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2015 Federal Election
#46
I agree that single-transferable vote is the way we should go. Being able to rank candidates at the local level would achieve proportionality, while still retaining the notion of members representing communities.

Ultimately, you are putting your 'x' down next to an individual's name. We've allowed party discipline to become so strong that these single individuals' influence in the house is arguably very small. It doesn't have to be that way, but it has been for a long time. I think there's a lot of value in the "constituent service" aspect of the job of members, though, and strategic voters seem to often not consider this at all. I expect this is the reason they tend to be young- many people who have turned to their MPs after lengthy difficulties with things like CPP can tell you the value of an MP who is, and who has staff who are, very responsive and serious about constituent assistance.

Anyway, we could retain both with STV, and I agree with you that I see no need to muddy the debate by opening it up to an almost-infinite number of alternatives.
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#47
It would be great to see a change from FPTP but history shows us that once in power, people are reluctant to change the system that got them there. Let's hope it's different this time!
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#48
Many politicians like to make promises for the votes and then only follow through if it benefits their party or proves to be too difficult (too much work).

I have a feeling this Liberal/Trudeau promise will become one of those lost promises.
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#49
(10-16-2015, 11:06 AM)panamaniac Wrote: I'm not sure how you figure.

One calculus: Stephen Maher: Alberta NDP won a false majority because of our outmoded electoral system
Quote:But the Alberta NDP supports PR. The party ran on it in the last election, and in January, its platform, which is still cached online, was still promising that an NDP government would “set up a system of proportional representation.”

In February, they quietly dropped that sentence, and they did not campaign on PR.

Federal NDP MP Craig Scott, who is pushing a sensible and detailed PR proposal, will nudge Notley to move, but she knows that if she puts PR in place, she will never get another majority.

This is why we don’t have proportional representation.

Although it is clearly superior to the first-past-the-post system, it is worse for governing parties, and only their votes count.

If the provincial NDP can renege on electoral reform in a province like AB where they'd been locked out of government for decades, then surely the federal Liberals and NDP can. 

Quote:It's the Liberal platform that sets out the strongest proposals for Governance/Democratic reform.  I don't know how much stronger the commitment would be under an NDP-supported Liberal minority government.

Both Justin and Tom have been running on platforms that include electoral reform. Whoever of the two becomes PM will be reminded of that commitment by the other. Indeed if the two decide to form some sort of informal alliance or formal coalition I'd like to believe (!? Wink) that electoral reform will be included in whatever deal they make. 

And of course if Liz May wins enough seats to become a factor, i.e. holds the balance of power, in this minority government we can be certain that electoral reform will be a non-negotiable condition for her support.
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#50
Tony Blair made a fair bit of noise about proportional representation before he was elected. Then he won a majority government with the current system, and realized he could just do that again instead.

I don't think a Liberal majority government (or any other majority government) is very likely to pursue electoral reform. The NDP and Greens have both had long-standing policies of electoral reform (since there's little hope of victory for them without it...) so ookpik is right that their holding the balance of power and using reform as a condition of support is the best chance. The closer the Liberals (or anyone) comes to control of the House, the less likely it gets.
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#51
(10-16-2015, 11:09 AM)MidTowner Wrote: (...) Ultimately, you are putting your 'x' down next to an individual's name. We've allowed party discipline to become so strong that these single individuals' influence in the house is arguably very small. It doesn't have to be that way, but it has been for a long time. (...)

The opposite scenario exists in the US Senate and House -- and at times results in either earmark politics, or a largely ungovernable country, or both.  (Take a look and see how much legislation has been passed in the US this year, and compare it to the number of government shutdowns.)

Party discipline has some downsides, but it does make it easier for a government (whether majority, minority or coalition) to function.
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#52
The U.S. hasn't had a government shutdown for a few years nowt. Earmarking is certainly a huge thing down there, but I think calling it "ungovernable" is probably a stretch. I take your point, though. Neither system is perfect; I think the flaws in ours are overplayed a lot of times. Yes, your representative is by and large beholden to a party leader and will be forced to tow the party line. But he or she is still your local representative and has a lot of incentive to pick up the phone and try to help you with your issue when you call. In countries with opaque lists, that latter part is not the case.
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#53
Passing budgets is an annual game of chicken that may or may not result in a government shutdown.  12 times in the last 35 years is not an enviable record.

Anyway, here is a chart that shows the number of bills passed by US congress per year:

[Image: 4.10.14.2.jpg?itok=rwwZCJ0w]
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#54
(10-16-2015, 01:39 PM)MidTowner Wrote: Tony Blair made a fair bit of noise about proportional representation before he was elected. Then he won a majority government with the current system, and realized he could just do that again instead.

I don't think a Liberal majority government (or any other majority government) is very likely to pursue electoral reform. The NDP and Greens have both had long-standing policies of electoral reform (since there's little hope of victory for them without it...) so ookpik is right that their holding the balance of power and using reform as a condition of support is the best chance. The closer the Liberals (or anyone) comes to control of the House, the less likely it gets.

While I think you may be right, it would be short-sighted for a Liberal majority government to put electoral reform on the back burner. In particular, if they were to go after a simple ranked ballot, which is arguably easier to implement, they stand the most to gain of any party.
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#55
I think mixed-member proportional is great ... but the great shortcoming is that it's difficult to explain to people how it works. In the end STV is probably much easier to explain, at least at the high level (the mechanics of transferring votes are a bit more detailed).

Whatever they choose (assuming Liberals are elected, majority or minority), they need to make sure that you can clearly explain it in a 30-second elevator pitch.
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#56
I feel that either system is relatively easy to explain quickly on a high-level, but that it is easy to get lost in the weeds. However, it is easy to explain FPTP on a high level too, but the resultant seat totals are not so intuitive. People think they understand our current voting system, but they are nonetheless surprised when they see how it really works.

One problem is that STV zealots fight with MMP zealots over whose PR system is better instead of everybody banding together to fight FPTP. Another problem is that in any proposal to change all the attention is focused on the new system instead of evaluating FPTP (because everybody thinks they understand our current system).

I agree that the Liberals and NDP are at high risk to renege on their electoral reform promises if they are not (somehow) held to account.

To that end (and acknowledging the sin of self-promotion) I am working on a talk which is about how some other jurisdictions have switched from FPTP to proportional representation: http://pnijjar.freeshell.org/2015/prtalk . My observation is that interest in PR tends to spike right after an election, so by holding an event nine days after the election (on Oct 28) I was hoping to find a receptive audience.

I still think interest in PR will spike regardless of who wins, but I am not so sure about the audience. You (and your friends who might be less politically-savvy) are all invited, though.
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#57
STV is an appealing option for non-party elections, like municipal ones. Because there are no "alliances" or parties, everyone who can vote for Mayor gets to voice their first choice, and if no one has a majority, then we remove low-hanging candidates until someone has half the vote. No votes are wasted.

In a national campaign, it pains me to think that the Green party as a whole received 3.91% of the votes. As they have a platform that is the same whether a voter supported them in BC or Nova Scotia, they received support of Canadians equivalent to 12 seats in a 308 seat House, but elected only 1 MP, meaning over 90% of those voters don't have equivalent representation.

Right now, both the NDP and the Liberals support some form of electoral reform, with Liberals supporting STV, and NDP supporting MMP. Both are already talking about not supporting Harper, which inevitably means working together in some fashion, which is the general approach to non-majority multi-party systems. This should help lay groundwork for change, and I would hope that if the Liberals supported MMP, they'd find a willing partner in the NDP (who, ironically, seem poised to receive far more seats under FPTP than if this was an MMP election).
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#58
I don’t think that’s correct; the Liberals don’t necessarily favour one system over another – they’ll be appointing a team of people who will research what system is best, by talking with Canadians and then will come back to the house with their findings to vote on what system they should go with.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#59
(10-19-2015, 10:10 AM)Canard Wrote: I don’t think that’s correct; the Liberals don’t necessarily favour one system over another – they’ll be appointing a team of people who will research what system is best, by talking with Canadians and then will come back to the house with their findings to vote on what system they should go with.

That's right.  All they are saying is that this will be the last PPTP election, and that they will introduce the legislation within 18 months.

Incidentally, one of their other policies is "a truly independent Senate not based upon partisanship or patronage".  It's a good concept, and hearkens back to the original days as a chamber of "sober second thought" some 140 years ago.  And it doesn't require a constitutional amendment.  But I'm not sure how they can actually make this work in practice.
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#60
(10-19-2015, 10:55 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(10-19-2015, 10:10 AM)Canard Wrote: I don’t think that’s correct; the Liberals don’t necessarily favour one system over another – they’ll be appointing a team of people who will research what system is best, by talking with Canadians and then will come back to the house with their findings to vote on what system they should go with.

That's right.  All they are saying is that this will be the last PPTP election, and that they will introduce the legislation within 18 months.

Incidentally, one of their other policies is "a truly independent Senate not based upon partisanship or patronage".  It's a good concept, and hearkens back to the original days as a chamber of "sober second thought" some 140 years ago.  And it doesn't require a constitutional amendment.  But I'm not sure how they can actually make this work in practice.

I can imagine ways to have such a Senate, and there's got to be some countries where it's the case. But I don't know of any.

It is, however, consistent with Justin Trudeau booting all of the Senate Liberals from being Liberals though.
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