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.

Pour information en français, voir cette video:

Et voir aussi page 5:

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.

The Law Commission of Canada’s proportional representation model

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:

Accountable MPs and Open Lists: the key to a Canadian proportional representation model

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 

But how does a mixed member model work? See:
Why did Germany adopt MMP?
How big are the regions, under MMP?

With proportional representation, will my region lose representation?

Will proportional representation swamp the rural voice?

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:

Canada needs democratically-nominated candidates

Democratic nominations: why is Germany more democratic than Canada?

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

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

Stéphane Dion is right: the Alternative Vote Would Not Help Canada

The practical case against the Instant Run-off Vote (the Alternative Vote)

Ten Canadian Commissions, Assemblies and Reports have recommended proportional representation.

Poll results show Canadian public support for proportional representation

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:

How do regional MPs manage to serve large regions?

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

How would proportional representation work in Toronto?

How would proportional representation work in Peel and Halton?

How would proportional representation work in York Region and Durham?

How would proportional representation work in Central East Ontario?

How would proportional representation work in Eastern Ontario?

How would proportional representation work in Hamilton—Niagara—Brant?

How would proportional representation work in Northern Ontario?

How would proportional representation work in Southwestern Ontario?

How would proportional representation work in Atlantic Canada?

How would proportional representation work in Alberta?

How would proportional representation work in Manitoba?

How would proportional representation work in British Columbia?

How would proportional representation work in Saskatchewan?

The 2015 election results were quite different from 2011. See:

What would the results of the 2015 election have been, with proportional representation?

The Parade of Strongholds Continues, Again.

What would Liberal respect for Canada’s political diversity look like?

What would respect for Canada’s political diversity look like, for Green voters?

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. See:

The Jenkins Commission’s proportional representation model

How to get to the fair voting system: consultation

Open-list mixed member proportional models: The Bavarian example

Moderate proportionality for Canada’s House of Commons, with 11-MP regions

With 8-MP regions every vote counts, moderately

What would Parliament look like, with a 7-MP region voting system?

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

Why the Liberal Party of Canada needed proportional representation in 2011

Why Liberals needed the Law Commission of Canada’s recommended electoral reform, in 2010.

The Bloc Bonus, and other chronic bonuses

Why didn’t more Liberals speak up in 2008?

The Liberals have needed proportional representation since 1979.

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:

Ontarians rejected province-wide lists in the 2007 referendum; and

The Ontario mixed member model the Citizens’ Assembly almost chose.

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

Is proportional representation unconstitutional?

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:

Can we have gender parity in politics with no Parity Law?

A similar mixed member model, but with multi-MP districts in large urban areas, is described here:

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