Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Corporate media refuses to report on failure of FPTP; it's now up to the majority of the House of Commons to introduce a new electoral system

A "letter to the editor" nobody should miss.

Lawrence Hearn from North Vancouver, writer of the letter, starts of with the problem of our FPTP system:

Dear Editor:

The federal election once again has shown that Canada's electoral system of first by the post results in an unrepresentative government.

The parties' percentage of popular vote was: Conservatives 37.6 per cent; Liberals 26.2 per cent; NDP 18.2 per cent; Bloc 10 per cent; Greens 6.8 per cent.

In other words, Canadian voters soundly rejected the Conservative agenda yet they still get to form the government, fortunately with a continuing minority preventing them from doing the nasty on all and sundry without hindrance.

The corporate media's refusal to report on this failure of the electoral system amounts to nothing less than collusion with the anti-democratic forces of the extreme right in the Conservative party.
The solution follows:
The simplest way to introduce a fair and representative electoral system would be to use the ranked choice voting system in use in San Francisco and some other U.S. jurisdictions.
How it works:
Candidates must receive more than 50 per cent of votes to be elected. Voters, instead of simply marking an X, would rank (one, two) their choices.

Candidates failing to get 50 per cent would move to an instant runoff where the lowest candidate is dropped and the second choices of that candidate's voters distributed to the remaining candidates.

If no one gets the required 50 per cent plus one then the next lowest candidate would be dropped and the second choice votes distributed and so on until a candidate achieved the required threshold.
Why this system is preferable above other options:
The ranked choice voting system would require the least change to the present system with the maximum result.
Who can introduce changes to our electoral system?
Hopefully, the House of Commons majority can move to introduce such a system (or any better system) before the next election, thereby establishing a more representative system of government in Canada.

Lawrence Hearn

North Vancouver
LINKS

- Canada.com: Reform our electoral system
- Wikipedia: FPTP
- Wikipedia: Why FPTP sucks

4 comments:

Green Assassin Brigade said...

This system is the weakest of the options because it changes things the least.

When a majority is only created on peoples second choices it's still a false majority. If we are going to fully represent the diverse concerns of Canadians it needs to be real proportionality.

The Goal of electoral reform should be to represent everyone not just prop up fake majorities.

Eric said...

The Goal of electoral reform should be to represent everyone not just prop up fake majorities.

So what system do YOU propose, Green Assassin?

Green Assassin Brigade said...

I'd actually be satisified with any system that gave us some semblance of proportionality,however the truer to the actual election day results the better.

I think reform the house and senate should go hand in hand perhaps the senate could do something useful for a change and be elected to represent ridings while the HoC represent the popular vote.

I think a pure PR, with regional lists to assure local input would be ideal but would consider MMP or STV provided there was some decent modeling done to show it would give a decent reflection of popular vote, and tweeked to stop any gaming. To avoid the Italy mess I'd support a minimum 5% popular vote to recieve seats.

It might even be prudent to start with MMP with a 30% weighting of Proportional and phase in an extra 10% each election cycle to ease the change for the resistent voters. I'm really quite adaptable on the mechanics

I simply believe more voices, more ideas cannot be bad. I'd rather see working coaltions of people able to negotiate and compromise rather than the retarded bunch of loudmouth bullies we have now, on boths sides of the floor, who's only goal is absolute power.

Instant run off limits the evolution of political ideas perhaps even as much as FPTP, because we all know it will continue to perpetuate the "only two can win ideal"

All voters should feel they can win a voice in Government and I'm not scared of the choices they will make if given a tool they can be heard with.

P.S. PR is one of the issues that brought me to the greens, Greens did not bring me to PR.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Green Assassin is correct. What the letter writer describes is the Alternative Vote or Instant Run-off Vote system.

AV/IRV applies the preferential ballot to single-member ridings. Like FPTP, these are majoritarian systems. They are not designed to advance proportional representation.

The preferential ballot, when applied to multi-member ridings, IS part of a proportional representation model, the Single Transferable Vote. STV happens to be the model of electoral reform which is coming up for referendum in BC on May 12, 2009 and is one of two general types of proportional representation models. See http://www.stv.ca/ for details.

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