Thursday, December 10, 2015

Proportional Representation doesn't represent

#cdnpoli #cpc

During the last lengthy election campaign, the shrill and vitriol from Dippers and Liberals about Stephen Harper went to a whole other crazy level.  Claims he was undemocratic and a dictator were far-fetched considering a full democratic election occurred and his democratically lost the election.

Now, as promised by Trudeau mind you, Liberals want to introduce proportional representation.

Tasha Kheiridden wrote a good article on why the preferential ballot method of proportional representation doesn't properly represent the people.  She writes:

In the recent federal election, this would have benefited the Liberals significantly, because Liberal and NDP voters were more likely to name each other as their preferred second choice. In contrast, most Conservative supporters had no second choice, which means their votes would have been counted once, and if they didn’t achieve the magic 50%-plus-one mark, dropped out of the equation altogether. The Council of Canadians published a simulation run by, based on the 2015 results and found that under a ranked ballot, the Liberals would have elected 224 members instead of 184; the Conservatives, 61 vs. 99; the NDP, 50 vs. 44; the Bloc 2 vs. 10. Only the Greens would have obtained the same result: 1.
Preferential or ranked ballots thus don’t create a more proportional system; if anything, they tend to increase the proportion of seats taken by the dominant party. And in a country like Canada, where there are three parties, one on the left, one in the centre and one on the right, it is most likely that in any election, the second choice of either “extreme” would be the middle, not each other — thus entrenching successive Liberal governments.
The Trudeau Liberal government appears to be moving forward with this dangerous proposal without putting such a sweeping change to our democracy and society to the people in a referendum.

Or is that too undemocratic?


Anonymous said...

I am totally against proportional representation. I may work fine in small densely populated countries like Germany, but in a large diverse one like Canada, local representation is essential. Also this just further strengthens the party system as those on the list will likely be party hacks. I would rather have an MP who represents their constituents in Ottawa than their boss. The issue for me is less about the results as parties on the right have won in every Western democracy regardless of the system, but rather the problems it would create which I see as three fold.

1. Weaken local representation which would be especially bad in Rural Canada or smaller regions
2. Filled with party lists who are loyal to the boss thus further strengthening the party system rather than weakening it.
3. Allows single issue or fringe parties on the extreme left or extreme right to hold the balance of power.

Many argue that in our current system too many votes are wasted, but no ballot is wasted one even if your candidate doesn't win. Besides 98% of Canadians voted for a party with representation in the House of Commons even if it didn't win their riding while only 86% in Germany have representation due to the 5% threshold. it is neither possible nor desirable to please everyone, so our system should work to represent the largest number possible but also allow effective government. The fact is Canada and the UK which uses the same system our amongst the oldest most stable democracies and enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world, so while it may some broke to many academics, it isn't broken for our country.

Mike B. said...

I was going to continue on this post and state all the exact reasons you mention why PR doesn't work

Julien Lamarche said...

"preferential ballot method of proportional representation"

Although there are proportional voting system with a ranked ballot such as Single Transferable Vote, the article you are quoting is talking about "Preferential voting" (also know as "Alternative Vote" or "Instant Runoff").

Proportional voting systems would have given the Liberals actually fewer seats and given the conservative more seats. Rather than siting on the bench of opposition for 65 years of the last century, it would have given them the chance to influence government policy.

The annonymous commentator also neglects to mention that the most often cited proportional voting system for Canada, the Law Commission of Canada 2004 (LC2004), which is a mixed member system, keeps both a local seat and has top up seats to get proportional results.

LC2004 is explaiend here: . I've made a collection of videos here: A diagram to sum it all up is here:

Julien Lamarche said...

Just to get some URLs hyperlinked:

LC2004 is explaiend here: . I've made a collection of videos here: A diagram to sum it all up is here:

Anonymous said...

If they go through with this it's time to RIOT. Get off the couch and let's burn it down.

Anonymous said...

I've lived through 2 BC referendums on single transferable vote (STV) and they were ridiculous. In the first one in 2005, 57% of BC voters voted yes, although hardly anyone knew what it was. In the second referendum, the government awarded a 'yes' team and a 'no' team each a half million dollars to run a campaign. The result was a gong show. The yes side ran a boy scout style positive campaign that said good things about STV. They held sparsely attended free sessions to explain STV and wrote letters to the editor. The no side, headed by BC party insiders, ran an election-style campaign predicated on negative ads. They told half truths and untruths. Although the yes side had legions of volunteers, the outcome was never in doubt.

People imagine that voting systems are simple but they're not. Not even FPTP. You don't hold a referendum to determine the design of a power plant. You don't hold a referendum to decide on economic policy. And you don't need a referendum to change the voting system.

The government of the day can implement it. And if the public really hates it, they can vote them out and the next government can change it.

L said...

Sometimes, pure democracy does not work well. I will be galvanized if the Liebrals try to change our voting system.

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