25 January 2010

Party Proposals on Prorogation

Am pleased to see both the New Democrat and Liberal parties responding to Canadians' expressed dissent regarding prorogation, and I agree with Devin Johnston that the recommendations of both parties require more work.

For example, "consent of the House," per the Liberal proposals, or "a vote of the Commons," as mentioned in the NDP proposals, must be defined and not be based on a simple majority vote of MPs. For one thing, in the case of a 'majority' government, votes from opposition MPs would not be required. Yet with our single member plurality voting system, IF we get a 'majority' government it is almost always (certainly in recent decades) on the basis of less than 40 percent of the popular vote. Thus the 'consent of the House' or, the same thing, 'a vote of the Commons' becomes meaningless.

Until our voting system is reformed to one of proportional representation, a simple majority vote of MPs will not reflect the backing of a majority of Canadian voters. Fix the voting system and that problem disappears. Until then, consent of the House/a vote of the Commons should require a super-majority vote of MPs that sums to at least a simple majority representation of the popular vote.

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