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We talked about all this stuff 15 years ago where I live. Visioning, building community processes, finding consensus, identifying stakeholders, engaging the public...hasn't made a smudge of difference as far as better representation goes. It's a largely condescending exercise that only breeds more cynicism and less engagement.

We discussed your example and it wasn't done properly. Too often, people hand down decisions, talk down to people, refuse to engage... and they simply call it 'consensus building' when it's not.

This approach destroys trust.

Now, with PR, we'll create a system that's even more beholden to other politicans than to people.

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Indeed.   Or as me ol' pappy used to say; you want what you want when you want it. The central fallacy is that somehow voting solves problems.   It's the cult of democracy, to worship voting in o

It's not paranoia if they are out to get you, and reality can be harsh. It's not healthy to be so naive and positive when reality doesn't reflect those assumptions. PR does not make very vote equal

Fight other battles.  You’re stuck with Canada.  It’s got many problems yet remains one of the freest, best places in which to live and work.  What you criticize is highly valued by many.  I’m glad Ca

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We discussed your example and it wasn't done properly.

How so? All sorts of solid ideas emerged and resolve for implementing them was expressed and then we ran into an obdurate bureaucracy serving clients 3000 miles from here.

Too often, people hand down decisions, talk down to people, refuse to engage... and they simply call it 'consensus building' when it's not.

This approach destroys trust.

No, I'm pretty certain it's mostly the lying and broken promises that does that. The condescension is more like an insult thrown on top for good measure.

Now, with PR, we'll create a system that's even more beholden to other politicans than to people.

If anything cocks it up it will for the reasons I've pointed out - a lack of fundamental honesty due to a lack of robust institutions of accountability. I mean really robust.

Edited by eyeball
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Now, with PR, we'll create a system that's even more beholden to other politicans than to people.

Proportional representation is neither going to save us from ourselves nor cause the downfall of civilization. It's just a way of providing democratic representation that is more reflective of how people actually vote. It's true that minority and coalition governments have to compromise but isn't that what governing should be about?

People seem to look at elections as some sort of auction where the different parties bid against each other. Then they want to hold the government to account by checking off how many of the bid items were delivered. This sort of 'consumer democracy' is what destroys the concept of citizenship and leads to cynicism.

You should vote for a party or candidate because you believe they have values that reflect yours. It's unreasonable to expect that even a majority government can predict 4 years in advance what it should do. Things change and I want a government to lead, not just tick off their election promises.

Representative democracy means trusting someone else to act for you. If you can't do that, all that's left is direct democracy. Be careful what you wish for.

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To be replaced by a third of the vote never running the country... how is that "fair" ?

The only "fair" system is direct democracy - every representative system has some distortions. You only need tweaks to improve these things, you don't need to implement a widespread experiment such as PR. There are many things that could go wrong.

PR would involve each third being represented accordingly. I like direct democracy too.

Edited by G Huxley
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How so? All sorts of solid ideas emerged and resolve for implementing them was expressed and then we ran into an obdurate bureaucracy serving clients 3000 miles from here.

You answer your own question.

No, I'm pretty certain it's mostly the lying and broken promises that does that. The condescension is more like an insult thrown on top for good measure.

The examples you gave in the past didn't include overt 'broken promises' but a heavy suspicion on the part of the community (in your case, independent fishers) about the backroom deals that they *suspected* were happening.

If anything cocks it up it will for the reasons I've pointed out - a lack of fundamental honesty due to a lack of robust institutions of accountability. I mean really robust.

Accountability thrives in an environment where reputation thrives. If we have no press, and no public to keep power in check then they have no incentive to be accountable. It's a terrible situation. And this is part of what I mean when I say that "it wasn't done properly".

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PR would involve each third being represented accordingly. I like direct democracy too.

I have a new idea, then. If you require the parties to work together in this way then you have to redesign the public engagement model top-to-bottom as well. This initiative, if done well, would be a revolutionary change in engagement and would make me actually support PR.

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Proportional representation is neither going to save us from ourselves nor cause the downfall of civilization.

I don't think either of us know for sure. It could be a factor in either of those outcomes, though.

It's true that minority and coalition governments have to compromise but isn't that what governing should be about?

No, governing should produce results that allow the people who live in the country to engage in The Pursuit of Happiness (both the American concept, and the Canadian rock band). Governing should maximize the economics of social, physical, mental well-being of the nation.

People seem to look at elections as some sort of auction where the different parties bid against each other. Then they want to hold the government to account by checking off how many of the bid items were delivered. This sort of 'consumer democracy' is what destroys the concept of citizenship and leads to cynicism.

Perhaps there's something to what you say, but it sounds like more of a problem with specialization. See my post above - I have decided that I would support PR if it's designed hand-in-hand with a top-to-bottom redesign of political engagement.

In short, we can't expect perpetual coalition governments (as would happen under PR) to get along if we as a people don't. It will result in the important values of conservative-minded Canadians being absolutely discounted. Instead, we should foment discussion at the individual level so that coalition governments take all Canadians into account.

After all, that's what PR is about right ?

You should vote for a party or candidate because you believe they have values that reflect yours. It's unreasonable to expect that even a majority government can predict 4 years in advance what it should do. Things change and I want a government to lead, not just tick off their election promises.

But certain initiatives can't happen with constant public input. Large projects such as transit need to be done with public input at certain points. Large trade deals can't allow for low-detailed input from the masses.

Majority governments can put something through, even if flawed.

Be careful what you wish for.

For sure.

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I have a new idea, then. If you require the parties to work together in this way then you have to redesign the public engagement model top-to-bottom as well. This initiative, if done well, would be a revolutionary change in engagement and would make me actually support PR.

Sure I agree that the public needs to be more directly involved in politics rather than by self serving career politicians and their parties.

Edited by G Huxley
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No, governing should produce results that allow the people who live in the country to engage in The Pursuit of Happiness (both the American concept, and the Canadian rock band). Governing should maximize the economics of social, physical, mental well-being of the nation.

You won't do that with policies and tax breaks that are aimed at the 3% of the population that separates a minority 35% government from a 'majority' 38%.

Perhaps there's something to what you say, but it sounds like more of a problem with specialization. See my post above - I have decided that I would support PR if it's designed hand-in-hand with a top-to-bottom redesign of political engagement.

PR is only part of the solution but you're not going to get a grandiose brand new political culture overnight. PR will build a culture that is more inclined to cooperation and compromise than what we have today. You need to be a bit more careful about how badly you malign the opposition if you know you're going to have to build a coalition with them next month.

In short, we can't expect perpetual coalition governments (as would happen under PR) to get along if we as a people don't. It will result in the important values of conservative-minded Canadians being absolutely discounted. Instead, we should foment discussion at the individual level so that coalition governments take all Canadians into account.

After all, that's what PR is about right ?

No system will ever implement solutions that will make everyone happy. I would favor reorganizing our entire political institutions if it were possible but it isn't. So, PR is a step in the right direction. And even getting it in will be a momentous undertaking.

It's a mistake to assume that PR will result in perpetual centre-left coalitions. Things change and parties adapt. Parties are vote getting machines and they will change according to the new realities. The benefits of PR are that it will require broader support to pass legislation and that new ideas from what people like to refer to as "fringe parties" (ie the Green Party) will enter public discourse.

But certain initiatives can't happen with constant public input. Large projects such as transit need to be done with public input at certain points. Large trade deals can't allow for low-detailed input from the masses.

Majority governments can put something through, even if flawed.

So, take a look at the last 4 years and tell me what benefit we got out of the majority government. Harper treated everyone like the enemy - the opposition, the press, the civil service, the foreign service, the Supreme Court, officers of parliament, Elections Canada. And in the end, the Muslim community. He used his majority to push through legislation that he must have known was unconstitutional and would be bounced by the SCC.

I'm not suggesting that a majority government is responsible for Harper's bunker mentality and bad behavior but it did enable him to keep a government alive that defnitely should have ended earlier.

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You won't do that with policies and tax breaks that are aimed at the 3% of the population that separates a minority 35% government from a 'majority' 38%.

Ok....

PR is only part of the solution but you're not going to get a grandiose brand new political culture overnight. PR will build a culture that is more inclined to cooperation and compromise than what we have today.

I disagree. I will support PR if you institute it with a change of social engagement models, not as the thin edge of the wedge to change. That would be very confusing.

Harper treated everyone like the enemy - the opposition, the press, the civil service, the foreign service, the Supreme Court, officers of parliament, Elections Canada. And in the end, the Muslim community. He used his majority to push through legislation that he must have known was unconstitutional and would be bounced by the SCC.

I don't know what this example means for PR. It seems like the system worked and protected you from Harper's wrath, I guess.

it did enable him to keep a government alive that defnitely should have ended earlier.

A lot of governments will be ending earlier under PR

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Why not introduce a system of a run-off in those constituencies, or ridings as you call them, where none of the candidates receives more than 50%?

That's called alternative vote and is favored by Trudeau. It's not a proportional system and tends to favor centrist parties (who tend to get the 2nd vote). Since it doesn't produce proportional results, it doesn't belong in this discussion.

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In these discussions about the electoral-systems the main argument against the FPTP is that it only produces middle-aged middle-class men as mp's while the main argument in favour of the FPTP is exactly the same.

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That's called alternative vote and is favored by Trudeau. It's not a proportional system and tends to favor centrist parties (who tend to get the 2nd vote). Since it doesn't produce proportional results, it doesn't belong in this discussion.

So it's OK if a left leaning party wins most of the time than a right leaning party?

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this (I didn't read all 12 pages), but some sort or Proportional Representation might spell the end to being ruled by a majority conservative government for a very, very long time.

If they can only muster 38% of the vote at best, there will always be the remainder of the parliament (60+%) that is "left of centre" or "centre" in their political leanings.

While this might seem like bad poliitics on the part of the Liberals (since they also won't get majorities as much any more), it would seem to be an excellent way to ensure that the governing of Canada takes place by the more progressive parties and will exclude the conservatives in making legislation and policy. Unless of course they can work with another party to do so, but that doesn't seem likely.

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to be an excellent way to ensure that the governing of Canada takes place by the more progressive parties and will exclude the conservatives in making legislation and policy.

So you think the permanent exclusion of 30-40% of the electors is a good thing? You do realize that the only reason you believe this could happen is because the libs and cpc are rivals and will not co-operate with each other. If that rivalry ended you would have the libs and cpc teaming up to pass legislation and shutting out the NDP. Incidentally, the fact that the two main parties in any democracy see each other as rivals and cannot co-operate easily is why anyone who says PR is a more democratic is full of it. PR is simply a way of giving power to fringe parties that do not deserve it.
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Elections under FPTP are very exciting and entertaining with their dramatic shifts and ensuing single-party majorities. They are like sporting-contests.

Of course it can be asked whether the purpose of an election is to be entertaining and like a sporting-contest or to express the will of the people.

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So you think the permanent exclusion of 30-40% of the electors is a good thing?

No, I think if you get 40% of the vote then you deserve around 40% of the seats. You don't deserve a huge majority with a minority of the vote. It's a simple, fair and reasonable concept.

You do realize that the only reason you believe this could happen is because the libs and cpc are rivals and will not co-operate with each other. If that rivalry ended you would have the libs and cpc teaming up to pass legislation and shutting out the NDP.

That's what I mentioned in my post. I said that unless they could team up with another party, then they wouldn't have any effect on policy/legislation.

Incidentally, the fact that the two main parties in any democracy see each other as rivals and cannot co-operate easily is why anyone who says PR is a more democratic is full of it. PR is simply a way of giving power to fringe parties that do not deserve it.

Then they had better learn to cooperate so they can govern effectively.

Fringe parties don't get to govern. In this election, not a single "fringe party" would have gotten a single seat if they had to pass a threshold of 5%. No fringe party would have gotten any power.

If you can get 1 in 20 Canadians to vote for you, you deserve 5% of the seats in parliament. Seems pretty democratic to me.

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I don't know if anyone has mentioned this (I didn't read all 12 pages), but some sort or Proportional Representation might spell the end to being ruled by a majority conservative government for a very, very long time.

Good, conservatives suck.

ensure that the governing of Canada takes place by the more progressive parties and will exclude the conservatives in making legislation and policy.

Not necessarily. PR allows for a greater number of relevant parties to exist.

So you think the permanent exclusion of 30-40% of the electors is a good thing?

How are they shut out?

In this election, not a single "fringe party" would have gotten a single seat if they had to pass a threshold of 5%.

Why have such a dumb threshold? If the libertarians, communists or other groups get enough votes, shouldn't they be represented fairly in parliament?

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So you think the permanent exclusion of 30-40% of the electors is a good thing? You do realize that the only reason you believe this could happen is because the libs and cpc are rivals and will not co-operate with each other. If that rivalry ended you would have the libs and cpc teaming up to pass legislation and shutting out the NDP. Incidentally, the fact that the two main parties in any democracy see each other as rivals and cannot co-operate easily is why anyone who says PR is a more democratic is full of it. PR is simply a way of giving power to fringe parties that do not deserve it.

Bollocks. PR is about creating a Parliament that more represents the will of the electorate. What that Palriament chooses to do is something else entirely. And good grief, after all the explanations about various PR systems, someone can still say "PR gives fringe parties lots of power". It's almost as if you never read anything that doesn't automatically support your preconceptions.

Most PR countries are not Israel. Countries like Germany get on quite well and are not run by fringe parties, so what do you base this on?

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So it's OK if a left leaning party wins most of the time than a right leaning party?

If right leaning parties perpetually only get a fraction of the vote, why should they form a government. Why should any electoral system exaggerate any party's representation in Parliament?

As it is, the country has leaned heavily centrist for decades. The Liberals are not leftiss, and these days, it's hard to call the Tories right-leaning. Heck, even the NDP. at least for the moment, has a liberal leader.

While the Tories had some crap policies, what defeated them was the general sentiment that they were jerks.

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Most PR countries are not Israel. Countries like Germany get on quite well and are not run by fringe parties, so what do you base this on?

You mean where fringe parties constantly act as kingmakers who choose the government? The only exception has been in the last few years where you have a 'grand coalition' but those are rare and only brought on by desperation. The trouble with 'grand coalitions' is the voters have no where to go when they eventually want change which why the main parties prefer to stay as rivals. PR a is tyranny of the fringe whether you want to believe it or not. Edited by TimG
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