Saturday, February 11, 2017

How Nathan Cullen can bring about electoral reform within months



Our Prime Minister clearly has limited knowledge of electoral reform, both the theories and the practice.

This article rebuts his extraordinarily inaccurate claims about the dangers to Canada of electoral reform:


The prime minister keeps making the bizarre argument that a partly proportional electoral system would allow anti-immigration Conservative Kellie Leitch to form her own party and get seats in parliament --perhaps even hold the balance of power.

He did it again on Thursday in Iqaluit.

It is true that in Israel, and some other countries with pure and total proportional systems, extremist parties have, indeed, gained a foothold in parliament, and, at times, a role in governing coalitions.

Nobody, however, proposes pure proportional for Canada.

One of the options that was on the table until Justin Trudeau pulled the plug is mixed-member proportional, the system they use in Germany.

In the German case, half of the members are elected the way we Canadians elect representatives: by first-past-the-post. The others are elected proportionally, by party, on a regional basis. To get any proportional seats, however, parties must win at least five per cent of the vote. That proviso has kept out extremists, and

Germany has had stable, consensual coalitions for about 70 years.

The Canadian first-past-the-post system, on the other hand, allowed Stephen Harper, who gave Kellie Leitch her start in politics, to win not just a handful of seats, but a majority.

In many respects, Harper was an extremist.


But one of the comments on this article is brilliant – it advises the NDP to agree to a first step in electoral reform instead of going for the whole hog.

So, why does MP Cullen not table an NDP bill in Parliament calling for a replacement of the first past the post system of electing our MPs with a ranked ballot system, that PM Trudeau says he thinks is better for Canada than the undemocratic first past the post system?

Trudeau said he turned his back on this system as well, because some say it would favour the Liberal Party.

That is not necessarily true.

By tabling the bill, the NDP will call the PM’s bluff, and if the LPC votes for it, we will at least have some semblance of electoral reform.

And then we can use the new system to elect MPs who will push for a modified proportional representation system, along the lines of the German model.

How about it, Nathan?


Friday, February 10, 2017

Has PM Justin Trudeau done his homework on electoral reform?

The Twaddle Prime Minister
It does not appear that Canada's Prime Minister knows enough about electoral systems throughout the developed world. As a result, he seems to have made a decision to break a campaign promise that won his party a majority of seats, and to walk away from remedying the democratic deficit that Canada faces with its undemocratic first past the post system of electing its MPs.

With most of the developed nations using modified proportional representation systems, none of the dangers that Trudeau is now claiming caused him to break his core promise of electoral reform have happened in those countries.

This leads me to the conclusion that once again our prime minister is flying off the seat of his pants, and has not done the homework we expect from a prime minister on such serious matters.

This is his latest claim about why he saved Canada by breaking his promise:

Trudeau said proportional representation would undermine Canada's political tradition of compromise between diverse groups, brokered through the big three political parties that compete in first-past-the-post.

Proportional representation, preferred by the NDP and Greens, could manifest in several systems. The goal is to tie percentage of the national popular vote more closely to representation in Parliament.

"If we were to make a change or risk a change that would augment individual voices — that would augment extremist voices and activist voices that don't get to sit within a party that figures out what's best for the whole future of the country, like the three existing parties do — I think we would be entering a period of instability and uncertainty," he said.

What absolute twaddle! Our democracy is threatened by a system where not every vote counts. Our current system does not result in more Canadians voting (a must if we are to prevent extremists winning power), nor does it reflect the wishes of those who cast votes but whose votes are not reflected in the House.






Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Collateral damage of Justin Trudeau's broken electoral reform promise

There are immediate casualties resulting from Trudeau's broken promise:

It was Trudeau’s oft-stated promise way back when he was leader of the third party that, if elected PM, the 2015 federal election that ultimately gave his Liberals their majority would be the last ever conducted via the first-past-the-post voting system that had served Canadians since 1867.

It was so important that, after firing Monsef, he appointed a 29-year-old MP from Burlington, Ont., Karina Gould, to take her place, making her the youngest ever female cabinet minister in Canadian history.

Before Gould could find a rug for her new office, however, Trudeau pulled it out from under her by breaking his promise on electoral reform, and cancelling it altogether in his mandate letter to Gould.

He had played Canadians for suckers.

More Liberal casualties will come, most likely in 2019: more than three dozen seats won by the Liberals were won by less than 5% of the votes cast.

You better believe that many of those seats will not be won again in 2019 unless the Liberal Party rises up and tells its leader and his advisors that they want a proper plan to bring about electoral reform, implemented before the next election.

If Trudeau waits until then to make new promises about remedying our democratic deficits, no-one in their right mind will believe him.

Prompt, meaningful action to actually ensure the last election was the last one under the old FPTP system is all that will rescue Trudeau's chances of leading a majority government.

Electoral reform: Good for the NDP in our Parliament!

The NDP is giving voice to the outrage of hundreds of thousands of Canadians by tabling a censure motion in the House:

The New Democrats have officially served notice that they’re prepared to devote their upcoming opposition day to a motion that would, if passed, have the House formally conclude that Team Trudeau “misled Canadians on its platform and Throne Speech commitment” to make the 2015 federal election the last to be held under the first-past-the-post method of tallying votes, and call on the government “to apologize to Canadians for breaking its promise.”

Depending on how the New Democrats choose to proceed, that debate could take place as early as Thursday, although the vote would likely be postponed until next week.

Not, that is, that it would make much difference: the wording seems sufficiently stark that the government will have no choice but to instruct Liberal members to defeat it. Those members would, of course, have the option of not taking that advice, although they might find themselves ejected from caucus if they do so.

On the very off chance that a majority of MPs actually vote to endorse the motion, the request for a prime ministerial apology is, of course, not binding on Justin Trudeau, although if it actually got to that point, it’s hard to see how he could avoid it without risking any remaining shred of credibility he might have on the democratic reform front. 

Keep their feet to the fire, and don't let them get away with the breaking of such a fundamental campaign promise. Show them that bait-and-switch tactics are unworthy of our democracy, and keep hammering at this until Canadians get a chance in 2019 to remedy the mistake many of us made when we thought Trudeau and his team were honest with us about electoral reform.

And how about the NDP starting a clock in some public spot that shows how many days have elapsed since Justin Trudeau rose in the House to announce his new idea that promises don't count, and how many days are to elapse before ordinary Canadians get a chance to rise up in the polling booth and announce that this country belongs to its citizens, not to some small elite who do not honour promises made?

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Is a People’s Reform Referendum the way to electoral reform for Canadians?



Here’s one interesting take on the electoral reform debacle of Justin Trudeau’s government:


But Justin Trudeau had several unwitting accomplices in the crime — the federal New Democrats and Green Party and Fair Vote Canada, the advocacy group demanding electoral reform. They all inadvertently helped kill it.

How? By steadfastly refusing to demand a national referendum to let voters make the extremely important decision on what kind of electoral system Canada would use to choose those who govern.
Polling in May 2016 showed that 73 per cent per cent of voters wanted a referendum before any changes were made.

But the NDP, Greens and Fair Vote Canada were oblivious to voters’ concerns until it was too late.


This raises an interesting issue: should Canadians let a small click of gutless politicians decide their political future? Or should Canadians introduce their own Arab Spring / Movement / Populist Uprising (choose your poison) and launch their very own referendum to choose amongst 2 or 3 methods of electing their MPs?

The People’s Reform Referendum could be launched by organizations such as Fair Vote Canada, working with the NDP and Greens and ordinary Canadians who support the other political parties, and paid for by donations from ordinary voters.

The physical part of The People’s Reform Referendum could be handled by thousands of volunteers across the country.

The 3 choices to be offered could be prepared by a People’s Reform Committee, perhaps selected from volunteers by ordinary voters, using internet voting. The choices could include the current archaic FPTP system, and then have a modified proportional representation system, with or without alternative vote, and a third system.

The winning system would be the one of the 3 choices that gets the most votes 50% plus 1 vote; and there would be no minimum number of voters who must vote.

The Reform Referendum could take place through physical paper votes, as well as voting via internet, using the latest voter registration lists.

How about it, Canadians?

Time for a peaceful revolution of our own?

Let’s Take Our Country Back!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Electoral reform and Trudeau’s shameful flight: The fight continues



The next election in 2019 will be very different from the last one. The Trudeau Liberals took just over one year to walk away from their core campaign promise to not have another election using the FPTP system, and in so doing earned the distrust of hundreds of thousands of voters who had voted for change, and honesty in government.

But the fight continues, and the Liberals have lost the trust of many newcomers to voting:


Katelynn Northam, of the electoral advocacy group Leadnow, questioned what Trudeau's U-turn means for other promises made by the prime minister.

"If Trudeau is willing to betray voters on his signature election promise, what does that mean for his other commitments?" Northam said in a statement.

Northam also suggested the current political climate warrants a voting system shakeup — now more than ever.

"A Trump-style candidate could never win over a majority of Canadian voters — but in our broken first-past-the-post system, a hateful candidate could win with as little as 35 per cent of the vote."

Fight not over

Lavergne said young people "appear to be particularly outraged" by the government's electoral reform backtrack. 

And while the Liberal government has ended its plan to make the 2015 election the last using a first-past-the-post system, electoral reform groups say they will continue to push for change.

"The fight for proportional representation isn't over. A majority of Canadians do want electoral reform, and we'll keep fighting until we win," Northam wrote.

Fair Vote Canada organized a protest outside Trudeau's Montreal constituency office Thursday evening. Other demonstrations are planned for Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. 


We can expect opinion polls in the coming days to show just how much damage the Liberal Party has suffered due to the walkaway. It is possible that the party will have a new leader come 2019, but even that might not be enough to repair the damage. More than 3 dozen seats were won by the LPC with less than 5% of the vote in the last election. That is a razor thin margin of safety.

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