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RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

December 14, 2016

Liberals' electoral reform roadshow failed to “dialogue” on THESE key questions

Andrew Lawton
Rebel Commentator



It’s been more than six weeks since Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef’s electoral reform roadshow wrapped up, and her ministry still doesn’t know how much it cost.



NDP MP Nathan Cullen asked the minister, via an order paper question in the House of Commons, how much the “electoral reform community dialogue tour”—as it’s officially known—cost, how many people attended, and how many people in attendance favoured proportional representation or a referendum.

The minister’s response, submitted by her parliamentary secretary, Mark Holland, claims that the costs “are not available at this time as all claims have not yet been finalized.” Not even an approved budget from before the tour was submitted, to give a ballpark of the bottom line total.

The response said that 1,500 people attended the events, which kicked off August 29 in Iqaluit and wrapped up two months later in Calgary.

But there were more non-answers to what is arguably the most significant part of Cullen’s question—how many people at these events favoured different possibilities.

“Participants at events were not asked to indicate which voting system they preferred,” the document said, later adding, “participants at events were not asked for their position on an electoral reform referendum.”

Monsef previously told Canadians that this national tour was an opportunity for the government to share its process, and for Canadians to weigh in with their own thoughts.

Now, it appears Canadians weren’t asked what they thought at all about two of the key questions connected to the electoral reform discussion.

That, or the government didn’t like the answers, which seems more likely given blowback to the MyDemocracy.ca push poll.

If Monsef wants Canadians to believe that she is genuinely interested in a dialogue, she’ll have to try a bit harder.

http://www.therebel.media/libe....._questions
Bugs





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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those who like proportional representation, the present stew about the electoral college in the US is an illustrative example.

The American Presidency is essentially a proportional representation contest, so it's a little rich to see the left of American politics complaining that the electoral college is an anachronism. They are complaining that proportional representation is "anti-democratic."

I am hoping the Justin will clarify this issue for us soon. After all, the Liberals are representing the PR system as a remedy for our "democratic deficit."

Hillary's plurality was almost entirely in Calfornia, where she got 7 million votes and Trump only got 4 million. She also piled up a big majority in New York. She was soundly rejected by the rest of America. But because of the proportional representation of the electoral college, she has lost!

So the American left is lining up against PR. This is the voice of the "resistance".

http://www.realclearpolitics.c....._come.html

So, please Justin ... show us your merits as a political philosopher ...
Bugs





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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recently, an article critical of the implementation of PR in Canada was published, making the following point.

Quote:
There are three central things wrong with the government’s approach to changing the democratic electoral system – the idea, the plan, and the execution. The idea is flawed because it fails to incorporate the governance issue. The plan is virtually non-existent. And the execution has gone off the rails.
[....]
However, the central problem with the Minister’s approach as well as that of the Committee was their single-minded focus on the concept of representation. Democracy is about both “representation” and “governing”. The two should never be separated if you want to achieve effective government – and that presumably is the purpose of reform. For over a century, scholars have proven over and over again that there are no electoral systems without glaring defects. They have usually resorted to the metaphor of a loaf of bread to explain the conundrum. There simply is no such thing as a full loaf of bread, only half loaves when it comes to electoral systems and formulae.
http://www.nationalnewswatch.c.....Fq3hxsrLIW


This is the voice from the other side ... the Broadbent Institute. I am going to boil this down to the essential points and comment.

Quote:
Why a proportional voting system will bring us better governance
By Rick Smith — Broadbent Institute — Dec 21 2016

[....]First, national unity would be strengthened if Canada moved to a proportional voting system. Broadbent Institute Chair Ed Broadbent made this case when he testified at ERRE. Broadbent walked through how distorted outcomes under our current system bred regional divisions in a country as regionally diverse as Canada, citing the Liberal government’s decision in 1980 to bring in the National Energy Program (NEP) as a case in point.

The Liberals had received over 20 per cent support in each of the four Western provinces and yet won only two seats in Manitoba and none at all in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the oil-producing provinces. Without those voices at the Cabinet table, the government barrelled ahead with the NEP, sewing the seeds of regional discontentment that lasted decades.
http://www.nationalnewswatch.c.....overnance/


Has the man no memory? This is very deceitful for someone who claims some kind of expertise. (Just what are political scientists experts in, anyway?) The NEP came right out of Trudeau and Lalonde's office. They rolled over the opposition voices. Do we not remember Trudeau's snotty comment: Why should I sell your wheat? That was his attitude towards most of Englsh-speaking Canada. In those days, the west did send a sprinkling of Liberals to Ottawa, but they were reacting negatively to having French forced on them in a way they never intended. The NEP had to do with providing fuel to central Canada, not in winning votes in the prairies. As long as the Liberals kept Quebec, they were virtually unassailable electorally.

This historical reconstruction amounts to a radical over-simplification of the politics of the NEP. Those were the days of Joe Clark and his "me too" politics. Put it this way -- the opposition was led by a man who was vying for the feminist vote! What kind of 'conservative' is that?

It was less a democratic deficit than a leadership deficit!

Quote:
Second, contrary to popular myth, there is no proliferation of parties with marginal or extreme agendas in PR countries. It does become harder – though not impossible – for single parties to get a majority, so these countries are often governed by coalitions. But coalitions provide good, stable government.

In fact, elections are no more frequent and politics tend to be less polarized under PR because parties know they may have to work together. (Under Canada’s current first-past-the-post system, elections have been more frequent since the Second World War than many countries that use a proportional voting system, including Italy, the poster child for political instability.)

This dynamic means it’s harder to undo national initiatives. There’s less lurching from one extreme policy position to another from election to election. This bodes well for a stable public-policy development and implementation, Alex Himelfarb, the former Clerk of the Privy Council Office, explained when he testified at ERRE.


This is not the common perception. The fact is, when Chretien reformed election finance, so that parties got paid on a per vote basis, the Greens went from a lobby group to a political party -- because the money was there to pay salaries. They got maybe 3-5% in most ridings. It gave them enough to hire Elizabeth May up from the states.

What was the effect? The previous incarnation of the Green Party was market-oriented, and that leader had been democratically elected, somehow. But May took over that agenda, and Americanized it. Then she swooned with Dion became Liberal leader, and promised to support him. In other words, we now have a Green party that cannot support itself, is divorced from its own grass roots, representing nothing so much as another branch plant of American politics. An it furthered the fragmentation of the 'left' vote. And it was a direct consequence of the funding rules.

Most students of PR concede that it leads to a proliferation of parties, and coalition governments, and for the same reasons. It might lead, for instance, to a split in the Conservatives, into the rump of Mulroney's party, vrs the Western conservatives. Who really knows where it will go in Canada.

What he really means when he talks about 'stability' is that the dynamic element disappears from politics, and it becomes impossible to make the government accountable because of its coalition nature. Rotating parties brings in a whole fresh team, and a new approach, which is valuable simply because it allows for corrections and is actually more democratic, if you mean by 'democracy' that the electorate has a stronger rein on its politicians.

But that's the whole argument -- the whole bag. It isn't a 'proof' of anything. It's only a set of denials, without much evidence that fits the situation. It's like one anecdote about what might have happened, a daydream. Or maybe just a brain fart.
RCO





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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rona Ambrose: It’s time to park Prime Minister Trudeau’s failed electoral reform




Rona Ambrose, Special to National Post | December 28, 2016 2:02 PM ET
More from Special to National Post
.


The prime minister’s approach to electoral reform has not demonstrated the seriousness required when fundamental changes to the rules of democracy are being proposed.

Few paid attention to Justin Trudeau when he first announced that “2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system” in the spring, before the last federal campaign. He was leader of the third-place party and in no position to implement the most significant change to our democracy since 1867. Fast-forward to present day, and the gravity of that promise begins to sink in.

Major change to how MPs are elected is not something that should be rushed or pursued in a manner that intentionally tilts the scales in favour of a particular party. It requires significant public awareness and the formal consent of the Canadian people.

The prime minister has failed on all these important tests.


Jessica Nyznik / Postmedia Network

Jessica Nyznik / Postmedia NetworkMinister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef speaks during a town hall meeting on electoral reform on Sept. 6, 2016 in Peterborough, Ontario.

After much delay, a multi-party committee on electoral reform got to work over the summer. Its final report showed that consensus could be found on key points such as the need for a referendum before changing the voting system. The resounding Liberal rejection of the consensus report and Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef’s partisan trashing of the committee’s work was both arrogant and wrongheaded.


But when the prime minister told a journalist that “under the current system, (Canadians) now have a government they’re more satisfied with and the motivation to change the electoral system is less compelling,” he laid his motivations bare.

Advocates for a new voting system would have been dismayed to hear the prime minister link his own partisan interests to electoral reform. But for most of the public, this was the first time they’d heard him say anything at all on the topic.

When the prime minister indicated his preference for the ranked ballot, it was a clear indication of his intention to adopt a voting system that unfairly favours Liberal politicians. A CBC analysis shows that a ranked or “preferential” ballot would help the Liberals win more elections. That kind of advantage should never be obtained through secretive cabinet processes or in the absence of the consent of Canadians. But from the beginning, the Liberal approach to electoral reform has been opaque, inadequate and worthy of mockery.

.
Let me be very clear: the Conservative opposition will use every tool at our disposal to fight any change to our voting system that isn’t endorsed by the people of Canada in a national referendum. Ranked ballots are confusing, constitute substantial change to what our vote means, and would only serve to advance the interests of Liberal party politicians.

The public has not been brought along on this journey in any meaningful way. The latest tactic by the government to survey Canadians about electoral reform has badly fallen flat, due to its vague and confusing questions about values, instead of the actual issue at hand.

The stability of Canada’s current electoral system is the envy of the world. It attracts new citizens, new investment, and the respect of all who visit. The burden rests squarely on the prime minister to establish that a change to our democracy is required. He has not done so.

Conservatives have been clear since day one that any change to what our vote means, requires a referendum to seek the consent of the people. But I’d like to be clear on something else: It requires a level of seriousness and maturity we have not seen from the prime minister or his minister of democratic institutions.



Now is the time to stop and take stock of the situation. Making the most significant change in our voting system in 150 years requires careful consideration.

It’s time to park this failed Liberal attempt at electoral reform. The Prime Minister has not made a convincing argument that our democracy is broken, or that a change to our voting system is required. But if he wants to proceed, he owes it to each and every Canadian to move in an open, mature, and competent manner.

Start with making the case. Listen to all parties in the House of Commons. And seek the consent of the people in a referendum.

In the meantime, we have critical issues before us; jobs, the economy, and an uncertain world at our doorstep. Let’s get back to work.

Rona Ambrose is interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.

http://news.nationalpost.com/f.....ral-reform
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, Rona ...
RCO





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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
Yeah, Rona ...



looking into the new year I really wonder where this issue is headed ? I agree with Rona it should be going into the trash and forgot about

but its not clear the issue is dead , there is still that survey and its results have never been released although it was widely viewed as a joke and would be hard for liberals to act on its results without some opposition support for a change

are the liberals really going to move forward on a new system without any opposition support and force elections Canada to rush thru changes by the next vote ? that would sound crazy
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the organizational effort that would be thrust on Elections Canada as a result of these changes, and the amount of time it would take to write a law and have it enacted, including getting the Senate's assent, against a determined resistance, she's probably right. Or soon will be.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You had me convinced -- they wouldn't move Monsef for fear of losing momentum on the so-called 'democratic reforms' the government means to impose on us, whether we like it or not.

But they moved her to the Status of Women ... now she can involve herself with expanding the size of her office, perhaps. Certainly, the achievement of gender equality would involve some losses for women, and you can't have that.

But it doesn't feel as if they are giving up on the issue. Why do we think they are? They still have three years and a big majority. And if they get the right electoral reforms through, they won't have to worry about what people think.
RCO





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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neil Young among artists, activists urging Trudeau government to reform electoral system

Alliance calls on Liberals to keep platform promise to replace Canada's 1st-past-the-post system

By Aaron Wherry, CBC News Posted: Jan 19, 2017 11:04 AM ET| Last Updated: Jan 19, 2017 11:21 AM ET

Jean-Pierre Kingsley, former chief electoral officer, left, and rocker Neil Young are among those calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow through on his pledge to reform the voting system before the next election.


A collection of activists, political players and artists — including musician Neil Young — is calling on Justin Trudeau's Liberal government to keep its promise to implement a new federal electoral system in time for the 2019 election.

"We congratulate the newly appointed minister, the Hon. Karina Gould, and urge her to move to implement the key recommendation of the parliamentary committee and move to a system of proportional representation for the next federal election," reads a statement signed by former chief electoral officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley, environmentalist David Suzuki, musicians Neil Young and Sarah Harmer, and artist Robert Bateman, among others.

The statement was issued by the Every Voter Counts Alliance, which is sponsored by the Broadbent Institute, Fair Vote Canada and various other organizations and labour unions, including Unifor and CUPE.

Karina Gould was appointed minister of democratic institutions earlier this month, replacing Maryam Monsef. In joining cabinet, she inherited a file that has challenged the Trudeau government for more than a year.

A report by a special committee of MPs was delivered to Parliament in December, and recommended that the federal government hold a referendum on some form of proportional representation. But the recommendation was not unanimous and even some of those who supported it — the New Democrats and Greens — also questioned the necessity of a referendum.

Monsef subsequently launched an online consultation that was derided by opposition MPs.

Neither Gould nor Trudeau has yet explained how the federal government will move forward.

"The government now has both the challenge and the opportunity to design a proportional system which it can and which it would support," Kingsley said on Thursday, referring back to the committee's report.

"The earlier the government tables its proposal, the greater the opportunity for Canadians to consider it, to debate it and to understand it."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politic.....-1.3942661
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Proportional Representation is far more challenging to implement than a ranked ballot.

In your effort to create list MPs who have limited accountability to the electorate you need to either grow the House to Commons to add these MPs or abolish all 338 ridings Federally or eliminate some of those ridings to make them PR seats.

In the case of that last option,
Do you eliminate the least populated seats in Provinces like Kenora, Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Sault Ste. Marie, one or both of the Thunder Bay Ridings, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and Yellowhead as examples and then have their seats now filled by major cities who get to double dip?

Or do you go back to the old pre 2015 boundaries and punish cities that have grown and Provinces that have grown?

There is no easy way to implement PR
And that is prior to any Referendum Discussion that needs to be had.
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( a report on the my democracy survey was released , it appears those who responded were mostly against any major changes like online voting , mandatory voting or lowing the voting age , also less then 400,000 people took part out of the 15 million cards that were mailed out )


Most Canadians like current voting system, but open to electoral reform: report


By Terry Pedwell — Jan 24 2017


OTTAWA — Two-thirds of Canadians are happy with how their current voting system works, says a report detailing the findings of the Trudeau government's online electoral reform survey.

The report, quietly released online Tuesday by Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, also suggests Canadians are willing to entertain changes to the system — provided they don't complicate the voting process.

"Though satisfaction does not necessarily preclude a desire for reforming the electoral system, a majority of Canadians (67 per cent) report being somewhat or very satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada," said the report's executive summary.

"Canadians are receptive to options to express their preferences with greater specificity, but not if the result is a ballot that is more difficult to interpret."

And while just over half of respondents — 53 per cent — said they were opposed to mandatory voting, a majority also supported the idea of being able to cast a ballot online, just so long as the system is demonstrably secure, the report stated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to make the 2015 election the last held under the current first-past-the-post electoral system, although he has since shown signs of backing away from that commitment.

Shortly after the survey was launched, opposition critics howled in protest, noting that none of its 30 questions made mention of a proportional voting system — widely seen as one of the most viable alternatives.

Conservative MP and democratic institutions critic Scott Reid predicted the Liberals would use the results to gerrymander the debate over electoral reform to the benefit of their own electoral gain. The Tories want Canadians to have the chance to pass judgment on any new electoral system in a national referendum.

NDP democratic reform critic Nathan Cullen, whose party has voiced a preference for a proportional system, called the survey a "pop-psych" poll that didn't ask Canadians to choose a specific electoral system.

"When you insult Canadians with vague questions you get unclear answers, which may have cynically been what they wanted all along," Cullen said.

Proportional representation, proponents say, would produce a House of Commons in which the popular vote is more accurately represented, with some MPs representing a geographical region instead of an individual riding.

Electoral reform proponents argue that the current voting system, which elects one MP in each of 338 ridings across the country, is unfair because MPs can be elected with less than half the votes cast when more than two candidates are running.

The government encouraged Canadians to take part in the MyDemocracy.ca survey, an online and phone survey about changing the electoral system that took place between early December and Jan. 15.

After the government mailed postcards to 15 million Canadians asking them to take part in the survey, approximately 383,074 people responded, 96 per cent of whom live in Canada, said the report.

The results, the report's authors said, were "weighted to the census" in order to make the findings more representative of the findings and more reflective of Canadians' views "on a number of key considerations within the electoral reform discourse."

The report also found that an overwhelming 90 per cent of respondents supported placing limits on the length of federal election campaigns.

The 2015 campaign, at 11 weeks, was the longest in Canadian history.

As well, 66 per cent of Canadians are opposed to lowering the voting age from 18, the report said.

http://www.nationalnewswatch.c.....IioJEn2Zjp
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

a more detailed version of the report is available here

https://www.canada.ca/en/campaign/electoral-reform/learn-about-canadian-federal-electoral-reform/mydemocracyca-online-digital-consultation-engagement-platform.html
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( just 1.5 % of the eligible voters in Canada ? that is so pitiful it isn't even funny )


Under 1.5 per cent of eligible voters used mydemocracy.ca

Minister Gould ‘grateful so many people participated’


BJ Siekierski

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017


The results from the www.mydemocracy.ca electoral reform survey are in — and what they tell us depends on who you ask.

Early Tuesday evening, Karina Gould — the minister of democratic institutions — announced the release of a final report by Toronto-based Vox Pop Labs detailing how many Canadians completed the survey the company created and managed for the government.

“Over the course of its run,” the report noted, which lasted between December 5 and January 17, “an estimated 383,074 unique users completed the survey, with approximately 96 per cent of responses originating from within Canada.”

Far fewer (243,057) were “sufficiently profiled” or “validated on the basis of the socio-demographic information”, the report added.

There were 25,939,742 Canadians on the electors list in 2015 federal election.

If you go with the bigger number, 383,074, and generously assume they were all eligible electors, that’s under 1.5 per cent of Canadians who were allowed to vote in the last election.

Whether the participation rate was that low because electoral reform is a fringe issue that doesn’t interest most Canadians, as some argue, or because postcards sent to every Canadian household and media coverage weren’t enough to attract people to the site, is a matter of debate.

Both Vox Pop and the government, of course, concluded it was a success.

“The data suggest that MyDemocracy.ca was effective not only in increasing participation in the national dialogue on electoral reform, but also in extending the dialogue to a diverse array of Canadians,” the report says.

Gould thanked “the over 360,000 people in Canada who had their say about electoral reform”.

“We are grateful so many people participated in this innovative, interactive application to help us build a stronger, healthier democracy. I would also like to thank Vox Pop Labs for their hard work in delivering MyDemocracy.ca and providing this final report to us,” she said.

“We will carefully consider these findings as we move forward.”

The report found 67 per cent of Canadians were somewhat or very satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada; 53 per cent opposed mandatory voting; and 66 per cent opposed lowering the voting age.

With the exception of the 90 per cent of Canadians who supported placing limits on the terms of federal election campaigns, it was essentially an argument in favour of the status quo.

But again, with the participation rate as low as it was, the report doesn’t provide a mandate for any of those things.

“Yesterday’s silent release of the results of the mydemocracy.ca survey is deeply discouraging. While the report claims general satisfaction with our democracy in its executive summary, it is unable to conclude the same about our electoral system – because it never asked the question,” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said Wednesday.

With the special committee on electoral reform recommending a referendum on a proportional voting system in its report in early December (the Liberals opposed that recommendation in their dissenting report), it’s anyone’s guess what will be in the Liberals’ reform legislation this spring.

That is if they keep their campaign promise to table an electoral reform bill within 18 months of forming government.

At the start of his town hall tour a few weeks ago, the prime minister reiterated his preference for a ranked ballot when asked by a proponent of proportional representation.

“I’m on record from before I became prime minister suggesting that I think an option in which people can rank their choices is probably suitable for Canada, but I have showed consistently that I’m open to a broad range of perspectives and views, including yours,” he said.

http://ipolitics.ca/2017/01/25.....ocracy-ca/
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Proportional Representation is far more challenging to implement than a ranked ballot.

In your effort to create list MPs who have limited accountability to the electorate you need to either grow the House to Commons to add these MPs or abolish all 338 ridings Federally or eliminate some of those ridings to make them PR seats.

In the case of that last option,
Do you eliminate the least populated seats in Provinces like Kenora, Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, Sault Ste. Marie, one or both of the Thunder Bay Ridings, Skeena—Bulkley Valley, and Yellowhead as examples and then have their seats now filled by major cities who get to double dip?

Or do you go back to the old pre 2015 boundaries and punish cities that have grown and Provinces that have grown?

There is no easy way to implement PR
And that is prior to any Referendum Discussion that needs to be had.



I think the window is closing for elections Canada to implement a new system , especially when considering there going to be dealing with a least 5 federal by elections in 2017 , those are going to take up a large amount of there time

just don't see how they would implement a new system ? or acquire the technology and knowledge to have it ready by 2019 ? it makes no sense at all

it also sounds like many of the proposed reforms are unpopular anyways , why would the liberals want to implement them , such as lower the voting age to high school kids ( which was rejected in there poll ) , online voting was also rejected and unpopular as was mandatory voting . what other reforms have the liberals mentioned as other options ?
RCO





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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

( ndp mp Nathan Cullen said if the liberals try to move forward with a ranked ballot it would be like declaring nuclear war in politics )


Liberal government chewing on ‘ambiguous’ results of survey on electoral reform


By Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press — Jan 25 2017


OTTAWA — The way Canadians cast their ballots in the next federal election is still up in the air as the Liberal government weighs the pros and cons of keeping — or abandoning — a major campaign promise.

The results of MyDemocracy.ca — a controversial online survey designed to be yet another way to consult with Canadians on electoral reform — were released Tuesday, but the Liberals, including new Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, are not yet saying what they mean, or how much weight they will give them.

That leaves plenty of room for speculation, especially since an executive summary of the survey results led with a figure suggesting a majority of Canadians are not exactly outraged by the current state of affairs or united around a single alternative.

Some of that speculation has been cynical, which has become par for the course on a troubled file that has already chewed up and spit out one cabinet minister.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, for example, warned of catastrophe should the Liberals push on with replacing the current first-past-the-post voting system with a preferential ballot, which some have argued would give the Liberals an edge at the polls.

"The idea that the Liberals, having heard all this evidence in favour of proportional systems, would then turn their backs on that promise and try to bring in a ranked ballot, alternative vote system, would be the equivalent of nuclear war in politics," Cullen said Wednesday.

"It would be a declaration that they are wanting to go alone and that Mr. Trudeau is going to burn through a massive amount of political capital in the effort to bring in a system that would so favour the Liberals as to be a real turn-off to Canadians.

"It would be incredibly cynical."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised — both on the campaign trail and in the speech from the throne — to get rid of first-past-the-post in time for the 2019 election, but the Liberals have since given themselves some wiggle room.

Last May, Maryam Monsef, who was then minister for democratic institutions, said in an interview with the Toronto Star that the Liberals would give up on plans to overhaul the electoral system without the widespread support of Canadians, a message they have stuck with ever since.

The Liberals have not said what level of support for change is high enough to make a change — or low enough to justify breaking the promise.

But the undefined benchmark is considered important enough that unilaterally bringing in a ranked ballot — the system Trudeau himself has said he would prefer — appears increasingly unlikely.

They found little support for it during any part of the consultation process and the warning from Cullen underscores how politically risky that would be.

Otherwise, the tea leaves of the MyDemocracy.ca survey could be read in several ways, which Conservative MP Scott Reid believes was part of the point.

Reid said some of the more direct questions — such as whether to lower the voting age, or make casting a ballot mandatory — received clear results, while this was not the case for the "ambiguous" questions about electoral reform.

"I find it hard to draw any concrete lessons out of there, but if the government manages to draw some clear lessons out of there, then the lessons they've drawn out will be their talking points for whatever change they are trying to push," he said.

Cullen said he is still operating under the assumption Trudeau meant what he said about changing the electoral system.

"When the prime minister makes that type of black-and-white commitment, then it should mean something and if it doesn't, then nothing he says or does should have meaning."

— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter

Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press

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Electoral Reform - One Year Later

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