NDP labels any move to ranked ballot ‘cynical’

Nathan Cullen says if Liberals push through ranked ballot system, it would be declaration of “nuclear war in politics.”

NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen.

OTTAWA – New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen says that if the Liberals push through a ranked ballot system, they would essentially be declaring “nuclear war in politics.”

The NDP critic for democratic reform is dropping this bombastic warning a day after the Liberal government released the results of a controversial online survey about electoral reform.

It was the last phase of their consultations on whether – and how – to change the way people vote in federal elections and now the Liberals are studying the results as they consider whether to go ahead with their promise to get rid of the first-past-the-post electoral system in time for 2019.

RELATED: Q & A: In defence of the Liberals’ electoral-reform survey

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has expressed his preference for a ranked ballot, which some argue would give the Liberals a political advantage, but the Liberals have also said they would not make any changes without widespread support from Canadians.

There has been little support for a ranked ballot so far and the message from Cullen, who says such a move would be “incredibly cynical,” underscores the political risks involved.

The Liberals are expected to unveil their plans within the next few weeks.


NDP labels any move to ranked ballot ‘cynical’

  1. I completely agree with Mr Cullen on this and am completely opposed to the so-called “ranked ballot system,” which aside from a handful of Liberal partisans, nobody wants; however, I do wish that we would stop calling Instant Runoff Voting (or the Alternative Vote), “ranked ballots” or “the ranked ballot system”.

    This voting system, which is used to elect Australia’s House of Representatives, incorporates ranked ballots as a feature; however, so too do many proportional voting systems that would not necessarily privilege the Liberals electorally. Proportional Representation by the Single Transferable Vote (STV) encourages pluralistic and mostly proportional results whilst using ranked ballots in multimember ridings (no party lists), and technically ranked ballots could be tagged onto any number of party list or hybrid systems (including Mixed Member Proportional).

    I for one believe that PR-STV would be a good fit for Canada (however, so too would MMP with open and regional party lists). If the Liberals introduced STV, MMP with ranked ballots or something similar with ranked ballots that would be perfectly fine. They would be playing with fire, in all fairness declaring “nuclear war in politics,” if they introduced Instant Runoff Voting (ranked ballots in single member ridings) as A. they have no mandate to do so, B. it would likely benefit them in the short to medium term and C. it is demonstrably worse than First Past the Post (only one OECD country uses this terrible voting system to elect their legislature – Australia, and many there wish to ditch it).

  2. The dumbass survey results came in this week. 64% of the people surveyed said “status quo” leave it alone. We’re happy with First past the post. End of story. Go back to sleep lefties.

  3. Want to get elected in government Mr. Cullen, either cross the floor, or if not, stop trying to fudge the system in order to benefit fringe parties like yours to get elected. Considering it was a low amount of people who took part in this questionnaire, and 67% were OK with status quo, what does that tell you, Canadians are not worried about electoral reform Mr. Cullen, their worried about jobs, this is a Red Herring. I don’t see the cons driving on the same bus lately with electoral reform, because they know the difference, it’s a left and right country, that needs to be governed from in the middle, no grey, and fringe parties are the grey. This country will never be governed by a left or right fringe party, if you can’t get in the center of politics, you shouldn’t be running in this country. Fringe parties also divides the country because they mostly divide the left or right. Conservatives suck up everything on the right, and have a lot of difficulties trying to govern from the center, they should have stayed as PCs. The cons have now become a fringe party on the right, and not Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. If the cons don’t get this french thing fixed up(78 reasons, seats), chances are they will stay on the fringe like the NDP, and that leaves the grits to eat up the center.