Sunday, April 22, 2007

A long way from reform

It's some progress that, in contrast to the immediate aftermath of the formation of the Axis of Ego, Stephane Dion is now talking publicly about electoral reform as a possibility. But there's still an awfully long way from his current position to anything that could be construed as support for any change:
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has agreed to explore reforms to Canada’s electoral system as part of his non-compete agreement with Green Leader Elizabeth May.

However, it’s unlikely Liberals, who’ve long benefited from the first-past-the-post system, will endorse the kind of proportional representation championed by many Greens as a means of finally gaining a toehold in Parliament.

“Our party is open to discuss electoral reform. We’re not sure where it will lead us, but we agree that the current system has some shortcomings,” Dion said in an interview.

But he added: “It’s very unlikely that we will conclude that pure PR makes sense, because pure PR is only applied in Israel, not necessarily with good results.”

He said there is “a panoply” of other possibilities.
Note in particular that Dion doesn't bother to name a single possibility out of that "panoply" that he'd consider worthy of his support or even specific attention. Instead, he appears to have specifically discussed only the most extreme possible form of PR which (to my knowledge) hasn't been seriously demanded by anybody - which serves to present a distorted view of what PR options exist and what pro-PR parties might want.

It'll certainly be for the best if Dion is planning to advance the issue of electoral reform. But a move from silence to largely negative lip service doesn't advance the cause any...and too much spin accepting this as success can only help let Dion off the hook for a failure to push for real change.

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