03 February 2013

LPC Leader Candidates Confused over Voting Systems & Ballots

The following I just sent off to the Justin Trudeau campaign. However, it might equally have been sent to other candidates running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada.

In reading Justin Trudeau's policy regarding electoral reform, I came across the following comment:

"I do not support proportional representation because I believe deeply that every Member of Parliament should represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties. I support a preferential ballot..."

Trudeau appears to confuse the type of ballot voters use with the voting system to which the ballot is applied. He also appears to consider only forms of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) to be proportional representation systems. Both views are incorrect.

I am a British Columbian. My province has had experience with the issue since 2005, when our first electoral reform referendum was held.

The electoral system that BC's Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform recommended was the Single Transferable Vote. Like the Alternative Vote which Trudeau favours (and other Liberals say they support but which is yet another majoritarian system like FPTP), STV uses the preferential ballot. Unlike AV, the STV is a system of proportional representation. In fact, STV has been argued to be superior to MMP precisely because its raison d'ĂȘtre is proportional representation of voter constituencies, not proportional representation of parties.

If Trudeau is serious about wanting Canada's voting system to "represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just political parties," then he should be enthusiastically pushing for STV and not perpetuating the myth that any discussion of PR vs. FPTP is one of MMP vs. FPTP or a one-tick ballot vs. a preferential ballot.

Chrystal Ocean
Liberal Supporter
Duncan BC

If politicians or political candidates are going to comment or, worse, develop policy on an issue, it behooves them to learn some of its pesky minutiae. As it stands concerning electoral voting systems, the vast majority of politicians have a muddled perception of them.

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