Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday Afternoon #ERRE Links

A bit of electoral reform material for your weekend reading.

- Nathan Cullen points out how the Special Committee on Electoral Reform's report (PDF) serves as an effective road map to make every vote count in Canada.

- PressProgress highlights how the Libs are attacking their own campaign promises in order to preserve an unfair electoral system, while Jonathan Sas compares the Libs' scorched-earth approach and incoherent response to the remarkable level of consensus and success achieved by members of all parties on the committee.

- Craig Scott generously calls the Libs' approach one of "noble failure" - and that may have been the intention initially. 

- But the "noble" part seems to have been sorely lacking, as Michael Stewart calls out the Libs' mockery of both the MPs who worked on a broad consultation process, and the tens of thousands of Canadians who participated in it. Althia Raj notes that the Trudeau government's insults are particularly egregious since they're directed at people trying to fulfil their own promises - while also reporting that Trudeau and his inner circle would likely have been happy to accept a committee recommendation for a ranked ballot which was rejected by all parties. And Ryan Maloney points out the Libs' aversion to inconvenient math when it would help to achieve improved representation.


  1. I find the NDP position, insisting on a referendum, incredible. After years of demanding change they are now ensuring no change will happen. They are also ensuring their own irrelevance. Who's bright idea was this ?

    1. Of course, that isn't even close to the NDP's position. From the *joint* supplementary report from the NDP and the Greens (p. 332):

      "While it remains an option, we have serious concerns about holding a referendum on electoral reform. The evidence for the necessity of change is overwhelming; the evidence for the necessity of holding a referendum is not."

      What the NDP (like the Greens) did was to allow for a potential referendum as part of a consensus opinion which would keep the door open for the right kind of change, rather than giving the Libs another excuse to trash the whole process.

    2. The NDP just slammed the door shut in the face of the Liberal party siding with the enemies of electoral reform who want to kill it off with another polarized referendum.

      If the Cons win a majority in 2019, the NDP and Greens can go to their coalition friends and get that referendum they were hoping for!

      The Liberals are not going to go that route, however. As Hebert warned, the BQ want a referendum as a vehicle to open up the constitution. The Liberal promise was to make 2015 the last election under caveman voting. A referendum doesn't cut it in any case.

    3. Again with the aversion to reading comprehension. This is the NDP's position:

      "The evidence for the necessity of change is overwhelming; the evidence for the necessity of holding a referendum is not."

      So if, as you say, the Libs really want to pursue the consensus form of electoral reform without a referendum, they'll have the NDP onside. Or if they are blatantly lying to the Canadian public to try to deflect blame for their deliberately breaking campaign promises, they can keep on doing what they've been doing (and what you're doing here).

    4. This position is pretty ridiculous. The NDP and Greens were saying, on 23% of the vote: it's our way or the highway. Since the Liberals were not willing to go with a full-PR system, they changed their tune to: we want a referendum (unless, of course, you want to give us our way without one.)

      Terrible negotiation tactics. Applying leverage that doesn't exist. Ill-thought out politicking. A road map to nowhere.

      One day Dippers will regret what they have done. Too bad they had no foresight. Because they just didn't screw themselves over, they screwed Canadians over as well.

    5. To the extent your criticism is of the NDP and Greens pushing for PR, remember that for both, it's not just a one-off platform plank, but longstanding party policy with broad membership support. And it was then mirrored in the submissions to the Parliamentary committee.

      So your argument is that parties should have thrown their members and the public under the bus to give the Libs cover to pursue their bare self-interest. Needless to say, that's less than convincing.

    6. It's absurd to suggest ranked ballots are in the Liberal party's self-interest. Under the system, they have to compete for center-left votes and share the government with the NDP. You can't get better than "Canada's natural governing party."

      Under ranked ballots, Layton would've become the first NDP PM. The NDP would've won the 2015 election under the system as well. (The polar shift in the center-left vote midway through the election was the result of strategic voting which ranked ballots does away with.)

      The Liberals saw ranked ballots or semi-PR as a compromise. A moderate solution. The establishment is opposed to all forms of ER. (From the Toronto Star to the Toronto Sun.) Especially opposed to full-PR. So this was never going to fly. The Liberals might do bold things like legalize weed. But they are uncomfortable doing radical things. Legislating PR directly would appear to them and many Canadians a radical approach.

      The Liberals made their position pretty clear that they were looking for some form of compromise. I did all I could to attempt to raise awareness of what the Liberal position was by writing NDP politicians and posting on rabble, as well listing the many benefits ranked ballots would have for the NDP. It would not be the final word. The NDP could sell the people on PR at a future time and implement the system when they formed the government.

      Just because 90% of the testimony at the ERRE was from PR supporters doesn't mean this was reflective of Canadians' opinion on the matter.

      Moving the ball down the field is not throwing anyone under the bus. IMO, siding with the Cons on a referendum does exactly that. PR supporters have been saying all along they are against a polarized referendum. Unless, by some minor miracle the Liberals proceed with ranked ballots, PR is toast. No future Liberal government will go near PR with a 10 foot pole. Cons won't touch it. The NDP can't win under FPTP. IMO, the NDP and Greens just poured gasoline on the PR cause and set it on fire.

      This might be difficult to fathom, but PR supporters should write to the Liberal party and beg them to implement ranked ballots. Then they live to see another day. If the Liberals ditch their ER promise, the PR camp will still be at it 130 years from now like the goddamned UK ER Society.

      Time to be realistic. The US and UK liberal parties are going New Deal. The NDP is going to miss out on all the action. They could've brought Bernie Sanders to Canada and won the election in 2019 under ranked ballots. Under FPTP, they are either the radical leftist party or right-wing Margaret Thatcher party according to the establishment media. I can't imagine how they would want to continue to suffer all that corruption under some misguided idea of principles. Being principled means taking action and getting things accomplished.

  2. LOL. Dippers just blew up PR siding with the Cons and the establishment. They must enjoy being under the boot of FPTP. Because they just made it permanent. Now when they get screwed over by distorted election results they have no one to blame but themselves.

    I imagine the Liberals don't have any compunctions about getting handed the lion share of the center-left vote without ever having to represent it. Playing the "a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Cons" card.

    Dippers had their chance and they blew it. All they accomplished was driving the final nail in the PR coffin. God what a bunch of ignorant fanatics. LMFAO!

    1. Those are some truly sad talking points. The NDP's extent of agreement with the Cons was exactly the same as that of the Greens and Libs - all parties signed on to the final report, and the single point of agreement there was arose between the NDP and the Greens. (Are they the "establishment" you're so concerned about?)

      But given the Libs' newfound distaste for math, it shouldn't be much surprise that reading comprehension is next on the hit list.

    2. E May had a reason for going all-or-nothing. The Green party would still be a loser whether under ranked ballots or a semi-PR system. (A partisan reason, in any case. Not a reason that gave a crap about Canadians.) The NDP, however, would've formed the government in 2011 and the 2015 elections under ranked ballots.

      The NDP can never form the government under FPTP. Even if they are headed towards a minority, anti-NDP Red Tories will vote in a Con government to stop them. (The conservative vote is 40% of the electorate. A majority is at 39%. They need 50% to do anything under ranked ballots.)

      Since the NDP will never form the government to implement PR; and the Liberals will never implement PR; and the Cons will never implement PR; that means PR is dead. With ranked ballots the NDP could've formed the government at some future time and implemented PR.

      The ER committee was tasked with finding an alternative to FPTP in time for the 2019 election. Instead of working with the Liberals to come up with a compromise, the NDP played politics. Now they have completely screwed themselves over. (Perhaps they think they are corning the ER vote for the 2019 election. Of course, the most they can accomplish is putting the Cons in power.)

      Too bad Dippers didn't think to do this simple political math before torpedoing themselves and their own cause siding with the enemies of electoral reform.

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    4. "Instead of working with the Liberals to come up with a compromise"

      What precisely do you think the ERRE was all about? The parties were working together on all manner of options, and came up with exactly that, only to have Trudeau and Monsef spit on the idea of people being engaged in the electoral system.

      That said, I'd rather have seen the parties who claim to be progressive work together on implementing PR without a referendum. But you can look to the PMO as to who's to blame for refusing (and who's been exposed as a tool of the Con-friendly forces who want to keep FPTP).