Friday, March 17, 2017

If PEI used MMP, how would it work out?

If PEI used the Mixed Member Proportional system they voted for, how would it work out?

Last November, PEI voters voted in favour of changing their voting system to the Mixed Member Proportional system (MMP).

You have two votes. Your first vote allows you to choose who you believe will be the best local representative, just as we do today. Your second vote allows you to choose your preferred party by voting directly for one of their candidates for Island-wide representative. This second vote counts as a vote for that candidate’s party. It helps elect Island-wide representatives for top-up seats.

PEI would still have 27 MLAs. That will now become 18 local MLAs and 9 Island-wide MLAs, to top-up the local results so the overall result will match the share of the votes cast for that party. Every vote will count.



The PEI Liberal government has refused to honour the vote. As a result, the Honour the Vote movement seems to be wielding political power where before there was seemingly little or none.

If this MMP system were used for federal elections, in the larger provinces the top-up MPs would not be province-wide representatives. They could be from regions such as 12 MPs: eight local and four regional.

PEI’s 2015 election:

Back to PEI: if this MMP system had been used in the 2015 election, how would it have worked out?

As Prof. Dennis Pilon says in this video : "Now keep in mind that, when you change the voting system, you also change the incentives that affect the kinds of decisions that voters might make. For instance, we know that, when every vote counts, voters won't have to worry about splitting the vote, or casting a strategic vote. Thus, we should expect that support for different parties might change."

But let’s take the votes actually cast in 2015. Liberal voters would have elected 11 local MLAs, such as Pat Murphy, Robert Henderson, Sonny Gallant, Paula Biggar, Heath MacDonald, Bush Dumville, Kathleen Casey, Richard Brown, Doug Currie,  Wade MacLauchlan, and Allen Roach.

Progressive Conservative voters would have elected seven local MLAs such as Matthew MacKay, Jamie Fox, Brad Trivers, Sidney MacEwen, James Aylward, Darlene Compton, and Steven Myers.

By the percentage of the vote, Liberal voters deserved to elect 11 of the 28 MLAs, so they need no top-up Island-wide MLAs. The PCs deserved to elect 10 MLAs, so they elect another three MLAs as Island-wide MLAs. Who is elected? The three PC candidates on the Island-wide ballot who got the most votes (after crossing off those who already won a local seat). That might have been Colin LaVie, Rob Lantz, and Mary Ellen McInnis or Linda Clements.

Green Party voters deserved to elect 3 MLAs. Maybe they would have been Peter Bevan-Baker, Becka Viau, and Darcie Lanthier.

NDP voters deserved to elect 3 MLAs. Maybe they would have been Michael Redmond, Karalee McAskill and Susan Birt or Peter Meggs.

Who would form the government?

Who would form the government? It takes 14 votes to pass legislation. A stable government would be a coalition between the Liberals and either the Greens or the NDP. If the Liberal insisted on trying to govern alone, another option would be a coalition of the PCs plus Greens plus NDP. A third option, if coalitions were not possible, would be a minority government with an accord (a “confidence-and-supply agreement”) where the junior partner was free to move amendments and vote against government bills with the exception of budget bills and matters of confidence. If all else fails, the Liberals might form a minority government and bargain with the Greens and NDP case-by-case to get support from one or the other.   

2011 election

If this MMP system had been used in the 2015 election, how would it have worked out?

Since the Liberals got over 50%, they would have a majority government. With 51.4% of the vote they would have 14 MLAs. If they elected 14 Local MLAs as I think they would have, they would have elected no Island-wide top-up MLAs. PC voters would have elected four Local MLAs and seven Island-wide MLAs. Green and NDP voters would have elected one Island-wide MLA each, such as Green leader Sharon Labchuk and NDP leader James Rodd or top vote-getter Jacquie Robichaud. The 2007 election would have been just like 2011.

2000 election

An interesting change would have been the 2000 election when PC Premier Pat Binns won every seat but one. Under MMP he would have won 17 of the 18 local seats, but Liberal voters would have elected 8 MLAs: one local, and seven Island-wide. NDP voters would have re-elected Herb Dickieson as well as electing one other MLA like Gary Robichaud, giving the legislature a real and more diverse opposition.

1 comment:

Darcie said...

Very interesting commentary Wilf.
I often wonder where we would be as a Province if we were governed by a Proportional Government. There would be fewer deals struck behind closed doors, less opportunity for graft and scandal. With a Minority Government would we have shamed ourselves in the PNP Scandal? Would we have supported the reckless investment in GeoSweep or E-gaming? Would huge untendered secret contracts have been signed with Bell? Would we have invested more in renewable energy and organic farmers?
I think we would have some reasonable electoral reform with limits on sources and amounts donated, on election spending with reasonable limits and no exemption for food and beverage. Possibly a return to the more equitable per vote funding.
Holding a vote and then refusing to honour it has been unspeakably arrogant and I do hope there is a steep price to pay for disrespecting the electorate.
#HonourTheVote