The NDP not serious about proportional representation - #4

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JKR

psmith wrote:

For acheiveing proportional representation in our lifetimes short of an Act of God, the NDP is the centre of the universe.

Other parties have also played a part in facilitating fair voting. Within the last decade there have been four referendums in Canada and all of them were initiated by parties other then the NDP. And it looks like Quebec will be making a major move on fair voting too.

Within the last last decade or so, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales have all established MMP.

The march for fair voting is moving along.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

However, most of Canada is almost as easy to do a 33:67 model: every group of three ridings becomes two ridings.

 

In order to be acceptably proportional, how large do most regions have to be in a 33:67 model (1 regional seat for every 2 constituency seats)?

Fidel

JKR wrote:

psmith wrote:

For acheiveing proportional representation in our lifetimes short of an Act of God, the NDP is the centre of the universe.

Other parties have also played a part in facilitating fair voting. Within the last decade there have been four referendums in Canada and all of them were initiated by parties other then the NDP.

And the NDP did point out just how undemocratic the dual supermajority barriers to reform were in both Liberal BC and Liberal Ontario referenda. STV was more popular than Campbell's Liberal Government in 2005 and supported by a majority of British Columbians in 77 of 79 ridings. Something happened between 2005 and 2009 referenda. Why did support drop as much as it did?

Added to this was a poorly funded public information campaign for MMP in Ontario and started too late to be considered an attempt to inform the public, and electoral reform here was sabotaged before it even got started.

I think the next campaign for electoral reform should be done right. Anything less seems to work to discredit electoral reform, and the country's political commentators and newspaper people seem to be using the results of BC and Ontario referenda to suggest that electoral reform is not very popular among Canadians, and so therefore, why should there be more? The pro-democracy movement in Canada has suffered three or four serious defeats in referenda for electoral reform. I think another badly run campaign will work to discredit ER-PR even moreso. We need a federally funded nation-wide effort imo. And we need either the Liberal or Conservative party  to support modernizing our obsolete electoral system. It has to come from within, like support for SSM rights or gun registry, or the right to choose. Canadians have to want democracy, and we have to know what it is and what it looks like before we can choose it.

There will come a time when Canadians can be excited about electoral reform. It will be a time when all of the NDP, Green Party, and when either the Liberal or Tory party or both include ER-PR as election platform plank and genuine commitment to advancing the case of democracy across Canada nation-wide.

JKR

Fidel wrote:

There will come a time when Canadians can be excited about electoral reform. It will be a time when all of the NDP, Green Party, and when either the Liberal or Tory party or both include ER-PR as election platform plank and genuine commitment to advancing the case of democracy across Canada nation-wide.

The genie is out of the bottle. The electoral reform movement is here to stay and it'll keep pushing until Canada has fair voting.

Fair Vote Canada | Make Every Vote Count

thorin_bane

Lets all run out and get liberal cards and push for it and the regional level...oh wait they don't hold conventions they just annoint saviors now.

But really its not such a bad idea, see how the so cred took over libs in BC.

psmith

Fidel wrote:

I think the next campaign for electoral reform should be done right. Anything less seems to work to discredit electoral reform, and the country's political commentators and newspaper people seem to be using the results of BC and Ontario referenda to suggest that electoral reform is not very popular among Canadians, and so therefore, why should there be more? The pro-democracy movement in Canada has suffered three or four serious defeats in referenda for electoral reform. I think another badly run campaign will work to discredit ER-PR even moreso.

 

We don't actually need a referendum to implement PR. Unlike Senate reform, we don't need to muck about with the Constitution either, if we're just reforming the House of Commons. If there's ever a government with the will to do what's right, they can simply take a good PR system designed by a Royal Commission or Elections Canada or whomever and turn it into a bill to pass in Parliament.

Or if you do have a referendum, have it in two stages:

First referendum: Do you want to maintain the status quo by keeping the current voting system, or make some changes in Ottawa? Choose one: (Terrible status quo) (Fantastic new system)

Second referendum: Which voting system would you like to see used in federal elections? Choose one: (PR proposal 1) (PR proposal 2) (PR proposal 3)

 

Simple. The missing ingredient is an NDP backbone. Sooner or later, they will be in a position to make demands.

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
In order to be acceptably proportional, how large do most regions have to be in a 33:67 model (1 regional seat for every 2 constituency seats)?

Good question. But keep in mind that a province-wide threshold of 5% and a natural regional threshold are two different things. For example, Scotland's 16-MP regions with "highest average" calculation (less proportional than "highest remainder") had a defacto threshold of about 5.25% in the election for the first Scottish Parliament. The Greens got only 3% in that election. But in their strongest region, Edinburgh and surrounding area, they did well enough to get a seat -- their foot in the door. Next time they elected six.

With "highest remainder" I find that an average region size of 14 MPs would be acceptable: nine local, five regional. Which just happens to be exactly what the New Brunswick Commission recommended. And the most recent study, by the Quebec DGE, suggested an average region size of 15 MNAs (nine local, six regional). Of course, Toronto has 22 MPs, while Northern Ontario has only nine, but elsewhere in Ontario 14 works. It's also consistent with Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and with Alberta being two regions, so that the proportionality is consistent.

Wales has five 12-MP regions, which works for their political culture, although the proportionality is not quite as good as Scotland's.

My other concern is avoiding "bedsheet ballots" with open lists, and making regions small enough for regional MPs to be accountable. Again, an average of 14 seems best to me.

I call these "middle-sized" regions. The Quebec government's first model, five-MNA regions, is a small-region model. A model with regions of 36 or so MPs would be a large-region model, good if you really want a 3% regional threshold, but not good for any other purpose.

Wilf Day

siamdave wrote:
haha!! - a good interview with Layton on the Current today (Tuesday)

My transcription:  

Layton: "I think Canadians want us to work together, to make Parliament work. . . We believe that a new direction is needed and that we should get going on it."

Interviewer Anne Maria Tremonti: ". . .Mr. Harper . . . is using pejorative language talking about a Liberal-NDP Coalition if he doesn't get a majority. What do you think of that?"

Layton: "Mr. Harper may try to campaign for a majority knowing he can never get a majority of votes.  It's not like he's going to get 50% of Canadians voting for him. It's only because we have a ridiculous electoral system that allows Mr. Harper with percentage support in the 30s to end up with so much power. That should be changed with proportional representation and that's a very high priority for us now, and I'm glad other countries are starting to talk about it. Maybe it'll shake things up here. As to a coalition, I never make any apologies for working with other parties. I think Canadians want us to work with other parties."

Fidel

What would some of us say to tying Harper's previous pledge of Senate reform to overall electoral reform? Would this be a Trojan horse way of re-introducing Harper to his original election campaign promise to fix issues of accountability and transparency and the overall democracy gap in Ottawa?

psmith

JKR wrote:

Other parties have also played a part in facilitating fair voting. Within the last decade there have been four referendums in Canada and all of them were initiated by parties other then the NDP. And it looks like Quebec will be making a major move on fair voting too.

 

Don't hold your breath for Quebec, they have been "making a move" towards PR for the better part of 40 years now (eg. Rene Levesque pushed it when he became Premier, but his caucus would have none of it). Every Commission, study, and citizens assembly in Quebec on the matter has recommended one thing: proportional representation. Quebec Liberals are playing with fire by delaying PR - they are the ones that have lost out the most historically because of misrepresentation provincially, but it's the whole country that could get burned when another undeserved PQ majority government with a phoney majority "mandate" (from 38% of Quebeckers) calls another referendum.

In fact, in the last generation the current winner-take-all system has managed to entrench and concentrate parties in unassailable bastions to the detriment of national unity: first past the post rewards regional power blocks. Conservatives in the West and rural areas, Liberals in Atlantic Canada and urban areas, and the Bloc in Quebec. Often pitting one region against another. The trend continues - I don't see Cons gaining any seats in Quebec or cities anytime soon, and Liberals are likely to lose rural seats if an election is held within 6 months. The Bloc is likely to grow. And it's not exactly healthy for an already regionalized country like Canada to become much more so, and pit regions against one another more frequently. It's not inconceivable that the electoral system could eventually cause the breakup of the country.

Of course all this leaves little place for the last truly national parties like the NDP or Greens, which tend to have pan-Canadian policies and who don't have much in the way of geographic power bases. So you are right in pointing out that it is ironic that it has never been the NDP who started electoral reform initiatives, even when they have the power to do so, because it hurts them the most.

If they don't do so soon, the winner-take-all squeeze could force them out completely.

And if that happened, it would be their own damn fault.

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

But keep in mind that a province-wide threshold of 5% and a natural regional threshold are two different things.

What level of proportionality would be good for Canada?

With far-right parties doing well in Europe, some people are less enthusiastic about highly proportional systems. Maybe an electoral system with many smaller regions with less proportionality is the way to go for Canada?

The best way to decide these kinds of issues is probably within citizens assemblies or commissions that are transparent, include all the stakeholders, and have an adequate time to create an electoral system that balances opposing considerations.

JKR

Fidel wrote:

What would some of us say to tying Harper's previous pledge of Senate reform to overall electoral reform? Would this be a Trojan horse way of re-introducing Harper to his original election campaign promise to fix issues of accountability and transparency and the overall democracy gap in Ottawa?

Good point.  If we want to reduce the democratic deficit, the electoral system will have to change but other changes are also required.

Such as:

- Fixed-term parliaments that don't allow the Prime Minister to dissolve the House of Commons without its consent.
- Require the House of Commons to consent its own prorogation.
- Allow for more private member initiatives.
- Lower voting age to 16.
- Strengthen the freedom of information act.
- Truth in political advertising
- Reduce partisan political advertising between elections.
- Lower political contribution limits.

The best solution for the Senate is to just abolish it. Barring that, a Senate elected by PR might be acceptable as long as it is tied to other democratic improvements such as electoral reform of the House of Commons.

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
With far-right parties doing well in Europe, some people are less enthusiastic about highly proportional systems.

The debate in Europe has been between national legal thresholds of 4% or 5%. But anti-immigrant parties may well get 5%, while it's a smaller centrist or centre-left party that's more likely to need a 4% threshold to survive. So I still like 4%. But to start a PR system in Canada, I think 5% would be safer and more saleable. It would apply province-by-province, so that a party getting 5% of the vote in Quebec would qualify for a seat there.

JKR wrote:
Maybe an electoral system with many smaller regions with less proportionality is the way to go for Canada?

Perhaps so, yes. But not so small as 5 MPs per region.

JKR wrote:
The best way to decide these kinds of issues is probably within citizens assemblies or commissions that are transparent, include all the stakeholders, and have an adequate time to create an electoral system that balances opposing considerations.

I used to think citizens' assemblies were the ideal body to decide on thresholds, since they have no conflict of interest. But both CA's that have debated the topic have decided on 3%. Which critics then tore apart, and voters had less sympathy with, not having had the benefit of months of deliberation. CAs always want to decide the "best" system, not the most saleable, but so long as we have a referendum in the process, the model must above all be saleable. 

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

CAs always want to decide the "best" system, not the most saleable, but so long as we have a referendum in the process, the model must above all be saleable.

What's a good way to ascertain what is saleable to a majority of the population?

Opinion polls on electoral reform don't tell the whole story because people who tell pollsters that every vote should count can change their minds after they are told that PR will allow smaller parties that represent minorities to have much more power then they do now.

It may be that proportional systems aren't saleable to the majority in Canada. The more proportional a system is the more it benefits minorities and the more a system benefits minorities, the less attractive these systems tend to become to the majority. And without majority support, an electoral system can't pass a referendum requiring a majority, let alone a 60% super-majority. Apart from New Zealand, I can't think of a PR system established by a referendum. And in that case it received 54%, a far cry from the 60% required so far in our referendums here.

Of course many important things that should be done can't win referendums. The African-American civil rights movement depended on the courts to enforce their rights. Civil rights in the US would likely have never been established if a referendum was required. Aboriginal rights here in Canada have also depended on the courts. No one would suggest holding a referendum on Aboriginal rights. (Except that's exactly what the BCLiberals held back in 2002) In the US, people have voted against gay marriage in all the referendums held so far. Referendums seem to pass when they side with the majority, even at the expense of basic human rights.

So the trick to winning a referendum on electoral reform is to side with the majority. But since most Canadians favour  the Conservative, Liberal, and BQ, parties who benefit from FPTP, it's difficult to see how PR can get 60% approval.  If the majority of people in Canada favoured smaller parties, PR would likely be able to get 60% approval. But that isn't the case.  A semi-proportional system might be the only kind of system that can get a 60% vote in Canada. MMP with 20% top ups or a parallel system might be the bast possible system that can attain 60% support. Maybe this is why the Jenkins Commission in the UK recommended the semi-proportional AV+?

In any case, I don't think electoral reform should be decided by referendum. Fair electoral systems are an integral part of peoples basic rights and should not be decided by referendum. Once fair voting is seen as a basic right, it automatically becomes an issue that shouldn't depend on a referendum to be enacted.

siamdave

JKR wrote:

What's a good way to ascertain what is saleable to a majority of the population?

Opinion polls on electoral reform don't tell the whole story because people who tell pollsters that every vote should count can change their minds after they are told that PR will allow smaller parties that represent minorities to have much more power then they do now.

- well, if the 'pro-PR' people are on the ball, they'll be right there explaining that this is simply fear-mongering, and not really true. True fringe parties don't have any power now, and they're not going to have any power with even 5-10 seats, as no sane party will be seen giving into extreme demands which will do them far greater damage in the long run than any small short-term advantage they might gain. On the other hand, it is very true that current somewhat extreme parties are given far more seats than any proportional system would give them - the Block, for instance, would have only half the seats they currently have under FPTP, and the extreme socially conservative Reformists from Alberta and BC would also see their numbers considerably reduced under a PR system. Such truths ought to carry somewhat more weight with any voter actually thinking about PR than extemist fictions from the Fraser people et al. If the PR people are doing a decent job of explaining PR, at any rate.

Quote:

.....

Of course many important things that should be done can't win referendums. The African-American civil rights movement depended on the courts to enforce their rights. Civil rights in the US would likely have never been established if a referendum was required. Aboriginal rights here in Canada have also depended on the courts. No one would suggest holding a referendum on Aboriginal rights. (Except that's exactly what the BCLiberals held back in 2002) In the US, people have voted against gay marriage in all the referendums held so far. Referendums seem to pass when they side with the majority, even at the expense of basic human rights.

So the trick to winning a referendum on electoral reform is to side with the majority. But since most Canadians favour  the Conservative, Liberal, and BQ, parties who benefit from FPTP, it's difficult to see how PR can get 60% approval.  If the majority of people in Canada favoured smaller parties, PR would likely be able to get 60% approval. But that isn't the case.  A semi-proportional system might be the only kind of system that can get a 60% vote in Canada. MMP with 20% top ups or a parallel system might be the bast possible system that can attain 60% support. Maybe this is why the Jenkins Commission in the UK recommended the semi-proportional AV+?

In any case, I don't think electoral reform should be decided by referendum. Fair electoral systems are an integral part of peoples basic rights and should not be decided by referendum. Once fair voting is seen as a basic right, it automatically becomes an issue that shouldn't depend on a referendum to be enacted.

- this gets into some pretty interesting things, much deeper than PR. You seem to be suggesting that if the people are too stupid to do or believe some thing that ?? who??? believes to be right, then it's ok to just kind of forget about 'democracy' and force things on them .... hmmmmm - a lot of pretty bad people would agree with that outlook .... one person's 'rights' might well be another's blasphemy - better all around to have a full and informed debate, and then just accept the decision of the majority ...

KenS

Reading in I think- though it may be understandable.

What he is saying is that referendums are not our friend. Because its a complex issue, they are easy for opponents to play. It could possibly be done- and may in the end have to be done that way.

But the discussion here has little to do with how things are to be done. So 'referendum sounds democratic' will pass muster.

Becaue of its problems referendum is a last resort. First resort is to hope some [provincial] government brings it in. But I'm not the only one that recognises thats a hope you cant wait on.

Next best- atainable- is that some combination of opposition party with some clout and organized non-partisans pushes for whatever is going to work best. My hunch tells me its best not to get into details of exactly which model until you have to, and for that matter that the dialogue launched/pushed is not first and foremost about PR at all.

Fidel

JKR wrote:
Apart from New Zealand, I can't think of a PR system established by a referendum. And in that case it received 54%, a far cry from the 60% required so far in our referendums here.

There were two questions asked of voters in NZ. I think there were two referendums, but I could be mistaken. In the first one, New Zealanders voted overwhelmingly in favor of scrapping FPTP for something more democratic. The second referendum saw support rise considerably for maintaining the obsolete FPP system but still not enough to stop reform favored by the true majority.

If it's done the McGuinty-Campbell way of imposing the very undemocratic dual supermajority barriers to reform, then it will be a huge hurdle to clear for sure.  If we add to that a poorly funded public information campaign a la Dalton Pinocchio McGuinty, then electoral reform would surely be "rejected" by Canadians. We have to have support for electoral reform from the major parties as in more than just the NDP and Greens. SSM rights, women's rights, gun registries etc all had to have some majority support from the major parties in order for those rights to become law of the land in Canada.

Electoral reform toward a modern PR system where one Canadian equals one vote is comparable to other basic human rights struggles in Canada. The Party is either for or against these basic rights, and right now there are two very similar major parties which don't support truly equal voting rights for all Canadians. That has to change if we are to win the battle for democracy in Canada. And I think we may be encouraged some time in the near future when either the Liberal Party or the Tories chooses to support electoral reform in Canada. Personally I think we stand a better chance that the LPC will change its tune and make ER-PR an election campaign plank in their overall platform. I think the LPC will realize sooner than later that they need to unite with the left in Canada to defeat the Tories.

The best way for the leftwing majority in Canada to achieve this is to form a united front on the left by way of a fair and equitable electoral system. The clock is ticking on the Liberal Party of Canada. They must seize power from the rightwing Liberals operating within that party, and then re-join the rest of the true majority of Canadians on the political centre-left.

JKR

siamdave wrote:

...better all around to have a full and informed debate, and then just accept the decision of the majority ...

Oppressed minorities should never give up fighting for their rights.

As long as people feel their vote isn't treated properly, there will be an electoral reform movement.

Luckily we live in a constitutional democracy where the majority is not supposed to ride roughshod over minorities.

psmith

Fidel wrote:

And I think we may be encouraged some time in the near future when either the Liberal Party or the Tories chooses to support electoral reform in Canada.

 

What evidence is there at all of either party getting real on proportional representation? I have not seen one shred.

Fidel

And so if neither party does support ER-PR in future, will you blame the NDP for the democracy gap-canyon in our Northern Puerto Rico?

lombar

So basically, to have a better chance at getting pr-er, one would do better to join one of the 2 major parties and try and push them in that direction from within? Is that what you are saying? Or blindly support the NDP untill they get some power and hope they actually do something? After getting power in the fptp system theyre going to push for ER and undermine themselves? Sure...

None of the parties will ever push for electoral reform imo, if people want it, I suspect we will have to camp on the legislature lawn en masse and demand it. Sharpen your pitchforks and light those torches and meet me at the castle gate?

I blame them all. Parliament is so full of (*&^ that it seriously needs an enema. However it won't change without the people demanding it.

 

KenS

So much fodder for us folks who think in pictures...

at gates

enemas

pitchforks

torches

Fidel

It goes without saying.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

 

Chantal Hébert seems to agree with the OP about the NDP and Greens:

wrote:
Ms. Hébert also admitted to becoming a support of proportional representation at the federal level after a recent trip to Europe, not for many of the panaceas its supporters now confer it with, but because it "would have some Liberals from Alberta in Michael Ignatieff's caucus and some New Democrats from Montreal in Jack Layton's caucus" and that would help prevent the dangers of regionalism. She said she doesn't think there is any momentum towards it, however, and said that the NDP appear not to be pushing it very hard, perhaps since the growth of the Green Party on the federal scene.

Voters angry, engaged, and ahead of conventional parties: Hébert

 

 

 

 

KenS

Big deal.

So you re-open an old thread, just to give Heberts opinion, so you can flog that line again?

I thought it was a great talk by Hebert, in which she brought up some lines that arent thought about- this not being one of them, even if you think its true.

This point has been slogged back and forth plenty here. It boils down to what people want to read behind the lines. Adding what is obviously also just Hebert's opinion about NDP's 'motive' adds nothing we havent heard a zillion times here.

siamdave

KenS wrote:

Big deal.

So you re-open an old thread, just to give Heberts opinion, so you can flog that line again?

I thought it was a great talk by Hebert, in which she brought up some lines that arent thought about- this not being one of them, even if you think its true.

This point has been slogged back and forth plenty here. It boils down to what people want to read behind the lines. Adding what is obviously also just Hebert's opinion about NDP's 'motive' adds nothing we havent heard a zillion times here.

- I suppose the question would be, at least to some of us, why some other of us are so anxious to just forget about PR altogether - no need to look there folks, we've talked about it a zillion times, not doing anything about it, get on to other stuff folks ... given that this is one of the central changes needed in the current democratic system, for many reasons. Some of us are not forgetting about it. The fact that some of you do NOT want to talk about it says, one might suggest, considerably more about you than it does about those of us who DO want to talk about it.

KenS

Who said anything about forgetting about PR altogther?

What have you done lately to get PR on the map? Nothing. That means you dont give a shit about it.

I have never objected to the fact based statement that the NDP has not done enough about getting PR really on the map. In fact, I've accepted that it hasnt and engaged in discussion of what to do about that.

Tell me again what is the point of arguing that the NDP is lukewarm about PR [itself arguable] because of the supposedly greater threat the Green party would pose to the NDP under PR?

Let alone, what Heberts off the top of her head opinion adds to what has been much kicked around here already?

Let alone that a number of us Dippers have pointed out that if you are talking selfish partisan motives, that the Greens would be less of a threat to the NDP under PR.

siamdave

KenS wrote:

Who said anything about forgetting about PR altogther?

What have you done lately to get PR on the map? Nothing. That means you dont give a shit about it.

I have never objected to the fact based statement that the NDP has not done enough about getting PR really on the map. In fact, I've accepted that it hasnt and engaged in discussion of what to do about that.

Tell me again what is the point of arguing that the NDP is lukewarm about PR [itself arguable] because of the supposedly greater threat the Green party would pose to the NDP under PR?

Let alone, what Heberts off the top of her head opinion adds to what has been much kicked around here already?

Let alone that a number of us Dippers have pointed out that if you are talking selfish partisan motives, that the Greens would be less of a threat to the NDP under PR.

- what exactly, then, was the point of your jumping the poster's comment and belittling his small attempt to - well, I won't pretend to know what he was intending (sorry if that's a she ...) - but your completely 'drive by smear' within minutes of the post - why???

KenS

'Drive by' my ass.

For the whole time we had this discussion I accepted that the NDP wasnt doing much- left aside the discussion of why that is- and discussed what to do about it. [Which 'earned' me this from you you: "I suppose the question would be, at least to some of us, why some other of us are so anxious to just forget about PR altogether."

At the same time I objected to, and pressed as to what purpose it was suppossed to serve, to simply question the motives of the NDP. Which as far as the substance goes, is nothing more than ad hominem drive by, that you can neither support nor repute with discussion of actual facts. Let alone the main question in my mind: even if you could "prove" that the federal NDP is not really interested in PR because its really better off with FPTP, what does that achieve? How does it move anything forward?

Let alone that it appears to make no difference at all having said multiple times that in terms of narrow partisan interest the NDP has less to concern themselves with about the effects of the Green party under PR as opposed to FPTP.

Polunatic2

The last time I saw Jack Layton he mentioned the need for PR in a brief speech about the municipal election. Not sure if that was because he was in friendly territory but I was glad to hear that he had prioritized that comment. That said, I don't think Hebert is coming out of nowhere with that comment. 

Her comments about the need to decrease regional concentrations is a good one. Fair Vote Canada released a paper (targeting the Libs) during the summer which deals with that in more detail: 

Why the Liberal Party of Canada should lead on electoral reform: Building on the work of the Law Commission of Canada

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

Polunatic2 wrote:

Fair Vote Canada released a paper (targeting the Libs) during the summer which deals with that in more detail: 

Why the Liberal Party of Canada should lead on electoral reform: Building on the work of the Law Commission of Canada

That's an excellent paper - hope lots of Liberals read it.

Fidel

Well if voters are angry, then they should get behind the NDP and vote for change. Because neither party in coalition government are proposing much of anything at all.

ottawaobserver

Layton is very practical.  He will move to try and advance an issue when he has a sense that there is progress that can be made.

Along with Ed Broadbent, they tried with the Liberals in 2004, and got strung along, but then it became clear the Libs (minister Mauril Belanger in particular) were trying to kill the process.  So it died.

It's not going anywhere until the Liberals change their minds.  That's why that Fair Vote paper is so important.  And why Chantal Hébert's support is so essential.

siamdave

ottawaobserver wrote:

Layton is very practical.  He will move to try and advance an issue when he has a sense that there is progress that can be made.

Along with Ed Broadbent, they tried with the Liberals in 2004, and got strung along, but then it became clear the Libs (minister Mauril Belanger in particular) were trying to kill the process.  So it died.

It's not going anywhere until the Liberals change their minds.  That's why that Fair Vote paper is so important.  And why Chantal Hébert's support is so essential.

- blaming the other guy and saying we have to wait for someone else to take the lead are just excuses for doing nothing. This does not impress people or attract support. A leader with b***s would have told Martin - "Fine - you renege on your support for PR, our support is gone. " but that, of course, would be 'principled', and there doesn't seem to be much of that floating around the Canadian political scene these days. 40% of Cdns, and growing, are not impressed with principle-free politics. Imagine what a party that had some real principles that supported the people of Canada could do.

siamdave

KenS wrote:

'Drive by' my ass.

For the whole time we had this discussion I accepted that the NDP wasnt doing much- left aside the discussion of why that is- and discussed what to do about it. [Which 'earned' me this from you you: "I suppose the question would be, at least to some of us, why some other of us are so anxious to just forget about PR altogether."

At the same time I objected to, and pressed as to what purpose it was suppossed to serve, to simply question the motives of the NDP. Which as far as the substance goes, is nothing more than ad hominem drive by, that you can neither support nor repute with discussion of actual facts. Let alone the main question in my mind: even if you could "prove" that the federal NDP is not really interested in PR because its really better off with FPTP, what does that achieve? How does it move anything forward?

Let alone that it appears to make no difference at all having said multiple times that in terms of narrow partisan interest the NDP has less to concern themselves with about the effects of the Green party under PR as opposed to FPTP.

- read your post 75 again - there is nothing that could be even remotely construed as support for PR there - which is what my comment referred to, not earlier threads. And you do not answer my question - if you actually do support PR - what was the motive for immediately belittling someone who opened an old thread talking about it, suggesting it had been talked to death and we can forget it? Hardly the words or attitude of someone who supports PR.

siamdave

Fidel wrote:

siamdave wrote:
Imagine what a party that had some real principles that supported the people of Canada could do.

So when will you be forming this new party? Perhaps you will campaign on a promise to declare war on Bay Street with 100% GCM?  Ya, good luck with running on your principles. Why not just consider voting for the best party under these FPTP circumstances, or in other words, dealing with electoral reality in this long-time Northern Puerto Rico? The two old line parties have basically poisoned the well of democracy in this country. Canadians don't trust either of the two oldest political parties in power and sharing power since 1867 enough to hand them a phony majority today. And here you are suggesting that the NDP sabotage the party's electoral chances by becoming a one trick pony party. N-no, we're playing their game and putting some worry into the fat-cats on Bay Street now as it is. The NDP is the real and effective opposition. Don't vote for them if you don't want to. I will, though, because I can't stand someone else speaking for me on the one day every four years that counts for anything. Give your vote FOC to the very people creating the money and credit in this country. See if we care.

- why don't you guys try giving me a party I can feel good about supporting?

Fidel

siamdave wrote:
Imagine what a party that had some real principles that supported the people of Canada could do.

So when will you be forming this new party? Perhaps you will campaign on a promise to declare war on Bay Street with 100% GCM?  Ya, good luck with running on your principles. Why not just consider voting for the best party under these FPTP circumstances, or in other words, dealing with electoral reality in this long-time Northern Puerto Rico? The two old line parties have basically poisoned the well of democracy in this country. Canadians don't trust either of the two oldest political parties in power and sharing power since 1867 enough to hand them a phony majority today. And here you are suggesting that the NDP sabotage the party's electoral chances by becoming a one trick pony party. N-no, we're playing their game and putting some worry into the fat-cats on Bay Street now as it is. The NDP is the real and effective opposition. Don't vote for them if you don't want to. I will, though, because I can't stand someone else speaking for me on the one day every four years that counts for anything. Give your vote FOC to the very people creating the money and credit in this country and with criminal interest owing to them as a result. See if we care.

siamdave

Fidel wrote:

siamdave wrote:
Imagine what a party that had some real principles that supported the people of Canada could do.

So when will you be forming this new party? Perhaps you will campaign on a promise to declare war on Bay Street with 100% GCM?  Ya, good luck with running on your principles. Why not just consider voting for the best party under these FPTP circumstances, or in other words, dealing with electoral reality in this long-time Northern Puerto Rico? The two old line parties have basically poisoned the well of democracy in this country. Canadians don't trust either of the two oldest political parties in power and sharing power since 1867 enough to hand them a phony majority today. And here you are suggesting that the NDP sabotage the party's electoral chances by becoming a one trick pony party. N-no, we're playing their game and putting some worry into the fat-cats on Bay Street now as it is. The NDP is the real and effective opposition. Don't vote for them if you don't want to. I will, though, because I can't stand someone else speaking for me on the one day every four years that counts for anything. Give your vote FOC to the very people creating the money and credit in this country. See if we care.

- why don't you guys try giving me a party I can feel good about supporting, rather than simply "Well, I guess they're better than the other guys..'? As I noted earlier, voting for the lesser of evils doesn't appeal to me that much these days - we've been doing that for a long time, and nothing is changing.

Fidel

siamdave wrote:
- why don't you guys try giving me a party I can feel good about supporting?

You can't get the country to where you think we should be from this square on the monopoly board. You're dreaming. And PR will require a democratic consensus across the country. The NDP will not be forcing PR on anyone in this country like Mulroney ramming a bill through Parliament in 1991 which made sweeping changes to the Bank of Canada Act and without any debate on the matter. That's not how democracy is supposed to work. The NDP will not be doing things Brian Baloney style anytime soon.

In the mean time, why not vote for a party that advocates for fuller employment policies that will help drive the country out of this situation of massive indebtedness to a private money creation machine and money speculators? They're dropping the country down a debt hole, and you're holding your breath until someone promises GCM Beijing style? Come on, work with us here. Get in the game, Dave.

scott scott's picture

ottawaobserver wrote:
Along with Ed Broadbent, they tried with the Liberals in 2004, and got strung along, but then it became clear the Libs (minister Mauril Belanger in particular) were trying to kill the process.  So it died.

It's not going anywhere until the Liberals change their minds.

This sounds a bit defeatist. "We made a deal to move forward on PR, but the Lbs reneged on it. Oh well... That is just the way it goes..." You have to be prepared to walk if a deal is broken. To demonstrate that you will stand by your agreement, and your principles. The NDP are to be commended for putting PR on the table in '04, The Libs were not in favour of it, but push came to shove, (which inevitably it would) The NDP folded.

This sets a bad precedent for the future. If a similar situation arises, the Libs will try to weasel out of it again, and will expect the NDP to fold as they did earlier. We should prepere for that and resist vigorously.

__________________________________

One struggle, many fronts.

thorin_bane

I have seen Layton mention PR a number of times. One simple reason they dont talk about it- the media would say they are power hungry, and they only want to guarantee themselves more seats so they can gain the levers of power-something no canadian wants, they would add.

So this is why the approach is so cautious. Same as announcing we are forming a coalition after the next election. Even if its true you dont say it is or at least leave it as only an option not a sure thing. Optics.

Wilf Day

scott wrote:
You have to be prepared to walk if a deal is broken. To demonstrate that you will stand by your agreement, and your principles. The NDP are to be commended for putting PR on the table in '04, The Libs were not in favour of it, but push came to shove, (which inevitably it would) The NDP folded.

Not so. It was in the fall of 2005 that the Liberals started dragging their feet completely on electoral reform. The NDP cited that as one of the reasons for voting Paul Martin out of power Nov. 28, 2005.

In the House Nov. 24 Jack Layton said:

Quote:
This spring when Liberal corruption and arrogance created a crisis in this Parliament, it was New Democrats who got results by stopping the corporate tax cuts that the Liberals never told anyone about during the election, and invested the money in people in the first NDP budget ever adopted by the House of Commons.

By virtue of the fact of a minority government, Canada was kept out of George Bush's dangerous missile defence plan. Also, the NDP presented ways to get more results for people: a green car strategy for jobs and a cleaner environment; democratic reform through proportional representation; pension protection for workers; a Kyoto plan that works; protecting public health care from creeping Americanization.

The Liberal Party ignores parliamentary votes time and time again and has broken its word on democratic reform.

siamdave

Polunatic2 wrote:

.....t. 

Her comments about the need to decrease regional concentrations is a good one. Fair Vote Canada released a paper (targeting the Libs) during the summer which deals with that in more detail: 

Why the Liberal Party of Canada should lead on electoral reform: Building on the work of the Law Commission of Canada

- interesting as always to note how our media do their best to herd everyone in a certain way, with much success - when the Fraser Inst or Conference Board of Canada issue one of their regular reports telling us how we "..need to be more competetive" (translation - reduce wages and worker security), or lower corporate taxes, etc etc, it's all over the media - but when someone issues a report that might suggest things that would be "good" for those poor workers and other citizens, not a word.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

thorin_bane wrote:

I have seen Layton mention PR a number of times. One simple reason they dont talk about it- the media would say they are power hungry, and they only want to guarantee themselves more seats so they can gain the levers of power-something no canadian wants, they would add.

So this is why the approach is so cautious. Same as announcing we are forming a coalition after the next election. Even if its true you dont say it is or at least leave it as only an option not a sure thing. Optics.

 

I'm not convinced by that. It seems to me that PR would be good for Canada, that most Canadians either support the idea now or could be persuaded to fairly easily. The Council of Canadians poll showed majority support for moving towards PR. I don't know why "optics" would keep the NDP silent. Why wouldn't the NDP want to lead on this issue and make a lot of noise and put the Liberals' feet to the fire? Waiting around for the Liberals to take this on (if they ever will) so that the Liberals can get the credit for bringing democracy to Canada. Brilliant strategy and optics that. That's an example of why the NDP is still so low in the polls. They aren't doing enough.

KenS

There isnt any optics problem.

There is a traction problem. Which people here persistently think is not a problem. Instead being a cover or smoke screen put out by Dippers here to cover for a 'motive problem': that the federal NDP doesnt really want PR, or is too conflicted to 'really' want it.

hsfreethinkers hsfreethinkers's picture

KenS wrote:

There isnt any optics problem.

There is a traction problem. Which people here persistently think is not a problem. Instead being a cover or smoke screen put out by Dippers here to cover for a 'motive problem': that the federal NDP doesnt really want PR, or is too conflicted to 'really' want it.

 

I haven't read the current active thread "Why isn't the NDP doing better?" - but I submit it's because they don't seem to have the ability to create their own traction. Nobody is going to do it for them.

KenS

Dont seem to be able to create their own traction- at least not for breaking through the glass ceiling of both support, and of breaking through to the wider public 'big ideas' that need to be considered and chewed on.

Just like the Left in general- which taking out the NDP has an even lower glass ceiling on both counts.

No one asked others to "do it for us." And if I wanted a free ride, I wouldnt be looking for it from people who act as if criticism isnt just the first step on the way to figuring out what to do, it makes you the expert.

But if somebody does happen to discover the way to create real traction, we'll all be there to shamelessly copy.

JKR

The NDP supports PR. It's in their platform.

Electoral reform has had a lot of traction as electotal reformers have forced the political establishment to respond, most notably in Ontario, Quebec, BC, and PEI. The cries for electoral reform in Toronto recently attest to the issues growing traction.

The difficulty with PR is that unlike any other issue, people who are against it demand that it pass a referendum in order to be established. They even say it requires a super-majority of 60%!

Big business is against PR because FPTP allows them greater control of the political system. It gives them total power with just 35% of support for the Conservatives. It also creates a two-party system where if their favoured party loses, the Liberal corprate-lite party takes over in dweedledee-dweedledum like fashion. Corporate elites appreciate how FPTP marginalises parties that don't have economic clout. They also love how FPTP generally limits politics to two main parties that can be easily manipulated by the business class. It even gives them a lot of power within the NDP in places like BC, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Just witness how BC NDP leader Carol James has to obtain the approval of BC's business class.

So it should come as no surprise that corporate elites and their representatives set up referendums with super-majorities to block PR and hope that the corporate biased media will help prevent it from passing this artificially imposed hurdle.

If we need referendums to approve major changes, why didn't we have a referendum on free trade? Most people opposed it at the time. Free trade is much more difficult to revoke then electoral reform. At any time a government can establish, change or revoke electoral system changes. So their is no need for referendums concerning electoral reform.

If referendums are to be used they should only be used to approve changes that can not easily be revoked like:

- Establishing a constitution.
- Free trade
- International agreement like joining the UN, NATO, WTO, IMF, etc....
- Separating from a country
- Joining a country

We didn't have referendums for patriating the Constitution, Free Trade, joining the UN, NATO, WTO, IMF etc....

The Quebec referendum required only 50%+1 approval. So why does electoral reform require 60%?

The referendum that saw Newfoundland join canada passed with only 52% support. Why did the BC electoral reform referendum fail with 58% support?

Electoral reform can be easily legislated and revoked by subsequent governments. This can be seen in places like France, Italy, Russia, Hungary etc.... Electoral reform does not require referendums to pass.

Indeed it shouldn't require referendums because electoral rights are a basic right that should NOT have to be decided by referendum. Allowing the million people who voted for the Green Party representation in Parliament is a basic minority right. So is allowing the NDP representation in the New Brunswick legislature where they received over 10% of the vote. Minority rights should never be decided by referendum. Peoples votes should be respected whether the majority likes it or not.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

As a famous Canadian once said the medium is the message.  The medium that has always won elections on the left is the feet on the ground and butts in the phone bank of people who care about the platform they are holding in their hands and believe that the candidate has the integrity to work hard to achieve its goals. It is not us political junkies that don't vote and in my riding I proudly vote for the NDP.  Seems to me if the NDP is not bringing in new youthful energy then it needs to figure out what is wrong.  Attacking the messengers who say that the NDP needs to grow and the pool of votes we need to unlock is in the people who don't vote seems counter productive.  So far I see no evidence that the approach of trying to get current voters to switch to the NDP is going to succeed.  Excitement comes from action not caution. Caution might make some small gains but IMO it has no potential for significant electoral gains for the NDP. 

ottawaobserver

Thanks to Wilf above for defending me against the unfounded criticisms by siamdave and scott that the NDP ought to have withdrawm their support for the Liberals when they didn't support progress on electoral reform ...

... WHEN THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE NDP DID.

You do recall we brought down the Martin minority government, right?  Wilf has quoted from Layton's speech explaining that vote.  PR was clearly mentioned in it.

Good grief.

If you think bellowing to a brick wall will produce change, and that's the best use of a precious 3.5 questions in Question Period every day, be my guest.  But, I guarantee you that the next minute you'll be howling about what issues they're not raising instead.  The caucus raises a ton of issues outside QP, of course, but since no-one here seems to read Hansard, or the party's news releases, or the caucus members' websites, or Committee transcripts, they would never know that.

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