The NDP not serious about proportional representation - #5

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Wilf Day

Great newsletter from Bruce Hyer, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North:

Quote:
A MORE DEMOCRATIC VOTING SYSTEM. Most democracies in the world have some sort of proportional representation. Of Western democracies, only Canada and the USA are left clinging to the antiquated "winner-take-all" system with false majorities, where a party can win near-absolute power with only 37% of the vote. Even the UK is changing. Proportional representation would mean that if 20% of voters voted for a party... that party would get 20% of the seats. No more, no less. In Scandinavian Parliaments, I have seen first-hand how this leads to rational discussion and debate, mutual respect, workable compromises ...and much better governance.

Politicians' mailboxes are filled with pleas to get along better and get things done for struggling regions, industries, citizens, and families. I agree. Most Parliamentarians went to Ottawa to improve the lot of our constituents... but we seem to have built a system that often brings out the worst in our elected representatives. How can we turn that around to encourage cooperation - and effectiveness in governance? 

Canadians are looking for statesmanship, for leadership, and effective government that represents not just regions or factions, but all Canadians. They want better. They deserve better. Let's act to improve our system... and our behaviour.

 

 

psmith

Why do New Democrats have to leave the party to get serious about electoral reform?

BC MLA Bob Simpson: First priority must be electoral reform

Or do they only feel free to go out on a limb on electoral reform when they're no longer afraid of the NDP leadership anymore? (the same leadership that has given electoral reform the cold shoulder for years now)

Brian White

In the BC ndp constitution, MLA's are not allowed to publicly state  viewpoints that are counter to the leaders view.

(And the leader is just a blank slate/spokesperson and  gets HER view from the provincial executive!)

The media were incredulous that the rebel 13 refused to speak about what their issues were in the recent disposal of Carole James.  But the reason was simple. If they spoke, they would automatically break and incur the wrath of the constitution. (Kwan is an exception because she is an ndp  icon)

Remember that in BC the NDP voted in favour of the 60% supermajority. (which made every vote against pro rep worth 1.5 votes for pro rep).

So regardless of what they say, the party brass is very firm in supporting first past the post. The incumbent party brass must be replaced so that the party can move forward.

psmith wrote:

Why do New Democrats have to leave the party to get serious about electoral reform?

BC MLA Bob Simpson: First priority must be electoral reform

Or do they only feel free to go out on a limb on electoral reform when they're no longer afraid of the NDP leadership anymore? (the same leadership that has given electoral reform the cold shoulder for years now)

Fidel

And remember that in Ontario and BC both they were Liberal governments enjoying huge phony majorities that insisted on placing 60% supermajority barriers before electoral reform. And it was their voters who supported MMP and STV the least in both cases. The Liberals were only on the STV bandwagon after Glen Clark's government won six more seats than the Liberals with fewer votes. When they realized that FPTP was working in their favor in the 2000s, the shine was off STV for the Liberals and support for ER plummeted in the Liberal Party.

scott scott's picture

Fidel wrote:
When they realized that FPTP was working in their favor in the 2000s, the shine was off STV for the Liberals and support for ER plummeted in the Liberal Party.

Which underlines once again that we cannot rely on politcal parties to bring us PR. A party in power will back the system that put it there. I think we have to look to the courts for a remedy.

__________________________________

One struggle, many fronts.

Fidel

The courts are very friendly to the establishment in Canada. My guess is that they will pass it back to the government saying it's a political issue to be resolved by our very broken-down and dysfunctional democratic institutions. I think it's happened already if I'm not mistaken.

And the Bay Street power party made to appear as two separate and distinct political entities have the courts, the very undemocratic triple-U senate, and increasingly low voter turnouts for insurance that they will never have to respond to calls for modernizing our dated electoral system in Canada. And the feds, whichever Liberal or Tory party happen to have a stranglehold on power,  very rarely if ever act on their own without Bay Street or Uncle Sam's say so.

Wilf Day

Fidel wrote:
And remember that in Ontario and BC both they were Liberal governments enjoying huge phony majorities that insisted on placing 60% supermajority barriers before electoral reform. And it was their voters who supported MMP and STV the least in both cases.

In Ontario MMP had significant Liberal support.

John Gerretsen had been talking of the need for the MMP system since he was elected in 1995.

Several other Liberal MPPs joined the Vote for MMP team, notably George Smitherman. The Minister responsible, Marie Bountrogianni, seemed to be supporting MMP and confirmed after the vote that she had voted for MMP.

The 2005 Select Committee report, written by the Liberal majority including Kathleen Wynne, recommended "The referendum should be binding upon a vote of 50% + 1, and the support of 50% + 1 in at least two-thirds (i.e., 71) of the ridings, or any other formula that ensures the result has support from Northern, rural, and urban areas of the Province."

The cabinet spent months debating the threshold.

Yet all of them ended up endorsing the 60% threshold, mostly because it had been used in BC. Bountrogianni said that she went to visit BC after being appointed Minister, and was doubtful about the 60% threshold but the people she met in BC convinced her. 

Brian White

Of course giving 40 votes the same weight as 60 opposing votes is an affront to democracy, math and common sense.

Why not give the people who prefer fptp 1.5 votes each and be done with it?

It is EXACTLY the same thing. 

If you got through high school, you should be able to do the math.

I guess math is optional for politicans?  Why do we the voters accept such a massive lie?

I don't know which pisses me off more.  That they tried it or that voters accepted such bullshit in a country where we have a half decent education system.

I have no doubt that some people will argue the point. 

And I will insult my intelligence by trying to reason with them.

Bountrogianni clearly is a politician first, and a denier of democratic principles foremost.  If you believe in democracy, giving someone 1.5 votes should be alien to you.

 

Policywonk

Brian White wrote:

In the BC ndp constitution, MLA's are not allowed to publicly state  viewpoints that are counter to the leaders view.

(And the leader is just a blank slate/spokesperson and  gets HER view from the provincial executive!)

The media were incredulous that the rebel 13 refused to speak about what their issues were in the recent disposal of Carole James.  But the reason was simple. If they spoke, they would automatically break and incur the wrath of the constitution. (Kwan is an exception because she is an ndp  icon)

Remember that in BC the NDP voted in favour of the 60% supermajority. (which made every vote against pro rep worth 1.5 votes for pro rep).

So regardless of what they say, the party brass is very firm in supporting first past the post. The incumbent party brass must be replaced so that the party can move forward.

psmith wrote:

Why do New Democrats have to leave the party to get serious about electoral reform?

BC MLA Bob Simpson: First priority must be electoral reform

Or do they only feel free to go out on a limb on electoral reform when they're no longer afraid of the NDP leadership anymore? (the same leadership that has given electoral reform the cold shoulder for years now)

Which sections of the constitution say what you are saying? Somehow I doubt you read it.

Brian White

Well, you see, rules in the constitution are like chess moves. But unlike chess, it does not matter which order they are in to produce checkmate.

ARTICLE XVI — Appeal
16.01 Each member of the Party, including candidates for, and holders of, public office has covenanted that:
“I accept and will abide by the Constitution, principles and policies of the New Democratic Party.”
Breach of this covenant is a violation of the Constitution.

And if you take that in conjunction with

ARTICLE XI — The Provincial Leader
11.01 The Provincial Leader shall be the chief political spokesperson of the Party and, subject to the
authority of the Convention and the Provincial Council, shall interpret to the public the policies of the
Party.

 Thats CHECK AND the mla's have very few moves that they can make if they are in check.  Actually when you look at the rule above, isn't it fucken stupid?   (It would be fine if the party had one MLA). Basically, no matter what an mla says to a member of the public, the party has the right to say "shut the fuck up" based on that rule.  Correct?    In fact,  if there are any provincial ndp members on this board,  we can legitimately say, "YOU are breaking the rules, boys and girls" (if they are explaining ndp policys to non ndp members).

16.02 A complaint may be lodged with the Provincial President by any member or constituted body of the
Party alleging a violation of the Constitution or a statement or action resulting in severe and evident
injustice to a member or constituted body of the Party.
16.03 Satisfaction must first have been sought under existing Party procedures and rules of the appropriate
organizations before the appeal is directed to the President.

That is CHECKMATE for anyone who falls foul of the president AND leader.    As several people have stated, the provincial ndp currently have no official policys, so basically what can an ordinary mla say?  If James had outlined one or 2 policys, maybe they could get away with saying something but they have absolutely no guidelines.    Of course they got frustrated.

Imagine having to pretend that you are Helen Keller for your entire political life!

Basically, Simpson wanted to know what ndp policys were so that he could talk about them. (I guess he felt like a useless tool if he couldnt help outline policy to the public)

NO GO. So he got frustrated, opened his big mouth and got fired.

Firing Simpson HAD TO  include the whip,  but somehow the president must have sided with the leader on that violation?

Most people here are forgetting one thing.  Simpson broke the rule so he had to be punished  PER THE RULES.  But he wasn't.  The leader through him out unilaterally.  She CANNOT do that.

The leader didn't throw the rule book at him. She through it out. The leader (Presumably with the support of the president) BROKE the rules.

And that is a very clear case of 4 legs good 2 legs better.

The president seems to be above the rules and I think that is the major flaw in the constitution.  It seems to me that if the president goes bad, there is no restraint on him.

Is anybody seeing yet why I want amnesty international lawyers to vet the rules of ALL political partys for human rights violations?

Gagging my MLA in this way is a violation of her rights and indirectly of mine.

Fidel

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ontariovotes2007/story/2007/10/10/mmp-referendu... 'had no chance': NDP Leader Hampton[/url]

CBC in 2007 wrote:

Despite Elections Ontario's $6.8-million education campaign, which included television advertising and direct mail flyers across the province, many voters appeared unaware the referendum was being held.

"The referendum had no chance," NDP Leader Howard Hampton said late Wednesday as the votes were still being tallied. "All across the province, people didn't know what the issue was. They didn't know what mixed member proportional stood for, so that was not a surprise."

One scrutineer said people arriving at her Toronto-area polling station to cast ballots for both a new provincial government and the referendum were clearly confused.

"They walk in and say, 'What do I do with this thing?'" Judy Wilkings said early Wednesday evening. "People don't get it. They want to get it. But they just don't get it."

Scrutineers, however, were forbidden to provide any guidance.

MMP in Ontario wa sabotaged by the same people who didn't want it.

[url=http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/viewfromtheledge/archiv... and STV: NDP MLAs free to take a position; she won't[/url]

Carole James in 2009 wrote:
"I didn't feel it was the right way to go," she told reporters in morning-after-the-voting interviews. "Let's look at bringing forward another model...I think mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation meets the needs of B.C."

So it's not that James is against PR - she is against STV and believes MMP would be a better system for B.C. She voted no the first time because no one knew including herself what STV was about. Lack of information in general. Who's fault was that? Which government handled the first referendum? And which party's voters in Ontario and BC supported ER the least?

Brian White

You are being far to generous to James.  She had to choose between pro rep and first past the post.

She chose first past the post. 

Her federal NDP MP's asked her to call for a yes vote on stv. Savoe and the other lady MP on Vancouver island, even Oliva Chow asked her to call for a yes vote.  This was public asking by the way.

And in her own NDP provincial constitution, the provincials are supposed to defer to the feds.  I do not think she even acknowleged Chow!

And by the way she even tried to destroy the second referendum.  She was so scared of any kind of pro rep that she tried to  to get stv and mmp on the same referendum ballot paper against fptp and STILL KEEP the 40% super minority for fptp! 

That is such clear divide and conquer that even the BC Libs couldn't do it! 

You guys are in Ontario, well up close you can see the nastiness in all its vindictive manipulative glory.  James never did anything to try to get MMP.  She does not even have an system designed.     Watch James actions and words.  She stood in the way of electoral reform as much as she could.  And well done to James,  she derailed it.   Is that what progressive is all about?  MMP will fail in a referendum under Canadian rules.  James knows it, and I know it.  I bet Wilf Day knows it too.    In BC selfishness won out the second time.  BC Lib voters decided not to give a NDP/green coalition a chance of ever forming. This is how it will work out in referenda.

But a socially conscious governing party will make pro rep a part of their platform and they will impliment it because it is the right thing to do for the people of Canada.

Wilf Day could design a decent MMP system for BC in a couple of months.

Has any NDP council member ever asked him?

Fidel wrote:

[url=http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/viewfromtheledge/archiv... and STV: NDP MLAs free to take a position; she won't[/url]

Carole James in 2009 wrote:
"I didn't feel it was the right way to go," she told reporters in morning-after-the-voting interviews. "Let's look at bringing forward another model...I think mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation meets the needs of B.C."

So it's not that James is against PR - she is against STV and believes MMP would be a better system for B.C. She voted no the first time because no one knew including herself what STV was about. Lack of information in general. Who's fault was that? Which government handled the first referendum? And which party's voters in Ontario and BC supported ER the least?

Fidel

No it was the Liberal Government of BC and their voters who didn't want STV. That's what Angus Reid polls said. Same here in Liberal Ontario.

And any future Liberal Government will have to be coerced into trying harder to inform the public about why we need to ditch an obsolete electoral system. It's that simple really. Do the math?

Brian White

Fidel, you are deluding yourself.

The NDP party voted for the 40% superminority in BC. It was unanimous with the BC Libs.  and STV pro rep got 58% first time. It got 1.38 times as many votes as fptp did and still lost. (58/42 is 1.38) The NDP could have been honest democrats at the time and kicked up a stink but they chose to approve the deceit.   And dear old James said the next day that STV had failed the test.  This cemented the fate of any mmp system that she would pretend to put to the "test" in the future.   If you load the dice beforehand, of course it will fail the test.

New Zealand brought in pro rep with 55% approval.  BC rejected! pro rep with 58% approval.

Do not insult me with "do the math". Carole James approved Gordon Campbells antidemocratic cheat.  He could not have done it without provincial ndp approval.

If people in the NDP could do the math honestly, we would not have that impossible superminority to deal with.

In the past now and in the future.  And God help the poor people of the world if the superminority gets exported.

It is political asbestos.

Fidel wrote:

No it was the Liberal Government of BC and their voters who didn't want STV. That's what Angus Reid polls said. Same here in Liberal Ontario.

And any future Liberal Government will have to be coerced into trying harder to inform the public about why we need to ditch an obsolete electoral system. It's that simple really. Do the math?

Fidel

Brian White wrote:

Fidel, you are deluding yourself.

The NDP party voted for the 40% superminority in BC. It was unanimous with the BC Libs.  and STV pro rep got 58% first time. It got 1.38 times as many votes as fptp did and still lost. (58/42 is 1.38) The NDP could have been honest democrats at the time and kicked up a stink but they chose to approve the deceit.   And dear old James said the next day that STV had failed the test.  This cemented the fate of any mmp system that she would pretend to put to the "test" in the future.   If you load the dice beforehand, of course it will fail the test.

I think there were a grand sum total of 2 NDP MLA's to 77 Liberals at the time of the first referendum, yes? Which government in power at the time was it that insisted on a double supermajority? Were they of the same political stripe who imposed a double ubermajority here in Liberal Ontario? Y'know, I think they were!

 

Brian White wrote:
New Zealand brought in pro rep with 55% approval.  BC rejected! pro rep with 58% approval.

Damn Campbell! He and 76 other Liberal MLA's should have never listened to those 2 NDPers in opposition then. Just look at the results!!

Brian White wrote:
Do not insult me with "do the math". Carole James approved Gordon Campbells antidemocratic cheat.  He could not have done it without provincial ndp approval.

Ipsos wrote:
"Support for STV is strong among Green voters (65% support STV), split among NDP voters (47% support STV) and [url=http://www.ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=4384]weak among BC Liberal voters (25% support STV).[/url]

Liberals were the weakest link.

Policywonk

Brian White wrote:

Well, you see, rules in the constitution are like chess moves. But unlike chess, it does not matter which order they are in to produce checkmate.

ARTICLE XVI — Appeal
16.01 Each member of the Party, including candidates for, and holders of, public office has covenanted that:
“I accept and will abide by the Constitution, principles and policies of the New Democratic Party.”
Breach of this covenant is a violation of the Constitution.

And if you take that in conjunction with

ARTICLE XI — The Provincial Leader
11.01 The Provincial Leader shall be the chief political spokesperson of the Party and, subject to the
authority of the Convention and the Provincial Council, shall interpret to the public the policies of the
Party.

 Thats CHECK AND the mla's have very few moves that they can make if they are in check.  Actually when you look at the rule above, isn't it fucken stupid?   (It would be fine if the party had one MLA). Basically, no matter what an mla says to a member of the public, the party has the right to say "shut the fuck up" based on that rule.  Correct?    In fact,  if there are any provincial ndp members on this board,  we can legitimately say, "YOU are breaking the rules, boys and girls" (if they are explaining ndp policys to non ndp members).

16.02 A complaint may be lodged with the Provincial President by any member or constituted body of the
Party alleging a violation of the Constitution or a statement or action resulting in severe and evident
injustice to a member or constituted body of the Party.
16.03 Satisfaction must first have been sought under existing Party procedures and rules of the appropriate
organizations before the appeal is directed to the President.

That is CHECKMATE for anyone who falls foul of the president AND leader.    As several people have stated, the provincial ndp currently have no official policys, so basically what can an ordinary mla say?  If James had outlined one or 2 policys, maybe they could get away with saying something but they have absolutely no guidelines.    Of course they got frustrated.

Imagine having to pretend that you are Helen Keller for your entire political life!

Basically, Simpson wanted to know what ndp policys were so that he could talk about them. (I guess he felt like a useless tool if he couldnt help outline policy to the public)

NO GO. So he got frustrated, opened his big mouth and got fired.

Firing Simpson HAD TO  include the whip,  but somehow the president must have sided with the leader on that violation?

Most people here are forgetting one thing.  Simpson broke the rule so he had to be punished  PER THE RULES.  But he wasn't.  The leader through him out unilaterally.  She CANNOT do that.

The leader didn't throw the rule book at him. She through it out. The leader (Presumably with the support of the president) BROKE the rules.

And that is a very clear case of 4 legs good 2 legs better.

The president seems to be above the rules and I think that is the major flaw in the constitution.  It seems to me that if the president goes bad, there is no restraint on him.

Is anybody seeing yet why I want amnesty international lawyers to vet the rules of ALL political partys for human rights violations?

Gagging my MLA in this way is a violation of her rights and indirectly of mine.

I think you are confusing positions based on policy and/or principles with policy. You should know that some of the policy passed by Convention over the years is inconsistent if not contradictory, and that if we couldn't voice opinions contrary to existing policies and principles we couldn't change them.

The President is not above the rules, s/he is supposed to be supervised by the Provincial Executive, as are the Secretary and Treasurer. Obviously there was a breakdown in this during the past year. The Leader is the chief political spokesperson, but that doesn't mean other people, especially other MLAs and candidates can't also be spokespeople. In a healthy situation, the interpretation/articulation of policy would be arrived through a consensus process involving the entire caucus. There was likely more to the Simpson situation than was reported in the media, and I agree that not only the whip but the rest of the caucus should have been involved in his expulsion.

Note that 11.01 is contrary to what you said earlier in #53 and 15.03 is also relevant with respect to MLAs.

Brian White

All i am saying is that now is a really good time to take a deep look at your constitution and change it for the better. And to do that you need an outside  "auditor".  The people at the top are not going to like that idea but it is necessary.   If They do it, it is kinda like the employers in a factory making the safety regulations and giving it an official stamp of approval.

I have lived long enough to have seen many different organizations in action.

All organizations protect their own.

All organizations protect people who are very bad.

If you don't have good checks and balances then it is lord or lady of the flies quicker than you can say yellow scarf.

People like Paul Willcocks (and he is one of the good guys in reporting) have been commenting on the inconsistencys in James speeches and actions for a long long time. But people in the organization rallied around her to protect her from the constructive criticism.

I have noted the wide divergence between what she says and what she does for a very long time.But people do not want to hear it.

If you are in the organization, the pecking order comes into play and many people get their brains overruled by the higher social status of others.

So the members in awe of the great one never see the flaws until it is too late.

I also expect fear of  wikileaks and its siblings to help the NDP improve their methods and hierarchy systems.  The way I see it, this is a golden opportunity to clean house, Prune away lots of the old wood and get a head start on the other party.   Clark might be the next premier right on time for wikileaks (or its siblings) to blow the whole bc rail scandal wide open (and her and her party) out of politics. 

But on the left this will not happen because people have learned from the "unexpected" James meltdown. 

Correct?

Fidel

Brian you're way off topic. Thread is supposed to be about how the opposition party forced a Liberal gov and their voters to sabotage STV. It looks like the NDP were successful in coercing the Liberals only in that regard even though failing to embarrass them into lifting a finger WRT systematic corruption and appalling levels of child poverty in Liberal B.C.

Wilf Day

Brian White wrote:
Wilf Day could design a decent MMP system for BC in a couple of months.

Done.

siamdave

Wilf Day wrote:

Brian White wrote:
Wilf Day could design a decent MMP system for BC in a couple of months.

Done.

- the easy part. The real challenge is somehow getting a dialogue going for a period of time long enough to get some majority of citizens to understand how much more democratic any true form of PR would be, as opposed to FPTP.

But good luck!

Brian White

The NDP just need to say they will bring in Wilf's MMP system when they get elected.  No dialogue  to convince a majority is necessary.  Many NDP voters will buy it straight away and quite a few others are so sick of endless scandals (and their endless wasted vote) in BC that that single issue will mobilize them. The only majority that it needs is an NDP majority in the BC Ledge.

Referenda are just diversions at this stage.  Everyone knows it. 

If you really want to do something, and you have the right to do it, and it is the right thing to do

(every provincial government has the right to change the voting system)

who in their right mind would pass off the decision to someone else?

siamdave wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:

Brian White wrote:
Wilf Day could design a decent MMP system for BC in a couple of months.

Done.

- the easy part. The real challenge is somehow getting a dialogue going for a period of time long enough to get some majority of citizens to understand how much more democratic any true form of PR would be, as opposed to FPTP.

But good luck!

Fidel

But what if a BC citizens assembly decides on STV again? Some or most NDP MLAs under James supported STV, while James herself supported MMP after she'd studied the matter. Personally I think MMP would be better than STV. Which would you prefer, Brian?

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:

Brian White wrote:
Wilf Day could design a decent MMP system for BC in a couple of months.

Done.

I wonder how many MP's and MLA's know that such excellent alternative electoral systems exist.

JKR

 

Brian White wrote:

The NDP just need to say they will bring in Wilf's MMP system when they get elected.  No dialogue  to convince a majority is necessary.  Many NDP voters will buy it straight away and quite a few others are so sick of endless scandals (and their endless wasted vote) in BC that that single issue will mobilize them. The only majority that it needs is an NDP majority in the BC Ledge.

Referenda are just diversions at this stage.  Everyone knows it.

If you really want to do something, and you have the right to do it, and it is the right thing to do

(every provincial government has the right to change the voting system)

who in their right mind would pass off the decision to someone else?

 

Michael Moriarity wrote:

I agree completely with Brian White that voting legislation is just another law, not a constitutional or even quasi-constitutional matter. It was put in place and has been amended by simple votes of the various legislatures, and it can be changed again on such a vote. I can see no more logical reason to require a referendum on proportional representation, or any voting system, than to have a referendum when the Criminal Code is amended, or the Highway Traffic Act. In fact, if anything really deserves approval by referendum, it is the ratification of treaties which permanently decrease the sovereignty of Canada, such as NAFTA, WTO, and coming right up, ACTA. However, I never hear the crony-capitalism parties, or their obedient servants in the press suggesting that.

Good points. Eventually the NDP will win an election provincially or federally. At that point the new NDP government should establish open-list MMP ASAP.

The NDP might also find itself negotiating with the Liberals after the next election if no party receives a majority. If that occurs, electoral reform should be one of the NDP'S make or break negotiating positions.

The NDP should also support electoral reform at the judicial level.

siamdave

Brian White wrote:

The NDP just need to say they will bring in Wilf's MMP system when they get elected.  No dialogue  to convince a majority is necessary.  Many NDP voters will buy it straight away and quite a few others are so sick of endless scandals (and their endless wasted vote) in BC that that single issue will mobilize them. The only majority that it needs is an NDP majority in the BC Ledge.

Referenda are just diversions at this stage.  Everyone knows it. 

If you really want to do something, and you have the right to do it, and it is the right thing to do

(every provincial government has the right to change the voting system)

who in their right mind would pass off the decision to someone else?

- actually, I agree with that - the neocons are taking the country apart without asking for approval, so it's surely no big deal to change an electoral system. They rearrange ridings without asking anyone's approval also, as the recent 'almost' federally. It would be nice to see a good explanation of this as part of an NDP campaign, actually - might even attract some of the current majority of no-show voters, or from other parties. And well thought out beforehand responses to those from other parties who attacked the idea, to show how undemocratic FPTP is, and how much more democratic any form of real PR would be (I am among those who does not consider STV as PR, generally speaking, but that's another story, but why I emphasize the 'real' PR..)

Brian White

I would be happy enought with any good pro rep system.  3 seat stv is no good 4 seat stv is slightly better. 5 seat and 6 seat stv would be good.  Wilf can advise on MMP systems.   I would be happy with Wilf's MMP provincially and stv for city council elections.   (Councils often have colourful independents and strange name partys and loose alliances so mmp might be very difficult to administer at the council level).  STV is just about counting and following fairly simple rules  so party names do not matter.  In early stv in Ireland,  they had some 14 seat ridings. (5 is the max now to prevent very small parties).  So if they could count 14 seater ridings then (80 years ago) in a backward country, they could  probably do it nowadays if necessary in world leader Canada.

If people go for stv for the councils, I would say, forget about "weighted gregory method" or whatever it is called.  Insisting on mathematicial perfection is bunk.

Just adopt rules that allow for checking and  recounts by hand  if there is a tight race.

Fidel wrote:

But what if a BC citizens assembly decides on STV again? Some or most NDP MLAs under James supported STV, while James herself supported MMP after she'd studied the matter. Personally I think MMP would be better than STV. Which would you prefer, Brian?

Fidel

I've seen some multimedia packages that make animating things a snap. I am wondering if a really well done tutorial of PR could be made to make understanding it a snap, too. Plug in some numbers, watch electoral boundaries auto-adjust visually and some things. Maybe something incorporated with GIS package, or something. Just an idea.

Polunatic2

Quote:
...you build support first to the point that you are pretty confident the referendum will win, rather than holding the referendum when you know the victory margin will have to be built during the campaign.

This is what was done successfully over a period of years by reformers in New Zealand, including a two-stage referendum. However Ken, you and others have resisted suggestions put forward by myself and others that the NDP ought to be laying the groundwork. Others, like Stockholm has suggested it's too "wonky" an issue for the average voter. 

Quote:
It is not just a question of getting people to support PR, but getting a PR system that a majority or supermajority (if the rules aren't changed) can support on the ballot. 
Referendums are one route to change. A more direct approach by a government with the political will is another. But if it is a referendum, supermajorities are an affront to democracy and the NDP should never support them imho. 

What the BC NDP said by rejecting STV in the last referendum and playing "neutral" in the first is that first past the post is superior to STV. That is an undemocratic position in my mind. Why they did it is besides the point. In any case, James is now gone. 

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If the NDP really is in favour of pro rep, they should make it a central plank of their party platform AT ALL LEVELS.
Agreed, and like others, I have been saying that for a long time.

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The NDP believes switching to PR should be a democratic decision made by well informed voters and not a tin pot government with dictatorial phony majority power.
Thanks Fidel. That goes a long way to explaining why no provincial New DEMOCRAT government has ever brought anything to the voters on PR. Or why they oppose it when there is a referendum. Or why they support supermajorities proposed by tinpot liberal dictatorships. Please spare us the spinning and sanctimony. 

As for Howard Hampton dooming the referendum to failure before it ever got off the ground, that was a mistake of colossal proportions. Fortunately the ONDP's new leader understands that and said so (and apologized) at a union meeting in which I was present. Unions don't go into bargaining by asking the membership for a strike mandate while telling them that a strike would be "doomed to fail". Defeatism in the name of "support" is nothing more than a slick trick to have the cake and eat it too. Hampton couldn't use the excuse that the model was bad (like PR "supporters" in the BCNDP) because the ONDP supported the "idea" of MMP and got the model they wanted from the Citizens Assembly. So they turned to sabotage. All the ONDP cared about in 2007 was re-electing their tiny caucus even if a large part of their base supported PR. They appear to have not wanted unions that could be providing resources to them, providing them for a "doomed to fail" referendum campaign. 

jrootham

Prolunatic, you are revising history.

It may have been an error for Hampton to have said what he did, but that comment was made after the campaign was visibly dead, not before it got off the ground.

Further, given that losing members would have been an existential threat to the party, why would you not expect resources to be focused on that?

Even further, it was the MMP campaign that told the NDP not to make it a partisan issue, not the other way around.

The campaign was hugely screwed up, but you really need to identify who did the screwing accurately if you want to fix it.

If you just want a stick to beat the NDP with, then facts don't matter, do they?

 

Fidel

I think some just want to see PR in provinces where the NDP tends to do well provincially. They ignore the fact that Hampton was the only one of the three leaders at Queen's Park in Toronto to support the CA and their choice for MMP. Dalton McGuilty was the one who was silent on the issue of MMP not Hampton, and even though it was insisted upon that no party campaign for or against in addition to the double uber majority barrier. And more NDP voters voted for MMP than the other parties' voters. Liberals sabotaged two referendums on ER although even moreso in Ontario. The Liberals won 22% of registered voter support last election and wield 100% of the power in Toronto. They prefer the old ways.

If neither Liberal nor Tory leaders are going to support electoral reform and properly funded public information campaign, then the writing is on the wall for ER. It will take a NDP government with a phony majority to force ER on a public that doesn't want it. I would bet that an NDP government would fully fund a public education campaign before holding a referendum at the very least. Either way a true majority of voters  would understand what PR is by the end their term here in Central Canada or perhaps even federally some day.

Wilf Day

Polunatic2 wrote:
Hampton couldn't use the excuse that the model was bad (like PR "supporters" in the BCNDP) because the ONDP supported the "idea" of MMP and got the model they wanted from the Citizens Assembly. So they turned to sabotage.

The ONDP not only supported the "idea" of PR, they supported MMP with regional lists (with the North as one region) and additional MPPs.

They got MMP, they got additional MPPs, but the Citizens Assembly did NOT produce a regional model.

This was not a whim by the ONDP: they had an excellent task force which spent a year holding hearings around the province, producing the report adopted overwhemingly by the 2002 convention. 

They knew that the North would insist on not losing MPPs, and making sure northern votes elected northern MPPs. Province-wide lists were not saleable in the North, as every northern MPP of any party knew. In fact, they were increasingly unsaleable the further you get from Toronto; it was a direct relationship, you can graph it. For example, MMP got more support in conservative high-income York Region, where there was no pro-MMP campaign on the ground, than in progressive Ottawa with a strong pro-MMP campaign and excellent public education by the Ottawa Citizen. (Toronto Star readers can't even imagine how good the Citizen's coverage was.)

Eastern Ontario francophones distrusted province-wide lists as much as Northerners did. But then again, so did voters in Peterborough, Hamilton, London, you name it. Doomed? Absolutely.

But did Hampton sabotage it? Of course not.

Fidel

I am an NDPer, and I voted for MMP. And I chose to partially because Hampton backed the CA's decision for MMP. It was sad how the two old line party leaders side-tracked democratic debate in the last weeks of the campaign with nonsense about separate school funding - legacy issues warmed over from a bygone era. They want to keep Ontarians stuck in the past, and it's working very well.

Wilf Day

The House of Commons debate Thursday on Bill C-12 was about adding more MPs for Ontario, BC and Alberta, and possibly balancing that with a handful more for Quebec. But the NDP took the opportunity to talk about proportional representation (and abolishing the Senate).

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Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP) . . . this is like fixing one-third of the democratic deficit we have in Canada. The other two-thirds are comprised of, ultimately, getting rid of that other place down the hall that we do not need and, second, getting proportional representation, which would truly give us a House representative of population.

    We need to go to a PR House, get rid of the other place, increase the seats that the provinces need to reflect their population, and then all we have done is a major repair work. Then there is the actual onward building of the country. That is the kind of work we need to do.

Mr. Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas, NDP) Madam Speaker, as the chair of the NDP's British Columbia caucus I want to say how important this legislation is to people in British Columbia. . .

    The member mentioned that changing the electoral map, adding these seats in British Columbia, is only one piece of the electoral reform puzzle. He has talked about the other things that New Democrats have strongly argued for, such as abolishing the Senate, as well as the importance of proportional representation.

    I wonder if he could say a few words about the importance of proportional representation. Is that something that should also be on the agenda of this Parliament to ensure that we have real democratic reform here in Canada?

Mr. David Christopherson: With regard to my colleague's direct question about proportional representation, if we had proportional representation in the House we would have a much fairer House, a House that better reflects the political will of the Canadian people. I will give some examples.

    Given the amount of votes that the Liberals received west of Ontario, they ought to have more seats, because enough people voted for the Liberal candidates that the numbers dictate they should have that representation here. We could say the same thing about the Conservatives. There are parts of the country where they get a meaningful, significant share of the votes but not enough to win the seat, because of first past the post. Of course, the same applies to the NDP and the Green Party. Enough Canadians have voted for the Green Party that there ought to be at least a couple of MPs here to reflect its point of view.

    So this is not just about the NDP worrying about the NDP; it is about the NDP looking at Canada and our electoral system and saying we could do better. Proportional representation would be better.

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