Bruce Hyer endorses Joyce Murray

The Liberal leadership candidate wins the support of an independent MP

Yesterday before Question Period, Independent MP Bruce Hyer endorsed Joyce Murray for Liberal leader.

Mr. Speaker, in 2011 most voters did not get what they voted for. Whether they favoured Greens, NDP or Liberals, they often received a Conservative MP due to our undemocratic voting system. Most of the world’s democracies have some kind of proportional representation. If we had fair elections, then Conservatives would have only 122 seats, the NDP 96, the Liberals 58 and the Greens would have at least a dozen. Canadians would have the Parliament they voted for, most likely a NDP-Liberal-Green government.

Only one of the candidates running for the Liberal leadership has a real plan for electoral reform, putting democracy before party politics. I hope that Canadians will seriously consider the ideas of the member for Vancouver Quadra and that other candidates will also put their country before personal and political ambitions.

Conceivably Mr. Hyer could sign up as a Liberal supporter and cast a vote for Ms. Murray.

Update 5:54pm. Mr. Hyer tells me he doesn’t plan on voting in the Liberal leadership race and prefers to maintain his independence.




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Bruce Hyer endorses Joyce Murray

  1. Good for Hyer

  2. I think the Liberals propose the best idea on electoral reform: Preferential Voting. This makes our existing system democratic by simply requiring that MPs earn their seats with a majority of the vote. This stops vote splitting and ensures a majority of voters is represented in government. It also prevents all the power from being concentrated in the hands of a few people.

    I would definitely vote for Proportional Representation in a referendum. But the fact is many people think it gives small parties too much power. So we need to fix our broken and undemocratic voting system with PV first, then bring about a PV/PR referendum to settle the issue.

    • I have to disagree. When I first started to look at PR as a way of reforming Canada’s electoral system, I also thought that PV (aka AV or ranked ballots) would be a simple fix for our single-member system. But when you look at it in practice (like in Australia), it has the effect of favouring a two-party system where new or smaller parties have even less chance of electing a member than under our current system. PV can work fine for a single office election (like party leader or mayor) but it’s not a way to move toward a proportional legislature.

      • Australia has 7 parties with one or more seats. They are far from a two party system. Four of the right-wing parties have joined in an “Anyone But Labor” voting coalition to ensure right-wing votes are transferred to the strongest candidates. In Canada, center-left voters would tend to vote “Anyone But Conservative” stopping the Cons from getting unfettered power on 40% of the vote.

        PV would allow Green and NDP voters the freedom to vote for their party without worrying about vote splitting causing the Con candidate win. That would increase Green vote and allow the NDP to become a long-term viable alternative to the Liberals.

        With PV there are more coalition governments, which means smaller parties have more influence over government.

        I would definitely vote for PR in a referendum. But the political reality is that PR has lackluster support and many are opposed to it (including the Toronto Star.) So the safest bet is to get PV legislated first, then work on a winnable PR referendum.

        (It should be noted that while PR swept through European countries decades ago, it has been slow as molasses in Anglo Saxon countries largely because of the corporate media. So electoral reformers have to be realistic and adjust their game plan.)

        • A step backwards is not what we need. The Liberal/National Coalition is barely a coalition at all anymore. Australia also has an Stv Senate, without which the smaller parties would hardly exist at all.

          • It’s unreasonable to suggest PV is a step backwards. PV will stop vote splitting and prevent power from being concentrated at the top. It is not fully proportional, but not all Canadians agree PR is the best system. The safest course of action is to legislate PV to fix our existing system. Then build support for a winnable PR/PV referendum.

            A PR/FPTP referendum is a dangerous gamble that could cement FPTP for a generation guaranteeing the Conservatives the position of Canada’s new natural governing party. I don’t want to risk having Canada changed beyond all recognition, especially considering PR has lost 4 times in provincial referendums.

            Both PV and PR electoral reformers should support each other because this helps promote the cause. Covering a wider range of debate will attract more attention and build momentum for change. So far the PR-only approach has failed to achieve much national interest in electoral reform.

          • It isn’t proportional at all. However, what we CAN do is have a proportional and a preferential aspect in the electoral reform. Such as Dion’s P3 plan, or MMP with a preferential side.

          • or AV+

          • Isn’t proportional at all? If we had PV in 2011 (according to the G&M) the NDP and Liberals would’ve formed the government with 53% of the representation on 50% of the vote. Instead, the Cons got 54% of the representation on 40% of the vote. So that’s certainly a lot more proportional.

            The real issue here is that not all voters believe democracy should be focused on party representation and some think PR goes too far. Many people prefer to vote for individuals to represent them who belong to a political party. As long as candidates are elected with a majority (actually represent their constituents,) this system is perfectly legitimate and democratic.

            So I think it’s better for electoral reformers to offer Canadians both systems and let them decide which they prefer. In order to get it done it needs a lot more interest from Canadians than what FVC has managed to accomplish over the past 10 years (promoting only their way or the highway.)

          • There are all kinds of combinations of open-lists with the various systems to implement. PR does not have to mean that parties choose who gets in or not as many people who support AV seem to assume.

          • In terms of proportionality it absolutely is a step-backwards! It is even less likely for third parties to get elected than under fptp. Therefore, logically, it IS less proportional than the current system, no matter what you suggest. If we implement it our politics will resemble more the States, which last time I checked most Canadians want anything but.

            As for a referendum, the kind that would succeed like in New Zealand is the kind that proposes to in step-one either stay with Fptp or move to another system, proceeded by step-two vote on which other system is preferable.

            In all the referendums thus far, the actual wording and implementation (including education of the Public) was done by opponents of change, so it is not that hard to imagine that they would fail, even though by all reasonable standards the first one in BC was a resounding success!

            I want change as much as the next person, but in order to achieve it, suggesting that a fptp vs. another specific system would be more likely to succeed than another is playing into the status quo game.

          • It’s a fallacy that third parties get less representation under PV than FPTP. According to the G&M if we had PV in 2011 the results would’ve been (PV/FPTP):

            Con: 142/166
            NDP: 118/103
            Lib: 46/34
            Green: 1/1

            PV makes the NDP a viable alternative to the Liberals because voters can vote 1) NDP 2) Liberal without worry of vote splitting. Under FPTP, voters tend to want to vote for the “winning” party, which is usually why the Liberals get the lion share of the votes. In 2011, Layton made the NDP the “winning” party, which caused Liberal and Bloc support to crumble apart. There is no such bias under PV because it makes no difference to voters who they rank first or second.

            FPTP is an illegitimate voting system that produces undemocratic, arbitrary results doling out absolute power to minority parties. The safest and smartest move is to get rid of it by changing the ballot from single-choice to ranked. Then poof its gone forever.

            The idea that we should flirt with disaster because it might get more votes is a poorly thought-out one. The reality is that PR supporters have to get enough votes to ensure a referendum win *before* rolling the dice.

            I’m glad the Liberals are not gambling with democracy. They are doing something to fix the democratic deficit. When there is a PR/PV referendum I will vote for PR. But going “all in” on what PR supporters got now is walking into a buzz-saw.

          • Yes, Ron, I happen to think personally that PV is somewhat better than FPTP. Others think it is worse. But Ron, if you want NDP and you get Liberal your voice is muted. This is an ironic argument for me because I am solidly behind Cooperation, and that is exactly what we are proposing there–but the deal is a ONE-TIME muting of your voice so that your voice is your voice every time going forward. We are not advocating that you vote one way, get another thing FOREVER. And to borrow from Mike Holmes, “if you are going to do it, do it right the first time.” We need to fix a lot of things about our democracy and electoral reform is but the first thing. But if we don’t fix it so that everyone feels like they are at the table (some with stronger voices than others), no matter where they live in this wonderful country, all the other improvements needed won’t have the ‘ownership’ of everyone–and that can never be good for democracy.

          • The problem with “getting it right the first time” is that PR supporters have gotten it wrong 4 times already in provincial referendums. If they bungle a federal PR referendum, PR is DEAD as a door nail. PR ideologues think they can keep firing off referendums indefinitely. It doesn’t work that way.

            PR supporters have to avoid getting suckered into another designed-to-fail referendum. They have to wait until they know they are going to win before pulling the trigger. PR supporters got played in provincial referendums by people who were trying to abort PR before it gained public momentum.

            The upper class (business community) is fiercely anti-PR because that would take away their influence over government. But they have the most influence under FPTP. PV will produce many Liberal-NDP minorities (and end neo-con majorities) which will achieve a lot in slowing and reversing the destructive corporate agenda.

            So electoral reformers have to realize what they are up against. PR is no cakewalk in Anglo-Saxon countries like it was European ones. Here there is an unlevel playing field. It is a fierce uphill battle. That’s why the incremental approach is best.

          • No, it’s not. All you need in fptp to get a seat is a plurality rather than a majority, so for a small party such as the greens they wouldn’t need to get 50+% to get a seat, but 2nd place+1. I’d certainly be interested in the methodology of that. I don’t trust that that would actually have taken place under AV. Could you post the link?

            That is a benefit of the system, yes. However, they would still need to achieve 50+1%.

            The first part of this paragraph is correct. The second is loaded with spin.

            Okay this paragraph is complete baloney.

            That sounds overtly partisan and biased. What is preventing a government from proposing new legislation as well as conducting research on which system Canadians would prefer without a referendum? Since you think AV is good enough to be voted on without it.

          • I am not the one being partisan here; I support both PV and PR. There is no “spin” about voters tending to vote for the “winning” party (and not wanting to waste their vote on the “losing” one) which is why it took so long for the NDP to make a breakthrough (80 years?)

            PV is like fixed election dates, it’s a small modernization of our existing system. Of course it has to be voted on: it has to pass with a majority vote in the House of Commons. (It can also be undone with similar vote.)

            There is no justification for doling out power to the leading candidate. No political party elects their leader that way. Our system is based on a person representing constituents in their riding. Clearly that person needs the support of a majority of voters in order to represent them.

            G&M: How would Harper fare in a French-style run-off election?
            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/how-would-harper-fare-in-a-french-style-run-off-election/article2424783/

        • What? PV would allow Green, NDP and Liberal voters, as the case may be, to tick a box beside their party of choice–then vote for whatever the frontrunner is. It would not do a thing for the Green vote, for example, because the Green voice is every bit as silenced as it is now. It practically guarantees there wouldn’t be a minority government, never mind a coalition government–that is its selling feature to most, who LIKE the idea of unfettered power. And sorry, Ron, but people like you who allow the corporate media to dictate the terms of our democracy, even though you would prefer some other thing, are a large part of the problem. I don’t mean to say that nastily, but the only thing we individually have in a democracy is our voice represented by our vote. When we are OKAY with having our voice or our fellow citizen’s voice muffled or muted or literally spoken by someone else, as PV would have it, we are not defending democracy.

          • PV will lead to more coalition governments. It stops vote splitting. Vote splitting is what is gave Harper unfettered power in 2011…

            No doubt the Greens will need star power to win seats under PV. (Just like they would to get representation on a city council.) If we had PR and a 5% threshold like NZ, then they would’ve ended up with no seats in 2011.

            But the reality is that you need to get a majority of Canadians to support PR first. So Canadians, in the end, decide the kind of voting system they want.

            One also needs to realize that the corporate media has a big say in how things are run in this country. During the ON PR referendum in 2007, the Toronto Star was fiercely anti-PR and played a huge role in killing the initiative. The corporate media will be just as fierce against a national referendum. That’s why it’s much better to have a fall-back plan than bet and lose everything.

            Full conservative support (Reform + PC; neo-con + red Tory) is about 38%. A majority under FPTP is 39%. That means the united Conservative party is poised to become Canada’s new natural governing party. PV will stop this. PR is the better system. But that means nothing if its defeated for a 5th and final time and the Cons change Canada beyond all recognition.

  3. Joyce Murray is the only liberal leadership candidate proposing electoral reform that includes proportional representation – number of each party’s MPs closely representing the percentage of voter support for each party. That is government of the people, by the people, as it should be. Small groups have small say, large groups have large say, but nobody gets swallowed up or silenced.

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