Saturday, March 16, 2013
Justin Trudeau on Proportional Representation
I am afraid that this may be the most significant result of the Liberal leadership contest: a leader who is not committed to changing the electoral system. As a young man, he may well be content to just be Leader of the Opposition after the next election and then win a big majority-by-default when Conservative support is finally exhausted in 2017-2019.
This implies a comfort level with a whole established style of government, a different set of policies but played according to the same basic political rules of the game.
It may be that Trudeau and other Liberals are leaning toward the Alternative Vote because of the failure of PR-List (MMP) in the Ontario referendum, so they latched onto this idea in order to have a democratic reform idea to talk about. But the Alternative Vote simply doesn't speak to the kind of national unity problems inherent to Canada's single-member plurality system. Diffused preferences are still discriminated against under the AV. It also doesn't speak to the principle of making every vote count equally. Here's a quote from the Fair Vote website:
"Our organization has been distracted lately by a conflict within our Toronto Chapter. Some of our members are also principals in a campaign promoting a preferential ballot in the current single-member wards for election of Toronto city council.
This would not be a proportional voting system, and would be an example of the system called Alternative Vote or Instant Runoff Voting, a winner-take-all system like our current first-past-the-post voting system.
Fair Vote Canada has always taken the position that this type of system, while appropriate for electing a single-holder office like mayor or party leader, is a false reform and unsuitable for electing any sort of deliberative assembly, where the purpose is not to pick winners and losers, but to ensure that every vote counts and all voters have a voice."