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Democratic reform

May 13, 2016, 10:57 a.m.
Posts: 354
Joined: June 11, 2013

I don't think I'd agree that Harper became more centrist.

And a sitting government with an elected majority can't "be turfed", a general election would need to be called. What you are describing is more likely to happen with a minority governement/coallition via a non-confidence vote. This scenario is more likely to occur in a proportional representation system.

Maybe, maybe not. He likely operated less 'conservative' than he would have liked. He did run massive deficits, killed any abortion debate and not a lot of "firewall" talk during his tenure as PM.

I was thinking 'turfed' in the next election, not immediately.

I think the comment as to increased chances of non-confidence in a PR system is a strike against it. Having elections every 2 years or the Gov Gen asking another party to 'attempt' to form a government would be very unstable and not welcomed by the electorate.

It really is the instability of the PR system that worries me. We could end up like Italy, they have had something like 64 governments since WW2.

May 13, 2016, 11:01 a.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

I don't think I'd agree that Harper became more centrist.

And a sitting government with an elected majority can't "be turfed", a general election would need to be called. What you are describing is more likely to happen with a minority governement/coallition via a non-confidence vote. This scenario is more likely to occur in a proportional representation system.

Adolf worked that scenario like a champ.

Here's some interesting reading about various election systems.

http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/es/esd/esd02/esd02b

Disadvantages of PR system:

Most of the criticisms of PR in general are based around the tendency of PR systems to give rise to coalition governments and a fragmented party system. The arguments most often cited against PR are that it leads to:

Coalition governments, which in turn lead to legislative gridlock and consequent inability to carry out coherent policies. There are particularly high risks during an immediate post-conflict transition period, when popular expectations of new governments are high. Quick and coherent decision making can be impeded by coalition cabinets and governments of national unity which are split by factions.
A destabilizing fragmentation of the party system. PR can reflect and facilitate a fragmentation of the party system. It is possible that extreme pluralism can allow tiny minority parties to hold larger parties to ransom in coalition negotiations. In this respect, the inclusiveness of PR is cited as a drawback of the system. In Israel, for example, extremist religious parties are often crucial to the formation of a government, while Italy endured many years of unstable shifting coalition governments. Democratizing countries are often fearful that PR will allow personality-based and ethnic-cleavage parties to proliferate in their undeveloped party systems.
A platform for extremist parties. In a related argument, PR systems are often criticized for giving a space in the legislature to extremist parties of the left or the right. It has been argued that the collapse of Weimar Germany was in part due to the way in which its PR electoral system gave a toehold to extremist groups of the extreme left and right.
Governing coalitions which have insufficient common ground in terms of either their policies or their support base. These coalitions of convenience are sometimes contrasted with coalitions of commitment produced by other systems (e.g. through the use of AV), in which parties tend to be reciprocally dependent on the votes of supporters of other parties for their election, and the coalition may thus be stronger.
Small parties getting a disproportionately large amount of power. Large parties may be forced to form coalitions with much smaller parties, giving a party that has the support of only a small percentage of the votes the power to veto any proposal that comes from the larger parties.
The inability of the voter to enforce accountability by throwing a party out of power or a particular candidate out of office. Under a PR system, it may be very difficult to remove a reasonably-sized centre party from power. When governments are usually coalitions, some political parties are everpresent in government, despite weak electoral performances from time to time. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) in Germany was a member of the governing coalition for all but eight of the 50 years from 1949 to 1998, although it never gained more than 12 per cent of the vote.
Difficulties either for voters to understand or for the electoral administration to implement the sometimes complex rules of the system. Some PR systems are considered to be more difficult than non-PR systems and may require more voter education and training of poll workers to work successfully.

May 13, 2016, 11:12 a.m.
Posts: 14006
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Adolf worked that scenario like a champ.

Here's some interesting reading about various election systems.

http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/es/esd/esd02/esd02b

Why wouldn't you also post the advantages outlined from that same link?

Advantages of PR systems
In many respects, the strongest arguments for PR derive from the way in which the system avoids the anomalous results of plurality/majority systems and is better able to produce a representative legislature. For many new democracies, particularly those which face deep societal divisions, the inclusion of all significant groups in the legislature can be a near-essential condition for democratic consolidation. Failing to ensure that both minorities and majorities have a stake in developing political systems can have catastrophic consequences, such as seeking power through illegal means.

PR systems in general are praised for the way in which they:

Faithfully translate votes cast into seats won, and thus avoid some of the more destabilizing and ‘unfair’ results thrown up by plurality/majority electoral systems. ‘Seat bonuses’ for the larger parties are minimized, and small parties can have their voice heard in the legislature.
Encourage or require the formation of political parties or groups of like-minded candidates to put forward lists. This may clarify policy, ideology, or leadership differences within society, especially when, as in Timor-Leste at independence, there is no established party system.
Give rise to very few wasted votes. When thresholds are low, almost all votes cast in PR elections go towards electing a candidate of choice. See Voluntary Party Candidate Quotas to read who may determine the selection process in political parties. This increases the voters’ perception that it is worth making the trip to the polling booth at election time, as they can be more confident that their vote will make a difference to the election outcome, however small.
Facilitate minority parties’ access to representation. Unless the threshold is unduly high, or the district magnitude is unusually low, then any political party with even a small percentage of the vote can gain representation in the legislature. This fulfils the principle of inclusion, which can be crucial to stability in divided societies and has benefits for decision making in established democracies, such as achieving a more balanced representation of minorities in decision-making bodies and providing role models of minorities as elected representatives.
Encourage parties to campaign beyond the districts in which they are strong or where the results are expected to be close. The incentive under PR systems is to maximize the overall vote regardless of where those votes might come from. Every vote, even from areas where a party is electorally weak, goes towards gaining another seat.
Restrict the growth of ‘regional fiefdoms’. Because PR systems reward minority parties with a minority of the seats, they are less likely to lead to situations where a single party holds all the seats in a given province or district. This can be particularly important to minorities in a province which may not have significant regional concentrations or alternative points of access to power.
Lead to greater continuity and stability of policy. The West European experience suggests that parliamentary PR systems score better with regard to governmental longevity, voter participation, and economic performance. The rationale behind this claim is that regular switches in government between two ideologically polarized parties, as can happen in FPTP systems, makes long-term economic planning more difficult, while broad PR coalition governments help engender a stability and coherence in decision making which allow for national development.
Make power-sharing between parties and interest groups more visible. In many new democracies, power-sharing between the numerical majority of the population who hold political power and a small minority who hold economic power is an unavoidable reality. Where the numerical majority dominates the legislature and a minority sees its interests expressed in the control of the economic sphere, negotiations between different power blocks are less visible, less transparent, and less accountable (e.g. in Zimbabwe during its first 20 years of independence). It has been argued that PR, by including all interests in the legislature, offers a better hope that decisions will be taken in the public eye and by a more inclusive cross-section of the society.

May 13, 2016, 11:24 a.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

Why wouldn't you also post the advantages outlined from that same link?

There within lies the problems of the voters - they must be spoon fed everything. The thread OP said he has concerns of PR - so, I embellished a bit, staying on topic and all.

May 13, 2016, 11:32 a.m.
Posts: 1084
Joined: May 29, 2003

Honestly though, put your hate of Harper aside for a second. . . are you not at the least worried that a new voting system may be imposed upon you without your agreement? What if you don't like the system, are you expected to just suck it up ?

I'm going to pick on this for a sec. It's a thing that always comes up, gets interpreted as a victim state of mind and is instantaneously divisive.

All the options on the table are functionally proven to be democratic. Parliament is MPs that we voted for and by-and-large we've had a say in the process and that nothing is being 'imposed'. So to some extent, yes, if there is a change you will have to suck it up or get involved. Many others have been sucking up the status quo AND working on that for decades and decades (whatever the issue may be).

OK Generally speaking, Let's not forget the motivation here…
No camp is happy that [HTML_REMOVED]30% of voters can elect a majority/minority government. Yes, some countries have screwed-up FPTP, some have screwed up STV, etc. Add in east-west misrepresentation perceptions and the rural-urban divide. How well does a 150 year old system deal with those? Could we not expect to improve on that?

I think a change to some other functionally proven democratic system is worth an attempt… just maybe, it'll be better too. And if it's a train-wreck, it's not unreasonable for us to expect to change back.

BUT! The real concern is that we get a politically biased system from a politically biased committee. That's a fair concern. But this is just a committee. They should at least do their job and come back with something before calling for a referendum

Churchill said it best;
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

May 13, 2016, 11:35 a.m.
Posts: 1084
Joined: May 29, 2003

There within lies the problems of the voters - they must be spoon fed everything. The thread OP said he has concerns of PR - so, I embellished a bit, staying on topic and all.

Maybe NBR would be a better place if that didn't happen? :dizzy:

May 13, 2016, 11:42 a.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

I'm going to pick on this for a sec. It's a thing that always comes up, gets interpreted as a victim state of mind and is instantaneously divisive.

All the options on the table are functionally proven to be democratic. Parliament is MPs that we voted for and by-and-large we've had a say in the process and that nothing is being 'imposed'. So to some extent, yes, if there is a change you will have to suck it up or get involved. Many others have been sucking up the status quo AND working on that for decades and decades (whatever the issue may be).

OK Generally speaking, Let's not forget the motivation here…
No camp is happy that [HTML_REMOVED]30% of voters can elect a majority/minority government. Yes, some countries have screwed-up FPTP, some have screwed up STV, etc. Add in east-west misrepresentation perceptions and the rural-urban divide. How well does a 150 year old system deal with those? Could we not expect to improve on that?

I think a change to some other functionally proven democratic system is worth an attempt… just maybe, it'll be better too. And if it's a train-wreck, it's not unreasonable for us to expect to change back.

BUT! The real concern is that we get a politically biased system from a politically biased committee. That's a fair concern. But this is just a committee. They should at least do their job and come back with something before calling for a referendum

Churchill said it best;
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Well said. But ol JT isn't into as much democracy as you and I seemingly. He just said that a referendum about a democratic election system would not allow his change for his opinion on democracy. The hypocrisy is awesome and the best is yet to come.

http://ipolitics.ca/2016/04/19/referendum-a-good-way-of-not-getting-electoral-reform-trudeau/

May 13, 2016, 11:50 a.m.
Posts: 5329
Joined: Feb. 3, 2006

I don't know if I buy that. It was part of their platform, but it was not a 'major' part. It was never focused on, never any real thought given to it, no proposal as to what it would be. The last Canadian election run on a single issue was likely NAFTA when Mulroney won, something as important to Canada as electoral reform really needed to be debated during the election to be considered 'major'.

I just worry that we're imposing a new system on Canadians that many will not see as legitimate. Once our system loses it's legitimacy, we're in trouble as a country.

What happens if the "Ontario-Quebec" party forms and controls parliament permanently? How would that impact the west ? A new voting system could risk the existence of Canada.

Perhaps you weren't paying enough attention, but it was a major part of their platform. There was plenty of back and forth between Harper and Trudeau regarding electoral reform and several questions at the debates as well. It's just plain ignorant if you think that there wasn't debate on electoral reform, in fact, one of the MAJOR talking points for the Liberals was 'this will be Canada's last FPTP election', I heard it repeated so much it made me want to barf.

Sticking you head in the sand and claiming that there hasn't been any debate on this is just bullshit.

As for Western alienation, I felt just as alienated by the Conservatives as I do by the Liberals. The Cons just concentrated on Alberta and ignored anything west of the Rockies just as much as any other party would have. Other than trying to ram through approval and circumventing environmental review for an unwanted pipeline to Kitimat, the Conservatives didn't give two shits about BC.

You're also making a bunch of assertions about proportional representation to make it seem scarier than it will likely be. Have you actually looked at how PR works in Countries that have implemented it? Because your examples, like a fictional Ontario/Quebec party, are trash. Germany's MMPR is a great example that could work for Canada, or even a single transferable vote system.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT0I-sdoSXU

A referendum is just a back channel way of killing reform, and the Cons know it, because the Conservatives are obviously against it, because it eliminates the benefits of splitting the left vote that has kept them in power to-date, and die hard Liberals don't want it now because they're forming a majority government and it's against their best interest. I was actually shocked that Trudeau moved forward with electoral reform after winning a majority, I figured that they would have killed it and wrote it off as a hollow election promise.

May 13, 2016, 11:56 a.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

Bam. Page 2 and NBR calling people ignorant. :lol:

May 13, 2016, 11:59 a.m.
Posts: 14006
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Bam. Page 2 and NBR calling people ignorant. :lol:

Says the guy that managed to prove out Godwin's law 17 posts in.

May 13, 2016, noon
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

Says the guy that managed to prove out Godwin's law 17 posts in.

2

May 13, 2016, 12:18 p.m.
Posts: 13930
Joined: March 15, 2003

Some more info regarding different types of PR voting. Two of these types were both declined already in BC and Ontario when sent to a referendum, you'll have to read to figure that part out. Interesting scenarios, will be watching to see what the 'committee' decides what form of democracy is now best for all of us.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/explainer-everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-electoralreform/article29996105/

May 13, 2016, 12:19 p.m.
Posts: 354
Joined: June 11, 2013

I think a change to some other functionally proven democratic system is worth an attempt… just maybe, it'll be better too. And if it's a train-wreck, it's not unreasonable for us to expect to change back.

Actually, I do not think it can be taken that casually. Saying we can 'change back' assumes that we are able to. What happens if the system is gamed by the Conservatives, they win, then then keep the system they have gamed? Or even worse, they change the system to something that favours them even more.

There are two issues at play here
1 - precedent. If the Liberals change the voting system without a referendum or all party support, they have set a precedent in Canada. Effectively there will be no argument that will prevent a future government from changing the system, we could have a new system every 4 years in fact. Nothing is saying that this is a 'one off', we could be on a slippery slope of future 'tweaks' to the system to benefit the party in power.

2 - Legitimacy. I still think that a new system needs either all party support or a referendum to be considered legitimate. Without mass agreement as to the process that got us the new system, and the new system itself, we risk losing the perception of legitimacy in our system.

May 13, 2016, 12:27 p.m.
Posts: 354
Joined: June 11, 2013

Perhaps you weren't paying enough attention, but it was a major part of their platform. There was plenty of back and forth between Harper and Trudeau regarding electoral reform and several questions at the debates as well. It's just plain ignorant if you think that there wasn't debate on electoral reform, in fact, one of the MAJOR talking points for the Liberals was 'this will be Canada's last FPTP election', I heard it repeated so much it made me want to barf.

Saying that this will be the 'last election with FPTP' is not a debate. A debate would discuss why we no longer need FPTP, what the new system should be and ask Canadians to vote for a party based on their beliefs.

In reality the Liberals had this in their platform to prevent the NDP from being the party of 'change'. Electoral reform was not a major issue to Canadians, per the article below only 2% of Canadians said that democratic reform was 'important'. Without dispute it was not a major issue of concern for Canadians in the last election. There was no mandate from Canadians granted for electoral reform.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vote-compass-canada-election-2015-issues-canadians-1.3222945

The last election was a referendum on Harper, not an endorsement of the Liberals 150+ election promises. If a promise was a bad promise, it should be broken and explained why. The Liberlas had no problem doing that with "10,000 Syrian refugees by Christmas" and "$10 billion deficit", yet they are holding onto their election platform as justification here.

May 13, 2016, 12:45 p.m.
Posts: 16382
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

No of course we didn't but the Libs plan is just as sleazy - basically freezing out the NDP/Greens with this 1st/2nd/3rd choice shit.
Just do proportional representation ffs and get it over with.
Peoples seemed to be best represented by minority govts. here in the past p/r would be a version of that, no?

You seem to be operating under the assumption that the Libs have already decided that STV is the way forward and that no alternates will be considered. A pretty rash assumption, indeed.

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity.

When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.

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