I agree to Idea Real electoral reform
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I disagree to Idea Real electoral reform

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Real electoral reform

In 2007 there was a referendum on electoral reform. The proposed mixed-member proportional representation system was defeated 63% to 37%. However, that result is not the full picture. As I found out from door-to-door canvassing, most voters knew absolutely nothing about the proposed system or did not even know that there was a referendum being held jointly with the provincial election. They understandably voted for the devil they knew.

Ontario voters need to be given another chance to pronounce themselves on the issue under the following conditions:

1. the referendum should be held separately from any election (allowing the debate to focus on electoral reform and not other political issues)

2. the proposal for electoral reform should include a second referendum (in, say, 10 years) to determine if the new system was working to everyone's liking. (this would allow voters to feel comfortable that they could change their mind if they didn't like how the new system was working).

The current first-past-the-post system (it should actually be called "winner-takes-all") is poisoning our democracy, creating a situation where majority governments are formed with a minority of popular vote and where most voters are represented by someone they did not vote for. It is not surprising that voting turnouts are falling.

Submitted by Adam Deutsch 9 months ago

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  1. The idea was posted
    9 months ago

Comments (45)

  1. I support this only insofar as we need reform. Picking a particular reform should be up to the electors.

    9 months ago
    4 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  2. Not only was the public not aware of the proposed reform, but the proposal was significantly flawed. Several models should be offered for open public input and the best one chosen by votes.

    9 months ago
    5 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. There appeared to be a deliberate attempt to keep the public ignorant. The TV debates for example, did not even mention it once, and the tiny pamphlet that appeared on peoples' doorsteps didn't even show what the proposed new ballot would look like. The fact that cabinet members such as Michael Bryant -- a strong advocate of PR -- were ordered to remain silent on the issue, was a travesty.

      9 months ago
      6 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. There actually was significant citizen input; in fact the citizen's assembly did an incredible job, especially considering the handicap it started out with. The proposed reform was flawed only because the citizen's committee was rushed, and they were not given enough time time to become expert in every aspect of every electoral system, (To get an idea of the plethora of electoral systems possible, check out Wikipedia on the subject). There simply wasn't enough time, so their selection of closed rather than open list MMP was the only thing they got wrong. Open List MMP would have been okay. As has already been mentioned, the total absence of public education on the subject was the other big problem that doomed the referendum to failure.

      Offering several models for the electors to choose from would not work, because all the electors would need to become expert. If there is another referendum, the only question should be:

      "Should Ontario replace its First Past the Post electoral system for a system that would provide Proportional Representation?"

      Once citizens decide in favour of real electoral reform, the details of exactly how Proportional Representation should best be implemented for Ontario can be studied.

      9 months ago
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      0 Disagreed
  3. Adam Deutsch Idea Submitter

    Error in my original proposal: the referendum was in 1997 (not 1987).

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
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    1. 9 months ago
      2 Agreed
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  4. Adam Deutsch Idea Submitter

    If several models are proposed, we should use a ranked voting system to chose the winner.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  5. I agree we need electoral reform, to one with some degree of proportionality. I also agree the previous referendum was very badly handled.

    I don't feel that a referendum is the right approach, though: if it is used, it has to be in two-parts, with simple questions and responses, similar to how New Zealand did it - and firm commitment to support the reform from the OLP (McGuinty's government did not choose a side, or properly fund Elections Ontario)

    Ontarians have seen the way FPTP skews voter intent with past Legislatures, and of course at the Federal level. I believe making electoral reform a core plank of an election campaign would be good.

    I also don't think any single model should be advocated. As soon as one is chosen, people will pick it apart. Instead, just a commitment to choose a PR system - chosen by a special committee and talks with Ontarians - should suffice. Could build consensus with NDP if a minority government formed.

    9 months ago
    7 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
  6. Here's proof that there was no real debate about this issue when the referendum was held in 2007 (only 6 years ago). Ask anyone at random how they voted in the last Ontario referendum. They'll probably look at you with a puzzled look and have no idea what you're talking about.

    Canadians need to stop being fearful of coalition governments, and spend more time studying better ways of electing their governments. Start with Germany, for example.

    9 months ago
    5 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  7. Here's the Law Commission of Canada report on the topic:

    http://www.fairvote.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Law-Commission-of-Canada-Report.pdf

    9 months ago
    3 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  8. btg

    people rejected MMP for good reason... lets use the Australian system - it works for them.

    The problem with "proportional representation" (PR) is that it assumes that your first choice for party is all that reall ymatters - not the leader, not the local candidate. in practice, people often vote against one party, instead of voting for a certain party.

    PR still discriminates against people who support parties that get less than 5%, and it discriminates agaisnt independnent candidates.

    The Australian system, which is caled by different names - "alternative vote", "instant runof voting" or the "preferential ballot" works well with a parliamentary system - the ridings stay the same, all we change is how we count the votes and the change the ballots themselves.

    PR means we get 2 types of MPPs - those with ridings, and those appointed by a complicated formula - and what formula do we use? who gets to be on the list? people didn't like th eidea of th eparty picking th elist, but voters have a hard time now knowing even their local canddiates, yet alone a list of 40 party insiders.

    K.I.S.S. - forget PR and lets try it the aussie way!

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    7 Disagreed
    1. MMP is simple: it provides you with 2 votes: 1 for the party, 1 for your local candidate. Been used since 1949 in Germany, and they are the economic powerhouse of Europe. Nothing complicated about it.

      No one cares about parties that get less than 5%, or independent candidates. Canadians want a Parliament that reflects their wishes, in other words, is proportional.

      Lists are simple: if you don't like the people on the list and what they stand for, then don't vote for the party. Who cares what the "formula" is?

      Your ranked ballot idea works great when you're voting for a *single* person, such as a mayor. But it's useless for electing a representative government, consisting of dozens of members.

      9 months ago
      7 Agreed
      1 Disagreed
    2. Australia's Alternative Vote system is as flawed in many ways as FPTP, in that it skews voter intent and can lead to false majorities. For example, their Green Party took 8.65% of the vote, and received just 1 seat (0.007% of the seats!). In their most recent election, the governing coalition (Liberal) took 45.5% of the vote, but won 60% of the seats.

      (It should also be noted that their Senators are elected using a PR system, which we don't have)

      PR systems are not complicated - yes, ever-so-slightly more complex than choosing a single representative in your riding, but the end result is less orphaned votes (votes that don't go towards electing anyone - in Canada, that is often ~50% of all ballots!), and a government that represents the electorate closer.

      Often you have two votes, one for a local candidate, another for party preference (eg. MMP, AV+). Some models have multi-member ridings (eg. STV). Whatever model is used, they represent the electorate better than FPTP or AV will; and such a model should be selected by consensus with other parties, committees, and discussions with Ontarians.

      9 months ago
      4 Agreed
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    3. Really? My Australian friends would disagree. Australia is the only country that has adopted a system called "Alternative Vote." This type of system is no more representative than our own antiquated First Past The Post, because it is another inequitable winner-take-all electoral system.

      Citizens are truly empowered by proportional systems because these systems are actually democratic: they provide all citizens with representation. In a winner-take-all system like ours and AUstralia's, the majority - those disenfranchised voters - have little incentive to even cast a ballot. Australia's attempt to rectify that has been to force citizens to vote. It would be simpler, not to mention better all around, to adopt a system in which every vote counts.

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
      1 Disagreed
  9. Most policy is changed by government without a referendum and, even given our skewed system, most people accept laws made by our representatives in Parliament and the Legislature. We use referenda so infrequently that we do not realize how it can be set up to validate the status quo. For example, in the absence of adequate information and doubt, voters will by default vote down a proposal in a referendum. And guess what happened in 2007? Even today, people will say they didn’t understand what it was about. If we are to have another referendum, the education process must be in the hands of an arm’s length commission (see New Zealand process), adequate time must be given for education—not just weeks and limits on spending by all stakeholders.

    9 months ago
    3 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  10. Voting for a system of PR (and there are many different ones to choose from) is like picking a car. You don't need to know all the details of how it works under the hood, you just need to know the performance of it is working for you. There are advantages and disadvantages of each form of PR, whether it is MMP, STV, or other, but if we are not properly having the discussion, we are not properly understanding what we are voting for. The trust from the people will come from understanding that the process being used to evaluate which system will be used is a process that is a good one. Not everyone will get involved in becoming an expert on voting systems (and not everyone wants to) and so if we trust non-partisan representatives (eg. Citizen's Assembly randomly chosen in 2007 to come together for many weeks to learn about our existing systems, about systems used in other countries, and about what would be the best system for us), then we would hope that we could trust that group to choose for us. Good idea from other post regarding having the discussion separate from the referendum and then perhaps having another referendum in 10 years. Furthermore, the discussion about why people didn't understand it is a different debate, and I would submit that the process was not only NOT understood, it was NOT trusted, for several reasons.

    9 months ago
    3 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  11. While I agree that we do need a more proportional voting system, I don't believe that being prescriptive about a particular voting system with limited public input will win any support. (for instance, I am really not a fan of having list MPPs and riding MPPs and would prefer STV)

    I propose 3 different referendums:

    #1 Do you support a more proportional voting system than one we have now? (Y/N) (this question is simple enough it could coincide with a general election)

    If successful, there would be an open debate and public information made available about the numerous kinds of voting systems.

    The next ballot would occur as an instant runoff in which voters rank their preferred voting system. The winning system of the instant runoff becomes Ontario's voting system (as chosen by a majority of people).

    There would then be a third ballot after a 10 year period to reaffirm the choice made 10 years ago as a simple Y/N

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. I agree that going in saying "System 'X' is what we will implement" is not going to help anything. We just need the Liberal Party to commit to electoral reform to a fairer system, the details to be worked out by commission and consultations, and then implemented. I don't feel that a referendum is necessary.

      The Supreme Court ruled (in 1991: see Reference re: Provincial Electoral Boundaries (Sask.)) that the right to vote under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees Canadians the right to "effective representation". I would submit that we do not currently have "effective representation" under the current system, nor should we need to put this to a referendum to have it. Just legislate it; maybe give a referendum later to evaluate and fine-tune it.

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. Instant Runoff is just one of the aliases for "Alternative Vote," an inequitable electoral system that pretends that some voter's 3rd choices are equivalent to other voter's first choices.

      Let's think about that for a minute.

      In Ontario, if we used IRV to elect the Premier, Liberals voting to re-elect Premier Wynne's 1st choices may well be discounted, and their third choice - to elect Tim Hudak would be counted. The NDP voters could similarly find their second choice votes for Tim Hudak being the vote that counts. When those Liberal 3rd choices were combined with the NDP second choices, and the Progressive Conservative 1st choice votes for Mr. Hudak, Ontario would have a "majority" which elected Premier Hudak.

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
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  12. The problems with PR, in any form, is that it doesn't allow people necessarily get the riding representative that won their riding, AND what about all the people that don't vote saying that they want to be left alone? Why aren't the appropriate PROPORTION of seats left EMPTY for those non-voters?

    Check out this better, IMHO, idea:

    http://www.samaracanada.com/samarablog/samara-main-blog/2013/06/12/how-to-make-every-vote-count-count-them-twice-

    Sincerely, Mark Andrew Brown, @SaultCabbie

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. The idea of a "Leader Seat" is interesting, but does not adequately address representation of voters.

      I'm confused about your assertion that PR systems "in any form... doesn't allow people (to) necessarily get the riding representative that won their riding". MMP and STV systems each have ridings with regional representatives, and while one's representative of choice may not get elected, the same change is easily levied against our current system. The difference is that at least the voter's party choice - if they choose to exercise it - can count towards top-up seats. It's a balance, but it's certainly better than what we have now.

      The idea of leaving seats empty doesn't make sense to me. If voter turnout is 60%, should our legislature be 40% empty? I understand wanting to disconnect from government, but like it or not, something has to manage funds and services, make laws, etc.

      9 months ago
      3 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. @SaultCabbie What you are suggesting sounds very much like closed list MMP to me...

      When you count every vote twice, the first time elects the local representative (the same one we get now) but the second time you vote is like voting for the closed party list, with less say than you would get under closed list MMP.

      There are many different elements that go together to make up an electoral system; you can mix and match many elements to come up with the best way to achieve Proportional Representation for your province, or municipality, or your country.

      If we actually had Proportional Represemtation, the number of eligible voters heading to the polls would most certainly increase dramatically, as has happened in every jurisdiction that now enjoys proportional representation. People would vote if our votes counted.

      9 months ago
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  13. Hi wolfcda,

    Thanks for your thoughtful commentary on "Leader Seats" and PR. I appreciate it very much.

    PR puts MORE POWER into the hands of the political parties, some of whom will be picking constituent representatives that they, not the voters, want. Also, because the citizens who CHOOSE to stay home don't get their non-votes recognized in any way, like I suggested in having a PROPORTIONAL number of seats remain empty, PR should more accurately be called DISPROPORTIONATE REPRESENTATION, and not disproportionate in favour of the citizenry, rather disproportionate in favour of the political parties... Is this really what you see as ideal wolfcda? I think not.

    Especially when there is a way that would bring more electorate chosen VOICES, in an extremely limited (one voice per popular party) way, to the Legislature along with directly chosen by the electorate winners of each and every single riding.

    Please go back and cast your vote for "Party Votes" and "Leader Seats" wolfcda, and thank-you in advance for doing so:

    http://www.samaracanada.com/samarablog/samara-main-blog/2013/06/12/how-to-make-every-vote-count-count-them-twice-

    Sincerely, Mark Andrew Brown, @SaultCabbie

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
    2 Disagreed
    1. Hi Mark,

      I understand, you are attached to your idea. But I will note, it doesn't change the flaw of FPTP in skewing voter intent and awarding false majorities.

      But really, I think this thread should be purely about making the Liberal Party acknowledge that we need electoral reform, to something fairer than the flawed system we have now - not about advocating any one system. Not your ideal, not my ideal, but a system chosen by people who can study what works best for Ontario, with the knowledge that finding an ideal is almost impossible, but something we can refine. If the OLP promotes any one solution as *the* way, it is likely destined for failure as opponents will muddy the waters in endless arguments about it.

      I will say that I think a PR system is far more democratic, and while no system is perfect, concerns you have about parties getting more power through it are likely overblown. There are ways party lists can be drawn up in an open, transparent way; there are systems (like STV) that don't use party lists at all.  The point is, a PR system would prevent any false majority from ramming their agenda through; instead, policy would have to come from consensus-building and discussion.

      Finding "common ground", so to speak. Like this initiative is trying to promote. ;)

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
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  14. The referendum should be integrated with as many elections as possible, as the lower the voter turnout, the larger the proportion of those who vote are for the status quo. Consider the mid-term elections in the US, which tend to favour the Republicans, who tend to attract those of higher economic status, compared to the presidential elections.

    9 months ago
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    1. If there are too many referendums, people will look at them as being as ineffectual as voting is at present. I am no electoral scholar, but I'm pretty sure there is no requirement to hold a referendum before changing the electoral system. Premier Wynn could implement a change to a form of Proportional Representation before the next election with the support of the NDP (the NDP is supposed to favor Proportional Representation)

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
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  15. The best way to have Proportional Representation adopted, in whatever form, is to create a Registered Political PARTY, say the Proportional Representation Party of Ontario (PRPO). The PRPO would have members, and a policy convention to establish the Party Policy, and a Leadership Convention to pick the Leader, and Candidates so that the issues of the PRPO can be highlighted during elections (educating the public), and if one or more of the candidates get elected to the Legislature (unlikely because of non-concentration of support in any particular riding), then those elected PRPO representatives can advocate and educate on a daily basis.

    If you would like to have the PRPO EASILY ELECT the Leader of the PRPO to the Ontario Legislature then vote for this electoral reform:

    http://commonground.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Make-it-EASY-for-Small-Popular-Parties-to-Have-an-Official-Voice/14492-25935

    Vote for the above idea NOW so that the Proportional Representation Party of Ontario Leader can start advocating and educating from WITHIN the Legislature as soon as possible!

    Sincerely, Mark Andrew Brown, @SaultCabbie

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
    2 Disagreed
  16. Proportional representation may seem fairer but what will happen in the long run when we have a political elite that is guaranteed a seat after every election? If the list is formed based on number of votes each failed candidate has earned...maybe. But it will be a party list of "key" figures and that's just breeding ground for corruption.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    3 Disagreed
    1. Adam Deutsch Idea Submitter

      First of all, apart from Israel, no country uses pure proportional representation, it is usually a mix of local representation with top-ups to make the results more proportional.

      Second, it is not necessarily the case, that the top-up seats will be chosen by the party. Stéphane Dion, for example, has made a proposal in which the selected representatives would all be chosen based on vote results: http://stephanedion.liberal.ca/en/articles-en/p3-voting-system-canada-2/

      9 months ago
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    2. If corruption were to occur, wouldn't that party be penalized at the polls?

      9 months ago
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    3. That's exactly why the Law Commission of Canada recommended a model where no one is guaranteed a seat. They recommended a mixed member model where you vote for your local MPP, and you can vote for your favourite of your party's regional candidates. Voters not represented by the local winner elect regional MPPs to top-up the local results so that every vote counts. Just like the model used in Scotland, Wales, and the London Assembly, except that you can vote for your favouite regional candidate, not just for the regional list.

      9 months ago
      1 Agreed
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  17. If we want people to vote for electoral reform, the process should be done separately from an general election. We should have a dedicated referendum campaign strictly on that topic not muddled by other issues.

    9 months ago
    4 Agreed
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  18. A ranked ballot allows each MPP to represent a riding, which knocks down one FPTP argument against prop rep. It will not as likely to result in perpetual minorities, which hits a second FPTP argument against prop rep. And it is easy to understand, which knocks out the "too confusing" arguments against mixed systems. It works well in Australia. And having to vote strategically for parties I dislike to keep out parties I despise does not give me much of a voice. At least in this forum I can vote for multiple ideas, so I shall vote yes here because it is the leading idea for electoral reform, and also vote for the ranked ballot suggestion because that is what I truly support!

    9 months ago
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    1 Disagreed
    1. Just want to make a couple of points:

      People seem to have a negative view of minority governments, but as experience has shown in other democracies that use PR systems, they can be highly effective at producing stable government while producing consensus-driven policy that is often far more long-thinking. When a party gains a majority - deserved or not - there can be a tendency to "tear down" previous governments' policies and start over. The reason for this is because although the vote-share can change between elections, parties know they have a better chance of still being able to shape policy, and work constructively with similarly-minded parties instead of treating every other party as the enemy (something winner-takes-all electoral systems engenders).

      Australia uses AV, but it is questionable whether it "works well". In their recent elections, the right-leaning coalition won a majority with 45.5% of the vote (90 seats) - the left-leaning Labor Party took 33.38% of the vote and took 55 seats. Their Green party took 8.7% of the vote, but only won a single seat. Recall, they also have an elected senate, using proportional representation - something we don't have.

      Also, although ranked ballots can mean more votes can go towards electing someone than FPTP, it still results in a high proportion of wasted/orphaned votes (theoretically, each riding can have just less than 50% wasted ballots).

      I'd rather have our government truly represent the electorate - reducing wasted votes in the process - and have the parties find consensus rather than these constant wild swings in policy that false majorities can bring. So some form of PR would be more desirable to me.

      (That said, if I could choose between MMP and AV+ (ranked ballots plus extra seats for proportionality), I'd lean towards the latter - but there are various PR systems and I feel the exact implementation is less important right now than getting the Liberal Party to acknowledge the need to electoral reform!)

      As to PR systems being "too confusing"... MMP (for example) isn't any different than our current system, it just adds one extra ballot for party preference. STV is ranked balloting in multi-member ridings. Maybe the math is a bit more complicated, but any system that is fairer than FPTP is going to have to be. I would hope Canadians would take fairness in the end result over the slight hassle of making an extra mark or two on a ballot. :/

      9 months ago
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    2. "Working well" is in the eye of the beholder. The decreased frequency of minorities arguably makes government more "efficient", but it may make it more difficult to remove regressive legislation. Many people consider the recent results in Australia are regressive.

      9 months ago
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    3. A ranked ballot does not make an electoral system proportional. Ranked ballots can be used in a proportional system like STV, or a winner-take-all system like Australia's AV. (Australia only elects its Senators with a proportional system. Their lower house uses AV, which is as bad as FPTP, and there are indications it is worse.)

      Proportional Representation means all citizens are represented, which is what democracy is supposed to do. When every vote counts, MPPs would certainly represent their constituents.

      9 months ago
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    4. It seems to me that the proportional representation systems in its various forms would make minority Government more frequent. This in turn could result in very few progressive actions from the Government for its citizens. It is very obvious (and that is true in many countries) that in this day and age, consensus is a rare feature among politicians. I would rather see a run-off type of elections, where the first round chooses the candidates you like the most. The second round would eliminate the candidate that finishes last, and electors would vote a second time for the candidate they "hate:" the least. After the last round that would have only 2 candidates per riding, then the one with more than 50% of the votes would be the winner. That would ensure always a majority Government capable of putting in place their agenda.

      7 months ago
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    5. @BetterGreenWorld - Yes, the likelihood of "minority governments" is higher under PR systems. But I feel your assumption about that - that it "could result in very few progressive actions from the Government" - is flawed.

      What actually happens in most democratic countries that use PR is you'll find "majority coalitions" of similar-minded parties that agree upon common policies - indeed, consensus-based decision making that more accurately reflects the electorate that voted for them, instead of one party pushing through their own agenda (like the Conservative Party does now). Efficiency is not always a good thing if the majority of people are against those policies.

      The Liberals, NDP, and Greens between them could certainly find common, progressive positions that they can advance together.

      Also, a ranked ballot alone in each riding is no guarantee of a majority government. It, just like First Past the Post, can lead to minority governments, or skewed "majorities" - it's all about the distribution of support for each party, not about the actual level of support each party has. (This is why, for example, the BQ could win 54 seats in 2004 with 1.7M votes, while the Greens won 0 with 0.6M - the BQ votes were in one region, whereas the Green's votes were spread out across the country).

      I've got nothing against a ranked ballot in each riding - I actually think it's a pretty good idea. But we need to have some element of proportionality also, otherwise actual voter intent is skewed.

      7 months ago
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  19. We need a Proportional Representation system such as Germany's MMP. When government represents voters opinions in the same proportion as they are held in public, then the government can actually represent the people. There have been many commissions suggesting MMP. (by the way, AV simply condenses votes to the most popular, and then discards the others, so you end up with one party in complete control at the expense of all others... like our current federal false majority.. all of the time. AV is worse than our current system, but our current system sucks) PR now!

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  20. Instant runoff voting would give smaller parties like the Greens a much better chance of winning a seat than FFTP. Right now, I would see casting a Green vote as a complete waste of my franchise since polls show they could never win my riding, and a regressive party would likely take the seat. But if I were given the option, I could vote Green as my first choice, then follow up with other progressive parties. This would not only improve their chances of taking my riding in a current election, the resulting groundswell of "green as first choice" ballots would show them to be a viable contender for the progressive party of choice in future elections, perhaps ultimately resulting in their winning this seat.

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. Instant Runoff Voting (also known as the Alternative Vote) might help a smaller party win an extra seat or two only if their support is concentrated in a certain area (much like how the Bloc Quebecois won 49 seats in 2008, with 10% of the national vote - just all of that 10% was concentrated in one area).

      The Green Party polled at 7% in 2008, but won 0 seats. If that 7% were concentrated solely in, say, BC, they could well have won 20+ seats.

      But because IRV/AV is still a "winner takes all" system, it's more likely smaller parties will continue to get unfair shares of power in the legislature. Yes, people might feel more comfortable voting Green, since if their candidate in their riding doesn't get enough votes, their second or third choices can go towards electing someone, but you'd still need strong regional support to elect a Green MP (or MPP).

      There's also the situation whereby a large number of votes cast will still not go towards electing anyone (conceivably up to 50% in each riding). This isn't much better than the system we have now.

      Proportional Representation, on the other hand, more accurately reflects voter intent. There are various systems that implement PR - some which have ranked balloting as part of the process, which I'd be fine with - but the key part is that we need *some* element of proportionality.

      9 months ago
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      0 Disagreed
    2. Some Liberals think instant run off voting would help the Liberal Party, on the assumption it is everyone's second choice, and on the assumption the Liberal will not run third on the first count. But in the last federal election, where the greater number of Green voters' second choice was the NDP, IRV would have given the NDP more MPs than a proportional system would. As the Jenkins Commission in the UK said about IRV, "its effects are disturbingly unpredictable."

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
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  21. Were you to ask most people on the street: "Should Ontario replace its First Past the Post electoral system for a system that would provide Proportional Representation?" you would get glazy eyes and the "what is he talking about?" reaction. A referendum question must be asked in a way that everybody understand, not only the intellectual elite. A question such as: "do you want that only the candidates with more than 50% of the votes win?" is fairly clear to everyone.

    9 months ago
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    1 Disagreed
    1. An Environics Survey conducted in March, 2013, asked “Some people favor bringing in a form of proportional representation. This means that the total number of seats held by each party in Parliament would be roughly equivalent to their percentage of the national popular vote. Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose moving towards a system of proportional representation in Canadian elections?” Result: 70% support, 18% oppose, "depends" 6%, don’t know 6%. Apparently a clear enough question.

      And it got a remarkably strong result, even though it didn't say anything about also keeping the majority of MPs elected in local ridings (mixed member system) or keeping all MPs elected personally and accountably (mixed member system with open regional lists.)

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. Ah, but the question you propose is not about Proportional Representation. Although such a result is possible under a proportional system, it would be rare, especially in any Canadian PR system. Canadians have proven our dedication to diversity through our determinedly multi-party system. The only reasonable way to hold such a referendum would be if it was accompanied by a meaningful public education program.

      If we had to put it to a referendum, A Proportional Representation question might be phrased: "Do you support a change that provides all voters with representation in government?" or perhaps, "Do you want a democratic system where every vote counts?"

      As has been mentioned here above, a referendum is not a legal requirement. Our current minority government could effect such a change by working with the NDP. Premier Wynn claims to want to govern by consensus, which could be achieved by co-operating with Ms. Horwath, whose party claims to support Proportional Representation. While it may be politically problematic for a single party to implement such a dramatic change, having two disparate parties reach a consensus for the good of the province would be a much fairer way to proceed.

      9 months ago
      1 Agreed
      0 Disagreed