Canadians are a bunch of sheep

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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GOT YOUR ATTENTION?!!!

I don't think that Canadians are a bunch of sheep. But I am sick with our archaic voting system and it constantly baffles me that Canadians and Quebecers are so passive when it comes to the accepting the failure of our voting system to adequately represent the will of the population.

The fact alone that a party like the Bloc Québecois would get more seats then the NDP, a truly federal party, while the latter gets more popular vote should be enough to enrage Canadians whether they identify with the NDP or not.

This little strip adequately explains how I feel about this. Please check it out. After clicking on the link, click on the image to zoom in.

http://i.imgur.com/Z4FvM.jpg

I don't think pure proportional representation should be the way to go, but proportional rep should at least be integrated some way or another.
 

MHz

Time Out
Mar 16, 2007
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Red Deer AB
Do you mean like having the Bloc Québecois have members in all ridings in all the Provinces before they can run in Federal elections? I wouldn't have a problem with that, if their policies were better than the opposition I'd even vote for them
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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The problem with your comic strip is that it lumps the other three parties together as a 'liberal faction' against the conservatives.

While that would make sense if they formed a coalition, they are still separate parties even if they are all considered 'liberal'. Just because they have minor variations, does not mean you can lump them all together and say it's not fair if there is a minority government.

The party with the highest number of votes gets control, even if it is still a minority win.
 

Corduroy

Senate Member
Feb 9, 2011
6,670
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Vancouver, BC
No, the real problem with that strip (and the problem with every argument I've seen for electoral reform) is that it assumes its premise.


  • "Seats in Parliament should be representative of the national popular vote"


This is not as self-evident as you'd like to think it is. Why should our votes be counted together in a single national poll and not in many smaller community polls?
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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The problem with your comic strip is that it lumps the other three parties together as a 'liberal faction' against the conservatives.

While that would make sense if they formed a coalition, they are still separate parties even if they are all considered 'liberal'. Just because they have minor variations, does not mean you can lump them all together and say it's not fair if there is a minority government.

You have a good point. But It's not like our system could not benefit from a little more refinement. The point here is that if a majority of parties in parliament agree on a given issue, the system should be able to put that in practise.

The party with the highest number of votes gets control, even if it is still a minority win.

But this principle makes less sense the more candidates there are. Let's take an extreme scenario. Suppose you have 10 candidates in a riding and each of them has approximately 10% of popular support. You might have a winner who ends up with about 12% of of the vote, but the fact is that 88% of the population didn't vote for that candidate. If all other 9 candidates were for pro-active measures to protect the environment while the winner was not, then you end up with this absurd situation where 12% of the population decides how the other 88% will be represented on that issue.

The point of the strip is that many Canadians see their vote being completely lost in the void because the vote is being divided among parties. A reformed electoral system, could easily address this problem. And a lot more people would be stimulated in voting if they felt the system didn't throw away a vote cast to a candidate who doesn't win.

No, the real problem with that strip (and the problem with every argument I've seen for electoral reform) is that it assumes its premise.


  • "Seats in Parliament should be representative of the national popular vote"


This is not as self-evident as you'd like to think it is. Why should our votes be counted together in a single national poll and not in many smaller community polls?

I could ask the reverse question. Why should the votes be counted in smaller community polls? The answer to that question is that different regions have different needs. For example, the system needs to take into account the difference between urban and rural populations. This is a good reason to have smaller community polls.

But what's the point of being a country if the will of the population at large isn't represented too? If we're gonna think solely in terms of little communities we might as well manage our own things independently and that's what Quebec nationalist separatism is all about.The current system encourages a fracture of the Canadian nation and the Bloc is largely profiting from this.

If there at least was some kind of proportional representation, I believe some balance could be restored.

The way I see it it's a false dilemma to say what we have to choose between regional community polls and national polls. There can easily be a way to integrate both in an electoral system.
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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Fine, but you haven't answered the first question and you're the one making the claim; you don't get away with "why not?". Prove the premise before you make your dependant arguments.

I did answer that question. Let me rephrase it.

The reason why seats in parliament should represent the national popular vote is because we are a country. There's no point of actually being a country if we don't consider the Canadian population as a whole on at least some level.

As I said, it's a false dilemma to have to choose between a national purely proportional representation system and an fractured addition of locally elected candidates where a majority of votes often get lost in division between the losing parties. It's possible to have a system which takes both needs into consideration.
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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You have a good point. But It's not like our system could not benefit from a little more refinement. The point here is that if a majority of parties in parliament agree on a given issue, the system should be able to put that in practise.

I'm pretty sure that those parties making up the majority already do have some power to exert their influence on some issues. Aren't they the ones that have been holding back the ultimate conservative manifesto this last decade?
 

Corduroy

Senate Member
Feb 9, 2011
6,670
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Vancouver, BC
The reason why seats in parliament should represent the national popular vote is because we are a country. There's no point of actually being a country if we don't consider the Canadian population as a whole on at least some level.

So you're saying that our electoral system determines whether or not Canada should be a unified country?
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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So you're saying that our electoral system determines whether or not Canada should be a unified country?

No that is not quite what I'm saying. (But the presence of the Bloc sure is a symptom that the country isn't unified... that's for sure!)

The country will never be ideologically united, that is a utopia. But I'm sure it could be a whole lot more united in its support of its political institutions, electoral system included. There will always be disagreements and if we address those in a civil way, whatever system we have, we'll eventually find compromises and progress.

That being said, that doesn't mean we shouldn't improve our electoral system if it's possible and I believe an electoral system should have enough refinement to be able to represent the nation both in its parts and as a whole. That is what I'm saying. In my opinion, the current system is too slanted towards the ''part'' representation and some form of proportional representation could bring back a bit of ''whole''.

Isn't that what being a country is about? Finding some form of unity as a whole?

Is that clear enough?

I'm pretty sure that those parties making up the majority already do have some power to exert their influence on some issues. Aren't they the ones that have been holding back the ultimate conservative manifesto this last decade?

I agree. And I'm glad the other parties were there to hold back the Conservative manifesto. But I nonetheless think that our system could more adequately represent the will of the population. The Green party, whether you agree with them or not, had 6.8% of popular vote in 2008 while the Bloc had 10%. That's a 3,2% difference yet the Bloc ends up with 49 seats and the Green none. I don't see how that's fair to those who voted Green.
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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And that's what parliament is: a representation of the parts unified as a whole. Damn, you're making our system sound better than I thought ;)

Hahaha! You are a sneaky one!... Yes our parliament is a representation of the parts unified as a whole. You're right. But it could be a better representation! It's really that simple! (my point... not changing the system)
 

mentalfloss

Prickly Curmudgeon Smiter
Jun 28, 2010
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The Green party, whether you agree with them or not, had 6.8% of popular vote in 2008 while the Bloc had 10%. That's a 3,2% difference yet the Bloc ends up with 49 seats and the Green none. I don't see how that's fair to those who voted Green.

I'm sure the Cons and NDP percentage numbers differ from the number of seats as well. What was the differential for those guys, just out of curiosity?
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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I'm sure the Cons and NDP percentage numbers differ from the number of seats as well. What was the differential for those guys, just out of curiosity?

2008 Election

Cons: 143 seats, 46,3% of the seats for 37.65% of popular vote.

Libs: 77 seats, 25% of the seats for 26.26% of popular vote (I guess they got what they deserved)

NDP: 37 seats, 12% of seats for 18,18% of popular vote.

Bloc: 49 seats, 15,9% of seats for 9,98% of popular vote.

Greens: 0 seats for 6.78% of popular vote.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_2008

---

The conservatives were clearly advantaged by the system in that election.

Consider this:

With the current system, the Liberal and the NDP seats didn't add up to the Conservative seats (77+37= 114 vs. 143 Cons seats)

But if you consider the popular vote, 26,18% + 18,18% = 44,36% vs. 37,65% for the Cons alone.

That means that if seats were accorded to popular vote, the NDP and Liberals could have a legitimate coalition without the need for Bloc support.

Food for thought...
 
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damngrumpy

Executive Branch Member
Mar 16, 2005
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kelowna bc
I personally like the present system its just that it requires people to get involved in the
politics of their party of choice and that would require effort. What a novel concept.
 

s_lone

Council Member
Feb 16, 2005
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Montreal
I personally like the present system its just that it requires people to get involved in the
politics of their party of choice and that would require effort. What a novel concept.

I respect your opinion. But didn't you ever feel torn between strategic voting and supporting the party you believe in the most?
 

Cliffy

Standing Member
Nov 19, 2008
44,850
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Nakusp, BC
I respect your opinion. But didn't you ever feel torn between strategic voting and supporting the party you believe in the most?
And then there are people like me who would do away with parties all together - every rep an independent,PM voted by all reps and everything done by consensus.
 

MHz

Time Out
Mar 16, 2007
41,030
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48
Red Deer AB
We already have that, it's called blind allegiance to the US and it a come one come all program no matter what.