Trudeau backs Proportional Representation?

453 posts / 0 new
Last post
White Cat White Cat's picture
Trudeau backs Proportional Representation?

The folks at Fair Vote Canada are jumping for joy because of Resolution 31 which was passed at the 2014 Liberal policy convention. It calls for a year-long citizens' assembly to look into the issue of electoral reform and recommend a voting system (that includes PR as an option) to replace First-Past-the-Post.

Although Fair Vote might think this was the culmination of their efforts, this resolution was actually put forward by Trudeau himself. Although initially an independent resolution, the PR initiative became part of a priority resolution that bundled up Trudeau's democratic reform package. (Meaning its passage was guaranteed.)

Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties." So why the change of heart?

Perhaps similar initiatives among the provinces could offer a clue. In BC, Ontario and PEI, Liberal parties, while in opposition, promised electoral reform. But once they came to power, they had second thoughts. They created citizens assemblies that recommended different forms of PR. But they also put up roadblocks to ensure the referendums would fail — including a 60% win threshold.

In the end, all referendums were emphatically rejected by voters.

So is Trudeau really open to a proportional voting system he was "deeply" opposed to a few months back? Or is this his way of killing electoral reform in Canada by enshrining First-Past-the-Post as the democratic choice of Canadians?

arielc

Good questions.
I believe in PR but wonder ...
Is there no way to implement it so all reps actually represent groups of Canadians?
And so it doesn't result in a huge increase in government numbers/costs?

cco

He wants an IRV system, i.e. one that would greatly benefit the Liberals. He's totally opposed to MMP for the obvious reasons.

wage zombie

The motion did not explicitly support proportional representation over other voting systems.

Quote:

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Trudeau's independent citizens' assembly is certain to recommend STV or MMP like the other ones. Most developed countries use PR.

My bet is that Trudeau supports FPTP like all other Liberal leaders before him. It lets the leader win all the power on 39% of the vote.

If Trudeau is opposed to PR, which he previously stated, he will likely take measures to make sure the referendum fails, just like his provincial Liberal counterparts. In short, PR supporters trusting the Liberals on electoral reform is like Charlie Brown trusting Lucy to hold the football.

DLivings

I expect Justin has checked with his handlers on this one before making any pronouncement.

JKR

wage zombie wrote:

The motion did not explicitly support proportional representation over other voting systems.

Quote:

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.

It's very interesting that the resolution did not mention anything about a referendum. The resolution allows for Parliament to unilaterally establish electoral reform without a referendum. So a minority NDP or Liberal government or a coalition of the two parties could establish a proportional and preferential electoral system unilaterally. This would suit the NDP, Liberals and Greens. A win-win-win solution could be reached between the NDP, Liberals, and Greens. However, the Conservatives would be completely opposed to this as they depend on vote-splitting between the NDP, Liberals, and Greens to hold onto power. But if the NDP, Liberals, and Greens had the votes in Parliament, there's not much the Conservatives could do to prevent electoral reform from taking place.

There's no reason why a MMP system using preferential voting could not be established. It would be an excellent system that's reduces both wasted votes and vote splitting.

Brachina

 Justin has already said no to a coalition which tells me he is too arrogant to aupport PR, it's mean sharing power with New Democracts.

White Cat White Cat's picture

The provincial Liberal electoral reform initiatives used the same process. I doubt anything about a referendum was mentioned beforehand. The citizens' assemblies were directed to make a recommendation on a voting system. The Liberals then put it to referendums that were meant to fail (high 60% threshold that would've stopped PR in New Zealand.)

It's possible for all parties to legislate PR directly. But it might be seen as an extreme move by the media. Especially if the media is pumping out op-eds claiming PR will destroy the economy and ruin democracy. There remains the question of whether Liberals actually support PR.

My bet is it will be put to a referendum. So work has to be done now to ensure it's a democratic referendum. There are three options on the table: PR, preferential ballot (ranked ballot voting,) and FPTP. So a three-option referendum is required. In a "three cornered contest" there has to be a runoff vote to ensure voters actually support one system by a majority.

If there's a two-way referendum, FPTP gets an unfair advantage. If the public is equally divided three ways, then PR or PB supporters will opt for the status quo if their option isn't on the ballot. That guarantees a FPTP victory.

New Zealand handled this with two referendums. First one, choose a version of electoral reform (PR won.) Next one, PR vs. FPTP (PR won by 54%.) This is not the best approach. It still gives FPTP an unfair advantage. With a three-option referendum, FPTP could be voted off the ballot on the first round.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Agreed: Trudeau siding with Cons against coalitions shows he has no intention of bringing electoral reform to Canada. Coalitions are the norm in countries that have implemented electoral reform (which is most of the developed world.)

Trudeau's commitment to democratic reform is just as absurd as the Con's "Fair Elections" act. Changing the appointment process of senators is not a democratic reform. Claiming it's impossible to amend the constituion is absurdly anti-democratic.

DLivings

I feel like the bad boy raining on a parade...   for most Canadians this is all simply too complicated.  In terms of mobilizing public opinion, taking measures to disable the Senate will be a cakewalk compared to moving this agenda forward...   time and trust might change that.  If, horror of horrors, Justin Lite is elected PM, it's unlikely that the Liberals will kick out the FPTP system that elected them.

Don't get me wrong...  this is an important conversation, but I believe it's a long-term one, not a short-term one.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Canadians are not too dumb to get electoral reform. People in the rest of the developed world didn't have a problem understanding the issue. We are no different.

Every informed Canadian has an opinion on senate reform. Why? Because it gets a lot of media play.

Voting reform doesn't get any play in the media here. This is likely because the news media is controlled by mega-corporations who prefer FPTP because single-party governments are easier to lobby and influence. So they bury the issue. That means the social media has to pick up the slack.

An electoral reform referendum is coming. This time supporters have to be prepared to prevent history from repeating itself.

The senate is a joke; but it doesn't really matter. Voting reform will stop black-cat and white-cat parties from winning all the power on 39% of the vote. It would make an actual difference.

 

Krago

Proportional representation is all about replacing elected MPs from popular parties with unelected MPs from unpopular ones.  Why should party leaders worry about appointing their buddies to the Senate when they can appoint them to the House of Commons instead?

Brachina

 You just showed your utter ignorance about how Mixed Member Proportional Representation works Krago. Look it up.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Krago wrote:

Proportional representation is all about replacing elected MPs from popular parties with unelected MPs from unpopular ones.  Why should party leaders worry about appointing their buddies to the Senate when they can appoint them to the House of Commons instead?

That is one way of looking at it. On the other hand, I see it as being about giving millions of people who support parties that are unable to win seats under FPTP the representation they deserve in a democracy. It all depends on your point of view.

PrairieDemocrat15

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Krago wrote:

Proportional representation is all about replacing elected MPs from popular parties with unelected MPs from unpopular ones.  Why should party leaders worry about appointing their buddies to the Senate when they can appoint them to the House of Commons instead?

That is one way of looking at it. On the other hand, I see it as being about giving millions of people who support parties that are unable to win seats under FPTP the representation they deserve in a democracy. It all depends on your point of view.

Not to mention making every vote count.

I share some of Krago's concerns with party lists and members who don't represent any ridings. That why I prefer Single Transferable Vote (SVT). Its a proportional system that Australians use to elect their senators. Alberta and Manitoba, under their UFA and Progressive governments, also used SVT to elect MLAs from the big cities (Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg).

DLivings

White Cat wrote:

Canadians are not too dumb to get electoral reform. People in the rest of the developed world didn't have a problem understanding the issue. We are no different.

Every informed Canadian has an opinion on senate reform. Why? Because it gets a lot of media play.

Voting reform doesn't get any play in the media here. This is likely because the news media is controlled by mega-corporations who prefer FPTP because single-party governments are easier to lobby and influence. So they bury the issue. That means the social media has to pick up the slack.

An electoral reform referendum is coming. This time supporters have to be prepared to prevent history from repeating itself.

The senate is a joke; but it doesn't really matter. Voting reform will stop black-cat and white-cat parties from winning all the power on 39% of the vote. It would make an actual difference.

 

I agree with all that you've said except I doubt that a referendum is in our near future.  One of the other threads talked about a municipality (Toronto?) expressing some interested in a different model...  if there were a determined municipality, this could bring attention to this important matter and give people a chance to see how it would work.

DLivings

By the way, why does Trudeau's name appear in the title to this thread?

Gonzaga

The current system is clearly unworkable. People have to guess what everyone else is voting, then base their guess about who might be the right choice on that. Since no one can ever know what everyone else is going to do, the choice is impossible. STV and PR each have drawbacks too, but they're not based on blind guessing.

Doug Woodard

Gonzaga wrote:

STV and PR each have drawbacks too, but they're not based on blind guessing.

Gonzaga, if by "STV" you mean "PR-STV," the "quota-preferential" system (as it is called in Australia) which is used to elect the Australian federal Senate, the lower houses of Ireland and Tasmania, and the unicameral parliament of Malta, it is a form of proportional representation. If you want to distinguish it from mixed systems and list systems of proportional representation, it's best to do so without using confusing language.

 

White Cat White Cat's picture

DLivings wrote:
I agree with all that you've said except I doubt that a referendum is in our near future.  One of the other threads talked about a municipality (Toronto?) expressing some interested in a different model...  if there were a determined municipality, this could bring attention to this important matter and give people a chance to see how it would work.

Trudeau has promised to commission a year-long citizens' assembly to recommend a version of electoral reform. (See earlier posts.) It's likley to recommended PR, like provincial ones did. Liberal parties did the same thing in BC, Ontario and PEI to win over PR supporters, but put up roadblocks to make the referendums fail. 

Trudeau is likely planning a repeat at a federal level to kill PR for good. PR supporters need to be aware that the Liberals can't be trusted on electoral reform.

JKR

The Liberals in BC, PEI, and Ontario supported referendums after elections where they felt FPTP created unfair election results against them.

I hate to be cynical, but I think political parties generally support electoral systems that further their chance of obtaining power. That's why the Conservatives support FPTP and the NDP supports MMP. The Liberals can't figure out if they're a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place party, so they're having a difficult time deciding what electoral system to support. So the federal Liberals are now wavering between supporting plurality voting, proportional representation, and FPTP.

Many Liberals are against FPTP because they understand that vote-splitting is giving the Conservartives an unfair advantage. Liberals who feel that the party is destined to be a 2nd place party behind the Conservatives are supporting preferential voting. Liberals who are worried the NDP has a good chance of supplanting the Liberals seem to be supporting poportional representation. There are also some Liberals who are supporting FPTP because they hope that under FPTP a lot of left-wing voters will vote Liberal out of the fear of vote-splitting and that will catapult them back into 1st place and sink the NDP back into a distant 3rd place.

The next election will go a long way in determining the faith of electoral reform. Hopefully the NDP will form government in 2015 and establish MMP. And if the next government produces a NDP or Liberal minority PR will still be a viable possibility.

Doug Woodard

Krago wrote:

Proportional representation is all about replacing elected MPs from popular parties with unelected MPs from unpopular ones.  Why should party leaders worry about appointing their buddies to the Senate when they can appoint them to the House of Commons instead?

Krago, you seem to think that "elected" means "supported by the largest minority of the voters in a single-seat riding."

To the extent that each riding is a representative sample of the country and most people vote mostly according to party, ridings tend to divide up the same way by party. and the natural tendency of our system is to produce a result in which one party takes all the seats. We are usually saved from this tendency always dominating by the fact that the demographics of the different ridings are somewhat different. The basic tendency is shown by the results in New Brunswick in 1987, when the Liberals won all 58 seats on 60.4% of the votes; and by British Columbia in 2001 when the Liberals won 77 seats on 57.6% of votes, the NDP won 2 seats on 21.6% of the votes, and the Greens won no seats on 12.4% of the votes.

We are enabled to have a primitive and barbaric form of democracy by the fact that ridings are different and candidates still have a small residual effect on the vote. But the more sophisticated the richer parties get at manipulating this crude electoral system, the more barbaric our democracy becomes.

Proportional representation holds that Parliament should accurately reflect the opinions of the voters of the country. If the Conservatives get 39% of the votes, they should get 39% of the seats. If the Marxist-Leninists, or the Libertarians, get 1% of the votes, they should get 1% of the seats.

The majority should decide, not the largest minority.

White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:
The Liberals in BC, PEI, and Ontario supported referendums after elections where they felt FPTP created unfair election results against them.

I hate to be cynical, but I think political parties generally support electoral systems that further their chance of obtaining power. That's why the Conservatives support FPTP and the NDP supports MMP. The Liberals can't figure out if they're a 1st, 2nd or 3rd place party, so they're having a difficult time deciding what electoral system to support. So the federal Liberals are now wavering between supporting plurality voting, proportional representation, and FPTP.

Many Liberals are against FPTP because they understand that vote-splitting is giving the Conservartives an unfair advantage. Liberals who feel that the party is destined to be a 2nd place party behind the Conservatives are supporting preferential voting. Liberals who are worried the NDP has a good chance of supplanting the Liberals seem to be supporting poportional representation. There are also some Liberals who are supporting FPTP because they hope that under FPTP a lot of left-wing voters will vote Liberal out of the fear of vote-splitting and that will catapult them back into 1st place and sink the NDP back into a distant 3rd place.

The next election will go a long way in determining the faith of electoral reform. Hopefully the NDP will form government in 2015 and establish MMP. And if the next government produces a NDP or Liberal minority PR will still be a viable possibility.

Good analysis. I am deeply skeptical about the Liberal party's involvement in PR given how they burned electoral reformers in the past and how they tend to break their promises.

There's also the problem of top-heavy leadership. The vast majority of Liberals can support electoral reform, but if Justin believes he has the magic to restore the Liberal party to its former glory, he could torpedo a referendum to keep FPTP and "majority" power on 39% of the vote.

So if Trudeau gets a majority, electoral reform is in the greatest danger. If the NDP can form the government, it has the best shot. If the Liberals get a minority, the devil will be in the details. In any case, electoral reform activists have to take a more active role in how the entire process is handled this time around. There's too much room for corruption.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Doug Woodard wrote:
We are enabled to have a primitive and barbaric form of democracy by the fact that ridings are different and candidates still have a small residual effect on the vote. But the more sophisticated the richer parties get at manipulating this crude electoral system, the more barbaric our democracy becomes.

That sums up our absurd idea of democracy quite well. To borrow from Keynes, First-Past-the-Post is a barbarous relic. (Ditto for the monarchy and the senate...)

JKR

White Cat wrote:
In any case, electoral reform activists have to take a more active role in how the entire process is handled this time around. There's too much room for corruption.

Many electoral reformers now believe the process should exclude a referendum; that implementation of electoral reform should be done through extensive consulatations with the public and experts on electoral systems. A parliamentary committee could lead and implement the process of electoral reform.

mark_alfred

It should just be railroaded through as fast as possible.  No questions.  "Johnny, eat your cod liver oil now or else!"

Wilf Day

wage zombie wrote:

The motion did not explicitly support proportional representation over other voting systems.

Quote:

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better.

It's a half-step forward. Unlike the NDP position, it's not a commitment to proportional representation. However, until this resolution their position was only the preferential ballot. So it's an important step, opening the door to proportional representation. In the 2008 coalition negotiations, Dion (who has personally supported PR for more than eight years) couldn't even get the Liberals to put PR on the table. Now it's explicitly on the table.

As for the process, it is comparable to, but even better than, the process in the NDP's motion in the House of Commons March 3, 2011:

Quote:
 the House appoint a Special Committee for Democratic Improvement, whose mandate is to (i) engage with Canadians, and make recommendations to the House, on how best to achieve a House of Commons that more accurately reflects the votes of Canadians by combining direct election by electoral district and proportional representation . . . that the Committee have all of the powers of a standing committee as provided in the Standing Orders; and that the Committee shall report its recommendations to this House no later than one year from the passage of this motion.

 

JKR

Wilf Day wrote:
As for the process, it is comparable to, but even better than, the process in the NDP's motion in the House of Commons March 3, 2011:

I think if the process can be done right the outcome will be favourable, namely the establishment of a form of MMP. It's difficult to see how combining public opinion with expert opinion on electoral reform and adding to that the input from the political parties could not result in a recommendation of MMP, likely some form of MMP light.

White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:

White Cat wrote:
In any case, electoral reform activists have to take a more active role in how the entire process is handled this time around. There's too much room for corruption.

Many electoral reformers now believe the process should exclude a referendum; that implementation of electoral reform should be done through extensive consulatations with the public and experts on electoral systems. A parliamentary committee could lead and implement the process of electoral reform.

I agree that would be the right way to do it. But it would be controversial. The Cons would be outraged. The corporate-owned media would probably be outraged. So like the 2008 coalition, I don't believe you can count on the Liberal party to support it. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:

Wilf Day wrote:
As for the process, it is comparable to, but even better than, the process in the NDP's motion in the House of Commons March 3, 2011:

I think if the process can be done right the outcome will be favourable, namely the establishment of a form of MMP. It's difficult to see how combining public opinion with expert opinion on electoral reform and adding to that the input from the political parties could not result in a recommendation of MMP, likely some form of MMP light.

It's likely a federal citizens' assembly will recommend some form of PR, like the provincial ones did. PR is the most widely-used system in the developed world. The BC one recommended STV. The ones in Ontario and PEI recommended MMP.

Unfortunately, the citizens were not as educated on the issue as the citizens' assemblies. And the provincial Liberal governments were opposed to PR and put up roadblocks to ensure the referendums would fail. If the same process is repeated, the same outcome will be repeated. If a PR referendum is rejected, one should realistically expect decades before another opportunity comes along.

Brachina

http://petition.ndp.ca/demand-that-your-vote-count/thankyou

 

 The NDP has put out a petition in favour of PR. Make your voice heard.

mark_alfred

Thanks Brachina.  I signed it.

note:  the link you gave was the "thank you" page after signing.  The actual petition is at http://petition.ndp.ca/demand-that-your-vote-count/

White Cat White Cat's picture

Signed. I hope the NDP really beats the electoral reform drum using Harper as a poster boy.

The corporate-owned media usually buries the issue but occassionly rants PR will destroy the economy and destabilize our democracy. (All lies of course.)

Brachina

Oops ;p

Wilf Day

JKR wrote:
There's no reason why a MMP system using preferential voting could not be established. It would be an excellent system that reduces both wasted votes and vote splitting.

Agreed.

JKR wrote:
I think if the process can be done right the outcome will be favourable, namely the establishment of a form of MMP. It's difficult to see how combining public opinion with expert opinion on electoral reform and adding to that the input from the political parties could not result in a recommendation of MMP, likely some form of MMP light.

I wouldn't call it "MMP light," I'd call it "moderate MMP" following Stephane Dion's pitch for "moderate proportional representation."

The Jenkins Commission recommended MMP with regions averaging eight MPs (which would be five local, three regional), and a preferential ballot for local MPs. Eight-MP regions are moderately proportional, but not too small to give Green voters some representation.

White Cat wrote:
Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties." So why the change of heart?

Take Ottawa, which will elect 8 MPs at the next election. Assume it elects five local MPs: say 3 Conservatives, 1 Liberal and 1 NDP. On the votes cast in 2011, the 3 regional MPs Ottawa voters elect would be 2 Liberals and 1 NDP, for a total of 3, 3 and 2, matching the total Ottawa vote shares. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal.

Isn’t Ottawa a real community? Can’t Ottawa Liberal Party members nominate accountable candidates?

But is this region too small for Green voters to have any hope of representation? Not on the votes cast in 2008, when Lori Gadzala was the strongest Green candidate in Ottawa. The result would have been 3 Conservatives, 3 Liberals, 1 NDP and 1 Green. Every vote counts, moderately.

Pondering

I used to be sold on PR, then I thought PV was great, but now I am back at supporting our current system failing some other idea. It's not that I think our system is so great, just that I am not convinced the systems being proposed would necessarily be better. 

My reasoning is fairly simple. I don't think political systems necessarily play out the same in different countries. I think a PR system risks splintering into a plethora of small special interest parties, possibly regional. I fear such parties would be trading support for each other's issues and it would give extremists a platform. 

PV sounded good until I realized that under it the smaller parties all lose their seats. That might seem like a contradiction because I don't support PR which is exactly the system that gives small parties seats.  The difference is that in a system like ours very few small parties manage to win any seats so when they do they represent a significant portion of the population, usually larger than the number of seats they win. 

I think that our current system forces a degree of moderation that is stabilizing for the country and unifying. As illustrated by the potential for a coalition government our system is more flexible than people realize. 

JKR

Pondering wrote:

I think that our current system forces a degree of moderation that is stabilizing for the country and unifying. 

This aspect of FPTP is leading to the elimination of the Green Party and BQ. FPTP's strength is that it limits the political playing field to "big tent" parties by eliminating smaller parties altogether. FPTP pressures the political culture into forming two-party systems. That's why our political history is littered with the carcasses of political parties like the Canadian Alliance, the Reform Party, Social Credit, etc.... If the Conservatives keep winning phoney FPTP "majorities" the NDP and Liberals may even merge.

I think because "the left" favours political pluralism more than "the right," FPTP inherently favours "the right." I think that's why vote-splitting benefits the right much more than the left. The right has no problem limiting their choice and eliminating right of centre parties from the political landscape when it prevents them from being in power. The left has much more difficulty doing this because it goes against political pluralism. So I think it's in the basic interest of the left to support PR.

JKR

Pondering wrote:

I think that our current system forces a degree of moderation that is stabilizing for the country and unifying. 

This aspect of FPTP is leading to the elimination of the Green Party and BQ. FPTP's strength is that it limits the political playing field to "big tent" parties by eliminating smaller parties altogether. FPTP pressures the political culture into forming two-party systems. That's why our political history is littered with the carcasses of political parties like the Canadian Alliance, the Reform Party, Social Credit, etc.... If the Conservatives keep winning phoney FPTP "majorities" the NDP and Liberals may even merge to rebalance the competitiveness of our political system.

I think because "the left" favours political pluralism more than "the right," FPTP inherently favours "the right." I think that's why vote-splitting benefits the right much more than the left. The right has no problem limiting their choice and eliminating right of centre parties from the political landscape when it prevents them from being in power. The left has much more difficulty doing this because it goes against it's value of political pluralism. So I think it's in the basic interest of the left to strongly support PR.

abnormal

White Cat wrote:

Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply thatevery Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties."So why the change of heart?

The cynic in my says that he figures that he's going to end up with more seats this way.

Winston

abnormal wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply thatevery Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties."So why the change of heart?

The cynic in my says that he figures that he's going to end up with more seats this way.

 

The realist in me figures that Turdeau doesn't even understand the systems he is talking about.

takeitslowly

The answer to the thread's question is no.

JKR

takeitslowly wrote:

The answer to the thread's question is no.

LOL. Some of the questions [rhetorical?] on these threads have very obvious answers.

Brachina

Winston wrote:

abnormal wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply thatevery Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties."So why the change of heart?

The cynic in my says that he figures that he's going to end up with more seats this way.

 

 

The realist in me figures that Turdeau doesn't even understand the systems he is talking about.

 

 LMFAO

JKR

NDP proposal puts electoral reform on House agenda
Liberals to hold free vote, Conservatives likely to oppose motion to move to mixed-member system;
CBC News

Quote:

With less than a year remaining before Canadians must go to the polls, the New Democrats want the other parties to put their respective positions on electoral reform on the record.

On Wednesday afternoon, MPs will debate an NDP motion to have the Commons collectively avow that the next election "should be the last conducted under the current first-past-the-post electoral system" or, indeed, "under any other winner-take-all electoral system" — and instead endorse a form of mixed-member proportional representation.

Although not binding on the government, if passed, the motion would make parliamentary history as the first House vote in favour of proportional representation at the federal level.

"If the Conservatives and Liberals truly believe in democracy, they will vote with us," NDP democratic reform critic Craig Scott said in a statement.

"The current system, in which a party can govern without a majority of votes, has gone on long enough. We need to make every vote count."

Although the Conservative Party has no official position on proportional representation, its members have traditionally opposed any move away from the current system.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's spokesman, Jason MacDonald, pointed out to CBC News that Canadians in three provinces — British Columbia, Ontario and Prince Edward Island — voted on changes to their electoral system.

"Every time voters chose to keep the current system," MacDonald noted. "The NDP should respect democratic will of Canadians."

Liberal spokeswoman Kate Purchase told CBC News it will be a free vote for the party caucus.

"At our conventions in 2012 and 2014, Liberals voted in favour of a preferential ballot, as well as further study into proportional representation," she noted.

JKR

Let's debate proportional representation, again; Macleans.ca

 

Conservatives like Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, James Moore, and Scott Reid opposed FPTP before the PC/Reform/Alliance merger.

 

Quote:

That 2003 vote on a referendum was touted as the first time the House had voted on proportional representation since 1923. That motion actually won the support of various Canadian Alliance MPs, including Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, James Moore, James Rajotte and Scott Reid. Moore and future government whip Jay Hill both told the House they were not in favour of proportional representation, but they were unhappy with the status quo and in favour of public debate on the situation.

Hill was troubled by the prospect of a party being able to govern like a dictatorship without a majority of the popular vote:

It is a debate that Canadians should have. Canadians want to have a debate about their Parliament because, and I will sum up with this, something is wrong when we see an elected dictatorship put in place to run the business of this country with 38 per cent of the votes in a federal election . . .

The honourable member is right on the mark when she states that there are too many Canadians who feel disconnected. They are not engaged because they feel that their vote does not count for anything. Referring to the example I used, there is something seriously wrong with our system when 62 per cent of Canadians in the 1997 election did not vote for the government, did not vote Liberal, yet the Liberals had a massive majority that enabled the Prime Minister to act like a dictator.

Indeed, the math of first-past-the-post was something of a concern back then. Here is Jason Kenney in 2001, hectoring a Liberal MP:

In the last two elections, respectively, the Liberal Party earned 38 per cent and 41 per cent of the popular vote, which was far short of majority. Yet, with roughly 60 per cent of Canadians opposing its program, it managed to completely monopolize political power in the country. Does he think that is in the best interest of democracy?

Furthermore, does he not think it would be helpful to national unity if the composition of Parliament in some way reflected the diversity and plurality of political views which we find in the regions? Would he not think that the 25 per cent of the voters of my province of Alberta who voted for Liberal candidates should have a larger representation in this place than they currently have?

. . . Does he have any regard at all for the fact that Canada is now the only multi-party advanced democracy in the world that has a system of voting designed in, and for, 16th-century England, when candidates really were non-partisan candidates elected for the purpose of representation?

. . . Would he not concur with me that we should be mindful of the many international precedents in other parliamentary systems, such as sister Commonwealth countries, including Great Britain, which has adopted a form of modified PR for its regional assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

I wonder if the member could address these points. Does he not think that a greater reflection of the plurality of views in different parts of the country would be healthy for democracy? Does he apologize at all for the fact that his government shamelessly exercises completely uncontrolled power, even though it is opposed in elections by 60 per cent of Canadians? Does he think that every other complex multi-party democracy in the world has it wrong and Canada alone has it right?

Now that we have managed to drive voter turnout down to 60 per cent, does he think that is a record of success and vibrancy in our democracy?

Scott Reid was of the opinion that the system was broken and suggested a preferential ballot. Reid also had a “three-stage” proposal for reforming our electoral system that involved a commission and two referendums, the second referendum being conducted along a preferential ballot.

JKR

Youtube: Paul Dewar on Proportional Representation by Paul Dewar

Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre, speaks in favour of the NDP's motion to support proportional representation

White Cat White Cat's picture

Scott Reid is right in so much that the referendum process is extremely important. Many PR supporters want to wish it away. But that's nothing more than a pipe dream.

NZ had a dual referendum in 1992. First referendum asked if voters wanted change and what system they preferred. The second referendum was between FPTP and MMP (the chosen system.)

In Canada, an absurd precedent has been set by Liberal leaders looking to abort PR. (Trudeau Jr. can certainly be counted among their ranks.) They put up numerous road blocks to ensure people will opt for the status quo and the referendum will fail. They tack a mini-referendum onto a general election (less impact) and require 60% for change (disgustingly fitting that FPTP wins all on 40% of the vote.) This killed PR in BC, Ontario & PEI.

I think a better process is to have a 3-way referendum with a runoff vote. The options being: FPTP, PR and ranked ballots. This ensures one system is chosen by a majority. With 2-way referendums, people tend to vote for the status quo if their option is not on the ballot (waiting for a future opportunity to be represented on electoral reform.)

With a 3-way referendum, FPTP can be eliminated on the first ballot. It also has the benefit of providing a moving target. The business community and corporate media prefer dictatorships to democracy. (Notice that all free-market reforms have the goal of removing democratic influence over the economy.) So they will fiercely attack PR. With three systems on the table it makes it impossible to frame a false dichotomy: e.g., strong stable government vs. "legislative chaos" (Toronto Star.)

If PR makes it to the second ballot, let Canadians choose between MMP and STV. Again, this way provides a moving target. The media can't use the line: "we already have enough politicians" to attack MMP, because it's not THE option. But in all likeliness, it would be the chosen option.

Odds are Trudeau is going to win in 2015. He wants to return the Liberal party to its former glory and he needs fake 39% majorities to do it (and lines like "a vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper.") The only way to avoid certain disaster is to demand a proper referendum process to the citizens' assembly ahead of time. 

Pondering

White Cat wrote:

Scott Reid is right in so much that the referendum process is extremely important. Many PR supporters want to wish it away. But that's nothing more than a pipe dream.

NZ had a dual referendum in 1992. First referendum asked if voters wanted change and what system they preferred. The second referendum was between FPTP and MMP (the chosen system.)

In Canada, an absurd precedent has been set by Liberal leaders looking to abort PR. (Trudeau Jr. can certainly be counted among their ranks.) They put up numerous road blocks to ensure people will opt for the status quo and the referendum will fail. They tack a mini-referendum onto a general election (less impact) and require 60% for change (disgustingly fitting that FPTP wins all on 40% of the vote.) This killed PR in BC, Ontario & PEI.

I think a better process is to have a 3-way referendum with a runoff vote. The options being: FPTP, PR and ranked ballots. This ensures one system is chosen by a majority. With 2-way referendums, people tend to vote for the status quo if their option is not on the ballot (waiting for a future opportunity to be represented on electoral reform.)

With a 3-way referendum, FPTP can be eliminated on the first ballot. It also has the benefit of providing a moving target. The business community and corporate media prefer dictatorships to democracy. (Notice that all free-market reforms have the goal of removing democratic influence over the economy.) So they will fiercely attack PR. With three systems on the table it makes it impossible to frame a false dichotomy: e.g., strong stable government vs. "legislative chaos" (Toronto Star.)

If PR makes it to the second ballot, let Canadians choose between MMP and STV. Again, this way provides a moving target. The media can't use the line: "we already have enough politicians" to attack MMP, because it's not THE option. But in all likeliness, it would be the chosen option.

Odds are Trudeau is going to win in 2015. He wants to return the Liberal party to its former glory and he needs fake 39% majorities to do it (and lines like "a vote for the NDP is a vote for Harper.") The only way to avoid certain disaster is to demand a proper referendum process to the citizens' assembly ahead of time. 

This is the best post I have ever read on this topic. Having 3 choices is a great idea.

Wilf Day

To answer the thread title: Justin Trudeau and 14 other Liberal MPs didn't vote for Craig Scott's motion, but 16 of them did!

MPs from 5 Parties said: “Yes! We want proportional representation too!"

Quote:
NDP, Bloc, Green and Forces et Démocratie MPs were joined by a majority of Liberals and Independents in voting in favour of implementing mixed member proportional representation for Canadians, after an impassioned and respectful debate. . . . Doug Bailie, president of Fair Vote Canada. ”We also congratulate three independent MPs, including Brent Rathgeber, for joining the multipartisan consensus. . . . We’re pleased that 16 Liberal MPs voted for the motion, but note that 15 did not. Hopefully, the Liberal caucus will continue to move towards Canadian public opinion that wants all votes to count.”

Craig Scott, NDP Electoral Reform Critic presented a motion to his colleagues that asked them to support a proportional representation system for Canada:

That, in the opinion of the House: (a) the next federal election should be the last conducted under the current first-past-the-post electoral system which has repeatedly delivered a majority of seats to parties supported by a minority of voters, or under any other winner-take-all electoral system; and (b) a form of mixed-member proportional representation would be the best electoral system for Canada.

While not included in the motion, Craig Scott stated the NDP position that “we would form a special all-party task force upon becoming government and then would legislate to a deadline that would produce a proportional-representation system of a mixed sort by 2019.”

Under the recommended system, everybody would have a local, directly accountable MP, and elected regional MPs to make sure that the voters for all parties are represented according to the popular vote.

Scott Simms, Liberal critic for Democratic Reform, despite expressing misgivings about the wording of the motion, said “if we are going to look at a form of proportional representation, the one the New Democrats are proposing is probably one of the more favourable ones.” He further said that, “The critic from the NDP pointed out inflated majorities, and I agree with him. Numbers such as gaining 41% of the vote but getting 60% of the seats are troubling to all Canadians, and they want to rectify that.”

Canadians want democracy and that is about working together to produce the strongest system that will provide fair, equal representation for ALL,” adds Fair Vote Canada’s Executive Director, Kelly Carmichael. “We encourage all MPs to continue the dialogue and build a system that puts constituents first.

MPs from five of six parties were able to come together and agree on electoral reform, and this is an important step in building consensus among all Canadians on how to fix our democracy.”


Liberal Yes votes: Joyce Murray, Stéphane Dion, Frank Valeriote, Carolyn Bennett, John McCallum, Ted Hsu, Mauril Bélanger, Scott Brison, Rodger Cuzner, Kirsty Duncan, Wayne Easter, Mark Eyking, Hedy Fry, David McGuinty, John McKay, Adam Vaughan (16).  
No votes: Justin Trudeau, Ralph Goodale, Dominic LeBlanc, Marc Garneau, Scott Simms, Gerry Byrne, Emmanuel Dubourg, Judy Foote, Chrystia Freeland, Yvonne Jones, Kevin Lamoureux, Lawrence MacAulay, Geoff Regan, Francis Scarpaleggia, Judy Sgro (15).

Back in 2003 the Liberal position on PR was ""it is premature to speak on what kind of process should be used to consult Canadians on voting reform, whether it be by referendum or otherwise, before there has been any kind of informed debate on this issue . . . The Law Reform Commission of Canada has also been examining the issue of voting reform as part of its study of governance over the last few years, but it will only publish its report in 2004." Fair enough.

They've had since 2004, but this Wednesday Scott Simms played ignorant about the Law Commission Report, which we know he read in July. Yet in Wednesday's debate he said "However, it has never really gotten to the point of fleshing it out in the public like this" and "I did not even know it was an open list until the debate started."  

And Simms cast about for distractions. "Someone said that the people of British Columbia also turned it down. Actually, they voted on something else, the single transferrable vote, which is a different system. Now we are talking about multi-member ridings, which is completely different." (Multi-member ridings?) "We deal with it by having an open discussion on how it has worked in other countries, even if we have to look at countries as far away as Djibouti, which has it." (Djibouti?) "Some people might want to start this process in the Senate to see how it works and how we would go about doing that."

"The system the NDP is proposing has a big element of first past the post, but also has that section that is done by proportional representation to allow smaller parties' representation. Fundamentally, that is not a bad thing, but we have to look at the fact that some things will change. Ridings get larger. Perhaps there are other ways of doing it. Perhaps multi-member ridings would work better for a proportional system in our country. This has to be discussed." (He is concerned about ridings 50% larger, but wants to look at even bigger multi-member ridings?)

Then there was Adam Vaughan, who knows more about PR than he let on in this debate. 

Michael Chong had made a comment "Let us say that 200 of those members of Parliament would be local members of Parliament representing local geographic districts across country. We would have another 100 members of Parliament who would be selected by the parties themselves, based on the percentage of the popular vote each party received in the general election." 

Adam Vaughan picks up on this and obfuscates: "I understand there are more details to the proportional representation proposal than are currently in the motion in front of us. For example, there is the list of 100 people. However, if majority rule is the problem that prevents accurate reflection of the general population inside the House, how would a list that does not set aside specific seats for a region over a national interest, or women over men, or perhaps even a selection from our aboriginal first nations people to make ensure their voice, like in New Zealand, is protected and heard inside the House, solve that problem?" "What is new today are the details of the proposition we are being asked to speak to and vote on in very detailed specifics, that being a list of 100." 

Then Adam Vaughan says "the challenge that we have is trying to understand exactly what the member means. She talks about the concern about lack of representation from certain groups. What we find is that the trade-off for that is massively bigger ridings." He even questions open lists. "The trouble with this is, if we have the voting system as described by the member, it would be extraordinarily difficult to prevent large money candidates from always topping that list." He prefers closed lists? Really? 

But in the end, he voted for Craig Scott's motion. Progress.

  

Wilf Day

White Cat wrote:
Earlier Trudeau said he was opposed to PR: "I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties." 

He said nothing in Wednesday's debate. That's likely because he's remembered the Law Commission PR model and the Jenkins-inspired PR model will elect every MP to represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities.

Pondering wrote:
I think a PR system risks splintering into a plethora of small special interest parties, possibly regional.

Umm, that would be what winner-take-all does. Exaggerated regional disparities. The Bloc got a bonus in its strongholds, Reform did in its. As Stéphane Dion says "I no longer want a voting system that gives the impression that certain parties have given up on Quebec, or on the West. On the contrary, the whole spectrum of parties, from Greens to Conservatives, must embrace all the regions of Canada. In each region, they must covet and be able to obtain seats proportionate to their actual support. This is the main reason why I recommend replacing our voting system."

 

Pages