Canadian Paizonians - Have You Voted?


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It's Federal Election Day! We've had four minority governments in a row...is this the election where we have a party in the majority, or will we have a new flavour of minority Parliament.

No matter which party you support, in a race this tight, your vote matters (if nothing else, it's worth 2 bucks in federal campaign funding to your party for the next election).

Polls close in four hours (EST)...I'm looking forward to a night of watching the results!


Isn't healthcare, housing, food, water, and clothing FREE up in Cananda? If that is true, then why would anyone need to work? Couldn't someone just stay on welfare and live a pretty decent life?

Sovereign Court

Voted

Sovereign Court

Leafar the Lost wrote:
Isn't healthcare, housing, food, water, and clothing FREE up in Cananda? If that is true, then why would anyone need to work? Couldn't someone just stay on welfare and live a pretty decent life?

That might be the case in Cananda but not here in Canada.


Voted on my way home from work.

Let's see what's in store for the local Bloc MP. This should be interesting.

Greg


GregH wrote:

Voted on my way home from work.

Let's see what's in store for the local Bloc MP. This should be interesting.

Greg

My riding will probably remain Liberal red, but I'm curious about how many of my neighbours turn orange.


avidreader514 wrote:
My riding will probably remain Liberal red, but I'm curious about how many of my neighbours turn orange.

My riding (South Shore of Montrel) has been Bloc since '96, I think. 308.com is projecting the Bloc incumbent with a 1.3% projected win. That's close enough to wonder if he'll actually lose it. Going to be an interesting night...

Greg


GregH wrote:
avidreader514 wrote:
My riding will probably remain Liberal red, but I'm curious about how many of my neighbours turn orange.

My riding (South Shore of Montrel) has been Bloc since '96, I think. 308.com is projecting the Bloc incumbent with a 1.3% projected win. That's close enough to wonder if he'll actually lose it. Going to be an interesting night...

Greg

There's orange everywhere! And yet, west of Quebec, it's looking mighty blue...

Sovereign Court

So the block basically got skunked. Very interesting,


avidreader514 wrote:
There's orange everywhere! And yet, west of Quebec, it's looking mighty blue...

The surprise is that it's so blue in the GTO. That's what gave them the majority. One of the commentators on CBC suggested that Blue Grits were afraid of an NDP led coalition so they bolted to the Tories at the last minute. Sounds plausible.

Can't say I'm overly thrilled with the result, but that's democracy for ya.

Greg


Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
So the block basically got skunked. Very interesting,

We'll see if the Bloc and the PQ take the hint. Somehow I'm not so sure.

Greg

Sovereign Court

I voted Green but it is nice to see that the NDP became the official opposition. Let's see how they do there. Maybe they will finally take the next step and win an election next time.


Voted yesterday after work, my riding stayed Liberal (no big surprise there!).

This morning, I'm preparing for the arrival of our new Conservative Overlords.

All Hail King Harper!

(pssst...don't make eye contact...)

Congrats to the Greens for their first elected member!

EDIT: Luckiest Canadian


Galdor the Great wrote:
EDIT: Luckiest Canadian

:) There's at least one person in my office that's not happy about this. There are a lot of people who will argue that they are voting for a candidate and not a party, and that may be true in certain key ridings (leader ridings or certain high profile candidates) but look at all that blue out west and tell me that each and everyone of those Conservative candidates got in on their individual merits and not because of the party they represented.

I'm not thrilled about this, but it demonstrates two things, IMHO

  • It was definitely a "Not the Bloc" vote in Quebec which leans more left than right
  • and Quebekers couldn't be frightened by Harper's "remember Bob Rae" threats like they were in Ontario.

Greg


GregH wrote:


The surprise is that it's so blue in the GTO. That's what gave them the majority. One of the commentators on CBC suggested that Blue Grits were afraid of an NDP led coalition so they bolted to the Tories at the last minute. Sounds plausible.

Greg

I think this idea has a lot of merit and its partly the NDPs fault. They pretty much went into the election promising the moon, which seemed like a good idea at the time, after all they would not win so they'd never have to deliver...and then they suddenly started to surge...really surge, and that put things like their platform under scrutiny in a way that it might not have gotten otherwise. The result was a lot of centrists, the kind of voter that might vote for a centre left party or a centre right one may have gotten cold feat. Better the devil you know whose promises at least sound realistic then the devil you don't know whose promises don't necessarily pass the smell test.

Things like MPs that appear to be woefully unqualified and are not even really campaigning add to that image.

My feeling is the NDP may have actually had a chance to pick up even more seats, especially in Ontario and especially in the GTO if they had actually tacked a little more to the right and had policies that sounded more plausible. For example they made big promises that where to be funded by a cap and trade system but the whole thing seemed unrealistic at least in the short order. They should have skipped the big promise at the end of the rainbow and made a point that they would set up a cap & trade system and maybe eventually that would lead to the government profits from this being used for social programs. That is an argument that fiscally conscious middle class voters can buy into - it seems reasonably realistic in a way that magic money appearing practically overnight does not.

I think to ever win the NDP needs to take a page from the conservatives handbook and do a bit of a better job of tacking their party to position itself more or less right on top of the centre-left part of the Liberal party in the same way as the Conservatives have more or less managed to sit on top of the centre-right part of the Liberal party. The danger (for both the NDP and Conservatives) is that this tends to alienate many of their most fervent supporters who are searching for change that is more significant then what the centre is comfortable with.

That is not to say that the NDP completely dropped the ball or anything - their results speak for themselves and the party has already made great strides in repositioning itself and veering away from policies rooted in ideology that are simply to detrimental to its chances actually winning an election.

In any case it was definitely an interesting election.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I think this idea has a lot of merit and its partly the NDPs fault. They pretty much went into the election promising the moon, which seemed like a good idea at the time, after all they would not win so they'd never have to deliver...and then they suddenly started to surge...really surge, and that put things like their platform under scrutiny in a way that it might not have gotten otherwise. The result was a lot of centrists, the kind of voter that might vote for a centre left party or a centre right one may have gotten cold feat. Better the devil you know whose promises at least sound realistic then the devil you don't know whose promises don't necessarily pass the smell test.

I agree with this. The fact is, I don't think the NDP even envisioned having a chance at leading a coalition when the campaign started. So they could be idealistic in their platform. If anything, this stint as Official Opposition will give Layton a chance to temper his idealistic behaviour. And the fact is the NDP bugaboo is still rather fresh in Ontario.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Things like MPs that appear to be woefully unqualified and are not even really campaigning add to that image.

Well, this one does cut across party lines. Here's a sample of one of the Grade A candidates the Conservatives offered up in Alberta. (He won his seat, BTW, big surprise.)

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
My feeling is the NDP may have actually had a chance to pick up even more seats, especially in Ontario and especially in the GTO if they had actually tacked a little more to the right and had policies that sounded more plausible.

No doubt. And I think they will get that chance in 4+ years. However, if the Liberals rebound with some fresh faces and some new ideas, then this may be their one and only moment in the Sun.

The fact is, the NDP prides itself on being a socialistic democratic party. That can't fly too far country-wide without being moderated somewhat. And if they moderate too much, they'll just end up looking like Orange Libs. I don't know what they should do, quite frankly. If they stick to their guns, they'll only last as long as Grits are down. If they moderate, then they'll be indistinguishable from the Liberal. And then it will come down to who's got the most historical baggage - the sponsorship-scandal Liberals, or the socialist NDPers?

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
That is not to say that the NDP completely dropped the ball or anything - their results speak for themselves and the party has already made great strides in repositioning itself and veering away from policies rooted in ideology that are simply to detrimental to its chances actually winning an election.

I do think they need to step back and recognize just how far Layton's charisma got them in this election. Quebec leans left and when it was clear that the Liberal option just wasn't going to fly, the only other real alternative was the NDP. Until the Conservatives go back to being closer to center (and basically ditch all the Reform baggage) they aren't going to get anywhere in Quebec.

Greg


I voted,
and I love how the Bloc and Liberal leaders got defeated in their own ridings.

The Liberals will definitely need to rebuild after this election as we as the Bloc, but the Bloc might not revive after this big defeat.


So... a 39% Conservative majority.

Do any of you have links to analyses showing the seat count if Lib/NDP/BQ/Green had ran a single coalition ticket, i.e. winning all the seats where vote splits led to a Conservative win, i.e. seats won with <50%?

I don`t even think including the Blo/Quebec as whole would be necessary for such a project, since the coalition only needs apply to provinces where it would be relevant in comparison to Conservative vote. Who thinks the latest results are enough to convince Liberals to accept a coalition mind-set? Would NDP still insist on enacting proportinal represenation, ala MMP, as a coalition demand, given they are now the number 2 party?


I voted NDP... and live in Overlord Harper's riding. At least my $2 went to the NDP.


GregH wrote:


No doubt. And I think they will get that chance in 4+ years. However, if the Liberals rebound with some fresh faces and some new ideas, then this may be their one and only moment in the Sun.

The fact is, the NDP prides itself on being a socialistic democratic party. That can't fly too far country-wide without being moderated somewhat. And if they moderate too much, they'll just end up looking like Orange Libs. I don't know what they should do, quite frankly. If they stick to their guns, they'll only last as long as Grits are down. If they moderate, then they'll be indistinguishable from the Liberal. And then it will come down to who's got the most historical baggage - the sponsorship-scandal Liberals, or the socialist NDPers?

I certianly agree that the Liberals may not really be down and out for the count. They could easily return to the stage after 4 years of rebuilding...on the other hand they may not manage to recover and the politics could shift to a left-right split with both sides trying to grab enough of the centre to win.

Hence I don't think that the NDP would become Orange Liberals exactly. The strength of the Liberals has always been that they actually sit on the centre and they tack right or left depending on the mood of the country as a whole. When they tack to the right they tend to force the conservatives into two bad choices. Either the Conservatives basically run the same campaign as the Liberals or the Conservatives tack even more to the right and get left with just the extreme fringes. Same deal more or less if the liberals tack to the left. Chretien's Liberals where a great example of this - despite most of them coming up the ranks during the heyday of Trudeau's left leaning Liberals they deliberately tacked toward the right to exacerbate the weakness of the Conservatives during Chretien era.

Thing is this election seems to indicate that its a double edged sword. Now the right and the left parties have both moved in toward the centre and gobbled up very significant amounts of the Liberal's base. Harper's Conservatives have been so effective at this on the right that there really is no viable possibility that the Liberal's can rebuild their brand using the centre-right elements of the electorate unless the Conservatives really screw up and alienate the moderate centre-right voters (any of messing with the abortion laws, reopening the gay marriage debate or messing with healthcare might be enough to drive moderate centre-right voters into the arms of the Liberals). Hence the Liberals currently seem to have to try and rebuild on the centre-left. That's their best bet but if the NDP manages to remain strong on the left and keep hold of much of the centre-left vote (while maintaining their traditional control of the leftist vote) then the Liberals will end up with no where to position their party. They don't have all that long to pull this off either, probably just the next election, maybe the one after that as well. After that their funding will be so decimated that the task of rebuilding will probably be impossible. They face a disadvantage here as well because, increasingly, their potential centre left supporters are looking for some way to unseat the Conservatives and that just can't be done if the left of centre vote keeps being split. Thus there is a very real danger that the Centre left simply abandons them while searching for a party that might unseat the Conservatives. This is the great weakness of the Liberals to go along with their strength - they don't actually have a natural support base the way a true right or left leaning party does (where the true right wing or left wing voters will tend to stick with the party through thick and thin unless a more hard core right or left wing party comes into existence - as was the case when the Reform Party decimated the ranks of the, already on the ropes, Progressive Conservatives).


Quandary wrote:

So... a 39% Conservative majority.

Do any of you have links to analyses showing the seat count if Lib/NDP/BQ/Green had ran a single coalition ticket, i.e. winning all the seats where vote splits led to a Conservative win, i.e. seats won with <50%?

I don`t even think including the Blo/Quebec as whole would be necessary for such a project, since the coalition only needs apply to provinces where it would be relevant in comparison to Conservative vote. Who thinks the latest results are enough to convince Liberals to accept a coalition mind-set? Would NDP still insist on enacting proportinal represenation, ala MMP, as a coalition demand, given they are now the number 2 party?

I don't think this is really a coalition issue, to stop the vote splitting their needs to be a merger**. I think we are at least one more and maybe several more elections away from that being taken as a serious proposition. It took fifteen years of being in the political wilderness before the Reform and Progressive Conservatives managed to merge and Reform was new and increasingly willing to consider some way forward that would actually lead to a chance of victory while the Progressive Conservatives where just decimated election after election and had no hope of ever turning things around.

The only way I can see this scenario really being viable is if the Liberals fail to recover in the next few elections. Then they may just fade away. The NDP probably never really agrees to a merger because they can always fall back to their leftist base. Their party just never really dies in this scenario - it just gets smaller.

**Personally the fact that you have to have a merger in Canadian Politics strikes me as a real weak point of our democracy. I'd much prefer run off voting. Basically you number your ballot 1 through 5. Once the votes are counted the candidate with the fewest votes gets knocked off and all the people that made him their #1 pick have their votes transferred to their #2 pick, this process continues until some one has 50% +1 of the vote in a riding then that person gets to be the riding's MP.

This would only be really viable if we did this with computers - i.e. our votes and their orders where scanned by a computer when we submitted them (or we actually did our vote on a computer) and the computer dealt with the tally.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I don't think this is really a coalition issue, to stop the vote splitting their needs to be a merger.

Maybe I`ll re-phrase to be clearer:

Libs / NDP / Greens make a one-off deal to run a unified ticket.
This means deciding the proportional split ahead of time,
and `the coalition` alots a single candidate from ONE of the constituent parties in each riding.
(i.e. Lib votes may be called to vote for a NDP candidate in some ridings, and not given a Lib alternative)
Realistic choices, i.e. not running a Green candidate in ridings where it will be a tight race with Conservatives is an easy choice to make, i.e. Greens will represent the `coalition` in districts where Greens do the best normally and Green+NDP+Lib greatly outvote Conservatives.

The exact proportion for each party doesn`t really matter all that much,
as long as the coalition no longer has a majority without all partnerss.
(So whether or not to include the Greens, and their share, would be the most crucial detail)
Functionally for the election that is equivalent to `merging`, but has no long-term implications.

Agenda item number 1 for such a party is getting proportional representation going,
so that arranging such matters ahead of time and in such an inflexible way is un-necessary,
and allows each party to differentiate itself to it`s heart`s content.
If it`s more convenient for election law/funding, that can be accomplished as an official merger which lasts until proportinal representation is enacted, which identical allocation of ridings to people from `coalition consituent` parties.

I`m still interested if anybody knows of analysis showing which ridings were won with <50% vote.


Quandary wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I don't think this is really a coalition issue, to stop the vote splitting their needs to be a merger.

Maybe I`ll re-phrase to be clearer:

Libs / NDP / Greens make a one-off deal to run a unified ticket.
This means deciding the proportional split ahead of time,
and alotting the coalition a single candidate in each riding.
The exact proportion for each party doesn`t really matter all that much,
as long as the coalition doesn`t have a majority minus one of the parties.
Agenda item number 1 for such a party is getting proportional representation going,
so that arranging such matters ahead of time and in such an inflexible way is un-necessary.
If that happened, I would expect the Conservative party to subsequently split up again, looking for a moderate coalition.
(which would require Liberals to rise again)

I`m still interested if anybody knows of analysis showing which ridings were won with <50% vote.

I'd be very surprised to have us go to proportional representation (or any other form of democracy) without a referendum and proportional representation invariably seems to fail where it does go to a referendum (e.g. Ontario, B.C.). The reality would seem to be that we don't, as a rule, trust our politicians, and the idea that we are now going to have politicians that have no constituency but instead owe everything not to people who voted for them but instead to their political party generally means the referendums fail.

Sovereign Court

Sad day for Canada.


Do you mean party lists?
I agree, those are dumb, much much better are approaches like no-party-list MMP used in Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany) which directly emphasize that candidates with the most voters (constituency) end up in parliament.

The only question for me is whether to retain the separate vote for party proportional share (which needs a scam-proof, but ideally simple, mechanism to avoid parties creating separate parties just to gain maximal proportional share, as Berlusconi`s party did in Italy), or just ditch that aspect completely and say party share is determined solely by the amalgam of votes for local party-affiliated candidates. (ignoring the side-benefit of being to vote for a different party as a whole vs. the local candidate, i.e. the case where you really hate the local candidate of a party which you otherwise support... the current system of course does nothing to help that scenario)

If there`s problems with getting enough provinces to support an amendment, such a coalition could continue running such `ad hoc` coalitions indefinitely, probably with the addition of a new `primary` vote or something which would allow the coalition to democratically determine it`s proportional representation (between lib/ndp/etc), for pretty much the same outcome as anybody is concerned. Alternatively, only institute the change in provinces which can pass it, and continue a `merged` coalition in other provinces... But whether or not people would want to vote directly for a change in voting system is irrelevant, the question is would people somehow choose to not vote rather than vote for a `coalition` candidate put forward by a coalition their favored party is member of. Plenty of people already talk about `tactical voting`, which is really the same thing but less formalized, this would simply be the parties themselves adapting that strategy and taking a formal decision on how to decide which party will represent the coalition in each specific riding.

But like I said, that would first of all require a change of viewpoint, especially from the Liberal party, who didn`t want to even publically acknowledge the possibility of a coalition government, even if they headed it (!)


Thinking about it some more I thought of another reason why the Liberals might die out as a major party on top of the ones I listed above.

I think the Liberals face one huge disadvantage in trying to survive...the Conservatives. My bet is we will all be standing around scratching our heads as the down and practically out Liberals remain firmly in the Conservatives gunsights while, inexplicably, the NDP are practically let off with little more then the odd barb. In essence I expect the Conservatives to spend millions of dollars launching the most vicious attack ads etc. against whoever takes over the Liberal party leadership while Jack Layton (and whoever comes after him) simply don't receive anything like that kind of treatment.

Basically the Conservatives are playing for the long game, and in the long game there is some reason to believe (and they certianly do) that if every election came down to a straight right/left fight the Conservatives would become the natural ruling party. They'd win more often then they lost and by a reasonably significant amount. Hence the Conservatives will use all the weapons in their considerable arsenal to see the Liberal Party dead and if doing that means actually making the NDP stronger, well that's not such a bad thing in their way of thinking. In effect no one loves the rise of Jack Layton's NDP more then Stephen Harper's Conservatives.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Basically the Conservatives are playing for the long game, and in the long game there is some reason to believe (and they certianly do) that if every election came down to a straight right/left fight the Conservatives would become the natural ruling party...

I believe your first point, but your second point seems to depend on Lib voters being so Centrist and anti-Left that they couldn`t bear to promote a more Left party in any way (not to mention that if the Libs implode, NDP will almost certainly become more Centrist).

Why I don`t believe that`s realistic is because even if the politicians didn`t want to admit it, I think that many many Lib voters didn´t see any prospect for a Liberal majority government, but saw a coalition with NDP as achievable in this election (i.e. `anybody but Harper` sentiment). Even if not formally entering government in a coalition with Liberals, NDP would certainly have demanded movement to proportional representation in order to give their support to a minority Liberal government, right?, and the government would have been hostage to fundamental NDP demands even if they weren`t in government per se.

But I agree, without some sort of arrangement as I was discussing here, I don`t expect the Liberals to last more than 2 more elections in their current form. Whether that means total dissolution, or devolving to a more regional base in areas where they can hold on (ceding other provinces to NDP?), who knows... It also rather depends on how NDP holds up over the next election cycles, obviously.


Quandary wrote:

Do you mean party lists?

I agree, those are dumb, much much better are approaches like no-party-list MMP used in Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany) which directly emphasize that candidates with the most voters (constituency) end up in parliament.

Interesting but I still don't really think it'd fly with the Canadian voters, your still talking about a candidate that does not really have a constituency - they where given their seat by voters but once that took place they don't actually owe those voters anything - they don't have long term constituents in other words. Ultimately we distrust our politicians and anything that makes them less accessible to us we tend to vote against. This is why the referendums on proportional representation in Ontario and B.C. lost despite no one really liking first past the the post.

Quandary wrote:


The only question for me is whether to retain the separate vote for party proportional share (which needs a scam-proof, but ideally simple, mechanism to avoid parties creating separate parties just to gain maximal proportional share, as Berlusconi`s party did in Italy), or just ditch that aspect completely and say party share is determined solely by the amalgam of votes for local party-affiliated candidates. (ignoring the side-benefit of being to vote for a different party as a whole vs. the local candidate, i.e. the case where you really hate the local candidate of a party which you otherwise support... the current system of course does nothing to help that scenario)

I hate it when that happens - In one case I actually voted for a different party simply because I could not stand the local MP.

Quandary wrote:


If there`s problems with getting enough provinces to support an amendment,

Its not - I don't think the provinces get a say in this at all. The problem is that they had referendums in Ontario and then later in B.C. on whether the province in question should have proportional representation. Both times the motion was soundly defeated. It seems very likely that there would be a referendum on proportional representation before it could ever be implemented and if there was such a referendum its appears very probable that Canadians will reject proportional representation, two of the larger provinces already have in the recent past after all.

As to the tactical voting. I don't think the Liberal's and the NDP are on that good speaking terms currently. This sort of thing would only be on the table if they loose another couple of elections and if that happens the situation might be significantly different...I actually think organizing a merger might be easier then trying to form some kind of ad hoc tactical voting block every election and then trying to deliver some kind of reasonably coherent message.

Sovereign Court

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Do you mean party lists?

I agree, those are dumb, much much better are approaches like no-party-list MMP used in Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany) which directly emphasize that candidates with the most voters (constituency) end up in parliament.

Interesting but I still don't really think it'd fly with the Canadian voters, your still talking about a candidate that does not really have a constituency - they where given their seat by voters but once that took place they don't actually owe those voters anything - they don't have long term constituents in other words. Ultimately we distrust our politicians and anything that makes them less accessible to us we tend to vote against. This is why the referendums on proportional representation in Ontario and B.C. lost despite no one really liking first past the the post.

Quandary wrote:


The only question for me is whether to retain the separate vote for party proportional share (which needs a scam-proof, but ideally simple, mechanism to avoid parties creating separate parties just to gain maximal proportional share, as Berlusconi`s party did in Italy), or just ditch that aspect completely and say party share is determined solely by the amalgam of votes for local party-affiliated candidates. (ignoring the side-benefit of being to vote for a different party as a whole vs. the local candidate, i.e. the case where you really hate the local candidate of a party which you otherwise support... the current system of course does nothing to help that scenario)

I hate it when that happens - In one case I actually voted for a different party simply because I could not stand the local MP.

Quandary wrote:


If there`s problems with getting enough provinces to support an amendment,
Its not - I don't think the provinces get a say in this at all. The problem is that they had referendums in Ontario and then later in B.C. on whether the...

The first prop rep vote in BC actually got 57.7% but required 60% to pass. 57.7% is a pretty good turn out.

The provinces will have some sort of say on any proposed federal electoral reform. It will require a constitutional amendment, which triggers fun unwritten constitutional conventions.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Quandary wrote:
no-party-list MMP used in Baden-Wurttemberg (Germany)...
Interesting but I still don't really think it'd fly with the Canadian voters, your still talking about a candidate that does not really have a constituency - they where given their seat by voters but once that took place they don't actually owe those voters anything - they don't have long term constituents in other words.

Well, I don`t know how well any of this is explainable to a typical voter,

but in my opinion there are definitely constituencies in that system...

To make a straight-forward example of how party-list-less MMP works,
You have a riding where the most popular party is the Liberals (say, with 45%), so the Liberal candidate from that riding is automatically sent to parliament (this part actually resembles the current system more than Alternate Vote as will be voted on in the UK). But since the Green party won 5% of the over-all vote (all ridings combined), they should get 15 MPs, and since this is their most popular riding (with 20% of the local vote), the Green candidate from this district is also sent to parliament. The Green candidates from 14 other ridings also get sent to Parliament (let`s say they each won 15-10% of the vote in their own ridings). If our original `most popular` Green candidate has some controversy, e.g. is revealed to have bet against the local hockey team, etc, and now massively loses their vote share to only gain 2% in the next election, they will no longer be sent to Parliament because their local popularity has plummeted (remember, anybody can vote for their favorite party separately from the local candidate).

How is that not (dependence on ) a long-term constituency? I mean, yes, it`s also indirectly dependent on out-of-rider voters to have a chance to go to Parliament, but the local voters can also prevent a bad candidate (or one they don`t like) by not voting for them, and that is emphasized as long as you can vote independently for party representation (and not even vote for a local candidate if you don`t want to, or vote tactically).

Anyways, such a system is obviously not an immediate realistic possiblity, but a rational approach to the current situation (adapted to current election laws) as I outlined is much closer to being possible, IMHO. Ignatieff resigning can only help that, if anything IMHO. The current situation where everybody shrugs their shoulders after four minority governments in a row, without even trying for something else, is an absolute joke / shame... And it can only be repeated indefinitely unless either something equivalent to what I propose takes place, or the Liberals are liquidated completely. I think up until this point, the Liberals have just had the fantasy that they could run a minority government ship just like Conservatives have, but I think reality may have finally burst that fantasy.

BTW, since you think a referendum is de facto necessary for a change to proportional representation, do you also think the same for the Con`s intent to remove public funding from political parties? I`d think by the vote count (and those who such a measure would impact) that such a change could definitely not possibly pass a popular referendum... But perhaps via enough Provincial Parliaments???


I was surprised by the wholesale rejection of the Bloc in Quebec. That's very good news for the country as a whole.

I'm disappointed by the Harper majority - the contempt of Parliament conviction and the Bev Oda scandal are very important to me - but I'm heartened that the NDP can oppose every little details without running into the minority Parliament brinksmanship that Harper excels at.

As for the Liberals being crushed...well, we saw the PCs reduced to two seats in 1993 and then rise again after a merger with the righter-wing (remember, US readers, our most right-wing politician is still somewhat to the left of Bernie Saunders by your reckoning [grin]) Reform Party...so the Grits will return.

Interesting times...especially with all the neophyte NDP MPs. My riding elected a freshly graduated high school teacher. Let's see what she can do!


Quandary wrote:
BTW, since you think a referendum is de facto necessary for a change to proportional representation, do you also think the same for the Con`s intent to remove public funding from political parties? I`d think by the vote count (and those who such a measure would impact) that such a change could definitely not possibly pass a popular referendum... But perhaps via enough Provincial Parliaments???

No I think the public funding can be cut more or less at will by the party in power. In fact it will almost certianly be by the Conservatives. That public funding element is really very recent. When Chretien made his legacy law that saw caps on how much money corporations and trade unions where allowed to give parties in funding this public funding of the parties based on vote was added as well. Now I suppose other parties could have fought him in court over the donations issue but this was one of the liberals 'legacy' initiatives and the reality was that all the parties where on side with maybe the Liberal Party itself most unhappy. The Conservatives of the time where especially close to their grass roots and where very good at raising funds from them (they still are really), the NDP voter base particularly fears the idea that big corporations might 'buy' elections so capping how much they could donate to some diddly amount resonated with them, hence no one was about to make a court challenge to stop Chretien from implementing this.

Thing is this public funding element only came into existence in 2003...it has no history as some kind of inalienable right for political parties while changing how we do our democracy does and trying to change that because one happens to currently have a majority in power would almost certianly lead to a court challenge...unless there was a referendum - since the referendum itself would give the action legitimacy.


Robert Hawkshaw wrote:

The first prop rep vote in BC actually got 57.7% but required 60% to pass. 57.7% is a pretty good turn out.

The provinces will have some sort of say on any proposed federal electoral reform. It will require a constitutional amendment, which triggers fun unwritten constitutional conventions.

Yeah but it got clobbered the second time with only 38% supporting the idea, meanwhile a similar proposal failed in Ontario and that was before we had years of minority governments that seemed to frustrate the voters. I just don't see the idea flying at the present time.

It does dawn on me that Bob Rae won his seat and stands a good chance of taking over the Liberal Party...that might make the chances for a merger between the Liberals and the NDP into a centre-left party slightly more probable...still be hard though - Liberal and NDP candidates are practically knives out in BC and none to friendly with each other anywhere in the west.

As to the Referendum involving the provinces. I suppose they would, technically, get a say but I really don't think any of them would actually care enough to oppose such a referendum.


Voted

We shall see how the next few years will go...


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Yeah but it got clobbered the second time with only 38% supporting the idea, meanwhile a similar proposal failed in Ontario and that was before we had years of minority governments that seemed to frustrate the voters.

Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters? I see it as the best possible outcome of any election. It means that no one party can run roughshod over what we have, and requires some measure of compromise with parties of other ideologies in order to get soemthing done. Yeah, we have to vote every 2-3 years, big deal. Its only a month long. It's not like the Americans who start 2 years before the actual election date.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
It does dawn on me that Bob Rae won his seat and stands a good chance of taking over the Liberal Party...that might make the chances for a merger between the Liberals and the NDP into a centre-left party slightly more probable...still be hard though - Liberal and NDP candidates are practically knives out in BC and none to friendly with each other anywhere in the west.

I've heard Bob's name bantered about as an interim leader until they can have a full-on convention, which probably shouldn't be for 2 years or more. The next election is going to be no earlier than Oct 2015, so there's no reason to put in a leader too soon. And if Rae is an interim leader, he probably won't do anything too severe. No mandate from the party.

Greg


GregH wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Yeah but it got clobbered the second time with only 38% supporting the idea, meanwhile a similar proposal failed in Ontario and that was before we had years of minority governments that seemed to frustrate the voters.

Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters? I see it as the best possible outcome of any election. It means that no one party can run roughshod over what we have, and requires some measure of compromise with parties of other ideologies in order to get soemthing done. Yeah, we have to vote every 2-3 years, big deal. Its only a month long. It's not like the Americans who start 2 years before the actual election date.

I think its the perception that not only are we voting every two or three years but also that parliament itself is 'dysfunctional' in the sense that not much gets done because all the parties are perpetually in campaign mode.

Honestly I think this majority was really, really, bad if one wants to see governments that eventually work out how to run a country in a minority situation. If we had seen yet another minority I think we would have really been well on our way to all the political parties deciding that this was just the way it was going to be from now on...but we didn't and anything that was learned in terms of 'how to make minority governments function' will just be tossed. We'll be right back to square one if next election is a minority government and we'll have to endure multiple elections and multiple minorities for their to be a chance of the political parties resigning themselves to this reality.

Furthermore our first past the post system just does not really do very well in terms of creating minority parties - in the end if you want to rule you need to stake out part of the political spectrum or a particular geographic region and be the big party in that part or the vote splitting means your political opponents will tend to win the seats.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
It does dawn on me that Bob Rae won his seat and stands a good chance of taking over the Liberal Party...that might make the chances for a merger between the Liberals and the NDP into a centre-left party slightly more probable...still be hard though - Liberal and NDP candidates are practically knives out in BC and none to friendly with each other anywhere in the west.

I've heard Bob's name bantered about as an interim leader until they can have a full-on convention, which probably shouldn't be for 2 years or more. The next election is going to be no earlier than Oct 2015, so there's no reason to put in a leader too soon. And if Rae is an interim leader, he probably won't do anything too severe. No mandate from the party.

Greg

Your probably right. There is no real reason for the defeated parties to make radical decisions at this moment with another election 4 years off. Better to wait a few years and have some time to reflect on the new political reality...including if there really is a new political reality or if this was a flash in the pan.


Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
The first prop rep vote in BC actually got 57.7% but required 60% to pass. 57.7% is a pretty good turn out.
Yeah but it got clobbered the second time with only 38% supporting the idea, meanwhile a similar proposal failed in Ontario and that was before we had years of minority governments that seemed to frustrate the voters. I just don't see the idea flying at the present time.

This sentiment baffles me. Pro-Rep systems are NOT prone to producing a minority government in most countries where it is practiced, after all, they are prone to producing coalition governments. I mean, now there is finally a ´majority´ government, but that is a ´39% majority´ based on popular vote, which hardly qualifies as democratic. The previous situation of minority governments probably wasn´t seen as ideal, but it still allowed the expression of democratic will at least in a limited manner, glossing over the discrepancy in party representation.

The Cons swept Ontario this time, but got only 45% of the vote, i.e. won only because Libs/NDP split the anti-Con vote. So the majority in Ontario has objective reasons to feel any Pro-Rep system would be better than the current system, unless one believes that Lib/Con voters prefer a Conservative super-majority to their own party having more say via coalition or minority government. New Brunswick is actually very similar to Ontario in how the vote is split.

Curiously, after the election I noted Harper´s ´split´ comments re: the results in Quebec, i.e. glad of the defeat of the Bloc (where I agree with him!), but sad at the very poor showing of the Conservatives there, i.e. with so few Conservative MPs elected there it exacerbates a Quebecker alienation from his party / the federal party. Any system of Pro-Rep would mean better representation of Conservatives in Quebec, and the same for other parties in areas where they are minority, e.g. there would be a broader range of MPs from the Prairies, even if the majority doesn´t change there. I think that´s interesting, because not only does it make a truer representation of the country as a whole, it draws a truer representation of each parties supporters.

Incidentally, as I think Jeremy alluded to before, the Cons are benefitting because they merged while nobody else did... The only effective responses are either a like-wise merger, which more or less reduces the scope of debate, or some sort of de facto agreement to regionalize and not run opposing candidates in all areas (which more or less is equivalent to the ´coalition ticket´ tactic I proposed), outside of changes to the voting system to achieve Pro-Rep somehow or another (simple AV or Run-Off Voting would likely achieve similar things as far a Pro-Rep of Con/Lib/NDP is concerned, BQ and Green would now benefit more from real Pro-Rep).

GregH wrote:
Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters?

Well, I think it´s that to the extent it´s democratic at all, it´s very much a watered-down and less-transparent version of the same thing that happens in MOST democracies which don´t produce popular democratic mandates for a single party, i.e. who produce coalition governments with component parties each covering a proportionate share of ministries, yielding a more ´actively´ democratic government rather than a ´passive´ veto ala minority government.

Perhaps it should also be mentioned the OTHER approach here, as used in Switzerland, where ALL parties BY DEFAULT are included in a coalition government, i.e. rather than an exclusive coalition excluding 40-50% of the electorate, ALL parties are included in government according to their vote percentage (I´m not certain what variety of Pro-Rep they use, probably party lists). A party dropping in the polls just means LESS ministries go to them, but they are unlikely to DISAPPEAR from government (unless they drop below the minimum percentage for a party to gain seats, something like 5%). A different approach for sure.


GregH wrote:
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Yeah but it got clobbered the second time with only 38% supporting the idea, meanwhile a similar proposal failed in Ontario and that was before we had years of minority governments that seemed to frustrate the voters.
Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters? I see it as the best possible outcome of any election. It means that no one party can run roughshod over what we have, and requires some measure of compromise with parties of other ideologies in order to get soemthing done. Yeah, we have to vote every 2-3 years, big deal. Its only a month long. It's not like the Americans who start 2 years before the actual election date.

The downside of too many elections in a short period of time is voter apathy and the cost to taxpayers.

I read that this last election cost $288 million. If the average election costs taxpayers about $250 million on average (speculation on my part), then we're looking at around $1 billion dollars wasted. While it's true we could have reasonably expected two elections during that time at a cost of maybe $500 million, then, well, we've spent an extra half billion dollars because a bunch of politicians can't work together.

Sovereign Court

GregH wrote:
I've heard Bob's name bantered about as an interim leader until they can have a full-on convention, which probably shouldn't be for 2 years or more. The next election is going to be no earlier than Oct 2015, so there's no reason to put in a leader too soon. And if Rae is an interim leader, he probably won't do anything too severe. No mandate from the party.

The interim leader cannot be anybody that is actually interested in running for the leadership. I would imagine that Bob may still be interested in throwing his hat into that race.

I agree about the needing to wait for at least two years before having the leadership convention. Until then, focus on rebuilding the party, coming up with reasons why they should be supported, and let candidates for the leadership build platforms and give us reasons to support them. Remember that they will really need to focus on fundraising since the government is going to scrap the voting rebates.

It will be interesting to see what the Liberal party does with their future.


GregH wrote:
Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters?

The downside is that a minority government has a hard time making any unpopular (but possibly necessary) decisions, like cutting services for instance.

By the way, my riding has voted Liberal since 1962, so I thought it was going to be pretty safe for the incumbent. Apparently not!


hogarth wrote:
GregH wrote:
Can anyone explain that to me? I mean, why does a minority government frustrate voters?
The downside is that a minority government has a hard time making any unpopular (but possibly necessary) decisions, like cutting services for instance.

While I agree that a minority government may not make many "unpopular" decisions, that should be a good thing from a voter's point of view, no? If it's unpopular, then the general populous should love minority gov'ts. But they don't.

armac wrote:
The downside of too many elections in a short period of time is voter apathy and the cost to taxpayers.

But then, the cry from voters will be "work together"! If, for example, after 3-4 elections, there is still a minority government, the message to the parliament should be "this is the way it's gonna be - so get something done" - or at least that would be my message. Who knows what those bozos in Ottawa would make of it.

And voter apathy is a product of the times, not of the frequency of elections, IMHO.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I think its the perception that not only are we voting every two or three years but also that parliament itself is 'dysfunctional' in the sense that not much gets done because all the parties are perpetually in campaign mode.

I guess I'm in the minority (!) then. I see the last 3 years at least as "semi-productive" because budgets were passed, stuff got done, and all with at least some of the parties working together.

But then what do I know. I'm a Saskatchewan boy living in Quebec who doesn't understand why his old home is looking so blue these days...

Greg


BTW, I asked before if anybody had info on the number of ridings that were won by a party with <50% of vote...

On the Economist I found a figure saying that 47 ridings (27 in Ontario) were won by the Conservatives with a margin less than that gained by the 3rd place party, i.e. if Liberals and NDP had organized a ´pre-election´ or ´primary´ in each riding to see which of them was most popular in that riding and the loser would drop out and campaign in support of the more popular party (and all their votes would convert to the selected candidate), 47 seats would have ended up Liberal/NDP instead of Conservative.

The figure wasn´t detailed enough to say how many seats would have gone to Liberal vs. NDP in that scenario, and it only compared Conservative winning majority to 2nd + 3rd place party, not also including any other party votes (such as Green) which could have increased the number of such ridings. It also didn´t give any figures for the number of ridings similarly won by <50% by other parties (which I suppose can be called un-democratically represented ridings), but had Liberals and NDP ´tactically´ decided not compete with each other in these 47 ridings, there likely wouldn´t be a single-party Conservative majority in Parliament .


It will be interesting to see how the next election goes down given the reforms Harper will likely be able to institute around election funding. Currently, there are government subsidies for election campaigns. Harper plans to do away with those, meaning that parties will need to rely on private donations to fund their campaigns. This will work well for the conservatives since they tend to pander to big business more, and it may force parties like the NDP to adopt more centrist policies, so that they come off as being more business friendly. I could also see such a move being the catalyst that might cause the left to unite by merging the NDP and the liberals and creating a two party system that will function much more like the Democrats and Republicans in the US.

At any rate, there is clearly a problem with out electoral system if a party can gain a majority in Parliment with only 40% of the popular vote. Clearly Harper won't make any changes in that regard since it is working so much in his favor.

I personally would like to see a system where there is a primary voting that bumps out the lowest ranking candidates in each riding, so that when the final vote takes place there are only two choices. This would be much more fair, and would certainly have led to much different result to Monday's election.


Well there is free healthcare (I mean we pay for it out of our tax dollars, so you can't really call it free), and low income families are eligible for government subsidized housing (the waiting lists are huge though). I'm a teacher in a fairly low income area, and there are few families who have single parent welfare moms, who basically sponge off the system and really contribute nothing to society. I wouldn't say they live a decent life. Of course I don't know what your definition of decent is. However, a higher percentage of the population seem to be working in Canada than the US. I certainly wouldn't say that Canadians as a whole like to stay home and try to live off the system.

Leafar the Lost wrote:
Isn't healthcare, housing, food, water, and clothing FREE up in Cananda? If that is true, then why would anyone need to work? Couldn't someone just stay on welfare and live a pretty decent life?

Dark Archive

I voted - not a whole lot of surprises here in BC, the NDP owing a good chunk of the seats (historically typical) with the rest going Conservative.

Liberal positioning is not surprising considering the scandals and controversies that shadowed Campbell.


VagrantWhisper wrote:


Liberal positioning is not surprising considering the scandals and controversies that shadowed Campbell.

That might explain BC but these scandals did not make the radar in Ontario and the Liberals where destroyed in Fortress Toronto. There has to be another (or, more likely many other) explanation for the Liberal collapse.

Dark Archive

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
That might explain BC but these scandals did not make the radar in Ontario and the Liberals where destroyed in Fortress Toronto. There has to be another (or, more likely many other) explanation for the Liberal collapse.

Ya, I definitely was implying BC specific ... I'm not sure about the collapse in the central and east though, I can only assume that the withdrawal of support of the conservatives a couple of years ago, and the recent non-confidence motion under Ignatieff had a substantial impact.


P.H. Dungeon wrote:

It will be interesting to see how the next election goes down given the reforms Harper will likely be able to institute around election funding. Currently, there are government subsidies for election campaigns. Harper plans to do away with those, meaning that parties will need to rely on private donations to fund their campaigns. This will work well for the conservatives since they tend to pander to big business...

While I'm no Conservative fan this is not why the Conservatives have full war chests and the other parties do not. Individuals are capped at $5000 max donation and businesses are capped at a measly $1000. The Conservatives have full war chests because they have been better at getting to their grass root supporters and getting those grass roots to donate. The Conservatives are masters of getting their supporters to all chip in $20 or $50 bucks and doing that on a large enough scale to make it matter - this is a legacy of the Reform party which was nearly completely funded in this manner.

Grand Lodge

I don't think that a system which eliminated candidates in a "pre-election" would have the effect people here are hoping. For example, if a 3rd place Liberal candidate were eliminated, leaving only a Conservative and a New Democrat, I doubt that the New Democrat would grab most of the Liberal supporters. I think the actual result would be an even lower national voter turn-out.

I doubt that Rae is likely to take over the Liberal leadership. His immediate discussion of coalition right after the election results p.o.ed a lot of the caucus. Also, the Libs have historically alternated between Francophone and Anglophone leaders. If only there were another Trudeau waiting in the wings.... ;)

To me, the most interesting things to come out of this election are the election of a Green MP, and the obliteration of the Bloc. I believe that the Liberals will rebuild and come back, but I think Quebec has finally given up on the Bloc Quebecois, and that while parties may have regional strongholds, they will now be thinking nationally again.

2 cents from a Loonie Leftie Ontarian.

Grand Lodge

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

While I'm no Conservative fan this is not why the Conservatives have full war chests and the other parties do not. Individuals are capped at $5000 max donation and businesses are capped at a measly $1000. The Conservatives have full war chests because they have been better at getting to their grass root supporters and getting those grass roots to donate. The Conservatives are masters of getting their supporters to all chip in $20 or $50 bucks and doing that on a large enough scale to make it matter - this is a legacy of the Reform party which was nearly completely funded in this manner.

Yes, but I also think that more of the people who can afford to throw in that max $5000 are likely to be voting Conservative.

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