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I contend that the goal of an electoral system should be to produce a parliament that matches the will of the people as closely as possible. I've stated that winner take all style systems like First Past The Post (FPTP) are fine (but still not the best) for choosing local representatives. However, simply forming a parliament out of the local winners greatly distorts the peoples' will. I think it is a problem that FPTP over represents concentrated local support for a party and can under represent evenly distributed support.

What should be the goal of an electoral system?

What special considerations or interests need to be protected?

What is the best possible system to achieve your goal?

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A system that involves purely a national popular vote ignores regional differences in deciding who an elected representative should be.

In a two party system it would be more reasonable for a popular vote to decide the executive branch. But in Canada where the executive branch is decided by the leader of the winning party any system involving a national popular vote would leave parts of the nation not represented properly. It also would completely ignore any third or fourth parties.

No system is going to be perfect. America's system allows for crippling checks and balances where little can actually be done.

Edited by Boges

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So what do you think about Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or "Super Riding" systems?

Who are the members selected by the party accountable to?

Frankly, I think political party leadership control of the legislature needs to be reduced, not enhanced.

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I contend that the goal of an electoral system should be to produce a parliament that matches the will of the people as closely as possible.
Could not disagree more. The goal of an electoral system is to provide a rule based system for changing the leadership. The only requirement when it comes to representation is that the people being asked to accept the result must agree with the rules. BC and Ontario have asked voters if they would like to change the FPTP system and in both cases people choose to stick with the status quo. That is evidence that our system is good enough to meet the required goals. Edited by TimG

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I agree that regional representation is important. So what do you think about Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or "Super Riding" systems?

That idea was proposed in the Ontario 2007 General election and was soundly defeated. The problem with it is that the other seats are given essentially by patronage. Those people wouldn't campaign to win a seat. They are just alloted a seat because of the popular vote. They have no one to answer to either. The only way a popular vote system would work is if you have a house of 100 seats and give one seat to each party that has a 1% share of the vote. But that ignores regional representation completely.

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If you look at where Canada is today, you wonder why anybody would want to change the balance we have.

Some of the main points of our system:

We give a large amount of power to the PM for a certain amount of time.

We have 3 parties, 2 of which are left-of-centre.

We have regional interests which need to be represented.

The questions:

What should be the goal of an electoral system?

Stability balanced with reflection of the national will (personified into in parties and individual leaders and a single PM) who are given the power to enact change for the overall goal of maximum long term happiness and prosperity of the people.

What special considerations or interests need to be protected?

Regional interests, especially Quebec. Also, acknowledgment of identified groups within Canada.

What is the best possible system to achieve your goal?

The current electoral system is fine. A better system of discussion of issues may be needed.

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Could not disagree more. The goal of an electoral system is to provide a rule based system for changing the leadership. The only requirement when it comes to representation is that the people being asked to accept the result must agree with the rules. BC and Ontario have asked voters if they would like to change the FPTP system and in both cases people choose to stick with the status quo. That is evidence that our system is good enough to meet the required goals.

No, I would think only that voters think the current system is better than the proposed systems.

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No, I would think only that voters think the current system is better than the proposed systems.
That is why I said 'good enough'. It is not perfect but people respect the out come of the elections therefore it meets the requirements of an electoral system. If people refused to respect the authority of the elected officials then it would not meet the objectives.

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the issue of electoral reform in BC wasn't really rejected in two referendums, it won the first by 58% of the the vote but the government set the limit at 60%, in a 2nd vote what was rejected was STV, so the replacement system was defeated but not the need for change...there are a number of PR systems that can be used but they need to be examined, explained and understood before there is a referendum....

Edited by wyly

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I agree that regional representation is important. So what do you think about Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or "Super Riding" systems?

you need to be more clear in how you define electoral systems, there are many of variations of PR systems around the world ....a super riding to me means a city like where I live would be one riding with 10 MPs, seats are awarded by percentage of votes 10% for each seat....with that 40% of calgarians would have a voice/representative in government, many for the first time in their lives...

there's an interesting contradiction among fptp lovers...they think it's perfectly fair and democratic to award a majority government to a party that polls less than 40% of the popular vote, and yet sees nothing wrong with an undemocratic electoral system that permanently shut out 40% of the population from government for generations...

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there's an interesting contradiction among fptp lovers...they think it's perfectly fair and democratic to award a majority government to a party that polls less than 40% of the popular vote, and yet sees nothing wrong with an undemocratic electoral system that permanently shut out 40% of the population from government for generations...

Why should a party that receives less than 40% receive power if another party received more than 40%?Also please cite instances in Canada where a party that lost the popular vote won the election. It might have happened, but have never heard of an instance. Also Ontario rejected MMP by a healthy majority.

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Could not disagree more. The goal of an electoral system is to provide a rule based system for changing the leadership. The only requirement when it comes to representation is that the people being asked to accept the result must agree with the rules. BC and Ontario have asked voters if they would like to change the FPTP system and in both cases people choose to stick with the status quo. That is evidence that our system is good enough to meet the required goals.

I hate to agree with you, but you're actually right.

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I hate to agree with you, but you're actually right.

I too find myself agreeing with some strange bedfellows in this debate. I think the NDP is absolutely wrong-headed to pursue this, as it could result in a large change in the balance of power. The current system of 3-party FPRP produces a certain balance: mostly left-of-centre on social policy, with some right-leaning governments coming in and enacting reform every few decades.

I'm no nationalist, but as far as that goes this is our system and we should be proud of what it has given us.

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Why should a party that receives less than 40% receive power if another party received more than 40%?Also please cite instances in Canada where a party that lost the popular vote won the election. It might have happened, but have never heard of an instance. Also Ontario rejected MMP by a healthy majority.

you misunderstand my point...I live in a province that due to fptp approximately 40% never has a representative in the HoC, and this has been going on for decades...how does permently shutting out 40% of the population become democratically acceptable? how does giving a majority government to a similar 40% seem democratically acceptable ? the electoral process of fptp does not reflect an accurate political viewpoint of albertans...

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I too find myself agreeing with some strange bedfellows in this debate. I think the NDP is absolutely wrong-headed to pursue this, as it could result in a large change in the balance of power. The current system of 3-party FPRP produces a certain balance: mostly left-of-centre on social policy, with some right-leaning governments coming in and enacting reform every few decades.

I'm no nationalist, but as far as that goes this is our system and we should be proud of what it has given us.

I think the system needs to be changed, but I can't think of a better solution. And I've thought about it A LOT.

I don't like the fact that any party (read: ANY party) can get a majority with less than 40% of the vote. However, I recognize that in the interest of pragmatism, we can't be so stringent as to demand greater than 50% of the vote for a majority either. Nothing would ever get done because the parties would constantly be in gridlock vis-a-vis minority governments.

I do, however, think that there's a serious issue that needs to be addressed. This is highlighted particularly well in Alberta. Nearly every seat is Conservative. If I voted for another party there, I probably wouldn't even bother to show up on election day. What's the point. You know the CPC candidate is winning. Nevertheless, there is still a significant proportion of people that vote for other parties in those ridings, so they practically go unrepresented in the House. The FPTP riding system skews the reality of whom voters support.

You can't have super-members unattached to riding though. They're accountable to no one but the party leaders and this would just give the PMO even more power, which it has quite enough of already.

I just can't work this one out.

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I wonder if a PR Senate would add balance. They already don't answer to anyone.

it would need to be effective too,....and then we'd end up with american style political gridlock...

dump the senate, one chamber with some sort of PR electoral system...

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I'm no nationalist, but as far as that goes this is our system and we should be proud of what it has given us.

so we shouldn't look to improve democracy?

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At the end of the day, TimG is correct.

The purpose of the electoral system is to produce a legitimate government by peaceful means. Legitimate does not necessarily mean perfect representation.

Having said that, if they become to unrepresentative, then they will lack legitimacy and the electoral system will be called into question, as it has been recently.

This is quite possibly one of the most complex problems we have, which is likely why no one wants to tackle it (as opposed to the cynical view that no one in power will change the system that gives them power).

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you misunderstand my point...I live in a province that due to fptp approximately 40% never has a representative in the HoC, and this has been going on for decades...how does permently shutting out 40% of the population become democratically acceptable? how does giving a majority government to a similar 40% seem democratically acceptable ? the electoral process of fptp does not reflect an accurate political viewpoint of albertans...

What 40% are you referring to? The Alberta Liberal Party? In Alberta the PCs have increasingly received over 50% though No? They haven't been winning with only a plurality have they?Federally over 50% is very rare. The major failing of FPTP is that a party with 7% (The Bloc) can, in the past receiver 50 plus seats because they only run in one province. While the Green only one their first seat recently. But them's the breaks of the system. Each seat is won by a popular vote and the house is a good representation of the the popular will country-wide.

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Don't forget the Tories are not gone yet and I'm sure if Harper wanted to change the way the election are done, he'll do it. He'll have nothing to lose because being the PM does come to an end sometime and he going to leave turning Canada upside down as it is. The Tories own the speaker, the majority and the senate, so whaty would stop him? GG? EC?

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Don't forget the Tories are not gone yet and I'm sure if Harper wanted to change the way the election are done, he'll do it. He'll have nothing to lose because being the PM does come to an end sometime and he going to leave turning Canada upside down as it is. The Tories own the speaker, the majority and the senate, so whaty would stop him? GG? EC?

He kind of already did by adding seats to Alberta, Ontario and BC. That further dilutes the East Coast and Quebec in deciding the winner of future elections. Places where the CPC aren't terribly popular.

Edited by Boges

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At the end of the day, TimG is correct.

The purpose of the electoral system is to produce a legitimate government by peaceful means. Legitimate does not necessarily mean perfect representation.

Having said that, if they become to unrepresentative, then they will lack legitimacy and the electoral system will be called into question, as it has been recently.

This is quite possibly one of the most complex problems we have, which is likely why no one wants to tackle it (as opposed to the cynical view that no one in power will change the system that gives them power).

so status quo is acceptable? as you pointed out those who benefit from it have no interest in changing it...I'm counting on the NDP to change if they revert to "status quo" I'll never support them again, I'll go green party...

there are PR systems all over globe that work perfectly fine, democracy flourish there, minority governments are common but they're governments of compromise that reflect true majorities...

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