Wednesday, March 30, 2016

MMP for Canada

The grandfather of Canadian proportional representation models with compensatory MPs (known as MMP) is the 2004 Report of the Law Commission of Canada: “Voting Counts: Electoral Reform for Canada”

The Law Commission recommended a mixed member proportional system, like Scotland's and Germany's. We still elect local MPs as the majority of MPs. The vast swaths of voters who are denied their preferred MP by the single-MP riding elections elect regional MPs to top up the local results: every vote counts. The total MPs match the vote share in the region. The government will be accountable to MPs reflecting a true majority of voters. See MMP Made Easy.



The Law Commission's model has one vital improvement on the Scottish model’s regional lists. Based on the feedback the received during their consultation process, they found many Canadian voters would like to vote for a specific regional candidate and hold them accountable. See:
The open-list Mixed Member Proportional system for which the Electoral Reform Committee found consensus.

You have two votes. It’s personal and proportional
With your first vote, you help elect a local MP as we do today. With the second, you also help elect a few regional MPs: it’s proportional. You can cast a personal vote for the regional candidate you prefer: it’s personal. See:

The best of both worlds
Voters are guaranteed two things which equal better local representation:
1.         A local MP who will champion their area.
2.         An MP whose views best reflect their values, someone they helped elect in their local riding or local region.

Local ridings don't double in size. Yes, the riding is larger, but in return, voters with their diverse voices will have diverse MPs, just as they do in Scotland and Wales.

The region is small enough that the regional MPs are accountable. Every region will have fair representation in both government and opposition. See:
A Moderate Mixed Member model can balance all the values 


Canada’s 2015 election results were unexpected. See:

Why not elect MPs in our present ridings by a ranked ballot? See:

But how does a mixed member model work? See:
Why did Germany adopt MMP?

Nominating regional candidates: 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. See:

Would PR mean coalition governments? But there have been Many Coalition Governments in Canada.



How would regional MPs operate? Most regional MPs would each cover several ridings. Take Saskatchewan as an example. On the votes cast in October 2015, Liberal voters in Saskatchewan would have elected two additional regional MPs. They might be based in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, or Regina, but they would likely have additional offices in North Battleford, or Yorkton, or Swift Current, and perhaps elsewhere, just as MP Robert Kitchen has offices in Estevan, Weyburn and Moosomin. This is just the way it’s done in Scotland, where two regional MPs from a party will normally split the region between them for constituency service purposes, and hold office hours rotating across their region or their part of it. See:


Local MPs become more independent
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 (regional) ballot that determines the party make-up of the legislature. About 32% of voters split their ballots this way in New Zealand with a similar system.

This makes it easier for local MPs to get the support of people of all political stripes. They can earn support for their constituency-representation credentials, not just for their party. This boosts the kind of support MPs bring with them into the House of Commons, thus strengthening their independence.

Many MMP variations exist. The UK’s Jenkins Commission recommended a preferential ballot to elect the local MP, and a more moderate version with local regions averaging only eight MPs, more accountable, less proportional. Or some Canadians might prefer the no-list model used in the German Province of Baden-Wurttemberg. See:

Canada’s Liberals have needed PR for a long time. See:

Why closed lists would be rejected in Canada was accurately predicted by the Jenkins Commission in the UK: they said 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.” The 2007 Ontario model which failed to win support in a referendum had closed province-wide lists, like the P.E.I. model similarly rejected. See:

Since the number of MPs from each province would not change, no constitutional amendment is required. See:

Many Canadians wanted to see how proportional representation would have changed the 2011 election outcome. How would it have worked in your region? See:

When Sweden changed from closed list to flexible list, some women feared male backlash would result in women being moved down the list. As it turned out, more women were moved up than down. Similarly, many Canadian voters might jump at the chance to vote for a good female regional candidate, especially if their party had nominated a man for the local seat. See:

What would Swedish MMP look like? A mixed member model with multi-MP districts in large urban areas is described here:

Update: France does not use MMP, but is looking at PR-lite again.