issue. Especially if the next federal election doesn't produce a Conservative majority. In such case I expect that the NDP will be able to move electoral reform forward similar to the way the Liberal Democrats were able to in the UK. If the next election doesn't produce a majority government, the NDP will be well placed to help implement fair voting.

KenS

It just occured to me that I am assuming the credibility question is about impact on whether PR can pass a referendum, or get sufficient depth of public support that it does not go through that step and is [directly ]passed as legislation in the House.

IE, whether the potential for the public seeing the NDP as inconsistent would undermine levels of support for PR.

But I realised that maybe I'm just assuming that is what the credibility question is about.

??

Krago

Wilf Day wrote:

In fact, if voters knew every vote would count, more would have voted -- typically 6% or so more -- and some would have voted differently. We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We could have different parties. 

During the 2007 referendum, I never saw any proposed solution on how the list of candidates in an MMP system would be created and ranked.  Have you ever worked on creating one?

siamdave

Caissa wrote:

KenS wrote:Like I said, is this all and only about whipping the NDP?

Caissa though that was the long-gun registry thread. Wink

 

In all seriousness, PR is a product of a view that political parties are and should be the primary vehicle through which citizens are represented in a legislature. In NB, people are pretty attached to their local member whoserepresentation is governed by geography.

In all seriousness, that is just not true. I cannot speak for everyone, but that has nothing to do with my promotion of PR. I think we need to be working towards getting rid of political parties altogether, but as long as we have them, PR would be a far superior method of allocating the seats they all get, and I support PR because I am very unhappy with false-majority governments doing things most people in the country obviously do not want, courtesy of FPTP voting. As for the people of NB - do you suppose the people in the 6 ridings in which the elected MP was rejected by more voters than voted for them are happy? Maybe - but maybe the idea of having someone they thought spoke for them instead of some other group would be of interest too, were they give such an option and understood it - if you don't have at least some kind of survey or study to back up this kind of statement, maybe you ought to word it a bit differently. (And if the survey came from some place like the Fraser people, it probably ought to be carefully examined for bias - they've been known to do things like that ...)

siamdave

Wilf Day wrote:

currents wrote:
As it stands the NDP position on PR seems hypocritical: in favor if we would get more seats; not in favour if we would lose seats.

It's important to understand how this can be. In all parties in Canada, the issue is between the caucus and the party.

- that's perceptive, and worth not forgetting - if people are serious about PR, then talking to the grass roots is what needs to be done - and when it comes time to choose election candidates, make sure they understand and support PR if they want your vote - and hopefully will have the courage to stick to their principles and defend it and promote it when the party HQ tells them to sit on their hands with nothing more than lip service ...

Wayne Smith Wayne Smith's picture

Party shmarty. MPs elected under the current system have a vested interest in the current system.

siamdave

Wayne Smith wrote:

Party shmarty. MPs elected under the current system have a vested interest in the current system.

- which is why I suggested getting the grassroots people more involved, demanding more say - the grassroots people have more interest in their own ridings than the perks attendent with being an MP .... surely at least 'progressive' grassroots organisers can think a bit bigger in terms of 'greatest good for greatest number' than the somewhat more personal perspective of the average MP thinking of 6 years 'work' for a good pension ... etc

JKR

Caissa wrote:

In all seriousness, PR is a product of a view that political parties are and should be the primary vehicle through which citizens are represented in a legislature. In NB, people are pretty attached to their local member whoserepresentation is governed by geography.

There are forms of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system that do not require people to vote for parties and are based on geography just like our current single-member plurality (SMP) system.

The form of MMP used in Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany has people vote exactly like we do here - one vote for a single candidate in their local riding. As far as voting goes there is no difference between voting in Canada and Baden-Wurttemberg. The ballots are identical. The only difference is that the results in Baden-Wurttemberg are much more proportional.

Open-list MMP also does not require people to vote for parties. Open-list MMP is used in Bavaria, Scotland, and  Wales. Here people vote for individuals in local constituencies and and local regions.

These kinds of geographically based MMP fit Canadian political culture.

Wilf Day

Krago wrote:
During the 2007 referendum, I never saw any proposed solution on how the list of candidates in an MMP system would be created and ranked.  Have you ever worked on creating one?

I don't want a province-wide list. I want a region with about 14 MPs, nine local and five regional. Nomination of the regional candidates would take place at a regional convention, likely together with on-line votes after watching on-line as candidates for the nomination speak. I expect the City of Toronto would be a single region, for example, as would Northern Ontario.

But in 2007 when we had to talk about province-wide lists, the example we used was New Zealand. Labour and the National Party each hold regional nomination conventions in six regions, and then fold the six lists into one.

Krago

But how would the Toronto Regional Convention elect and rank the candidates?  What method would be used, and how would gender and racial diversity be ensured?  Or would there by necessity have to be some sort of 'official slate' created by some self-selected group of party elders?

Do you have a link to the New Zealand process, including how they 'fold' their lists? 

Caissa

Siamdave asked:  As for the people of NB - do you suppose the people in the 6 ridings in which the elected MP was rejected by more voters than voted for them are happy?

Caissa answers:yes.

 

Caissa is in favour of some form of PR; his previous post was simply an attempt to explain part of the political culture of NB.

Fidel

And when Caissa says the people in six NB ridings are happy with FPP results, Caissa was being facetious.  Knee slapper, Caissa. Good sense of hummer.

KenS

Wilf Day wrote:

In all parties in Canada, the issue of PR is between the caucus and the party.

.....................

Convincing the federal NDP caucus to take action in support of PR is, or should be, far easier than convincing the party's caucus in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, or BC to proceed with it.

The examples Wilf gave was of parties where the Leader liked the idea of PR, but the Caucus wouldn't go along. Thats not the case in the federal NDP. If there any MPs who would like that we never do anything, they are isolated and would have little to say in any discussions about proceeding to rekindle the issue.

I perfectly understand people's skepticism, but the stumbling block with PR is how to give it real life with the general public. How to build the connection that right now is far too thin- between the deep disatsifaction with our democracy, and what PR would do for that.

And really, legitimate criticism about the NDP's lack of will to solve that lack of connection is moot if you are talking the practicalities of how to get moving. How to give the issue real legs IS the $64,000 question. You can rail at the NDP all you want, and righfully so, but the question is still there.

The best way to propell the NDP into doing something about PR is to ignore them and do it yourselves.

"Duh. Haven't heard that before."

Do what the NDP could do, and you'll be followed. [And even if you are more right than me about how much they are conflicted about not even really wanting PR.]

Even trying really heroically, its not realistic to aspire to a campaign for PR that could have the reach that an NDP campaign would have. Possible, yes. But hugely unlikely. And its not necessary to either go for the whole banana, or do nothing.

Look at what the NDP could be doing in real terms- and I'm sorry but good websites and good information are just a necessary adjunct. So, look at what the NDP could be doing, and break it into bits.

What does that mean? Hell if I know. But this isnt one of my big issues.

"Bits" could be in terms of geographic or demographic scale, or in terms of part of what needs to be done.

Caissa

I'm not being facetious, Fidel. NBers by and large are attached to have a local candidate and there is no great uproar about the person with the most votes winning. What might gain traction in NB are run-off votes between the candidates with the two highest vote totals, if no candidate receives 50% of the votes in the wlection.

KenS

On Wilfs general point that the issue on PR is between party and Caucus.

I rather doubt this matters in the end. But my observation would be that in the case of the NDP, the feelings in the membership are pretty close to what you'll find in the Caucus.

The twist on this is that most people see themselves as members of the provincial NDP, which happens also to make them members of the federal party. There are a minority who relate mostly to the federal party. But that would be mostly people who have no real provincial party, or people like me who are vey alienated from their provincial party, or the few who mostly work to further the federal party even though organizationally that is not the 'natural flow'.

At any rate- just to use a figure, say its 70-80% of NDP members [and core supporters as close or closer than actual members] view the NDP mostly through the lens of their provincial political situation.

But the federal MPs are different. They are MPs, pure and simple. And they at most include provincial NDP sensibilities within their personal 'calculus' of what they do, what they talk about, etc, as a public political being.

And for a NDP MP, PR is good for them and their party... which is different than the party of the members in their consituency, province and region.

So its actually complex and nuanced. But I think in the end the grassroots opinion about PR is similar to the range that you will find in the various Caucuses. And among the membership that thinks that provincially they are better off with FPTP, that isnt enough to make most of them want to stick with it.

And its worth noting that in terms of an MP thinking of getting re-elected, and the role the local NDP membership and supporter base has in that, they neednt worry even a shred that it will effect anything at all even if they want to be a vocal supporter of PR and the membership happens not to like it. Nor do they even have to worry a bit should the provincial NDP staff who control the levers of the federal election campaign machine, happen to be quite ill disposed to PR.

Fidel

@Caissa#29

Ah! So will there be anything happening on ER-PR front in New Brunswick? Apparently an electoral commission recommended MMP for that province in 2005. Because with MMP, there would still be local members elected by winner-take-all I believe.

Caissa

I highly doubt it. Until the late 1960s, NB elected its members in multi-member constituencies. Except for a few city seats, the constituency was the county. Each party would nominate a list of candidates in the constituency equal to the number of seats available. Being Nb, the lists were often balanced based on religion. In only a few counties would linguistic duality be an issue. Voters would most often vote the "list" ie. vote for all the candidates of their preferred party. Occasionally, a popular member of the other party would sneak into the last seat.

PEI also had an interesting voting system until recently. In each riding they elected a member of the Legislative Assembly and a member of the Legislative Council. All of these elected members met in a unicameral legislature.

Fidel

Conservative Party supporters in NB can't be too happy that they won the popular vote count in 2006 and yet came in second. If I was them I'd be thinking something is broken.

siamdave

Caissa wrote:

I'm not being facetious, Fidel. NBers by and large are attached to have a local candidate and there is no great uproar about the person with the most votes winning. What might gain traction in NB are run-off votes between the candidates with the two highest vote totals, if no candidate receives 50% of the votes in the wlection.

- which has absolutely nothing to do with PR, and everything to do with trying to figure out a way to make the Lib-Con dominance more 'legitimate' ... you could have some runoff votes in every riding in the country, and the Greens, for instance, would probably still have no seats, as they are always near the bottom and thus would not get into these runoffs - so the million people who voted for them would still have no seats - which is not PR ....

Caissa

I don't understand your point siamdave. I'm explaining to you the voting culture as it is in NB at this time.

PR is based on the idea that the country  or province is the constituency. As much as I support PR, it has no  greater moral legitimacy than the current system. The argument that every vote has the right to be represented is specious at best. Every vote has the right to be cast.

Wilf Day

Krago wrote:
But how would the Toronto Regional Convention elect and rank the candidates?  What method would be used, and how would gender and racial diversity be ensured?  Or would there by necessity have to be some sort of 'official slate' created by some self-selected group of party elders?

I would love Canada to have laws like Germany's, guaranteeing democratic nominations.

But with no laws, it's up to each party how to do it. I can well imagine the NDP having two ballots: one to choose (say) five male nominees, and one to choose five female. I suppose they would be ranked by FPTP, unless they are chosen by ten separate ballots, as New Zealand Labour does. I expect the NDP regional lists would be "zippered" with alternating male and female nominees. And I would expect an official "slate" to try to get a fair ethno-cultural balance. 

Krago wrote:
Do you have a link to the New Zealand process, including how they 'fold' their lists?

Labour has a very fancy balanced Moderating Committee to do the "folding." See s. 271 of the party constitution.

Wilf Day

Caissa wrote:
PR is based on the idea that the country  or province is the constituency. As much as I support PR, it has no  greater moral legitimacy than the current system.

Or, in New Brunswick provincially, four regions as recommended by the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy, pp. 31-49 and 183-186. "four regional districts, with each region electing approximately nine single member constituency MLAs and five MLAs chosen from a region-wide party list."

Fidel wrote:
Apparently an electoral commission recommended MMP for that province in 2005. Because with MMP, there would still be local members elected by winner-take-all I believe.

Correct, as above.

siamdave

Caissa wrote:

I don't understand your point siamdave. I'm explaining to you the voting culture as it is in NB at this time.

- and I was just trying to explain to you that STV has nothing to do with PR, which was what we were talking about - and I'm still waiting for some indication of why you think you are qualified to speak for all NBers?

Quote:

...... As much as I support PR, it has no  greater moral legitimacy than the current system. The argument that every vote has the right to be represented is specious at best. Every vote has the right to be cast.

- sends a chill right down my backbone. But I suppose the FPTPers are giving the emphatic thumbs up ...

JKR

Caissa wrote:

PR is based on the idea that the country  or province is the constituency.

There are forms of PR that balance the interests of local constituencies, regions, provinces, and the country as a whole. Too bad Canadians weren't offered these types of PR during the recent referendums.

 

 

Caissa wrote:

As much as I support PR, it has no  greater moral legitimacy than the current system. The argument that every vote has the right to be represented is specious at best. Every vote has the right to be cast.

Our electoral system, single-member plurality (SMP), is illegitimate for elections that involve more then two popular candidates. All the parties in Canada understand that SMP is illegitimate for multi-candidate elections. That's why none of Canada's political parties use SMP for their own internal elections.

And only two countries in the developed world that have multi-party systems still use SMP - the UK and Canada. Next May, the UK is going to have a referendum to replace SMP. If they replace SMP, Canada will be the only developed country in the world left that still uses SMP to decide multi-party elections. 

Illegitimacy, thy name is SMP. (Even Shakespeare knew SMP was bogus!)

Fidel

I didn't know Shakespeare was a democrat. Interesting.

siamdave

 - so many obvious talking point things, if the NDP ever decided to take the lead here, as it should. Example - poll report today -

Ipsos: Con 34% Lib 31% Ndp 16% Bq 10% Grn 9% ...
Environics: Con 35% Lib 31% Ndp 16% Bq 9% Grn 7% ...

- we all make daily rounds, just have a copy of this to show to people - and then a comment such as - Look at that - the NDP with way more support than the Bloc - why is it, do you suppose, the Bloc, whose stated goal is the breakup of Canada, gets twice as many seats in the House of Commons as the NDP, who speak for far more Canadians? 

- I imagine not a lot of 'average people' are even aware of this, since they get their daily talking points from the MSM, and the MSM never talks about this - I also suspect that quite a few of them, if you just approach this conversationally without 'lecturing' anyone, could be interested in a bit of info about the current voting system and how it results in ridiculously skewed results like this, and a bit of info on some radical thing (according to the MSM) which would see political parties get seats more or less in proportion to the number of votes they get rather than some crazy system that gives the Bloc all these seats way out of proportion to their national vote share ... ok, coffee time over, idea implanted - maybe even a small brochure with some basic info handed out - and let things percolate.

psmith

KenS wrote:

The examples Wilf gave was of parties where the Leader liked the idea of PR, but the Caucus wouldn't go along. Thats not the case in the federal NDP.

 

Prove it.

That's a lot of credit you're giving currently-elected NDP MPs. I haven't heard any of them talk about PR in years. When was the last time Layton talked about proportional representation?

 

KenS wrote:

The best way to propell the NDP into doing something about PR is to ignore them and do it yourselves.

 

In other words, don't mind us as we continue our course of complete inaction on our own policy, and fob off and do it yourselves. If you're successful at laying all the groundwork for us, we'll happily jump on the bandwagon.

Sounds a bit like the Liberal party, minus the possibility of becoming government.

Fidel

What is the Green Party doing to promote electoral reform besides spending a lot of money on FPTP election campaigns and trying to compete against the NDP, May telling people to vote Liberal and stuff? It's like US president dubya once said about ER, you're either with or against us.

Caissa

Saimdave asked Caissa and I'm still waiting for some indication of why you think you are qualified to speak for all NBers?

Caissa doesn't feel qualified to speak for all NBers. Given the paucity of NBers on Babble, Caissa thought he would comment on the NB political culture as he sees it from being on the ground.

Caissa wonders why others seem so touchy about his comments,

Wilf Day wrote: Or, in New Brunswick provincially, four regions as recommended by the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy, pp. 31-49 and 183-186. "four regional districts, with each region electing approximately nine single member constituency MLAs and five MLAs chosen from a region-wide party list."

Caissa notes the report was immediately shelved. The issue just does not have legs in NB at the moment. We'll see if it does after the Sept 27 election.

KenS

KenS wrote:

The examples Wilf gave was of parties where the Leader liked the idea of PR, but the Caucus wouldn't go along. Thats not the case in the federal NDP.

psmith wrote:
Prove it.

That's a lot of credit you're giving currently-elected NDP MPs. I haven't heard any of them talk about PR in years. When was the last time Layton talked about proportional representation?

There's no proving either my notion of what the NDP Caucus wants, or yours.

Nor have you given any better back-up to yours. I've already explained why talk alone means squat on an issue that requires getting people tomove if we are to get anywhere.

 

KenS wrote:

The best way to propell the NDP into doing something about PR is to ignore them and do it yourselves.

psmith wrote:
 In other words, don't mind us as we continue our course of complete inaction on our own policy, and fob off and do it yourselves. If you're successful at laying all the groundwork for us, we'll happily jump on the bandwagon.

Sounds a bit like the Liberal party, minus the possibility of becoming government.

Your "In other words" is not what I said. In fact, its a perversion of what I said. If you want to fight with straw people, dont put my name on them.

I'll repeat my approach. But condensed.

Its all about the practicalities of getting what you want.

What is the utility of your railing about the NDP on the issue? Thats not a rhetorical question- what is it going to lead to?

In my estimation, PR probaly cannot move forward without the NDP. Thats not including, yet, 'sub-questions' of leadership, or how, or anything like that. Just that when and if we get PR really in play, the NDP has to be part of that. But that much isnt so difficult. If nothing else, if PR is in play, the NDP would be there for cynical reasons. So the real questions are about how do we get started getting this into play, getting it beyond the only very latent support that is out there. There are lots of how-to questions that come right away. But before that, its a question of leadership. Where is the leadership?

We agree that its not coming from the NDP. So what is to be done about that?

My answer is that the how-to questions of getting PR really into play are nested into the leadership question. Yes its prefereable if 'people' [the NDP] just resolved to lead. But thay aren't. So now what?

I suggest working on some of the how-to problems. I did not as you suggest, just say "you do it," and then when its done the NDP jumps on the bandwagon and takes credit. Frankly, I think actually making PR and democratic reform important enough to enough people is too big a nut to crack for anything except a fair sized instititution, and I dont know what other than the NDP. But smaller groups can go to work on the problems of how to get it done. Which would break down the resistances that exist in the NDP.

Its work that has to be done anyway. And in small pieces its doable by anybody. Do something different and show on a smaller scale what can be done.

Do you have a better idea? And where does railing at the NDP fit in?

lombar

Hey maybe if you get some momentum, you too can be sat outside during the convention if the party brass doesnt like you. There's no guarantee that the groundwork would get done and not be subsequently rejected.

siamdave

Caissa wrote:

Saimdave asked Caissa and I'm still waiting for some indication of why you think you are qualified to speak for all NBers?

Caissa doesn't feel qualified to speak for all NBers. Given the paucity of NBers on Babble, Caissa thought he would comment on the NB political culture as he sees it from being on the ground.

Caissa wonders why others seem so touchy about his comments,

.......

- not really being 'touchy', just defending my position or something - and when you say things like 'NBers are happy with the voting system' - as you did - when you say things like that without qualifiers, that means 'all' NBers - you did not qualify the statement in any way - and I very much doubt that is true. All I wanted was a bit of clarification, or more clear commenting in the first place - i.e. 'In my opinion, most NBers are happy enough with the voting system'. Not a big issue here, but details and precision can be important, and not letting your 'opponent' 'establish' 'facts' that are NOT facts is important too. As I said, not a big deal here in the context, but not something I could let pass by.

Caissa

I didn't realize we were debating nor that I was your opponent. Simply laying out NB political culture as I perceive it. Sorry if that wasn't self-evident.

KenS

lombar wrote:

Hey maybe if you get some momentum, you too can be sat outside during the convention if the party brass doesnt like you. There's no guarantee that the groundwork would get done and not be subsequently rejected.

I'm talking about going around the party structure. Which is what I do. I'm not wairing on them for anything.

But neither do I treat them as the enemy.

There's no guarantees of anything.

Like I said, what is the end game of railing at the party?

Treat them as hopeless, and rail..... and we do what? or said railing facilitates doing what?

siamdave

C'mon - you say things like this:

"....In all seriousness, PR is a product of a view that political parties are and should be the primary vehicle through which citizens are represented in a legislature. In NB, people are pretty attached to their local member whoserepresentation is governed by geography..."

- the first statement is simply wrong, as others as well as I pointed out - and the second part is obviously either your opinion or something you want people to believe, that is equally obviously not true. These were in no way prefaced with any kind of statement that 'this is NB culture as 'I percieve it' - they were stated as fact.

- just admit you were wrong, for god's sake. Whatever, I'm off this merry go round.

 

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