Friday, June 11, 2010

Sensible Solutions

I get the concerns about vote splitting on the left. Given the differences between the people who vote NDP and the people who vote Liberal, I don't think those concerns are founded but, yeah, I get them.

So rather than lunge into a merger, why not just switch to a preferential ballot? The Liberals and NDP could still run as two separate parties. Voters could rank them 1-2 on their ballot, ending the vote split. And if they get enough seats to justify it, they could sign a working agreement, or enter into a coalition government.

I don't see any drawbacks. If the concern is that Liberals wouldn't rank the NDP second and New Democrats wouldn't rank the Liberal Party second (a valid concern)...well then...I tend to think that's an even stronger argument against a merger.


  • Yeah sure. Lets just toss the constitution aside so the Libs and NDP can come up with a voting system that they think will get them into power.

    The entitlement I am sensing here is frightening.

    Get over it. It was an election and your side lost.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:14 AM  

  • As long as voters KNOW about this method BEFORE going to vote.

    No surprises like they tried last election. (Of course you were blind to protests in the streets about that decision.)

    Make a coalition now and let the voters decide - this will mean that only one leader will be at debate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:18 AM  

  • The constitution doesn't proscribe a voting system. In fact, BC used instant runoff voting (IRV) in 1952 and 53. I personally prefer it by miles over PR, and it solves most of the same problems the PR advocates highlight.

    By Blogger Don, at 9:23 AM  

  • I agree with Anonymous 8:14. Either join and let the people decide, stay separate, or join forces after the fact as long as you leave the country destroyers out of it. You can't re-write the rules to make one team have an extreme advantage.

    By Blogger Traciatim, at 9:25 AM  

  • This the first time I've ever heard people complain that Electoral reform is a "re-writing" of the rules.

    I suppose in a sense it is, but it's to make our voting system fairer overall, not to give an advantage to 1 particular party.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 9:31 AM  

  • @Anon:
    A coalition is not a merger. A merger is not a coalition. A coalition is not a merger. A merger is not a coalition.

    Harper + MacKay merger = 1 party

    1972: Trudeau + Lewis coalition = 2 parties

    1985: Peterson + Rae coalition = 2 parties

    This is not difficult.

    A coalition is a formal agreement for how to govern in a minority situation. It leaves the party structures intact.

    A merger is fusion of two parties. Only one party remains after a merger.

    By Blogger leonsp, at 9:34 AM  

  • I guess our new motto should then be "whatever it takes to win power back!"...If OUR policies (if we have any) and OUR leader aren't enough to sway the public to vote for us, then frankly we don't deserve to govern.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:37 AM  

  • AV is just as unproportional as our current system but Liberals advocate for it because if favours them in the perception that they are everyone's second choice. In fact if you crunch the numbers AV would have probably given Chretins last narrow majority Government an even more disproportionate amount of the seats vs %vote making the system less fair.

    AV still leaves the 40-50% who did not vote for either of these parties unrepresented.

    Be honest about your self serving proposal and do the right thing, non compete clauses in enough ridings to form a government, a promise of a plebiscite on PR, and a honest acknowledgment that AV is not a PR system.

    The public will wake up one day and demand fair voting rather than gamed voting and they will punish those who did the gaming.

    By Blogger Canadian silver bug/Green Assassin Brigade, at 9:41 AM  

  • Oh yeah, you'd have to be up front with voters about your plans re: coalition before the election.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:08 AM  

  • And I don't think there's anything un-constitutional about electoral reform.

    I've always liked the preferential ballot. It's how all parties choose their leaders and nominate candidates (well, when they hold contested nominations that is).

    It ensures that the majority's will is represented in each riding.

    It prevents a lot of the strategic voting we currently get.

    And it would be a far less radical change than PR.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:10 AM  

  • IRV has many of the same problem as FPTP. The main problem is that the introduction of a new candidate/party can change the results of the election even if that candidate doesn't--maybe Rae would have beat Dion had Iggy not been in the race and they had had a chance to go head to head.

    There's no way around this in a single office election, but in general legislative election PR is the only way to avoid this problem.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 AM  

  • "It ensures that the majority's will is represented in each riding."

    Faulty assumption that people should accept the legitimacy of their second or third vote "being their will" Forcing me to vote for and accept my second place as "my will" when I have no second choice is not a better solution.
    Multi member ridings that actually give me a voice is!

    "It prevents a lot of the strategic voting we currently get."

    And you don't think the 1-2 lib/ndp proposal you just gave is not strategic voting.
    Only PR allows people to vote their conscience.

    "And it would be a far less radical change than PR."

    And that matters why?

    surely you not implying Canadians are dumber than the Welsh, Scots, Germans and other using complex but fair systems?

    PR is no more complicated than the hockey and football pools every joins but when it comes to voting, simplicity should trump fairness.

    By Blogger Canadian silver bug/Green Assassin Brigade, at 10:37 AM  

  • Anon 10:32 has it right: this alternative is only a "solution" if everything else stays the same. In fact, nothing would be the same again, as the system would encourage two competing goals: fractionalization of parties so as to maximize the number of candidates competing for that "close second", and amalgamation of parties so as to maximize the chance of a "first choice" candidate.

    The only morally sustainable way to go is to declare and create your coalition prior to the election on a national basis, so that voters know what they're voting for.

    By Blogger Paul, at 11:27 AM  

  • "whatever it takes to win power back!"...the Liberal 'brand'

    By Blogger wilson, at 11:56 AM  

  • For what it is worth, amidst all this handwringing over Liberal fortunes:

    March 1979: LIB – 76%
    June 1979: LIB – 28%
    September 1979: LIB – 30% [2 weeks before Clark lost confidence vote]
    ELECTION FEBRUARY 18, 1980: LIB – 44%

    ELECTION NOVEMBER 21, 1988: LIB – 31%
    October 1990: LIB – 20%
    January 1991: LIB – 20%
    April 1991: LIB – 21%
    July 1991: LIB – 23%
    October 1991: LIB – 24%
    February 1992: LIB – 25%
    May 1992: LIB – 27%
    August 1992: LIB – 25%
    August 1993: LIB – 24% [2 weeks before election called]
    ELECTION OCTOBER 25, 1993: LIB – 41%

    Q4 2004: Con – 23%
    Q4 2005: Con – 25% [2 months before Martin lost confidence vote]
    ELECTION JANUARY 23, 2006 – Con – 36%


    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 12:12 PM  

  • That first one should obviously be 26% and not 76%.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 1:51 PM  

  • The current FPTP system is ludicrous in a multi-party system. PR deprives me of individual representation. So, to me, preferential ballot makes a tremendous amount of sense.

    And I could NOT be described as a committed LPC or NDP supporter by any stretch of the imagination.

    By Anonymous Jim R, at 2:49 PM  

  • The Liberals and the NDP have to win first to change the electoral system.

    They can't win if they running against each other. And a pre-election federation of parties cannot win unless they have a winner for leader.

    The only winner on the progressive side is Chretien.

    Chretien has to lead a Liberal-NDP federation into the next election, with Layton, Romanov, and Ignatieff as his lieutenants, with a formal merger after the election, and a leadership convention in three years when after Chretien retires.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 4:01 PM  

  • Let's try seat redistribution first.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:48 PM  

  • Question Calgarygrit:
    If you could not vote Liberal who would your second choice be? I consider myself to be on the left of the spectrum and have voted for both NDP and Liberal candidates in the past. I would consider voting for a red tory if any of those existed anymore...

    By Anonymous Mitchell Rowe, at 4:54 PM  

  • Jim R, I would willing trade willing trade my local rep for PR since I've yet to see any one from any party at any level actually represent the concerns of our riding.

    At least with PR I get something of value. with FPTP I get squat.

    By Blogger Canadian silver bug/Green Assassin Brigade, at 5:57 PM  

  • How do multi-member ridings give you a voice?

    The way I look at the math, they dilute my voice. No go.

    By Anonymous reologi, at 6:43 PM  

  • Mitchell - good question.

    It depends on the candidate. If I had, say, a Michael Chong running, I'd pick the CPC as my second choice (hell, maybe even as my first choice if the grits ran a stinker). I'd even consider some CPC cabmins like Moore or Prentice as a second choice.

    But, by and large, I'd probably lean NDP for my second choice. But it would really depend on the candidates and how much Layton bugged me during the campaign.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:26 PM  

  • Good numbers Ted - thanks for posting.

    Lest we forget Stephen Harper in his tight leather vest, discounted by everyone, the summer before he became Prime Minister?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 11:27 PM  

  • Okay, so how would preferential voting go?

    25% vote Liberal first and NDP second.

    15% vote NDP first and Liberal second.

    35% vote Conservative first and Liberal second.

    What happens next? A run-off election between the Liberals and NDP, or between the Conservatives and Liberals?

    Or... do you get a full vote for first place and half a vote for second place ... making the Liberals the clear winners?!

    Help me on this one ....

    By Anonymous Observant, at 2:25 PM  

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