Trudeau backs Proportional Representation?

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Rokossovsky

Wilf Day wrote:

Great article by Craig Scott:

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/the-case-for-mixed-member-proportional-representation/

Quote:
By voting for my motion, it seems at least half the current Liberal caucus now agrees with the NDP, even if Trudeau does not.

And that is a very good thing, because there would be nothing healthier for the future of Canada’s parliamentary democracy than to have the NDP, Greens and Liberals all clearly and irretrievably committed before the next election to implementing proportional representation after the election.

. . . in our current system, voters have a single vote that is supposed to integrate one’s preference for which person should be MP and also one’s preference of a party to support. These preferences do not always mesh, for many voters. Voters are frequently faced with the dilemma of voting for a less preferred local riding candidate in order to support their favoured party, or for a less preferred party in order to support someone whom they see as the best person to be MP.

In contrast and what’s very important is that, under German, Scottish or New Zealand mixed-member proportional representation, a citizen can vote for a local MP from one party (or for an Independent) with her first vote and choose a different party to support with her second vote. This ability to separate the party from the local riding candidate makes it easier for local MPs to receive the support of people of all political stripes and to be supported for their constituency-representation credentials, versus only for the party they happen to belong to. This increases the nature and degree of support MPs bring with them into the House of Commons, thus strengthening their independence vis-a-vis party positions the MP may strongly oppose.

Is this type of electoral reform on the radar of most Canadians? It is supported by 70% or more.

 

I like to see the NDP getting a lot of press for its policies these days. The opposition position and the strength of their core team just makes it so hard to ignore them.

The Orange Wave has changed things for good now, and the Liberals are making a very serious mistake in thinking they can just coast on Harper's bad blood and win as the only "alternative" and as the "natural governing party". That was Iggy's pitch, and he took a dive on it.

The NDP is just not going to roll up and disappear, and go down to 15% to 17% protest vote status. I just don't see it.

As well, win or lose these policy planks are helping set the agenda. Trudeau basically has to respond to the "Prop Rep" challenge here. He looked so goofy with that shit eating grin while the vote on Scott's motion was going down.

JKR

Rokossovsky wrote:

I just don't buy the view that proportional representation is going to radically alter governance outcomes. Understand I am being quite deliberate by saying "governance" outcomes, as opposed to "electoral" outcomes.

Initially there may be a slight shift, but these reforms are as likely to benefit the marginalize "radical" right, as the left. However these factions will generally be left out of centrist coalition, or made ineffectual, since they will have to perform in the context of a watered down governing coalition.

Israeli policy has marched consistently rightward, despitre proportional representation, and centrist coalitions ofen find themselves at the beck and call of more right wing elements, who hold the balance of power in the coalition.

There is a natural "ideological consensus" in any society, and prop rep doesn't change this fact.

So, from the point of view of parties that want to entrench and increase their power Prop Rep clearly has advantages, in terms of the parties representation, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the policy end of governance is going to change much.

Where prop rep probably succeeds where FPTP fails, in engaging citizens, because every vote counts, and a great number of excluded people in places like Alberta will have a reason to vote, for who they really want, not just as a strategic bid to outpace disaster from the other side.

Israel is a country where opinion has moved to the right so no electoral system can hide that. PR is not a system that favours the left. It simply accurately reflects the opinion of the voters. Something FPTP fails to do.

In election after election the NDP has historically been unfairly underrepresented. This lack of representation on the left has prevented left wing policies from being enacted. Policies such as day care and fairer taxes, and free trade. I think you would agree that the NDP's continual historic under representation has impacted Canada? If the LPC and CPC we're never able to govern with phoney majorities presumably Canada would be a different country?

Skinny Dipper

It doesn't matter how many Liberal MPs supported the proportional representation private member's bill.  It only mattered how Justin Trudeau voted.  His oppostion to the bill will show voters the kind of person he would be if he were to become the next prime minister.  He will likely to be as autocratic as Stephen Harper.  However, Trudeau will govern with a nice smile.  He won't appear cold like Stephen Harper.   Trudeau's oppostion to PR and his willingness to appoint people to run as candidates are things that the NDP can play up in the next election campaign.

nicky

Although proportional representaton may not be high in the public discourse a lot of people I talk to about politics lament that the NDP and Liberals have not found a way to cooperate to oust Harper.

Whether the Liberals can be trusted is a major issue for me but  less so for those eager to see the back of Harper. 

As has been pointed out above, there was considerable support for the coalition by early 2009 and Ignatieff's categoric rejection of a possible coalition in 2011 was a significant factor in his demise. 

PR may be similar. It can be presented as a system that will make it unlikely for a hard right ideologue ever to get a majority in Parliament, particularly with only 39% of the vote. It can be presented as a system that instead leads to cooperation and consensus.

And it can also be sold as ensuring greater representation for the Greens (one of its chief negatives IMO)

Trudeau of course wants all the marbles which is why he opposes PR. He may be missing the public mood just as did Ignatieff.

mark_alfred

The problem of voter apathy is what is sought to be addressed by electoral reform.  And apathy is caused by the lack of proportion in votes cast for a party vs. seats won for a party (IE, the Greens get 5% of the vote but only 0.3% of the seats).  Why vote if your vote goes nowhere?  So, obviously the solution is proportional representation.  But also obviously the idea is to engage the public to counter the apathy.  The NDP policy book takes this into account [note 5.2(b) below]:

NDP Policy Book wrote:
5.2
Renewing Canadian democracy
New Democrats believe in:
a  Reforming Canada’s electoral system through mixed member proportional representation.
b  Ensuring electoral reform is based on a transparent process with wide citizen involvement.

Brachina

 Which means Dion's work is for nothing if Trudeau as leader opposes it.

mark_alfred

Brachina wrote:

 Which means Dion's work is for nothing if Trudeau as leader opposes it.

I suspect that's accurate.  Here's an article on the Fair Vote website, Liberal Party democratic reform critic Scott Simms and five Conservative MPs voted to defeat May’s motion, that gives evidence for it:

Quote:

Liberal Party of Canada Democratic Reform critic, Scott Simms, voted against an amendment to the Fair Elections Act that would have implemented Liberal Party policy.

“Liberal members voted for a study of electoral reform options including proportional representation at their policy convention in February.  Also, the Liberal caucus made democratic reform, including a study of proportional representation, its top policy priority in December 2013.  “We do not understand how Mr. Simms can ignore both Liberal members and the Liberal caucus by voting against such a study in a House of Commons committee,” said Fair Vote Canada president Doug Bailie.

So, the Liberals own critic of Democratic Reform, in committee, voted against the spirit of the Liberal's own ratified resolution.  Certainly it's more evidence that Trudeau's Liberals have no intention of any realistic electoral reform.

mark_alfred

Interesting to see how the Liberals approach this.  In 2012 they passed a resolution that rejected proportional representation and instead advocated preferential balloting.  Their updated resolution of 2014 is less definitive but is open to proportional representation (which is good, but it still also clings to preferential balloting as an option).  I remember some Liberal posters here at Babble in 2012 who argued that preferential balloting was a good start, feeling that actual PR was not saleable to the public at large.  Ironically, Stephane Dion in 2012 made the same argument about Liberal Party members:

Stephane Dion wrote:
If a resolution for proportional representation had been tabled at the last January 2012 Liberal Party biennial convention, the delegates would have rejected it. I have no doubt about that. In fact, it is quite an achievement that the delegates agreed to amend the First Past the Post system by adding preferential voting, also called “alternative voting”. It does not go far enough, but now that the Liberal Party has a foot in electoral reform, the debate should be more promising.

So, Stephane Dion is slowly getting Liberal party members to see the light.  Alas, seems Trudeau, the dim-wit who currently leads them, still hasn't woken up.

mark_alfred

I hope you're right Wilf.  The more who get on board the better.  Still, I'm puzzled why he would delay in the first place.  Doesn't strike me as helpful to the cause.

Brachina

 I agree Trudeau isn't stupid, but I do believe he is unwise.

Rokossovsky

His naughty boy, shit eating grin during the vote on MMP, summed up my impression of him.

White Cat White Cat's picture

mark_alfred wrote:

Brachina wrote:

 Which means Dion's work is for nothing if Trudeau as leader opposes it.

I suspect that's accurate.  Here's an article on the Fair Vote website, Liberal Party democratic reform critic Scott Simms and five Conservative MPs voted to defeat May’s motion, that gives evidence for it:

Quote:

Liberal Party of Canada Democratic Reform critic, Scott Simms, voted against an amendment to the Fair Elections Act that would have implemented Liberal Party policy.

“Liberal members voted for a study of electoral reform options including proportional representation at their policy convention in February.  Also, the Liberal caucus made democratic reform, including a study of proportional representation, its top policy priority in December 2013.  “We do not understand how Mr. Simms can ignore both Liberal members and the Liberal caucus by voting against such a study in a House of Commons committee,” said Fair Vote Canada president Doug Bailie.

So, the Liberals own critic of Democratic Reform, in committee, voted against the spirit of the Liberal's own ratified resolution.  Certainly it's more evidence that Trudeau's Liberals have no intention of any realistic electoral reform.

I'm no fan of Trudeau. But one: he isn't dictating electoral reform policy. He allowed a free vote. And he will bring about some kind of referendum for Canadians to vote on. (Could be a designed-to-fail referendum to kill PR and cement FPTP in place, like Liberal leaders did in ON, BC & PEI.)

Two: The spirit of Resolution 31 is to have a year-long citizens' assembly make an informed recommendation on electoral reform including, without limitation, preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation. It is not to force PR on Canadians without their say.

The more zealous of PR supporters can't fathom how anyone would support "winner-take-all" preferential ballot. But the Liberals voted for this by 70% at their 2012 convention and many Canadians believe (rightly or wrongly) it is the moderate choice.

The more PR supporters crusade for their cause, the more they will descredit themselves in the public eye -- and their are many fierce enemies of PR including the business community and the corporate media (especially the Toronto Star.)

Look at Rick Salutin, who sold his soul for a paycheck from TorStar corporation. This self-proclaimed pope of the Left was once on the advisory board of Fair Vote, but now writes against PR. (LOL, FVC still has his name up...)

 

 

Rokossovsky

White Cat wrote:

The more PR supporters crusade for their cause, the more they will descredit themselves in the public eye -- and their are many fierce enemies of PR including the business community and the corporate media (especially the Toronto Star.)

Don't understand what you mean here....

White Cat White Cat's picture

Rokossovsky wrote:

I just don't buy the view that proportional representation is going to radically alter governance outcomes. Understand I am being quite deliberate by saying "governance" outcomes, as opposed to "electoral" outcomes.

Actually, over the past 30 years we've had successive federal governments that moved further and further to the right with a neoliberal agenda the people didn't vote for. That includes the Chretien Liberals who won half the NDP vote, but instead represented the Progressive Conservatives.

So once the minority party dictatorships are put to an end, with either PR or Ranked Ballot Voting, there will be a significant difference in the path government takes. It doesn't have to be revolutionary. But we need to move back to the center instead of further away from it -- Trudeau Jr. being the most right-wing Liberal leader yet.

 

Rokossovsky

White Cat wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

I just don't buy the view that proportional representation is going to radically alter governance outcomes. Understand I am being quite deliberate by saying "governance" outcomes, as opposed to "electoral" outcomes.

Actually, over the past 30 years we've had successive federal governments that moved further and further to the right with a neoliberal agenda the people didn't vote for. That includes the Chretien Liberals who won half the NDP vote, but instead represented the Progressive Conservatives.

So once the minority party dictatorships are put to an end, with either PR or Ranked Ballot Voting, there will be a significant difference in the path government takes. It doesn't have to be revolutionary. But we need to move back to the center instead of further away from it -- Trudeau Jr. being the most right-wing Liberal leader yet.

 

The reason that I disagree on this point, is by simple fact of how "consensus" works in governance. Yes, while it is the case that minority voices might have more electoral success, but when you start looking at "big tent" coalition politics, you see that the process of watering down of positions simply shifts from the internal mechanism of the "big tent" party aparatus, into the outward mechanism of "big tent" coalition politics.

Note, for example that PR does not shift Israeli politics to the left, since the PR principle gives the more right wing elements more elected officers as well.

A good example of what I am saying happens to the Green Party of Germany when it first entered a big tent coalition with the SDP to form governement in the 90s. You may remember that this was the time when NATO, and particularly Germany, was trying to determine if it should itnervene in the Balkans conflict. Pacifist Greens strenuously objected to having the Bundeswehr in active combat duty beyond the borders of Germany, and were forced to resign from the coalition, splitting the Green Party -- other Green Party reps stayed, and ended up supporting NATO action.

Either way, the troops were still deployed.

My focus is on governance outcomes, not electoral "fairness".

 

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

White Cat wrote:

The more PR supporters crusade for their cause, the more they will descredit themselves in the public eye -- and their are many fierce enemies of PR including the business community and the corporate media (especially the Toronto Star.)

Don't understand what you mean here....

I don't know what White Cat meant but I find a hard sell off-putting. I don't like being told something is my only choice or that I am undemocratic if I don't choose it, or not educated enough etc.

I also find the attacks off-putting and I am sure other people who consider voting Liberal will also find it offensive when they realize it is a misrepresentation of his position.

Trudeau seems unbothered by a system that allows a party to receive far less than 50 per cent of the popular vote but be rewarded with well over 50 per cent of the seats in the House, e.g., when the Conservatives’ 39.5 per cent of the popular vote in the 2011 general election translated into what we call a “false majority” of 54 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons.

Pasted from <http://www.macleans.ca/politics/the-case-for-mixed-member-proportional-representation/>

If Trudeau pulls this kind of shit I will criticize him for it too. I am really over this style of politics. The NDP should focus on presenting it's own views.

n arguing for my motion in the House, I said to Liberal MPs that we were extending our hand to achieve agreement on proportional representation—in concrete, implementable terms—before the next election. The Liberal party’s “position” that it will merely study proportional representation—and, even then, only do so after the next election—is simply not good enough, I argued......

And that is a very good thing, because there would be nothing healthier for the future of Canada’s parliamentary democracy than to have the NDP, Greens and Liberals all clearly and irretrievably committed before the next election to implementing proportional representation after the election.

No that is not a good thing. How about not agreeing to implement it until after Canadians are informed and have an opportunity to express an opinion. I don't care to have it all arranged by the parties in advance and simply announced as a done deal.

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Rokossovsky wrote:

My focus is on governance outcomes, not electoral "fairness".

Your examples seem like the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. 29 of 24 developed countries use PR, not all of them are Israel. In fact, PR is more stable than FPTP (because of short-lived minority governments which is like the election campaign going into 'overtime' as partisans jockey for the swing vote rather than govern.)

Federally, we've had ridiculous governance outcomes for the past 30 years at least. One government represented an actual majority of voters.

Our current system favors polarizing politics and all the power being concentrated in the hands of a MINORITY party leader. You can't polish a turd. If you want democratic reform, you first need democracy. (Awarding absolute corrupt power to a minority party and shutting the actual majority out of government is the literal opposite of democracy.)

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

White Cat wrote:

The more PR supporters crusade for their cause, the more they will descredit themselves in the public eye -- and their are many fierce enemies of PR including the business community and the corporate media (especially the Toronto Star.)

Don't understand what you mean here....

I don't know what White Cat meant but I find a hard sell off-putting. I don't like being told something is my only choice or that I am undemocratic if I don't choose it, or not educated enough etc.

I also find the attacks off-putting and I am sure other people who consider voting Liberal will also find it offensive when they realize it is a misrepresentation of his position.

I consider myself a moderate PR supporter. In my view, PR is the best system. But that doesn't mean I want to force my beliefs on others.

I can definitely live with Preferential Ballot if that's what Canadians choose. But what I really don't like is how many PR supporters are against Canadians having a choice. That seems revolutionary to me. And if Canadians are anything, they are not revolutionaries. So this approach is self-defeating, which is probably why the whole electoral reform issue is going nowhere fast after a decade plus of efforts to raise awareness.

I'm going to vote NDP or Green in the next election. But I'm not under the impression that the tail wags the dog. Electoral reformers (of all stripes) are a small minority of Canadians. The only chance of getting something done is to have a moderate debate that is respectful of people's opinions. That will give everyone a chance to make their case and build momentum so everyone has a stake in it. 

It's ironic that democratic reformers are opposed to the democratic process. But they are just kidding themselves. They will not get the chance to skirt democracy. A referendum is coming. The only issue now is what kind of referendum it will be. Will it be another shallow ploy to kill PR? Or will it be something Canadians can take seriously? 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

nicky wrote:

Pondering the purpose was to expose Justin as not being a progressive on the issue of electoral reform. It succeeded brilliantly in showing his essential conservatism.

A) Not being willing to commit to PR does not mean someone is non-progressive on electoral reform.

There are many people I've come across who consider themselves progressive yet support Preferential Ballot voting. One will get farther convincing them how PR is better, not how they are supposedly wrong. (Most Canadians consider themselves open-minded...)

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

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.

Thanks. I think most Canadians would prefer a referendum that let people have their say. Having a 2-way referendum is like having a democratic election where the NDP and Green parties are lopped off the ballot. It's not real democracy. 

Pondering

White Cat wrote:
I consider myself a moderate PR supporter. In my view, PR is the best system. But that doesn't mean I want to force my beliefs on others.

I can definitely live with Preferential Ballot if that's what Canadians choose. But what I really don't like is how many PR supporters are against Canadians having a choice. That seems revolutionary to me. And if Canadians are anything, they are not revolutionaries. So this approach is self-defeating, which is probably why the whole electoral reform issue is going nowhere fast after a decade plus of efforts to raise awareness.

I'm going to vote NDP or Green in the next election. But I'm not under the impression that the tail wags the dog. Electoral reformers (of all stripes) are a small minority of Canadians. The only chance of getting something done is to have a moderate debate that is respectful of people's opinions. That will give everyone a chance to make their case and build momentum so everyone has a stake in it. 

It's ironic that democratic reformers are opposed to the democratic process. But they are just kidding themselves. They will not get the chance to skirt democracy. A referendum is coming. The only issue now is what kind of referendum it will be. Will it be another shallow ploy to kill PR? Or will it be something Canadians can take seriously?

The way I understood MMP was that we still got just one vote, but that after the votes were counted X number of seats would be distributed as per the popular vote.

That isn't how the NDP has explained it. They are saying each person gets 2 votes, one for a local MP, and a second vote for a party. That's a bit more confusing. Doesn't that mean I could cancel out my own vote in a sense? My concern is ending up with a bunch of smaller parties making deals with each other that are in the best interests of minorities.

I want proper debate on all of this. I want a more fleshed out description of what is being suggested, a draft outline at least, and I want to read endless editorials about it. This is way more important than a federal minimum wage or even national daycare. The two vote system sounds interesting. I at least want the respect of having it sold to me.

White Cat White Cat's picture

JKR wrote:

I think open-list MMP would have been able to pass in the referendums in Ontario and BC.

I think open-list MMP is a great idea. But I don't remember this being an issue duing the Ontario referendum.

One big issue was the low 3% threshold. That painted a big target on the system (MMP) that both the Toronto Star and Rick Mercer went to town with. (Need at least 4% to make it 'fringe' free.)

I think the citizens' assembly should design a form of MMP and STV. Then these options should be included in the referendum. Have a 3-way referendum with a runoff vote: FPTP, PR, Preferential Ballot. Then if PR makes it to the final round, include the MMP and STV options which the citizens' assembly has designed.

Two PR options will make it harder for the opponents to attack and will be more inclusive. (Many PR supporters favor STV. It is the favored PR system in the UK.)

RMR - Everything you wanted to know about voting reform but weren't interested enough to ask

Toronto Star - fiercely against voting reform and real democracy 

 

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

You are off on this again. That is very silly. An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

Rokossovsky

Thanks for you explanation.

White Cat wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

My focus is on governance outcomes, not electoral "fairness".

Your examples seem like the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself. 29 of 24 developed countries use PR, not all of them are Israel. In fact, PR is more stable than FPTP (because of short-lived minority governments which is like the election campaign going into 'overtime' as partisans jockey for the swing vote rather than govern.)

Federally, we've had ridiculous governance outcomes for the past 30 years at least. One government represented an actual majority of voters.

Our current system favors polarizing politics and all the power being concentrated in the hands of a MINORITY party leader. You can't polish a turd. If you want democratic reform, you first need democracy. (Awarding absolute corrupt power to a minority party and shutting the actual majority out of government is the literal opposite of democracy.)

I didn't say it was less stable.

The problem I am having with your assumption is that you seem to feel that the party structures will remain intact because they are ideologically cohesive, when in reality the parties are themselves based in relationships of convenience. If you look at the PR system in action in Germany for example, we see that rather than having the rump left faction as a disgruntled wing of the NDP, Die Linke, operates independently as a defacto rump left in the Bundestag itself. That is good, I guess, however that does not mean they have any more impact on governance outcomes than the "Socialist Caucus" of the NDP.

In fact, governments in the PR system are almost always led by parties led by a "MINORITY party leader", it is just that they form government by founding a coalition based on some kind of accord with smaller factions, of which there are more.

The 2013 result held the CDU/CSU faction of Merkel down to 311 seats, with the SPD, Die Linke, and the Greens combining for 325 seats.

In fact Merkel's coalition won the election and has maintained government with only 41% of the vote share, only slightly more than the 39% of the vote share taken by Stephen Harper's Conservative Party in 2011.

Again, there is a difference between the "electoral outcomes" and "governance outcomes", which should be observed.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

The way I understood MMP was that we still got just one vote, but that after the votes were counted X number of seats would be distributed as per the popular vote.

That isn't how the NDP has explained it. They are saying each person gets 2 votes, one for a local MP, and a second vote for a party. That's a bit more confusing. Doesn't that mean I could cancel out my own vote in a sense? My concern is ending up with a bunch of smaller parties making deals with each other that are in the best interests of minorities.

I want proper debate on all of this. I want a more fleshed out description of what is being suggested, a draft outline at least, and I want to read endless editorials about it. This is way more important than a federal minimum wage or even national daycare. The two vote system sounds interesting. I at least want the respect of having it sold to me.

MMP is a combination of Party List PR and our present Westminster-style system. Most MPs are elected in the normal way (but should be elected with Preferential Ballot rather than arbitrary FPTP to ensure they have majority support.) Then a number of Party List PR seats are awarded to parties that come up short to ensure all parties get the same percentage of seats they got in the vote. 

That's why there are two votes: one for a local MP; another for a party.

(With Party List PR, parties show which candidates are in the running before the election. Then they assign the candidates to seats they won after the election. With open-list PR, voters determine which candidates get seats by ranking them on the ballot.)

Party List PR and MMP have thresholds -- which is the minimum amount of vote a party must get before receiving any seats. Countries like Germany and New Zealand have a 5% threshold. For political reasons (rhetorical attacks against the system,) the designers of the MMP system (citizens' assembly) should not make the threshold lower than 4%. (It can always be made lower at a later time.)

Pondering wrote:

The way I understood MMP was that we still got just one vote, but that after the votes were counted X number of seats would be distributed as per the popular vote.

That isn't how the NDP has explained it. They are saying each person gets 2 votes, one for a local MP, and a second vote for a party. That's a bit more confusing. Doesn't that mean I could cancel out my own vote in a sense? My concern is ending up with a bunch of smaller parties making deals with each other that are in the best interests of minorities.

I want proper debate on all of this. I want a more fleshed out description of what is being suggested, a draft outline at least, and I want to read endless editorials about it. This is way more important than a federal minimum wage or even national daycare. The two vote system sounds interesting. I at least want the respect of having it sold to me.

 

Agreed. But the corporate media is opposed to electoral reform. They can better control minority party dictatorships than democratic government. So they tend to either bury the issue or attack it.  (Note Craig Scott's MMP bill was only reported by the CBC, HuffPo and Maclean's.)

Therefore the social media will have to pick up the slack, especially on the campaigning end, which they should start immediately.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Rokossovsky wrote:

The problem I am having with your assumption is that you seem to feel that the party structures will remain intact because they are ideologically cohesive, when in reality the parties are themselves based in relationships of convenience. If you look at the PR system in action in Germany for example, we see that rather than having the rump left faction as a disgruntled wing of the NDP, Die Linke, operates independently as a defacto rump left in the Bundestag itself. That is good, I guess, however that does not mean they have any more impact on governance outcomes than the "Socialist Caucus" of the NDP.

In fact, governments in the PR system are almost always led by parties led by a "MINORITY party leader", it is just that they form government by founding a coalition based on some kind of accord with smaller factions, of which there are more.

The 2013 result held the CDU/CSU faction of Merkel down to 311 seats, with the SPD, Die Linke, and the Greens combining for 325 seats.

In fact Merkel's coalition won the election and has maintained government with only 41% of the vote share, only slightly more than the 39% of the vote share taken by Stephen Harper's Conservative Party in 2011.

Again, there is a difference between the "electoral outcomes" and "governance outcomes", which should be observed.

Yes a loose coalition made up of a number of parties is unstable. (Plus Die Linke - The Left - is fairly radical and hard to work with.) But notice how they negotiated a grand coalition between the two main parites without the kind of nonsense we see in Canada during a minority situation.

So what is the electoral outcome? The main right-leaning party (CDU/CSU) is left of the Liberal party in Canada. The main left-leaning party is the equivalent of Canada's NDP. So now these two parties are working together (as they did two elections back) and will serve out a full 4-year term without any partisan jockeying and politicking we always see in Canada in a minority situation. They make compromises and govern.

Germany also has the strongest Western economy. The greenest economy. They have free university tuition and a number of other public benefits that put us to shame. Much lower inequality. The unions are highly organized and have a big influence over wages and benefits. Their democracy works well and it works in the interest of the people.

Our sham of a democracy works only for corporations and the rich. The Just Society built up in the post-war era by the Liberals and NDP is being torn down brick by brick. We have the lowest corporate taxes on the planet.

I would much rather have their conservative minority government than the fake majority Neo-Con and Neo-Liberal governments we've had over the past 30 years that rarely represent the people. (We have the worst green record. We rank #24 in social spending. We rank #9 in lowest tax revenues. Both the Neo-Cons and Neo-Liberals support big cuts to UI benefits on the ideological basis it makes workers lazy and unwilling to look for work.) 

It's a matter of garbage in, garbage out. The first step to making government work, is a modern democratic voting system. PR would work the best. But Preferential Ballot will give us a lot to work with. Under FPTP, the polarizing nation of the politics (because a small swing in vote results in a big swing in seats) will always revert to its old nasty ways regardless of any politician's attempts to reform it.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Rokossovsky wrote:

An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

That's only partially true. If the NDP wins a false majority and claims false majorities are illegimate, do they really have a mandate to change the voting system? There will be a huge outcry from the corporate media and opposition parties (Liberals, Cons.)

So if they get through that, we must remember that Canada is not a democracy, it's an aristocracy. Around the time Abraham Lincoln drafted the Ghettysburg Address, our fathers of confederation said that democracy was too wild to be left to its own devices. We need a chamber of upper-class aristocrats to keep a lid on democracy. Call it second sober thought...

Given the Senate has equal powers to the House of Commons, it can block a PR bill, or demand that a referendum be held.

So you might as well buy a lottery ticket. Because odds are better of becoming a multi-millionare than seeing PR passed without a referendum. And then you'll be rich and won't care about the little people. (J/k)

Rokossovsky

I think that we are seeing precisely the kind of nonsense in Germany now that we saw under the previous two Conservative minorities. A centrist SDP (remember this is the same party that produced Schroeder's "third way" w/ Tony Blair), refuses the kind of concession that it would have to make to the Green Party and Die Linke to form government, just as the Liberals refused to form government with the NDP in 2008. The fact that they were able to form "coalition" with the Christian Democrats does not detract from my observation that the SDP is actually the "Liberal Party of Germany", and one that would rather reject the left, than defeat the right, and hope for better fortunes in the next election.

Objective factors about the German economy are valid, but then too, Germany holds an entirely different position in the European economy, than Canada does in North America and so we are comparing apples and oranges. Your subjective assertions about the relative "rightwardness" or "leftwardness" of the CDU, and the SDP are subjective assesments.

Schroeder? The "THird way"? Left wing?

And again, observe the fact, the SDP are letting Merkel govern with more or less the same vote share as Stephen Harper's government in the last Canadian government. I think you would be surprised a how often this occurs in PR based government systems.

I am not opposed to PR, but I really don't think it changes governance outcomes as much as people would like. Where it definitely excells is increasing voter turnout, since there are no dead zones, such as Alberta for the NDP.

Rokossovsky

White Cat wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

That's only partially true. If the NDP wins a false majority and claims false majorities are illegimate, do they really have a mandate to change the voting system? There will be a huge outcry from the corporate media and opposition parties (Liberals, Cons.)

Of course they do. The system of representative democracy is NEVER perfect democracy. I can certainly imagine far more democratic systems, but the bottom line is that deficiencies in the democratic process does not make it "undemocratic", it just means it is flawed.

Pondering

I fear we could end up with an Alberta party, a Quebec party, an Ontario party, B.C. party, Atlantic Canada party, etc. Maybe it could also require parties have a minimum of support in all provinces?

Rokossovsky

Not quite like that, but Merkel's faction in Germany has a Bavarian faction, and a national faction. But what is to fear about that anyway?

JKR

Pondering wrote:

I fear we could end up with an Alberta party, a Quebec party, an Ontario party, B.C. party, Atlantic Canada party, etc. Maybe it could also require parties have a minimum of support in all provinces?

The regionalization of politics is a problem. Here in Canada we have much more of a problem with the regionalization of politics than they do in the countries that use p.r. Here in Canada, because of FPTP, the Conservatives have artificially become the party of Alberta and Western Canada; the Liberals have artificially become the party of Ontario and the Maritimes; and the NDP have artificially become the party of Quebec. Our parties in Canada have been artificially regionalized by FPTP because of the phoney FPTP majorities they win in certain regions and because FPTP artificially under-represents them in other regions where they have significant support. In contrast, artificial regionalization of parties does not occur in the many countries that use p.r.

Looking at things objectively it is easy to see that the MMP electoral systems in places like Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales, perform much better than the FPTP systems in multi-party countries like Canada, the UK, and India. Germany, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales, never have governments that represent just 39% of the voters.

History has shown us that whenever a FPTP system becomes a multi-party system, FPTP breaks down and there are only two options to rectify this problem. 1 - replace FPTP or 2 - eliminate political parties. The NDP, LPC, Greens, and BQ, don't like the second option, so they are all supporting the first option of replacing FPTP.

Rokossovsky

Germany's government represents 41% of the voters, not much better than our present government here.

nicky

Germany is actually a coalition between the Christain democrats and the Social Democrats. Together they have about 70% of the electorate.

Rokossovsky

How is that a great deal different than the Liberals propping up the Conservatives between 2006 and 2011 by failure to oppose? SPD see Die Linke and Greens, as their main enemy, not CSU. In reality, even if the Conservatives appeared to be in minority alone, the Liberals, who were holding the balance of power, unudermined the ability of the Conservatives to "go too far", and acted as a "silent" break on Stephen Harper's more radical ambitions.

Again my focus is on the governance outcomes.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Rokossovsky wrote:

How is that a great deal different than the Liberals propping up the Conservatives between 2006 and 2011 by failure to oppose? SPD see Die Linke and Greens, as their main enemy, not CSU. In reality, even if the Conservatives appeared to be in minority alone, the Liberals, who were holding the balance of power, unudermined the ability of the Conservatives to "go too far", and acted as a "silent" break on Stephen Harper's more radical ambitions.

Again my focus is on the governance outcomes.

In the case of Germany, the 2 parties in the grand coalition had to negotiate agreed policies. Thus, if these policies turned out to be very unpopular, both of them would have had to take the blame. In the Canadian case, the Liberals allowed the Conservatives to enact their agenda while pretending to oppose most of it. Contrary to your opinion, I don't think the Liberals undermined the ability of the Conservatives to "go too far" at all. On the contrary, by allowing their bills to pass when they could have defeated them, the Libs provided the Cons with ideological cover.

Now, most of this was because the Liberals were in dire fear of the results of a new election. If there had been PR, that fear would have been much less, because a few percentage points of votes would not have made the difference between a minority and a majority. It is the threat (and seductive promise) of a false majority that is the largest distorting factor in FPTP politics. Take that away, and there is nothing left to justify failure to negotiate in good faith with the other parties.

No one can predict what the "governance outcomes" of any particular electoral system will be. What can be said is that FPTP provides motivation against reasonable compromise and in favour of grandstanding and demagoguery.

Brachina

 I don't support PR in the hopes of gaming the system, I support it in the hopes more Canadian like me will a vote that matters weather or not those people agree with my political views.

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

You are off on this again. That is very silly. An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

I said this should be an NDP platform plank not a motion. There is nothing about it on the front page of the NDP website although they do highlight the 15$ federal minimum wage.

It is mentioned in one sentence on page 22 of the policy book without explanation. If that is how far they are going to promote this to Canada then no they do not have a mandate to go ahead if they are elected.

The NDPs platform rollout has been lame. If they are serious about this it should have been the first plank out, it should still be the flagship. After a decade of Harper there will never be a better time to promote PR but the NDP is giving it the same or less weight than the 15$ federal minimum wage and much less weight than daycare.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Brachina wrote:

 I don't support PR in the hopes of gaming the system, I support it in the hopes more Canadian like me will a vote that matters weather or not those people agree with my political views.

Well said. The important thing for a believer in democracy is that the system truly reflects the opinions of the voters, not that any particular type of opinion is given an advantage. Belief in democracy transcends any normal political principle for me, in that I can accept a decision of my fellow citizens with good grace as long as I know that it is their decision, and not that of the oligarchs.

White Cat White Cat's picture

Brachina wrote:

 I don't support PR in the hopes of gaming the system, I support it in the hopes more Canadian like me will a vote that matters weather or not those people agree with my political views.

It seems to me the PR supporters most adamant about forcing PR on Canadians without giving them a choice or the option to vote for Preferential Ballot are NDP and Green party supporters. This is because they believe PR will give them the most power. They are also strongly opposed to PB because they assume it will give the Liberals the most power. (Which is not actually true.)

Liberal party members seem to be the most moderate on electoral reform. They voted in support of PB by 70% at their 2012 convention. Half of Liberal MPs supported the NDP PR private bill last week.

Conservatives like Harper were once strongly opposed to FPTP when the right-wing parties were split. Now that Harper is the not-so-benign dictator, Cons proudly support FPTP.

Then there are the plutocrats who own the media in Canada. They are strongly opposed to democracy and, by implication, electoral reform.

So it would appear most groups are trying to game the system.

That's why democracy is the best way to determine our voting system. Take the decision out of the hands of special interests and let Canadians decide. 

 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Pondering wrote:

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

I said this should be an NDP platform plank not a motion. There is nothing about it on the front page of the NDP website although they do highlight the 15$ federal minimum wage.

It is mentioned in one sentence on page 22 of the policy book without explanation. If that is how far they are going to promote this to Canada then no they do not have a mandate to go ahead if they are elected.

The NDPs platform rollout has been lame. If they are serious about this it should have been the first plank out, it should still be the flagship. After a decade of Harper there will never be a better time to promote PR but the NDP is giving it the same or less weight than the 15$ federal minimum wage and much less weight than daycare.

I've often wondered why the NDP is not making PR a major plank. After all, Harper is the poster boy for electoral reform. They should've made this the number one issue from the start, to build momentum for change.

That makes me wonder if Mulcair is really serious about PR. For instance, the NDP has held majorities in most provinces, but none have PR. Why? Because their leaders would rather go for absolute power on 39% of the vote than share power in a coalition government.

The only party to embrace electoral reform in government is the Liberal party. Of course, they are more interested in getting votes than representing the people who voted for them. That's why they put up roadblocks to PR referendums that would ensure their failure (like a 60% win threshold.)

So on the off chance Mulcair wins a majority, would he ditch PR hoping to put together a string of FPTP fake majorities? His approach to PR seems to be the same as the corporate media's: downplay it and hope it goes away. 

White Cat White Cat's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Brachina wrote:

 I don't support PR in the hopes of gaming the system, I support it in the hopes more Canadian like me will a vote that matters weather or not those people agree with my political views.

Well said. The important thing for a believer in democracy is that the system truly reflects the opinions of the voters, not that any particular type of opinion is given an advantage. Belief in democracy transcends any normal political principle for me, in that I can accept a decision of my fellow citizens with good grace as long as I know that it is their decision, and not that of the oligarchs.

Interesting how PR supporters are true-believers in the opinion of voters except when it comes to deciding what kind of democracy is best for them. Then it's "father knows best". 

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

You are off on this again. That is very silly. An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

You are being disingenuous and silly. The fact that there is no "socialist" mainstream party is not an infringement upon the rights of Canadians, or undemocratic. It is up to socialists to form such a party, the fact that all of the main parties agree on policy is in no way "undemocratic".

There are all kinds of things that the mainstream parties agree upon, such as the existence of a National Health Care program (at least officially).

That doesn't leave Canadians "without a choice".

Pondering

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

You are off on this again. That is very silly. An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

You are being disingenuous and silly. The fact that there is no "socialist" mainstream party is not an infringement upon the rights of Canadians, or undemocratic. It is up to socialists for form such a party, the fact that none of the main parties agree on policy in no way "undemocratic".

There are all kinds of things that the mainstream parties agree upon, such as the existence of a National Health Care program (at least officiall).

That doesn't leave Canadians "without a choice".

What the heck are you talking about? I didn't say anything about socialism. The parties did not all agree on medicare before it was instituted. They all support it now because Canadians wouldn't elect anyone who wasn't. Most Canadians don't even know about MMP. It is silly to compare that to agreement over medicare.

You don't seem to have much confidence in the argument for MMP.

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

White Cat wrote:

Interesting how PR supporters are true-believers in the opinion of voters except when it comes to deciding what kind of democracy is best for them. Then it's "father knows best". 

It isn't a one-way ticket. If the voters are truly unsatisfied with PR, then, because of the very nature of PR, they can easily elect a majority of MPs who will promise to repeal it, and return to the "good old days" of FPTP.

Rokossovsky

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

Rokossovsky wrote:

Pondering wrote:

There is no indication at all that the NDP considers consulting Canadians a first step nor holding a referendum of any sort.

You are off on this again. That is very silly. An election is a referendum on the policy package of any party. If the NDP runs on a clear policy of implementing MMP, and wins, then they have a mandate, cleary.

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

You are being disingenuous and silly. The fact that there is no "socialist" mainstream party is not an infringement upon the rights of Canadians, or undemocratic. It is up to socialists for form such a party, the fact that none of the main parties agree on policy in no way "undemocratic".

There are all kinds of things that the mainstream parties agree upon, such as the existence of a National Health Care program (at least officiall).

That doesn't leave Canadians "without a choice".

What the heck are you talking about? I didn't say anything about socialism. The parties did not all agree on medicare before it was instituted. They all support it now because Canadians wouldn't elect anyone who wasn't. Most Canadians don't even know about MMP. It is silly to compare that to agreement over medicare.

You don't seem to have much confidence in the argument for MMP.

You are saying that its undemocratic for all parties to agree. What if they all agree? They should pretend not to agree just to satisfy your standard for "democracy"?

Agreement on policy is not "undemocratic".

That is exactly my point about "socialism". Is it undemocratic that Canadians don't have a "socialist" party to vote for, or not, because none of the sitting parties in parliament advocate for it?

janfromthebruce

White Cat wrote:

Pondering wrote:

The NDP motion called on ALL the parties to commit to MPP. That is what I am saying would be undemocratic because it would leave Canadians without a choice.

I said this should be an NDP platform plank not a motion. There is nothing about it on the front page of the NDP website although they do highlight the 15$ federal minimum wage.

It is mentioned in one sentence on page 22 of the policy book without explanation. If that is how far they are going to promote this to Canada then no they do not have a mandate to go ahead if they are elected.

The NDPs platform rollout has been lame. If they are serious about this it should have been the first plank out, it should still be the flagship. After a decade of Harper there will never be a better time to promote PR but the NDP is giving it the same or less weight than the 15$ federal minimum wage and much less weight than daycare.

I've often wondered why the NDP is not making PR a major plank. After all, Harper is the poster boy for electoral reform. They should've made this the number one issue from the start, to build momentum for change.

That makes me wonder if Mulcair is really serious about PR. For instance, the NDP has held majorities in most provinces, but none have PR. Why? Because their leaders would rather go for absolute power on 39% of the vote than share power in a coalition government.

The only party to embrace electoral reform in government is the Liberal party. Of course, they are more interested in getting votes than representing the people who voted for them. That's why they put up roadblocks to PR referendums that would ensure their failure (like a 60% win threshold.)

So on the off chance Mulcair wins a majority, would he ditch PR hoping to put together a string of FPTP fake majorities? His approach to PR seems to be the same as the corporate media's: downplay it and hope it goes away. 

PR has been a long time Federal NDP policy and which has been a part of the 2011, and also prior. It was in their campaign platform, and Layton talked of enacting it during the debate. Trying to "seed" doubt and distrust is not becoming.

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-supports-electoral-reform-andf-bloc-votes-it-too

The NDP had already put a similar motion in the House of Commons on Mar 3rd 2011. The NDP's call for a mixed member system has been party policy since 2003.

The 2011 NDP platform said:
“7.3 Making your Vote Count
• We will propose electoral reform to ensure Parliament reflects the political preferences of Canadians. To this end we will propose a new, more democratic voting system that preserves the connection between MPs and their constituents, while ensuring parties are represented in Parliament in better proportion to how Canadians voted. Your vote will always count.”
http://www.ndp.ca/platform/fix-ottawa

And in the English leaders debate Layton said “What Mr. Harper's saying here, is he's ready to accept that were he to get a majority . . . he could possibly do it with significantly less than 50 percent of Canadians supporting him. That's undemocratic. We need to change our electoral system. There's something wrong with the system, when a party, the Bloc Quebecois for example, has 1.3 million votes and gets 50 seats in the House. And we've got the Green Party that gets 900,000 votes, not that far behind the Bloc, they get zero seats. It's time that we had proportional representation in this country, so that we have a proper representation of everyone's point of view when it comes to that House of Commons.”

http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2011/03/bloc-votes-for-proportional.html

White Cat White Cat's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Interesting how PR supporters are true-believers in the opinion of voters except when it comes to deciding what kind of democracy is best for them. Then it's "father knows best". 

It isn't a one-way ticket. If the voters are truly unsatisfied with PR, then, because of the very nature of PR, they can easily elect a majority of MPs who will promise to repeal it, and return to the "good old days" of FPTP.

There are two kinds of electoral reform: PR and Preferential Ballot. Many Canadians prefer the latter to the former. It's ironic to hold the slogan "Make every vote count" while trying to exclude their votes from counting in an electoral reform referendum.

Trying to suppress their voice is not only anti-democratic, it's self-defeating. PB supporters are more likely to opt for the status quo if their option is not on a referendum ballot (which is why PR was ultimately rejected by 60% in BC, ON & PEI.)

I, for one, do not want to see a federal PR referendum crash and burn. That would kill PR for good in Canada. A democratic referendum is the best shot that PR has. It's also the best shot PR has of surviving a referendum defeat. (PB can be the first step in electoral reform. A fifth FPTP victory settles the issue for good.)

Rokossovsky

White Cat wrote:

Michael Moriarity wrote:

White Cat wrote:

Interesting how PR supporters are true-believers in the opinion of voters except when it comes to deciding what kind of democracy is best for them. Then it's "father knows best". 

It isn't a one-way ticket. If the voters are truly unsatisfied with PR, then, because of the very nature of PR, they can easily elect a majority of MPs who will promise to repeal it, and return to the "good old days" of FPTP.

There are two kinds of electoral reform: PR and Preferential Ballot. Many Canadians prefer the latter to the former. It's ironic to hold the slogan "Make every vote count" while trying to exclude their votes from counting in an electoral reform referendum.

There are more kinds of electoral reform than that. Among other things a simply mandated adjustment of riding populations to +/- 10% as opposed to +/- 25% would probably do more to sink the Conservatives unfair vote per seat count that any form of PR.

Pondering

janfromthebruce wrote:

PR has been a long time Federal NDP policy and which has been a part of the 2011, and also prior. It was in their campaign platform, and Layton talked of enacting it during the debate. Trying to "seed" doubt and distrust is not becoming.

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-supports-electoral-reform-andf-bloc-votes-it-too

The NDP had already put a similar motion in the House of Commons on Mar 3rd 2011. The NDP's call for a mixed member system has been party policy since 2003.

What matters is how aware Canadians are about it and how much effort the NDP has put into highlighting this particular plank and explaining it to Canadians. It's one sentence in the entire policy document. Mulcair has put more effort into promoting daycare and a federal minimum wage leaving this as a motion for Craig Scott to introduce. This shouldn't be "a" plank it should the "The" plank unless you don't think changing our electoral system is a big deal.

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