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Scripturient: Proportional Representation in Canada

Another Canadian election has gone by where the majority government is formed by a party winning only 40% of the popular vote. This has political watchers and pundits increasingly vocal about changing the electoral system. But most of them agree it needs changing. So far, however, the Liberals are mum on how their campaign promise […]

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Jackson discusses a few of the choices the Trudeau Libs need to get right in order to actually set Canada on a more progressive fiscal path: Progressives who worry about growing income inequality will note two key features of the new government’s tax plans. First, the plan is not quite as redistributive as it looks at first sight since it  leaves out below-average income workers. Second, the net effect is not to expand the federal income tax base.

True, the Liberal platform talks of examining some loopholes, such as the favourable taxation of (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: PR—an essential first step

Our brand spanking new Liberal government has promised us electoral reform. Specifically, it is “committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Assuming the new system will provide proportional representation, this would be an essential first step in ensuring that all Canadians are fairly represented in their

Bill Longstaff: PR—an essential first step

Our brand spanking new Liberal government has promised us electoral reform. Specifically, it is “committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” Assuming the new system will provide proportional representation, this would be an essential first step in ensuring that all Canadians are fairly represented in their governance.

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Steven Klees notes that there’s no reason at all to think that corporatist policies labeled as “pro-growth” will do anything to help the poor – and indeed ample reason for doubt they actually encourage growth anywhere other than for the already-wealthy. And the Economist finds that GDP growth in Africa has been almost entirely top-heavy, leaving many of the world’s poorest people behind.

- Ehab Lotayek makes the case for a proportional electoral system where voters’ actual preferences lead to representation, rather than one designed to spit out artificial majorities.

- Carol Goar (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Les Leopold takes a look at the underpinnings of Bernie Sanders’ unexpectedly strong run for the Democratic presidential nomination. And Sean McElwee discusses the type of politics U.S. voters are rightly motivated to change, as big donors have been successful in dictating policy to both major parties.

- The Edmonton Journal comments on the unfairness of first-past-the-post electoral politics both in allocating power across a political system, and in determining regional representation within it.

- Murray Mandryk calls out the Wall government for its contempt for public money when it comes (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: A minority progressive government would be the best result of the election

I wouldn’t dare to be so bold as to play the prophet and predict the shape of the government that will result from Monday’s federal election. Polls and electorates are much too fickle. I can only observe that if the polls are accurate and the electorate doesn’t suddenly change its collective mind, after the Governor General has been duly consulted and all the other dust has settled the best bet

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Don Pittis examines the Cons’ record on jobs and the economy, and reaches the inevitable conclusion that free trade bluster and corporate giveaways have done nothing to help Canadians – which makes it no wonder the Cons are hiding the terms of the deals they sign. And John Jacobs writes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership only stands to make matters worse: Canada is exporting goods that create few domestic jobs and importing goods that create jobs elsewhere. This accounts for some of the decline in manufacturing employment over the past decade in Canada and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: The Gloves Are Off- This Will Be A Hardball Fight Until Election Day

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We now have the stage set for the final 5 weeks of Canada’s second longest election ever. There was a fair amount of chatter and speculation regarding Liberal-NDP and even Green

Read more…

Accidental Deliberations: On veto points

I’ll follow up on this post by once again discussing another area where individuals’ past comments are being treated as a basis for general exclusion. And the subject is particularly sensitive the midst of an election campaign – particularly in light of the issue where it’s surfacing.

As in the case of judicial appointments, the starting point should be that past comments offer a reasonable basis for rejecting political candidates only if they meaningfully signal some general unsuitability for their anticipated future role (in this case representing constituents as a party’s MP), not merely because they differ from one’s preferred (Read more…)

Politics Canada: How can we change the electoral system?

Our system is an absolute farce. 38% of the vote gives you 55% of the seats and absolute, unchecked power. Power that is concentrated in the PMO like never before in our history.

When I approach our first past the post (fptp) system I feel the way someone must feel when they have to clean a smoking, loaded and cocked pistol. Who knows what the outcome will be? Certainly not what I intended.

Will some well organized group of fringe radicals through intense discipline, deception, and extreme message control be able to get the required 38% to take absolute power?

We (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Barry Eidlin argues that Canada’s comparatively stronger trade unions have led to a far more equal distribution of income than exists in the U.S., and discusses what we need to do to reinforce that tendency: In a recent article and forthcoming book, I put forth a new theory: Canadian unions remained stronger because they were better able to retain a legitimate social and political role as defenders of working class interests. By contrast, U.S. unions got painted as a narrow “special interest.”

These different roles for labour weren’t just (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Barry Kay of Laurier Institute: Say welcome to Prime Minister Tom Mulcair

Global News graphic of the horse race

James Armstrong of Global News has a fascinating article about the findings of the Barry Kay team of the Laurier Institute, with three really illuminating graphics. The three diagrams clearly spell out the problems facing the Liberals  and the Conservatives, if either Trudeau or Harper are to have a chance of becoming prime minister. Analysing recent polls, Kay projects that if the federal election were held today, Mulcair’s NDP would win the most seats – 130 –with Harper’s tattered Tories coming in with 119, and the Liberals bringing up the rear with (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: The Greens Could Deliver The Upcoming Election To Steve!

Richard Hughes-Your Humble Blogger

The conundrum of electing our governments based on a ‘First Past the Post’ system has never been as clear as it is today with an October Federal Election just around

Read more…

Impolitical: Thoughts on the #LPC electoral reform policy plank

As a party member who has been involved with supporting democratic reform initiatives in the Liberal party, I thought I would add a few thoughts to the discussion today on the Liberal Party of Canada’s electoral reform plank, rolled out earlier today. The pledge to “Make every vote count” is as follows: We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system. As part of a national engagement process, we will ensure that electoral reform measures – such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting – (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Justin Trudeau’s legacy will equal that of his father

Just when Tom Mulcair was starting to measure the curtains in Harper’s home so that he could replace them when he became Prime Minister; when the polls showed a surge of votes for the NDP after the dramatic events in the recent Alberta election; and when pundits have started writing about Justin Trudeau being a washed up politician, Trudeau has taken to the airwaves to unveil a set of promises that will radically change the way that Canadians vote for and interact with their federal government.

The scope of the changes included in the plans to restore democracy in Canada (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Ranked ballots in 2018: Democracy is coming to Canada!

Politician with Courage

And not a moment too soon! The Liberal Party government of the province of Ontario deserves the congratulations of every Canadian for their bold step in dragging democracy into the 21st century with this step:

The provincial government will change the Municipal Elections Act to allow cities to adopt ranked-ballot voting by 2018.

The announcement, made Thursday morning by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Ted McMeekin, was the central focus of a current review of the elections act, which will also look at campaign finance rules and enforcement of those rules.

Cities will not be (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On proportionality

Among the other possibilities raised by the Alberta NDP’s election victory, plenty of voices have chimed in on a shift to proportional representation. And while there may be limited scope to make a move immediately, electoral reform could well become both good policy and good politics for Rachel Notley.

Let’s start, though, by pointing out where the Alberta NDP has positioned itself on proportional representation.

PR was not a part of the NDP’s platform in the recent election. So there’s ample room for opponents to argue that there’s no immediate mandate for a unilateral change to Alberta’s electoral system, and (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Brad Delong discusses the two strains of neoliberalism which dominate far too much political discussion – and the reason why the left-oriented version doesn’t offer any plausible analysis of where we stand: (Bill) Clintonian left-neoliberalism makes two twin arguments.

The first is addressed to the left: it is that market mechanisms–properly-regulated market mechanisms–are more likely than not a better road to social democratic ends than command-and-control mechanisms.

The second is addressed to the right: it is that social democracy is the only political system that can in the long run underpin a (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The Alberta NDP and proportional representation

I never thought I’d live long enough to see the day, but here it is. The NDP have been elected to the government of Alberta. I am ecstatic. Nonetheless, while my emotions soar, my logical self reminds me that they won a majority only because of our corrupt first past the post electoral system. It’s comforting to know the system rewards the good guys as well as the bad guys, but it’s still an

CuriosityCat: Four Unusual Men & The UK Election

The Mayor waits patiently …

The political fate of four men might be determined by this week’s UK general election. Two of the men have fluffed their campaigning in parts, while one man has a chance to rise, Lazarus-like, and change the rules of future elections; the fourth man is circling, with vulture-like feigned indifference, waiting for a chance to tear into the carrion-corpse of his party’s leader.

Cameron’s view of the importance of the election: This week Prime Minister Cameron dropped a Freudian Slip when talking about the election: After Mr. Cameron misspoke on Friday and called the election “career-defining” (Read more…)

CuriosityCat: Why the UK needs proportional representation

The Damsel is in distress

The Telegraph has this introduction to the article on safe seats: Has your constituency already been won in the 2015 general election? Find out here. Does your vote really count? New research shows that more than half of MPs are in safe seats. Find your constituency on this map to discover if you’re one of the 25 million people (out of 60 million) who already know who will be your MP after May 7. And here’s the harsh reality:

Have you ever had the feeling that your vote was pointless? You could be right. (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: CuriosityCat: Why the UK needs proportional representation

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Scott Sinclair studies the effect of NAFTA on government policies, and finds that it’s been used primarily (and all too frequently) to attack Canadian policy choices: A study released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) finds over 70% of all NAFTA investor-state claims since 2005 were brought against the Canadian government and the number of challenges against Canada is rising sharply. From 1995-2005, there were 12 claims against Canada, while in the last ten years there have been 23.

“It appears that the federal government’s strong ideological commitment to (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Coalition Redux

Never ones to shy away from expressing strong opinions, Toronto Star readers weigh in again on the best way to try to defeat Mr. Harper in the next election:

Re: Pondering a union of moderates, Letters Jan. 10 Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau must get their heads together. Prior to 2006, the federal conservative parties realized they were fighting each other. They became one party and have been in power ever since. In 2011, with a vote increase from approximately 37 per cent to 39 per cent, they went from a minority to a majority (Read more…)

Northern Reflections: Now Is The Time, Justin


Talk of proportional representation has been around for a long time. Linda McQuaig writes:

The most widely-supported version of PR for Canada — called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) — is used in Germany, Scotland and New Zealand, and has the advantage of combining local representation with a seat count in the legislature based on the popular vote. MMP was recommended by the Law Commission of Canada in a 2004 report on (Read more…)