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Should we Reform Democractic System?

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posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 08:44 PM

First Thread I'm doing, Wanted to do a little something to put life in our Great Canadian Forum

When I was studying politics, I remember seeing How our actual voting system force a Consensus and limits the apparition of new parties

I don't know for the rest of Canada (our country is so grand)

but in Quebec we've been having some talks about reforming the system at the provincial level

I also remember seeing Duzey say the Western conservatives got no one else to vote for now that Harper merged the parties

With less and less people voting at each elections,

Do you, fellow Canadians, would want to see a sovereign Quebec with an economic partnership? Yes Or Nay?

(just joking)

Do you think we should reform the voting system? I particularly liked the German one where half the deputies are elected by circonscription and the other half by Vote %, which allows new parties to make a name for themselves

posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 10:06 PM
Should we reform our electoral system?

Without a doubt, Yes! Yes! Oh God Yes!

We have inherited a system where we as the voter are forced to make a decision between the individual and the party. We are not always lucky enough to have the ideal choice for our locality, to be running for the party who is the ideal representative for our nation. This has been true for myself in recent years, as I am sure it has been for many.

I think, on an international stage anyhow, that we as Canadians have always lacked that "charismatic" leader. With the exception of Pierre Trudeau, Canada has never really had a politician at the helm that carried himself/herself with a real "wow" factor. I think this is in large part due to our Members of Parliament being forced to tow the party line. Our MP's can attempt to appease his/her voters all they wish, but at the end of the day, they can not bite the hand that feeds them.

This is a serious issue within our nation, in my opinion, but I do believe many would agree. Some time ago I've authored a thread on this subject.

Is the Canadian System Flawed?

It garnered some support when it was posted, so you should certainly take a moment or two to read up on it. In no way, shape, or form am I attempting to detract attention from your thread to my own. Simply directing your attention to a previous discussion on the subject.

I would love to see a rejuvenation on the subject, because I believe it is an important subject for we Canadians to discuss.

I'm not sure how plausible it is to think that we could actually expect to see a change in our system, but we can dream right?

In any system that exists, we can find flaws in it. Nothing is perfect, although some come close. I am not expecting perfection, but I would simply like to see a system where I can vote for an individual in my own locality without it biting me in the arse on a federal level. Also, allowing a politician to stand on his/her own two feet without having to worry about the hand that feeds them; well, I don't think that is too much to ask for.

I'm actually very surprised to see how little publicity this issue gets. You would think that our electoral process would garner some attention and public scrutiny.

Great post, great subject. Looking forward to hearing some other opinions on the subject.

Ed: Missed a Comma

[edit on 24-1-2007 by chissler]

posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 10:22 PM
Careful with praying Trudeau

I often use computers at the cegep, if the PQ's Tough Patrol catch me they might force me to recite that Trudeau was the devil

I'd say Mackenzie King had a Wow factor, not everyday you learn the prime minister consults Mediums....

At the same time I understand a country like Canada cannot have a Complete Proportionnate Voting system like in Israel...

I'd like to know which system you prefer?

It's good to point the flaws of our system, your Thread is interesting

I wonder how we could legally change the voting system?

posted on Jan, 24 2007 @ 11:26 PM
A few years ago in BC, we formed a Citizens Assembly to examine reforming our provincial political system. A man and a woman from each riding and some First Nation representatives were selected through a lottery and they traveled around holding public meetings for input. A report was issued in favour of a single transferable vote system and we had a referendum on the issue. It didn't pass for various reasons, but I think it was a great idea to actually let the citizens come up with the ideas and choose.

I'd like to see something like this done on a federal level. Why not spend some money on something useful for once?

[edit on 25-1-2007 by Duzey]

I wanted to add a bit..

Originally posted by CanadianGlasnost
When I was studying politics, I remember seeing How our actual voting system force a Consensus and limits the apparition of new parties

While it can be hard work to break through as a new party with the first past the post system, it has been done successfully. The Bloc and Reform are two examples. Both of them grew from provincial movements to become major influences in our political scene within a relatively short time.

[edit on 25-1-2007 by Duzey]

posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 11:08 AM
I agree it does no completely stops new parties but it is a system that makes it harder

I think the Bloc case is a different matter (and a kind of abherration by itself, why have a party on the federal level if you wish to keep only your provincial government?)

It grew to become an emblematic figure of the Province of Quebec from the sovereignist movement

For a good amount of time they were the only real alternative to the Liberal party in Quebec

The Conservative wave in Quebec surprised more than one

The bloc needs to pass a new referendum if it wants to keep it's credibility, but at the same time the actual situation would probably tore a referendum to pieces

Out of curiosity, what are the main provincial parties in BC?

posted on Jan, 25 2007 @ 05:39 PM
I'm not much of a "pro" when it comes to deciphering through different electoral processes, but I strongly believe that one exists that is far superior to ours. I am a fan of the American system to a certain degree, but I see a problem when an individual wins the popular vote but loses the election. ...Gore? When the majority of the country says, "We Want You!" and they get the "Other Guy", it is safe to say that a problem exists within the system. But with that said, I do prefer the American system over the Canadian system.

It is not so much how we approach the ballot boxes, it is what is and has done to our politicians themselves. Our MP's are in a struggle between pleasing those above them, but working hard to please the kind individuals who took the time to vote for him/her. This is the crux of the issue for us. MP's are forced to choose between who is more important.

The Party or The Voter.

I know if I were in public office, this is one question that I would never want to face. Both are of equal importance, and it is time our country begins to understand this. We, voters, are more than a guinea pig. Sometimes the incumbent should choose sides with the voter without having their legs taken from underneath them. Assuming, of course, that what the people stand for does not coincide with what the federal party has in their plans.

It would be very interesting to see the percentages of individuals who switch parties compared to our American counterpart. Our FSME recently authored a thread on the subject, and we discussed a current MP taking the "walk".

Wajid Khan to Cross Floor?

A minority government is something that we have come accustomed to in Canada, and the current system in Ukraine is one that "could" have some benefits. If you get 30% of the vote, you take 30% of the seats. It would be rare to see a majority government, which forces parties to work together and form a coalition government. This "Proportionate Representation" obviously has it's flaws, but at the same time, we are already backdoored into a position where we are forced to vote for the party rather than the individual. Which is the biggest flaw in the MMP system, in my opinion, but it is a moot issue in regards to our nation because I believe we currently possess the system.

Mixed member proportional representation, also termed mixed-member proportional representation and commonly abbreviated to MMP, is a voting system used to elect representatives to numerous legislatures around the world. MMP is similar to other forms of proportional representation in that the overall total of party members in the elected body is intended to mirror the overall proportion of votes received; it differs by including a set of members elected by geographic constituency who are deducted from the party totals so as to maintain overall proportionality. In the United Kingdom, the form of MMP in use for several bodies is known as the additional member system (AMS), although the term additional member system can also be more broadly applied to include parallel voting, a non-proportional system.

Another problem with this, is that members of the party are awarded positions based on their seniority. Members at the bottom of the totem pole are going to find it tough to slot themself into a position. Sometimes a fresh face is exactly what a party needs, which can act as a deterrent to this system.

I "prefer" to vote for the individual rather than the party. But our system today forces us to choose, and as a voter I disagree with the notion that we should have to choose. Just as the incumbent should not have to choose between voter and party. The MMP system has this installed within itself, but at least the incumbent has some mobility in his position. Not much more, but some.

But in the same breath, the MMP system has us voting for the party with no face whatsoever. Rather than voting for the party with a face representing them, we vote for the party and are "assigned" an individual to represent us. I would be surprised to see the Canadian population go for this one.

But for the sake of discussion, it is worth bringing up.

This is only one example of many. But I think in the not too distant future, our nation is going to have to explore possibilities to revamp our electoral process. We are not expecting perfection, but we are expecting progress.

[edit on 25-1-2007 by chissler]

posted on Jan, 26 2007 @ 05:48 PM

Originally posted by CanadianGlasnost
Out of curiosity, what are the main provincial parties in BC?

BC is seriously screwed-up when it comes to politics. :shk:

The main parties used to be Social Credit, the Liberals and the NDP. The Socreds were a really strong party and were in power quite a bit. Then Socreds moved from being fiscal conservatives to social conservatives, which drove many of the old members to the Liberals. After a few scandals and a lot of arrogance on the part of the leaders of the Socreds, they were soundly trounced by the NDP. Knowing that they were unelectable as Socreds, politicians moved to the Liberals. Then the NDP got kicked out and the Liberals won - except they aren't liberals, they are the conservative party.

Now we have the NDP and the Liberal (not really) Party.

I would be interested in taking a look at something based on proportional respresentation, because I feel it more accurately reflects the voters of Canada. Chissler has already brought up the one of the biggest problems with that, the party politics of being one of the 'chosen ones'. I like to know exactly who I am voting for and don't want assigned politicians.

I find the single transferable vote idea somewhat appealing, but it is slightly confusing. It has a sort of proportional representation, but you have a list of candidates to choose from instead of the Party making the choice.

Getting back to the whole Khan thing - I think that party switching needs to be addressed. We need some kind of law that states if you don't wish to sit with your party anymore, you should either be forced to sit as an Independant or a by-election should be called. A lot of people base their vote on the party and to have their MP switch sides is just about the hugest slap in the face you could give your riding members.

posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 07:21 AM
The Single Transferable Vote (STV) that Duzey has mentioned above looks like this.

From what I can gather from this ballot is you could vote for the party or the individual. Would I be correct in saying that this form of electoral system would abolish the need for Primaries?

Initially, I had thought that with the extra names on the ballot, more votes would be spoiled. But reading more into it, it is actually quote the opposite as no vote goes wasted.

In STV the voter ranks the list of candidates in order of preference. In other words (under the most common ballot design), they place a '1' beside their most preferred candidate, a '2' beside their second most preferred, and so on. The ballot paper submitted by the voter therefore contains an ordinal list of candidates.
Put simply, in an STV election a candidate requires a certain minimum number of votes – the quota (or threshold) – to be elected. However, any candidate with either more than enough, or too few, votes to be elected has votes transferred to other candidates, and the process continues until all positions have been filled. The candidates to whom votes are transferred are determined by the preferences given by voters on the ballot paper.

● Step I: Any candidate with at least the quota of votes is declared elected.

● Step II: If any candidate has received more than the quota of votes then the excess or 'surplus' of votes is transferred to other candidates remaining in the count. Any candidate who obtains the quota is declared elected and the count returns to Step I. Otherwise it proceeds to Step III.

● Step III: The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated or 'excluded' and his or her votes are transferred to other candidates remaining in the count. The process is then repeated from Step I until all seats have been filled.

Very confusing to say the least. I had to read that several times over to finally begin to grasp what exactly it was saying. A system like this one would not be accepted arms, in my opinion, if it were just tossed upon the voters. A lot of spoiled ballots, a lot of confused voters, none of it makes for a pleasant experience. I think this sort of system would require a certain amount of education on the process first. But that is the problem in itself. Most people wouldn't want to take the extra minute to understand the system. Hell, most people don't want to take the minute out of their day to go and vote.

[edit on 27-1-2007 by chissler]

posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 10:21 AM
Like I said, STV is slightly confusing. I just understated how confusing it was.
I think that's a big reason it didn't pass in the referendum. There wasn't much effort spent educating the public on how it works.

I have no idea if it would affect primaries, I've just barely gotten a grasp of the basic concept.

Something I would like to see come back is door to door enumeration. I have a sneaking suspicion that there are a lot of voters out there who aren't registered.

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