Sunday, December 21, 2014

How would proportional representation work in Alberta?

How would proportional representation work in Alberta, for federal elections?

I’m not talking about classic “list-PR” with candidates appointed by central parties. I’m talking about the model designed by the Law Commission of Canada, where every Member of Parliament represents actual voters and real communities. The majority of MPs will be elected by local ridings as we do today. The others are elected as regional MPs, topping-up the numbers of MPs from your region so the total is proportional to the votes for each party. You can cast a personal vote for a candidate within the regional list. The region is small enough that the regional MPs are accountable.

Polls show more than 70% of Canadians support proportionalrepresentation for Canadian elections. Canada’s Liberal Party has opened the door to start implementing PR within one year of the 2015 election. The NDP and Greens fully support PR.

So this is no longer an academic discussion. This is a practical discussion: if Canada gets PR, how would it work in Alberta?

Mixed Proportional
With the Mixed Proportional system, you have two votes. With one, you help elect a local MP as we do today. The majority of MPs would still be local MPs.

With the other vote, you can vote for the party you want to see in government, and for your favourite of your party’s regional candidates. So you help elect a few regional MPs, topping-up the local results to make them match the vote shares. Every vote counts: it’s proportional. You can vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. There are no closed lists. Voters elect all the MPs.

Competing MPs
Every voter in the region would be served by competing MPs. You could choose to go to your local MP for service or representation, or you could go to one of your regional MPs from a “top-up region” based in your area, likely including someone you helped elect.

Accountable MPs
This open list method was recommended both by our Law Commission and by the Jenkins Commission in the UK. Jenkins’ colourful explanation accurately predicted why closed lists would be rejected in Canada: additional members locally anchored are “more easily assimilable into the political culture and indeed the Parliamentary system than would be a flock of unattached birds clouding the sky and wheeling under central party directions.”

Every vote counts. Each province still has the same number of MPs it has today. No constitutional amendment is needed. Fair Vote Canada says “We must give rural and urban voters in every province, territory and regional community effective votes and fair representation in both government and opposition.”

What would regional MPs do?
How would regional MPs operate? The regional MPs would cover several ridings each. Just the way it’s done in Scotland. They could have several offices, just as MP LaVar Payne has offices in Medicine Hat, Brooks and Taber.

Two models:
Under the Law Commission of Canada`s model, the 34 MPs Alberta voters will elect in 2015 could be in three “top-up regions.” Under the “moderate” model inspired by the UK`s Jenkins Commission Report, they could be in four “top-up regions.”

How would it work out?
So what would these two models look like?

This simulation is only if people voted as they did on May 2, 2011. When every vote counts, turnout will likely be at least 6% higher, and no one will have to cast a “strategic vote.” We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We could even have different parties. Who can say what would be the result of real democratic elections?

Meanwhile, I’ve done simulations on the votes cast in 2011.


Winner-take-all results
On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in Alberta on the new 2015 boundaries would be 33 Conservative MPs and one New Democrat. Yet those voters cast only 67% of their votes for Conservatives, 17% NDP, 9% Liberals, and 5% Green.

If every vote counted equally, Conservative voters would elect 23 MPs, New Democrat voters six, and Liberal voters three, and Green voters two.

Calgary`s ten MPs
Calgary elects ten MPs in 2015. With either of the two models, Calgary is the right size for a “top-up region.”  Six of the ten would still be local MPs. The other four would be city-wide regional MPs, topping up the total Calgary results to make them match the vote shares.

In 2011 Calgary voters elected eight Conservative MPs, and no others. Yet those voters cast only 66% of their votes for Conservatives, while 14% voted Liberal, 12% New Democrat, and 8% Green. If every vote counted equally, on those votes on the 2015 boundaries Conservative voters would elect seven MPs, Liberal voters one MP, New Democrat voters one, and Green voters one. (See Technical note below.)

Since I’m projecting from the 2011 votes, I’ll start with the 2011 candidates. Let’s suppose the six local MPs were Conservatives Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, Diane Ablonczy, Michelle Rempel, Lee Richardson, and Deepak Obhrai.

In that case, voters for each party would also elect one regional MP.

Conservative voters can vote for the regional Conservative candidate they prefer. Many would prefer Harper, Kenney, Ablonczy, Rempel, Richardson, or Obhrai, but on election day, since they already won a local seat, the regional seat would go to the next most popular. In other words, Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those six can, if they wish, elect the seventh Conservative MP.

Maybe Punjabis and other South Asians would prefer Devinder Shory. Women Conservative voters might have preferred a new regional female candidate such as Joan Crockatt. Chinese-ancestry voters might have preferred a new regional candidate such as Gary Mar. In single-nomination contests, white males predominate. But when Calgary members of any party city-wide meet to elect a group of regional candidates, can you imagine them failing to nominate a woman or a visible minority?

Liberal voters would elect a regional Liberal MP, such as Jennifer Pollock or Cam Stewart. NDP voters would elect a regional MP, such as Paul Vargis, Collin Anderson or Holly Heffernan. Green voters would elect a regional MP, such as Heather MacIntosh.

Three regions
The other 24 MPs could be the 11 from metropolitan Edmonton, and the 13 from Northern and Southern Alberta.

Metropolitan Edmonton
Metropolitan Edmonton elects 11 MPs in 2015. Seven of the 11 would still be local MPs. The other four would be regional MPs, topping up the total results to make them match the vote shares.

On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in this region on the 2015 boundaries would be ten Conservatives and one New Democrat. Yet those voters cast only 58% of their votes for Conservatives, 24% for New Democrats, 10% for Liberals, and 4% for Greens.

If every vote counted equally, on those votes on the 2015 boundaries Conservative voters would elect seven MPs, New Democrat voters three, and Liberal voters one. (See technical note as to how close Green voters came to electing an Edmonton MP.)

Let’s suppose the seven local MPs included Conservatives Rona Ambrose, James Rajotte, Brent Rathgeber, Tim Uppal, Mike Lake and Laurie Hawn. Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those six can, if they wish, elect the seventh Conservative MP: maybe Peter Goldring or Ryan Hastman or a new regional female candidate.

Suppose New Democrat Linda Duncan is still a local MP. NDP voters can vote for the regional NDP candidate they prefer. Many would prefer Linda Duncan, but on election day, since she already won a local seat, the two regional seats would go to the two next most popular: maybe Ray Martin and Lewis Cardinal or Nadine Bailey.

Liberal voters would elect a regional Liberal MP, such as Mary MacDonald or Richard Fahlman.

Northern and Southern Alberta
Alberta voters outside Calgary and Metropolitan Edmonton elect 13 MPs in 2015. Eight of the 13 would still be local MPs. The other five would be regional MPs, topping up the total results to make them match the vote shares.

On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in this region on the 2015 boundaries would be 13 Conservatives and no one else. Yet those voters cast only 75% of their votes for Conservatives, 14% for New Democrats, 5% for Liberals, and 5% for Greens.

If every vote counted equally, on those votes on the 2015 boundaries Conservative voters would elect ten MPs, New Democrat voters two, and Liberal voters one. (See technical note as to how close Green voters came to electing an MP in this region.)

No doubt the eight local MPs would have been Conservatives: depending on the new boundaries, let’s say Kevin Sorenson from Killam, Grande Prairie’s Chris Warkentin, Fort McMurray’s Brian Jean, Whitecourt’s Rob Merrifield, Innisfail’s Earl Dreeshen, Airdrie’s Blake Richards, Medicine Hat’s LaVar Payne, and Claresholm’s Ted Menzies. Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those eight can, if they wish, elect the two regional Conservative MPs: maybe Vermillion’s Leon Benoit, or Lacombe’s Blaine Calkins, or St. Paul‘s Brian Storseth, or Jim Hillyer from Lethbridge, or a new regional female candidate. New Democrats voters would elect two regional MPs such as Mark Sandilands in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie’s Jennifer Villebrun, or Janine Giles from Canmore. Liberal voters would elect a regional MP such as Medicine Hat’s Norm Boucher, or Karen Young from Lac La Biche.

Four regions
The other 24 MPs could be the eight from the City of Edmonton, the eight from North Alberta, and the eight from South and Central Alberta. These smaller regions are intended to be “moderately” proportional, less likely to elect MPs from smaller parties. But in return, they provide better geographic representation, and more accountable regional MPs.

The Jenkins model uses second preferences. But in Alberta, using the EKOS poll taken April 28-30, 2011, they would have changed nothing.

Edmonton
The City of Edmonton elects eight MPs in 2015. Five of the eight would still be local MPs. The other three would be city-wide MPs, topping up the total results to make them match the vote shares.

On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in Edmonton on the 2015 boundaries would be seven Conservatives and one New Democrat. Yet those voters cast only 55% of their votes for Conservatives, 29% for New Democrats, 11% for Liberals, and 4% for Greens.

If every vote counted equally, Conservative voters would elect five MPs, New Democrat voters two, and Liberal voters one. (See technical note as to how close Green voters came to electing an Edmonton MP.)

Let’s suppose the five local MPs included Conservatives Rona Ambrose, James Rajotte, Brent Rathgeber, and Peter Goldring. Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those four can, if they wish, elect the fifth Conservative MP: maybe Mike Lake, Laurie Hawn, or a new regional female candidate.

Suppose New Democrat Linda Duncan is still a local MP. In that case, New Democrat voters would elect a regional MP. NDP voters can vote for the regional NDP candidate they prefer. Many would prefer Linda Duncan, but on election day, since she already won a local seat, the regional seat would go to the next most popular: maybe Ray Martin or Lewis Cardinal or Nadine Bailey.

Liberal voters would elect a regional Liberal MP, such as Mary MacDonald or Richard Fahlman.

North Alberta
North Alberta voters elect eight MPs in 2015. Five of the eight would still be local MPs. The other three would be regional MPs, topping up the total results to make them match the vote shares.

On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in this region on the 2015 boundaries would be eight Conservatives and no one else. Yet those voters cast only 72% of their votes for Conservatives, 13% for New Democrats, 5% for Liberals, and 4% for Greens.

If every vote counted equally, Conservative voters would elect six MPs, New Democrat voters one, and Liberal voters one. (See technical note as to how close Green voters came to electing an MP in this region.)

No doubt the five local MPs would have been Conservatives: depending on the new boundaries, let’s say Grande Prairie’s Chris Warkentin, Whitecourt’s Rob Merrifield, Fort McMurray’s Brian Jean, Vermillion’s Leon Benoit, and Sherwood Park’s Tim Uppal.

Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those five can, if they wish, elect the regional Conservative MP: maybe St. Paul‘s Brian Storseth, or a new regional female candidate. New Democrat voters would elect a regional MP such as Grande Prairie’s Jennifer Villebrun or Innisfree’s Ray Stone. Liberal voters would elect a regional MP such as Karen Young from Lac La Biche or Bonnyville’s Rob Fox.

South and Central Alberta
South and Central Alberta voters elect eight MPs in 2015. Five of the eight would still be local MPs. The other three would be regional MPs, topping up the total results to make them match the vote shares.

On the votes cast in 2011, the winner-take-all results in this region on the 2015 boundaries would be eight Conservatives and no one else. Yet those voters cast only 74% of their votes for Conservatives, 14% for New Democrats, 5% for Liberals, and 5% for Greens.

If every vote counted equally, Conservative voters would elect six MPs, New Democrat voters one, and Liberal voters one. (See technical note as to how close Green voters came to electing an MP in this region.)

No doubt the five local MPs would have been Conservatives: depending on the new boundaries, let’s say Kevin Sorenson from Killam, Innisfail’s Earl Dreeshen, Airdrie’s Blake Richards, Claresholm’s Ted Menzies, and Medicine Hat’s LaVar Payne. Conservative voters whose personal preference was not one of those five can, if they wish, elect the regional Conservative MP: maybe Lacombe’s Blaine Calkins, or Jim Hillyer from Lethbridge, or a new regional female candidate. New Democrat voters would elect a regional MP such as Mark Sandilands in Lethbridge or Janine Giles from Canmore. Liberal voters would elect a regional MP such as Medicine Hat’s Norm Boucher or Michael Cormican from Lethbridge.

Two models: summary
By using three regions, all regions are sure of keeping all eight MPs. With the two-region model, in theory all five regional MPs from North and South Alberta could have been from one-half of the province. And with only eight MPs per region, the proportionality is more moderate. But that might make it harder for Greens to elect someone.

However, in this simulation the Alberta results are almost the same with either model: 24 Conservative MPs, five or six NDP MPs, three or four Liberal MPs, and one Green.

Regional candidates
How would party members nominate and rank a group of regional candidates? It could be done on-line, and with live conventions. Likely party members in each region would decide to nominate the same candidates nominated in the local ridings, and some additional regional candidates. (In Nova Scotia in 2011, in all 11 ridings the Liberals nominated only men. Additional regional candidates would surely have included some women. Since polls show 90% of Canadians want to see more women elected, we’ll elect women when given the chance.)

But voters would have the final say, since they can vote for their party’s regional candidate they prefer.

More choice
For local MP, you can vote for the candidate you like best without hurting your party, since the party make-up of parliament is set by the party votes. In New Zealand, 32% of voters split their votes that way.

Canada-wide consequences.
With the new 30 MPs, on the 2011 votes transposed by Elections Canada onto the new boundaries, the winner-take-all results for the 338 MPs would be 188 Conservative, 109 NDP, 36 Liberal, 4 Bloc, and 1 Green.

When every vote counts, the result is: 140 Conservatives, 104 NDP, 64 Liberals, 19 Bloc, and 11 Green, using full proportionality on province-wide totals.

With these two regional mixed models, the projected results are 141 or 144 Conservatives, 108 or 107 NDP, 62 or 65 Liberals, 17 or 15 Bloc, and 10 or 7 Greens. Close to perfect proportionality, while keeping all MPs accountable to real local and regional communities.

Canadian diversity
As Stéphane Dion says "I no longer want a voting system that gives the impression that certain parties have given up on Quebec, or on the West. On the contrary, the whole spectrum of parties, from Greens to Conservatives, must embrace all the regions of Canada. In each region, they must covet and be able to obtain seats proportionate to their actual support. This is the main reason why I recommend replacing our voting system."

This is not a partisan scheme. Unrepresented Conservative voters would elect eight more Quebec MPs than in 2011, one more in Newfoundland, one more in PEI, one more in Northern Ontario, and one more on Vancouver Island.

Of course, proportional representation would mean a lot for Canada. We would not likely have a one party government’s Prime Minister holding all the power. (The last Prime Minister to get more than 50% of the votes was Brian Mulroney in 1984.) Parliament would reflect the diverse voters of every province.

An exciting prospect: voters have new power to elect who they like. New voices from new forces in Parliament. No party rolls the dice and wins an artificial majority. Cooperation will have a higher value than vitriolic rhetoric. Instead of having only a local MP -- whom you quite likely didn’t vote for -- you can also go to one of your diverse regional MPs, all of whom had to face the voters. Governments will have to listen to MPs, and MPs will have to really listen to the people. MPs can begin to act as the public servants they are. And all party caucuses will be more diverse.

With this kind of power-sharing, Canada would look quite different.

If we had a Proportional Representation voting system, here are only a few of the things Canadians could have accomplished over the past twenty years:
Ø Engaged and motivated voters
Ø A reinvigorated democratic system
Ø More women MPs and a fair mix of party representation

Our electoral system is broken and people know it:
Ø Disengaged citizens are ignoring their right to vote
Ø A dysfunctional conflict-oriented political process
Ø Majority governments with minority voting results

Poll results on proportional representation
Environics asked in 2013 “Some people favor bringing in a form of proportional representation. This means that the total number of seats held by each party in Parliament would be roughly equivalent to their percentage of the national popular vote. Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose moving towards a system of proportional representation in Canadian elections?”

Interviewing for this Environics National Telephone Survey was conducted between March 18th – 24th, 2013, among a national random sample of 1,004 adults. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.
Result: support 70%, oppose 18%, depends 6%, don’t know 6%.

The Environics poll showed 93% of Green voters support proportional representation while 4% oppose; 82% of NDP voters support it while 11% oppose; 77% of Liberal voters support it while 15% oppose; 62% of Conservative supporters support it while 28% oppose; and 55% of voters undecided as to party support PR while 19% oppose and 27% said “don’t know” or “depends.”

This is not new. Poll results have shown this for 13 years.

Technical note
The rounding method used in the simulation is highest remainder, for the same reason the Ontario Citizens Assembly chose it: it's the simplest. Germany used to use this too, on the premise that it offset the risk to proportionality of their 5% threshold. Similarly it offsets smaller region sizes.

You might wonder how Green Party voters would deserve a Calgary MP. The numbers work out as follows: Conservatives 6.615 MPs; Liberals 1.375 MPs; New Democrats 1.241 MPs; Greens 0.770. After the first eight seats are awarded, the 9th seat goes to the ``highest remainder” (the Green), and the 10th seat goes to the next (the Conservative.)

How close did Green voters come to electing an Edmonton MP? We know that many potential Green voters don’t bother casting futile (ineffective, wasted) votes. With the larger-region model of 11 MPs from Metropolitan Edmonton, if another 6,000 voters had cast Green votes, they would have elected an MP such as Valerie Kennedy or Peter Johnston, taking a seat from the Conservatives. With the smaller-region model of eight MPs from the city of Edmonton, which was already better territory for the Greens, it would have taken only 3,500 more Green votes to elect an MP and take a seat from the Conservatives.

How close did Green voters come to electing an MP in North and South Alberta? With the larger-region model of 13 MPs, it would have taken only 3,000 more Green voters to elect an MP such as Airdrie’s Mike MacDonald or Jasper’s Monika Schaefer, but he or she would have pushed the Liberals into fourth place, taking their seat away. With the smaller-region model of eight MPs in North Alberta, it would have taken only 3,500 more Green voters to elect an MP such as Jasper’s Monika Schaefer or William Munsey from New Sarepta, but again she or he would have pushed the Liberals into fourth place, taking their seat away. In South and Central Alberta with eight MPs, it would have taken only 2,100 more Green voters to push the Liberals into fourth place and elect an MP such as Airdrie’s Mike MacDonald or Red Deer’s Mason Sisson.    

I said Calgary elects ten MPs in 2015. But a new Boundaries Commission might include Airdrie, Rocky View County, Cochrane, Chestermere, and so on, bringing Metropolitan Calgary up to 11 MPs in the larger-region model.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ontario’s 2014 election results with proportional representation

What would Ontario’s 2014 election results be with proportional representation?

I’m not talking about classic “list-PR” with candidates appointed by central parties. I’m talking about the model designed by the Law Commission of Canada, where every Member of Parliament represents actual voters and real communities. The majority of MPPs will be elected by local ridings as we do today. The others are elected as regional MPPs, topping-up the numbers of MPPs from your region so the total is proportional to the votes for each party. You can cast a personal vote for a candidate within the regional list. The region is small enough that the regional MPPs are accountable.

True, most people are focussed on the 2015 federal campaign. So is Fair Vote Canada, which has over 44,000 signers on the Declaration of Voters’ Rights.

But Ontario’s 2014 election is a great example of what PR would do for voters.

Invisible Liberal voters
Ontario’s surprise majority government looks dominated by the GTA. Almost two-thirds of Liberal MPPs are from the GTA.

But electing a Liberal MPP in the GTA took only 25,326 votes, while it took 45,026 outside the GTA. In the GTA 962,385 Liberal voters elected 38 MPPs, while outside the GTA, 900,522 Liberal voters elected only 20 MPPs.

That’s because our winner-take-all system left many invisible Liberal voters outside the GTA unheard in the government caucus. Like all those Alberta Liberals whose voices aren’t heard in Ottawa.

Winner-take-all voting
Winner-take-all voting systems notoriously favour party strongholds. Voters living in them have an MPP in their party’s caucus. Others find no one at Queen’s Park to call.

Voters for parties with geographic strongholds elect governments with false majorities, thanks to the seat bonus from their strongholds. Voters for parties with no strongholds, like the Greens, have no voice at Queen’s Park

Proportional representation for Ontario
What would an Ontario PR system look like? Similar to the model recommended by the Law Commission of Canada, and endorsed by the Ontario NDP Convention Nov. 14.

It preserves the traditional link between voter and MPP by keeping local riding seats.

You will have two votes. One is for your local MPP. The second helps elect regional MPs, topping-up the numbers of MPs from your region so the total is proportional to the votes for each party.

You have the option of either endorsing the party’s regional list, or casting a personal vote for a candidate within the regional list.

The majority of MPPs will still be elected in local ridings. Just over 40% of MPPs will be elected regionally in “top-up” regions. 

Ontario will have more MPPs. The new federal map gives Ontario 121 MPs, including nine north of the French River. But all three parties have it very clear that they are in favour of maintaining the 10 ridings north of the French River, which makes 122 MPPs. However, constitutionally, most northern ridings must be within 25% of the provincial average. To do this, southern Ontario (including Muskoka District) will have to have seven more MPPs, bringing the total to 129.

A manufactured majority
In a truly democratic system, parties representing a true majority of voters would have to work together. As former Attorney-General John Gerretsen liked to say, “Nobody is ever 100-per-cent right and nobody is ever 100-per-cent wrong. Governing is the art of compromise. There’s nothing wrong with having the governing party take into account smaller parties.”

From the voters’ point of view, this election was all about their rejection of Tim Hudak’s platform. In the process, they accidentally elected a government with a manufactured majority of MPPs supported by less than 39% of voters. For the next four years, it has no legislative accountability to representatives of the majority of voters.

2014 results
Between 2011 and 2014, the NDP vote share rose from 22.7% to 23.7%, the Liberal vote share rose from 37.7% to 38.6%, and the Green vote share rose from 2.9% to 4.8%, while the PC vote share slid from 35.4% to 31.3%.

Those small swings gave the Liberals five more MPPs, and the NDP four, while the PCs slid nine.

Parade of strongholds
The parade of strongholds continues.

In Central and Mid-east Ontario Progressive Conservative voters cast 39% of those votes but elected seven of those 11 MPPs, 64%.

Although NDP voters elected seven more MPPs than in 2011 (while also losing three seats), all but two of the seven new seats were from their Southwestern Ontario stronghold (three), and their Hamilton—Niagara and Northern strongholds (one each). In Northern Ontario NDP voters cast 42% of those votes, but elected six of those ten MPPs, 60%.

Toronto Liberal voters cast 49% of the Toronto votes, but elected 91% of Toronto’s MPPs, 20 of the 22. In Peel and Halton regions Liberal voters cast 46% of those votes, but elected ten of those 11 MPPs, 91%. In York and Durham Regions, Liberal voters cast 43% of those votes, but elected eight of those 12 MPPs, 67%.

Fair results
Overall, a fair voting system would have let voters in 2014 elect 42 Liberals, 34 PCs, 26 New Democrats and five Greens. With 129 MPPs, that’s 51 Liberals, 41 PCs, 31 NDP, and six Greens.

This projection assumes voters voted as they did in 2014. In fact, more would have voted. And some would have voted differently -- no more strategic voting. We would likely have seen different candidates -- more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We could have seen different parties. Who knows who might have won real democratic elections?

Outside the GTA
Outside the GTA, PC voters cast 33% of the votes, yet elected 40% of the MPPs.

Southwest Ontario (London—Windsor)
Southwest Ontario Liberal voters in the 11 ridings of the London to Windsor region cast 23% of those votes, but elected only one MPP. With the model described here, they would have elected two more MPPs, such as Windsor’s Teresa Piruzza and Chatham’s Terry Johnson, or London’s Nick Steinburg or Woodstock’s Dan Moulton.

Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario Liberal voters would have elected one more MPP such as Sudbury’s Andrew Olivier or North Bay’s Catherine Whiting. PC voters would have elected one more MPP such as Kenora’s Randy Nickle or Timmins’ Steve Black.

Central and Mid-East Ontario (Barrie—Kingston)
NDP voters in this region cast 18% of those votes but those silenced voters elected no MPP. They would have elected two MPPs such as Kingston’s Mary Rita Holland and Kawartha Lakes’ Don Abel, or Peterborough’s Sheila Wood or Belleville’s Merrill Stewart or Orillia’s Doris Middleton. Liberal voters would have elected another MPP such as Kawartha Lakes’ Rick Johnson or Belleville’s Georgina Thompson. Green voters would have elected an MPP such as Huntsville’s Matt Richter or Barrie’s Bonnie North.

Central West Ontario (Waterloo—Bruce)
NDP voters in this region cast 21% of those votes yet elected only one MPP. They would have elected two more, such as Kincardine’s Jan Johnstone and Kitchener’s Margaret Johnston or James Villeneuve, or Cambridge’s Bobbi Stewart. Liberal voters would have elected one more MPP, such as Listowel’s Stewart Skinner or Waterloo Region’s Wayne Wright. Green voters would have elected an MPP, no doubt Leader Mike Schreiner.

Ottawa—Cornwall—Pembroke
NDP voters in the Ottawa-Cornwall-Pembroke region cast 14% of those votes, yet elected no MPP. They would have elected two MPPs such as Ottawa’s Jennifer McKenzie and Cornwall’s Elaine MacDonald, or Ottawa’s Hervé Ngamby or Prescott’s Isabelle Sabourin. Green voters would have elected an MPP such as Dave Bagler or Kevin O'Donnell.

HamiltonNiagara 
PC voters in this region would have elected two more MPPs such as Niagara Falls’ Bart Maves and Burlington’s Jane McKenna or Ancaster’s Donna Skelly. Green voters would have elected an MPP such as Hamilton’s Peter Ormond or Beamsville’s Basia Krzyzanowski.

GTA:
Across the GTA, NDP voters cast 20% of the votes, but elected only 9% of the MPPs. Progressive Conservative voters cast 28% of the votes but elected only 7% of the MPPs. The PC caucus has no representative of the 205,996 Toronto PC voters, and only three from the rest of the GTA.

Central Toronto—Scarborough
In those 11 ridings, NDP voters cast 26% of the votes but elected 9% of the MPPs. PC voters cast 20% of those votes, but elected no MPPs. With the model described here, NDP voters would have elected two more MPPs such as Michael Prue and Jonah Schein or Rosario Marchese or Jessie Macaulay or Neethan Shan. PC voters would have elected three such as Liang Chen (she is an Associate Dean at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, an Accounting professor with a Ph.D. from OISE), Justine Deluce and Raymond Cho or Ken Kirupa. Green Party voters would have elected an MPP such as Tim Grant or Rachel Power.

North York—Etobicoke-York
In those 11 ridings, NDP voters cast 19% of the votes but elected only one MPP. PC voters cast 27% of the votes but elected no MPPs.  NDP voters would have elected another MPP such as Tom Rakocevic, Paul Ferreira or Nigel Barriffe. PC voters would have elected four MPPs such as Doug Holyday, Robin Martin (she is a lawyer and Government Relations Consultant), Michael Ceci and Pina Martino or Avi Yufest or Angela Kennedy.

Peel—Halton
NDP voters in this region would have elected two more MPPs such as Brampton’s Gurpreet Dhillon and Gugni Gill Panaich or Mississauga’s Michelle Bilek or Fayaz Karim, or Oakville's Che Marville. PC voters cast 29% of the votes in this region, but elected no one. They would have elected four MPPs such as Oakville’s Larry Scott, Milton’s Ted Chudleigh, and Mississauga’s Effie Triantafilopoulos and Jeff White, or Mississauga’s Nina Tangri or Brampton’s Amarjeet Gill. Green voters would have elected an MPP such as Brampton’s Pauline Thornham or Oakville’s Andrew Chlobowski.

York—Durham
NDP voters in this region would have elected two more MPPs such as Holland Landing’s Laura Bowman and Whitby’s Ryan Kelly or Markham’s Nadine Kormos Hawkins or Thornhill’s Cindy Hackelberg or Clarington’s Derek Spence. PC voters would have elected three more MPPs such as Stouffville’s Farid Wassef, Newmarket’s Jane Twinney, and Bowmanville’s Mike Patrick, or Vic Gupta from Richmond Hill, or Markham’s Shan Thayaparan.


No central party direction
Back in 2007, Ontario voters did not support a proposal for the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system modelled on the one used in Germany and New Zealand, with closed province-wide lists for the additional “top-up” MPPs. This failure was no surprise to the Jenkins Commission. Jenkins said top-up MPs locally anchored to small areas are “more easily assimilable into the political culture and indeed the Parliamentary system than would be a flock of unattached birds clouding the sky and wheeling under central party directions.”


Fair Vote Canada says “The supporters of all candidates and political parties must be fairly represented in our legislatures in proportion to votes cast.”
 
Competing MPPs
The Law Commission model would give citizens competing MPs: a local MPP, and a few regional MPPs from a “top-up region” based in their area. Scotland uses regions of 16 MPs, Wales 12. I’m assuming a typical Ontario region would have 13 MPPs: eight local, five regional “top-up.” These regions are large enough that voters for every major party would be represented in every region. Generally, with more MPPs, ten of today’s ridings become seven larger local ridings.


Fair Vote Canada says “We must give rural and urban voters in every province, territory and regional community effective votes and fair representation in both government and opposition.”
 
More voter choice
There's more. With two votes, you can vote for the party you want in government. And you can also vote for the local candidate you like best regardless of party, without hurting your party, since it's the second ballot that determines the party make-up of the legislature. About 32% of voters split their ballots this way in New Zealand’s last election with a similar system.


Fair Vote Canada says “A democratic voting system must encourage citizens to exercise positive choice by voting for the candidate or party they prefer.”
 
Power to the voters
An exciting prospect: voters have new power to elect who they like. New voices from new forces in the legislature, more voter choice. No one party rolls the dice and wins an artificial majority. Cooperation will have a higher value than vitriolic rhetoric. One-party dominance by the Premier’s office will, at last, be out of fashion. Governments will have to listen to MPPs, and MPPs will have to really listen to the people. MPPs can act as the public servants they are supposed to be.

 
Regional MPPs
Who would those regional MPPs be? First, each party would hold regional nomination meetings and/or vote online to nominate their regional candidates. These would often be the same people nominated locally, plus a few additional regional candidates. The meeting would decide what rank order each would have on the regional ballot. But then voters in the region would have the final choice.

How would regional MPs serve residents?
See how it works in Scotland.

Poll results support PR
Poll results have shown for 13 years that at least 70% of Canadians support PR.

Evidence supports PR
Ten different Commissions, Assemblies and Reports in the past eleven years in Canada have unanimously recommended proportional representation.

Diversity
Clearly this model would allow fair representation of Ontario’s political diversity in each region.
Polls show that 90% of Canadian voters would like to see more women elected. If they can choose from several of their party's regional candidates, they'll almost certainly elect more women. And as long as a party is nominating at least five regional candidates, you can expect them to nominate a diverse group. With four regional MPs from a region, and seven local MPs, a major party would want more than five regional candidates, since any candidates who win local seats are removed from contention for regional seats.

This model would help reflect in the Legislature the diversity of society, removing barriers to the nomination and election of candidates from groups now underrepresented including women, cultural minorities and Aboriginals. For example, the PC caucus would be far more diverse.

Technical notes
This model was described in more detail by Prof. Henry Milner at an electoral reform conference Feb. 21, 2009, where he recommended 14-MP regions. A similar "open-list" model is used in the German province of Bavaria and was proposed by Scotland's Arbuthnott Commission in 2006.

The rounding method used in the simulation is highest remainder, for the same reason the Ontario Citizens Assembly chose it: it's the simplest. Germany used to use this too, on the premise that it offset the risk to proportionality of the 5% threshold. Similarly it offsets any small region sizes. With top-up regions of about 13 MPPs each, the results are very close to perfect proportionality. Green Party voters elect the six MPPs they deserve. Due to rounding effects over 10 regions, the Liberals get a bonus of one MPP at the cost of the PCs.


The Law Commission recommended that the right to nominate candidates for regional top-up seats should be limited to those parties which have candidates standing for election in at least one-third of the ridings within the top-up region. This prevents a possible distortion of the system by parties pretending to split into twin decoy parties for the regional seats, the trick which Berlusconi invented to sabotage Italy’s voting system.