At the Montreal convention, the Liberal Party overwhelmingly agreed to Priority Resolution 31, Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy. An important part of that resolution is this: 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. Electoral reform has a bad record of success in Canada, with several referenda for modernizing our antiquated and undemocratic (Read more…)
In my view, the single most important policy resolution at this week’s convention in Montreal is the prioritized number 31, which should significantly reduce our democratic deficits. That resolutionreads: 31. Priority Resolution: Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy* BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Liberal Party pursue political reforms which promote: Open, democratic nominations of candidates; Fewer “whipped” votes in Parliament and more “free” votes requiring individual MPs to assume full responsibility for their decisions; Stronger Parliamentary control over public finances, including an annual deadline for the budget; accounting consistency among the Estimates and the Public Accounts; more clarity in voting (Read more…)
It seems that the leaders of all three poltical parties in the province of Ontario sense that voters want change. Premier Wynne, leading a minority Liberal government, was rejected by voters in the two byelections, but says change is wanted: Real Change Wynne?
After writing off the byelections as “skirmishes” that aren’t indicative of how things will go in a general election, Wynne vowed that the Liberals will do better whenever the campaign is held. “I know people are looking for change in this province,” she said. “Well I’m the change. My plan is the change. My team (Read more…)
Observing debates about electoral reform online and elsewhere, I notice one error cropping up consistently: the notion that proportional representation, like first-past-the-post, is a voting system. It isn’t, of course. It is a goal, something you try to achieve with your voting system.
They are two different things and the difference is important because one frequently encounters the argument
It’s not that all Conservatives are opposed to proportional representation. Senator Hugh Segal is onside and Conservative MPs Peter Braid, Stephen Woodworth and Scott Reid have presented Fair Vote Canada petitions to the House of Commons on behalf of their constituents.
Even Stephen Harper complained about our electoral system in a 1996 essay entitled “Our Benign Dictatorship” he co-authored
Two of these men could be PM in the next 18 months
Thomas Mulcair says he and his NDP have learned from the disasterous provincial NDP election: “It’s not enough to look at the electorate and say, ‘vote for me, I m good.’ You have to say, ‘vote for me, I’m a good person to replace the party that’s there, and the government has to be replaced for the following reasons.’ “And I don’t think they did a good enough job of defining what those reasons were.” Mulcair, who keeps a scuffed-up hardball on a table behind (Read more…)
Miscellaneous material to start your week.
- Michael Katz looks back at how the U.S. abandoned its poor – and how that choice continues to affect people across the income spectrum today. And Michael Valpy discusses how Canada can and should avoid travelling any further down the same path – with his “Big Four” ideas focusing on mandatory voting, proportional representation, a guaranteed basic income and protections for vulnerable workers.
- Jeffrey Simpson describes the Cons’ narrow focus on about 10 per cent of the Canadian electorate in the lead up to the next federal election, while Andrew Jackson (Read more…)
George S. Patton
I expect the Throne Speech in late January 2014 to be the timing for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to dissolve Parliament and call for an election in the spring of 2014, rather than wait for the legislated October 2015 date. The Liberal Party under Justin Trudeau are targeting a spring election a year later: “We’re building a (campaign) approach that’s very much flexible. I think one of the aims we’re working at is spring of 2015,” he said, noting that Harper has ignored his own law in the past. Paul Wells in his Macleans article, (Read more…) . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why Stephen Harper will call an early election in spring 2014
This fascinating and scary post just showed up on the FairVote Canada Facebook page:
The Conservative version of equality. Bigger picture below.
A couple of things to notice here and I’ll just leave it at that.
The Conservative party is worried about what the NDP and Green Party have to say about reforming our democracy. They are scared of PR and Elizabeth May and the NDP. They are scared that Canadians will finally say yes to staring to improve our unfair system.
Ridings, Not Voters
“Our country was founded on the equality of riding first and foremost.”
Methinks John Ivison has hit the nail right on its head with this:
If the Auditor-General’s report does suggest a systemic problem of corruption and abuse, who would bet against the Conservatives using the Senate as a classic wedge issue, pointing out that the Liberals are in favour of preserving the country’s most expensive eventide home as is.
One approach could (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: 2015: The ballot question in Canada’s next election?
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
- Andrew Coyne sees the disproportionate influence wielded by the representatives elected by a minority of voters in Canada and the U.S. as evidence that both countries should move toward proportional representation: Two systems, both dysfunctional, in opposing ways. Is there nevertheless a common thread between the two? I think there is. Both have become hostage to small groups of voters, the objects of vastly disproportionate amounts of the parties’ time and attention. In both, the parties are sharply divided on regional lines. And in both, politics has become increasingly, corrosively nasty. I (Read more…)
Wrestling with Democracy is an ambitious, historical examination of the changes in voting systems across a large number of Western liberal democracies over the course of the twentieth century that argues that ‘most major voting system reforms in the twentieth-century west have been intimately linked to larger social struggles over the parameters of democracy itself, specifically just what any democratic state should do with its power (49).’ Unlike many political science studies of voting systems reform, this is not a book about numbers, graphs and dependent variables; rather, it is a book about ‘democratic struggle, what shape it will (Read more…)
A letter of mine found its way into the Vancouver Sun today. This one comes in response to a piece last week by Senator Mobina Jaffer about the role of Canada’s Senate in protecting minority rights. In my letter, I argue in favour of abolishing the Senate and ensuring fair representation for minorities in the House of Commons by means of some kind of proportional representation. Please click here to read it.
Filed under: Canadian Politics, Democracy Tagged: electoral reform, minority rights, Mobina Jaffer, proportional representation, Senate, Vancouver Sun
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter
A pocketful of votes
Dion gave an interesting talk at Joyce Murray’s meeting in Vancouver this morning, dealing with the different kinds of electoral reform that we could adopt. One new idea that he dropped on the table is interesting, and, I believe, novel: that our MPs votes in Parliament be counted in an entirely different way than they are now. In the past Dion has proposed his P3 variant of proportional representation, which might work well. His new idea is intriguing: let our MPs take a pocketful of votes to Parliament. It works this way. We use his (Read more…)
Richard ‘Hub’ Hughes- Political Blogger
Here is a snapshot of opinion from Cowichan Conversations readers who voted in the poll in response to changing our electoral system from ‘First Past the Post’ to a ‘Proportional Representation’ system that is used in many countries throughout the world today.
There is a wealth of sites easily googled that provide a great deal of information. Britain’s ‘History Learning Site is a good source of information on voting options. Fair Vote Canada is another source of information.
In BC, interest in a change from the present FPTP system has been discussed somewhat during (Read more…)
Why does the Green Party want to cooperate with the Liberals again?
Consider Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May who’s fought for progressives to cooperate in elections. To that effect, the Green Party has not fielded a candidate in the Labrador by-election as she explains in this statement:
The Green Party is committed to electoral cooperation in the interest of proportional
By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: 5-02-13 Resolution on Electoral Reform, submitted by Craig Scott, the MP for Toronto-Danforth. WHEREAS the current federal electoral system contains major shortcomings generating a significant democratic deficit; WHEREAS the decline in voter turnout in federal elections in the last twenty years in Canada is worrying; WHEREAS any electoral reform [...]
The post NDP Convention 2013: Resolution on Electoral Reform appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
People Aren’t Smart Enough For Democracy To Flourish, Scientists Say
This article touches on a core problem for democracy. But add to this the fact that the corporate media and the corporate parties (Conservatives and Liberals in Canada) prey on this weakness of the populace in order to sway the people to vote against the people’s own interests. This makes anything that improves the democratic process, like proportional representation (or even procedures that take baby steps toward P.R.), critical to helping make democracy work better for the people. Better education and less corporate control of the media (Read more…)
Hat tip to BluntObjects for the LeadNow poll of Canadians’ views about the need to fix our broken electoral system. The poll shows massive support by Liberals, Dippers and Greens for some form of proportional representation (the key plan of the Joyce Murray fix-it-now campaign for leadership of the Liberal Party): Q: Do you support proportional representation?
Even a sizeable number of Tories think the system is broken. The Liberal Party’s pallid preferential vote system is just that: a meaningless sop to serious electoral reform.
Let’s hope that our party gets its act together and starts listening – really
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Poll: Massive support for Proportional Representation
By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Last week, Liberal leadership hopeful and Member of Parliament for Vancouver MP, Joyce Murray, called for opposition electoral cooperation in the Labrador by-election. To void splitting the vote. To ensure a “progressive win and Harper fail“. The Greens immediately heeded the call and are now challenging the [...]
The post Greens won’t contest Labrador by-election, urge the NDP to also desist appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.
A Confederation denied legitimacy
Here is a startling analysis of the impact of the recent redistribution, the probability of a permanent Conservative majority in the House because of our archaic First Past the Post system. A must read for everyone interested in politics in Canada. Please pass on this post to those you know, and tweet it to your own connections. We need an urgent discussion about a better system of electing our MPs or we face a permanent Harper government. Hat tip to PatriciaXXXX for raising this on the Liberal site!
REALITY CHECK: Here is how the last
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Harper’s Permanent Majority through Redistribution & FPTP
Justin Trudeau’s Big Enchilada?
This extract from The Vancouver Courier just about sums up the fate of electoral reform’s future right now:
Political cooperation isn’t a new concept, but University of B.C. political science professor Philip Resnick says it’s worth noting that in both the NDP and Liberal leadership campaigns, it has been the B.C. candidate who has advanced the concept of political cooperation.
“Nathan Cullen in the NDP contest, Joyce Murray in the Liberal one. Add Elizabeth May to the mix and you have three,” he told me by email.
“The idea would appeal to
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Is Justin Trudeau trying to win the big enchilada on his own?
Trudeau: Ideology over science
Hat tip to Impoliticalfor this remarkable summary of why Trudeau has decided, in is wisdom, to ignore the wishes of the majority of Canadians for a more democratic electoral system. Read the whole article for the exchange between Trudeau and Murray on proportional representation. Here’s a summary of how the science actually is the opposite of Trudeau’s personal ideology: “That’s not just theory,” adds Wayne Smith, FVC Executive director. “Most developed countries have used proportional voting systems for most of the last century, so we can see how they work in the real world. Consensus . . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: If Justin Trudeau really wanted to engage Canadians, he would do this
Andrew Coyne – truthteller
Andrew Coyne in an article in the Vancouver Sun headed To improve our politics we have to repair our broken electoral system, puts a devastating case forward as to why pre-election cooperation followed by post-electoral meaningful electoral reform is necessary:
If you never make the case for electoral reform, then yes, it will remain an abstraction in the public mind. But if you believe it is necessary, presumably it is because of the real-world problems of the current system.
So many of the well-known ills of our politics — the phoney majorities, the exaggerated
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Electoral Reform: The Case that 7 of the 8 Liberal candidates will not or cannot answer
Joyce Murray – She walks the talk
Joyce Murray’s electoral reform proposals are the most democratic of all candidates for leadership.
Unlike the others who are simply practising old-style top-down command politics, Joyce is actually walking the talk of participatoty democracy in the party.
Her pre-election cooperation idea leaves the decision up to the ridings involved; ALL the other candidates are denying the ridings a say in this decision. How does that square with regenerating the party, engaging Canadians?
Her idea for a Royal Commission after the election to review electoral changes, is more democratic than Trudeau’s decision to insist
. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Joyce Murray’s electoral reform proposals are the most democratic of all leadership hopefuls