(Slightly) shorter Coyne

Elsewhere you will find a lengthy piece by me explaining why I support the electoral reform (STV) option in Tuesday’s BC’s referendum. But for those pressed for time, here’s the gist:

Think of all the things you detest about politics as it is practiced in Canada today.

- The viciousness.

- The emptiness.

- The lack of real options.

- Voters being told they can’t vote for the party they support, but must support another party, to stop yet a third party — that is, to prevent “vote-splitting.”

- The preponderance of so-called “safe” seats.

- The vast and artificial disparities in representation between regions — no Liberals in Alberta, no Tories in Toronto, etc

- The discrimination against new or small parties like the Greens

- MPs who have little role but to vote with their party.

- Being forced to choose between a candidate you can’t stand running for a party you support, or a candidate you like running for a party you despise.

And so on.

Well: we can just sit and complain about it, as important issues are ignored, voter turnout declines and our politics slide ever further into the mud. Or we can do something about it.

If we are to do something about it, we need to understand the causes of our present fix. And, while no cause explains everything, number one on the list of explanatory variables is the way we elect members of Parliament and the provincial legislatures.

The case against first past the post isn’t just the bizarre and indefensible anomalies it produces: the phoney majorities, the regional ghettoes, the huge discrepancies in what a vote is worth, depending on where you live and what party you vote for and how the splits play out. Those are real enough, and they’re offensive to any idea of democratic equality: the bedrock principle of one person, one vote. But they’re not the whole story.

Because those same anomalies aren’t just one-offs. Nor do they tend in the same direction. Rather, they produce wild swings in outcomes from one election to another.

That’s because the present system is “winner take all” — 30% of the vote in a riding is often enough to claim 100% of the power to represent it; 40% or less of the vote overall is enough to win 60% or more of the seats. And a swing of 2% in the vote can lead to dozens of seats changing hands — spelling the difference between a majority for one party, or a majority for another.

That’s a highly risky situation for the parties. So they react as you might expect: they take no chances of doing something that might lose them that 2% of the vote, like taking a position on an issue that might involve some departure from the other parties, or the status quo. When they are absolutely forced to take a stand, at election time, it is generally with some trivial, risk-free gimmick with which they hope to attract “swing voters” their way. That’s when they are not busy attacking their opponents, in as nasty a tone as they can manage: if they can’t add to their own vote totals, they can at least subtract from the other guys’.

And then we wonder why turnout is falling.

So if you think we should do something about this, consider the alternative: proportional representation. In a proportional system, such as the STV model being debated in BC, politics is no longer a series of winner-take-all bets, where a minority is entitled, by the whims of a few swing voters and the accidents of split votes, to rule over all opposition from the majority.

It is a politics, not of wild swings, but incremental gains; not of partisan attacks, but persistent advocacy; one that presents the voters with a menu of different political options, broadly reflective of the differences that exist at any time in society, but which acknowledges that these are contested, and must be contested in a democracy. It is this contest of ideas — a contest for every vote, in every seat, every day – that defines politics under PR: not the quick and dirty coup d’etats that are typical of first past the post.

So if you’re frustrated with politics as it is, think of how politics could be. Imagine going to the polls on election day, knowing that the result was not a foregone conclusion — that you could actually have a hand in electing someone. Imagine that new parties, parties of ideas, could start up to challenge the tired old brokerage parties, without being told that it was a waste of time, that their supporters were just splitting the votes. Imagine a more civil politics. Imagine!

The STV model has a particular advantage: you can vote directly for as many or as few candidates as you like, rather than just voting the party line (although you can do that too). So you can pick and choose among the candidates your party puts forward, or give a nod to another party’s candidate you particularly like. The system rewards candidates with cross-party appeal — mavericks, independents, people who reach out to their opponents rather than demonize them.

But of course, it’s so complicated, the critics complain. After all, you have to rank your choices — 1, 2, 3, and so on — rather than just marking an X. And that counting system! Transfer value formulas! Droop quotas! Ha ha ha.

Well, yes, it’s a little more complicated to vote. And it’s a lot more complicated to count — or at least, to explain how the count works. But it produces much more sane and explicable outcomes. Whereas first past the post may be simpler to count, but produces completely insane outcomes. Isn’t it worth putting a little more effort in at the front end, to get a much better result out the back?




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(Slightly) shorter Coyne

  1. Andrew — have you been following the campaign in BC at all, in particular the messaging from the yes and no committees for STV? I haven’t seen anything on it, but the polling on the issue is odd: support for STV seems be somewhere between 30 and 43 percent, at best. Any theories on why that’s the case, given how close it came to passing last time?

    • I’ll hold off on that for now, if you don’t mind. There’ll be time enough for post mortems after the event.

      • Sure. I was just curious — I hadn’t been paying much attention to the referendum, and after I read your piece I checked some polls; I’m surprised the support is so low.

        • Andrew, if you’re interested in post-mortems, it’s very likely Fair Vote Canada will be hosting a conference in Ottawa designed to do just that in June. I’d love to see you there, writing it up for the Citizen, even knowing your PR-skepticism.

    • It could be because of our uncertainty about how it would actually work in practice. It’s not that it’s too hard to understand how STV works, it’s not knowing if it will actually make things better or worse.

  2. If you are the type of person who says, “Politicians don’t listen to me,” then vote for the Single Transferable Vote. They don’t need to listen to you under the current voting system as one party can win a majority of the seats with a minority of the votes. Under the current voting system, your MLA represents his/her party first, then the voters. Under the Single Transferable Vote, MLAs and parties will need to pay more attention to the voters’ needs.

    If you are unsure about voting for either the current system or STV, vote for STV and give it a try for a couple of elections. If you like it, that will be great! If you don’t, you can always ask to change to another voting system or switch back to the current one.

    If you vote for the current system, you will not get another chance for another 20 years to switch to another voting system if the current one ends up not being to your liking.

    Give the Single Transferable Vote a try. Vote for BC-STV on Tuesday!

  3. Personally, I think that despite the ugliness of today’s politics, we’re well served by the FPTP system. I worry that STV would bring the same problems the Europeans have with proportional representation. The fracturing of parliament would not be helpful, but I think would make things worse. With all our regional interests, how long until STV would render our government ineffectual like Belgium’s?

  4. The discrimination against new or small parties like the Greens

    You say that as though it’s a bad thing. My metric for the merit of any particular electoral reform scheme is, in fact, “Are fringe loons like the Green Party effectively prohibited from winning seats?” If not, I’ll pass, thanks; FPTP works well enough.

    • Here, here!

      • But there are people voting for these parties! Your reasoning is pretty undemocratic.

        Besides, FPTP gives too much power to geographically concentrated “fringe” parties like the Bloc.

        Whatever your politics, you must agree that by definition the outsized power of the Bloc is far more damaging to the country than whatever the Greens might do with the ten percent influence they’ve earned.

        • But there are people voting for these parties!
          So? Actions should have consequences. You’re free to vote for whomever you like, and if that choice makes your opinion effectively meaningless, so be it. That’s the premise of democracy, not that you’re entitled for your vote to be decisive.

          • You’re supporting FPTP as a kind of social-Darwinian mechanism for keeping the dumb from contributing to important decisions?

          • Can we have a FPPTP system? First Progressive Past the Post. You can vote conservative, but we won’t bother counting them. You silly conservatives should know that your votes shouldn’t count and are wasted.

          • Wow, that’s quite an interesting definition of democracy…..I’ll have to check around to see if it shows up anywhere else.

            On second thought ‘interesting definition’ is too kind; ‘offensive definition’ is closer.

  5. Preamble: I am more than open to considering this.

    Pessimisitic Conjunction: But…

    Pessimistic continuation: I see you are trying to oversell the land of milk and honey here, Andrew. An end to viciousness? Riiiight. “Safe seats” may disappear, but tell me that’s any different from stacking the “star candidates” in the obviously winnable places anyways. MPs won’t be whipped into line anymore, either? Riiiiiight.

    Ending with praise: Although I must say you do a much better job than “C’mon BC, if you think you’re so much smarter than the rest of us…” and “this is what federalism is for” coming from elsewhere. As if Quebec has not throughout my lifetime (and longer) demonstrated the possible asymmetries that go along with Canadian federalism.

    • I think you’re overselling how much I’m overselling. The utopian arguments you attribute to me are not the arguments that I made. I said politics would be better under PR, not that it would be perfect.

    • I love this argument. Let’s not rush to vote for STV just because it’s extremely likely to give us much better results and a legislature much more reflective of the popular will than than FPTP delivers, let’s carefully consider sticking with the insanity of FPTP, because STV isn’t perfect.

      • Ahem, LKO, I am not advocating that we avoid STV. I saw a few points that are allegedly disagreeable features of FPTP, being used as arguments for STV, when I don’t see them as particularly valid arguments for STV. That’s all.

  6. Great piece. Thanks for your help. I’ll copy and distribute it in my neighbourhood.

  7. OK, I am for STV and will vote for it next week.

    But why didn’t they stick with a simple single-member-riding system?

    Why the STV folks threw in this screwy multi-member system I can’t figure out.

    Almost as ugly as the Mixed Member Proportion deal that Ontario rejected.

    Proposing simpler changes towards PR will garner more support.

    • In order to have proportional representation, you have to have some sort of multi-member district. You can’t divide one member up in proportion to the votes each party receives.

      The fact that we elect only one member in each riding is the essence of the problem. It divides us into a few winners and lots of loser.

      • Well I guess I would want single-member ridings with STV – that way every winner gets over 50% of the vote – just like the run-off in France but without the extra voting. And some smaller parties will increase their seats under this scenario – and everyone will understand it.

  8. First off, I am open to electoral reform as long as it leads to mostly majority governments that are not beholden to other parties.

    I think Andrew puts far too much emphasis on the voting system and not enough on the pols we elect. I follow UK politics and right now they are having a scandal about pols and their expenses. Many of the pols are going with the defence of it’s not their fault, guv, it is the system’s fault and it seems like Andrew is going with the same argument. Many people seem to believe that pols are vicious and/or vacuous not because they are halfwits with nothing better to say, they are vicious because of ‘the system’ and this will all change when STV is implemented. I am entirely skeptical of the argument that pol behaviour will be magically transformed if we change the voting system.

    And I don’t understand this argument about ‘lack of real options’ or discrimination against small parties. When I voted last autumn, there were at least 10 parties (two of them were communist!) on the ballot so there were plenty of options. There is no discrimination really against small parties, it is just that few people vote for them. And people are free to vote for any reason they want, so if they decide to vote for a party to stop another party from taking power, that is their democratic right.

    • AC said “real options” and not “options” for a reason. Yes, there were 10 parties on the ballot, but how many stood a realistic chance of being elected?

      In much of Canada, the answer is 1. We don’t have quite the safe seat problem that they have in the States, but there are still huge swaths of this country that aren’t politically valuable under FPTP. In most of the rest of the country, there are 2 “real options.” This leads the familiar douchebag-v-turd-sandwich situation where large numbers of votes are motivated to vote for the lesser evil, or engage in some sort of tactical voting acrobatics. If there’s a moderately viable third candidate, all they will do is split the vote. Finally, there’s a handful of three-way races where the tactical considerations get really Byzantine.

      STV boils down to the simple premise that any person who can earn the endorsement of about 20,000 of their fellow citizens deserves to be in the Legislature. That won’t include the communists, but it will include other legitimately talented candidates who can’t win because of their chosen party is “only” second-most popular in a particular area or because the party bosses would prefer a more compliant drone.

      • There were at least 10 parties on my ballot and all of them were equally ‘real’. They don’t all have a ‘realistic chance of being elected’ because there are not all that many people who vote Communist, Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party or Libertarian.

        And after reading Coyne’s explanation of how voting will work in About That Counting System, I am far from convinced that Byzantine tactical considerations will disappear. To me, it sounds like they will increase ten-fold.

        And I think the BC proposal is going to disenfranchise a lot of people. How many spoiled ballots do we get already when people only have to put one ‘X’ in a box? And how many people need voting process explained to them before they vote? Just wait to till people get a look at the new system, they will be completely bamboozled by it all.

        A lot of the arguments for STV, or other electoral systems, seem to be for a solution to a problem that does not exist.

        • Except this isn’t just about Animal Alliance or Marxist-Leninist voters.

          Candidate A earns 35% of the vote in their riding. Candidate B earns 45% in theirs. But A is elected and B isn’t. Why? Because A’s opposition was split and B’s was united.

          I’ve already mentioned in another thread that the spoilt ballot thing is a complete canard: Ireland has a 0.1% spoilt ballot rate. And the preferential ballot explicitly removes the tactical element. Vote for whoever you honestly want first. If not enough of your fellow citizens feel that way, you will get another kick at the remaining candidates, not be forced to guess before you go into the voting booth how your neighbours have been voting.

  9. I’m not fully on board the STV bandwagon just yet, but I thought of another item to add to AC’s list:

    gerrymandering

    Under STV (in theory) as ridings grow and populations shift, the number of members allocated to a riding will increase or decrease accordingly, instead of the current practice of constantly redrawing the boundaries every few years to reflect census data. This would (in theory) eliminate one more crappy element of our current system.

  10. STV sounds great! I’ll take it!
    I live in Alberta – where and when can I pick that up?

  11. Just to note that among the few people who actually paid to have issues covered during the BC campaign STV was not a concern. Of course STV is separate from the actual campaign so that may not reflect the true interest. But if you check out the campaign blog ( The Hook ) there are some items of interest there ….

    http://thetyee.ca/Tyeenews/2009/05/09/ElectionReports/

  12. You think that making the voting system more complicated will improve the behavior of the average “vicious” political hack? Don’t kid yourself.

    I can think of a dozen ways your new system can be gamed by partisan rats, and that’s without even trying. Imagine how many new ways of scamming the public the rats themselves will invent . They do after all have the tremendous advantage of having devoted 100% of their professional lives to trying to finding ways to game the political system, whereas their victims by definition (not being political hacks) don’t have a fraction of the time to find ways to detect and defeat the scams. The poor public slobs will be ripped off and robbed even worse than they are now, and with the coming explosion of political parties even more partisan weasels and rats than ever will find their way into hog heaven.

    The problem is not the way that voting preferences are expressed or how they are translated into legislature seats. The problem is that the entire country is conceived as a vast, socialist commons in which every piece of property and every single decision no matter how big or small is considered to be “fair game” for control by the government. There is no possible way of jigging, jerrymandering, building, fixing or tweaking a totalitarian, collective society. It is inherently vicious and unstable because of the fundamental and unchangeable nature of the Commons Tragedy. The more diffuse the property rights, the more amorphous the way in which control is delegated, the greater the opportunity for abuse by dedicated and amoral scam artists.

    Mo’ betta’ voting will not fix this problem.

    • Leaving aside your thoughtful commentary on the inherent evils of “collective society,” I intend to call your bluff. You say you can think of a dozen ways to game the counting system.

      Alright.

      Name them.

      I will be sure to forward your discoveries to my contacts in Ireland so the party hacks there can unlock the secret power that’s lain dormant in their electoral system to enslave the ignorant masses.

      I only ask in return that you let me into your bunker when the black helicopters come.

  13. Turnout will fall even more if any measure of proportional representation is ever introduced. Weak government dependent on backroom deals between party bosses (and thus even less responsive to the will of the people) will destroy what is left of confidence in our democracy and open the way for Berlusconi-style demagogues. Politics will be like the coalition crisis of last year writ large.

    • You mean like in those noted political backwaters like Sweden, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Wales, Germany, Norway, Austria, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland…

      And I’ll see your Berlusconi and raise you those honest non-demagogic post-partisans, George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin and Robert Mugabe, elected under FPTP.

      • George W. Bush was elected in a first past the post system ? That will be news to those voters in the United States who thought they were voting in an electoral college system which is such a pot pourri of different election methods that you can hardly call it FPTP. Vladimir Putin has control of the electoral commission and has outlawed all opposition parties with any reasonable chance of beating him and his gang. Mugabe uses intimidation to achieve the same ends. Are you comparing these three to Canada ? Democracy is neither a system nor a written document : it is a consensus that government happens by consent. You can probably come up with better counterfactuals than those.

        • Democracy is neither a system nor a written document : it is a consensus that government happens by consent.

          I’d say there’s fairly little governing by consent going on with FPTP. I mean, sure, 38% of voters consented to be governed by the Tories, but I can tell you from personal experience that most of the other 62% of voters aren’t too thrilled about the results.

          Any system where 40% of the support of voters can give a party 60% of the power in the legislature has a pretty strange notion of what “consent” means, imho. I just can’t get behind defending a system that provides so little correlation between how voters vote and how the legislature looks. I just can’t stomach a system where Layton’s federalist party wins 18% of the vote and gets 37 seats, while Duceppe’s separatist party wins 10% of the vote and gets 49 seats.

          No one can say for certain how a switch to a more proportional system will affect voter turnout. However, I can tell you from personal experience how much more difficult it is for me each year to take voting seriously, given that I know that in our current system the Bloc Quebecois gets 12 more seats than the NDP, with 1,135,570 fewer votes. Fixing that alone would make my decade.

          Please BC, serve as step one to getting us off this FPTP insanity.

          • Question for you, LKO : how did you feel about the coalition ? More electors voted for the Liberals, NDP and Bloc combined than for ‘les Cons’ in the last election. Thus, they had every right to form a government following your logic. Whatever your answer to this question, the Canadian people gave their own, and it was in no way favourable.

          • They did have the right to form the government. The Canadian public’s answer to the question, favourable or not, in the case of this particular question, was/is/will continue to be beside the point. You make the mistake of believing this is the sort of question for which a vote can determine the answer. Why would it?

          • Nicely stated

        • Um, the US presidency is quite emphatically decided using first-past-the-post. In fact, it’s actually a doubled set of first-past-the-post votes: first 51 independent FPTP contests to chose electoral slates and then a final FPTP vote of the electors in the electoral college. (Pedantry alert: I guess with Maine and Nebraska it’s something like 58 parallel contests.)

          If was FPTP’s property of having overall voting patterns only haphazardly match localized outcomes that resulted in Gore winning the most votes and Bush carrying the most electors… Bush’s votes were better placed in swing states while Gore piled up needlessly high pluralities in places like California, in much the same way that the BCLiberals won more votes than the NDP in ’96 but lost the election because the NDP vote was spread more smoothly while they were piling up huge, useless surpluses in places like the Okanagan and Fraser Valley.

          My broader point is that there are situations where the political outcomes have at least something to do with the electoral system and then there are those where they have not.

          For instance, in Israel’s case blame can rightfully be levied on their system. I certain wouldn’t want Israel’s electoral system with its single closed national list and a tiny threshold that lets in all the extremely marginal single-issue voices. But you can’t seriously claim PR inherently creates Berlusconis. Berlusconi is a demagogue because he’s a demagogue, not because of the electoral system in use there. Hell, he’s led the charge there to change the system to something more FPTPish because he calculates it will help him.

          The fact of the matter is that there are no shortage of mature democracies similar to our own that function quite happily under PR—even under some particular PR systems I personally see as undesirable, like the Netherlands’ single national list system. To claim that any democracy or even any parliamentary democracy needs FPTP to function properly is ludicrous.

          • “But you can’t seriously claim PR inherently creates Berlusconis.”

            Yes, I can, and I do. The election of Berlusconi and the popularity of the hard right in general, including Fini, is nothing more and nothing less than a reaction against the fractiousness in the Italian polity caused by its messed up electoral system. Any system of proportional representation will allow the entry of demagogues into electoral competition. If you want a very good example of this, France provides it. Mitterrand introduced a measure of proportional representation to split the right. The result was the rise of Jean Marie Le Pen, anti-immigrant, racist and Holocaust denier. He beat out the Socialist candidate Jospin to compete against Chirac in the second round of the 2002 election.

            If we are casting about to find something to replace the so-called ‘broken’ electoral system we have, we should consider having run off elections as they do in France so that the leading candidates can have a playoff final. Nobody needs to ‘waste’ their vote if we adopt that system.

  14. I like author-penned ‘shorter coynes’ (of the slighlty variety or otherwise) and would like to see more of them.

  15. “You mean like in those noted political backwaters like Sweden, the Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Wales, Germany, Norway, Austria, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland…

    Uh huh, exactly like those very noted political backwaters. Scotland and Wales are piffling non-governments living a weird, less-than-Quebec existence in the subsidized arms of the UK. Iceland is virtually bankrupt and several of the other countries you named are in deep financial doo-doo. Most of the countries you named have large and intractible spending deficits and if they don’t go broke in the short term are facing extinction in due to generational deficits (medicare, pensions) incurred in the name of the wonderful welfare state their citizens voted themselves.

    The lack of balanced budgets and balanced generational based spending are an irrefutable sign that the modern democratic welfare state is a dead end. It doesn’t work because people vote themselves money from their neighbors and money from their own children’s future earnings (if they bother to have any). Giving people more ways to vote doesn’t fix anything because the underlying flaw – the nullification of private property and personal responsibility – is not addressed.

    • but Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter
      ;-)

    • I always read your lectures or whatever you call them but until now I’ve refrained from commenting. But today I am taking the bait – an honest question – which country would you point to as a model?

  16. Here in Victoria, some of us take the view that if STV were such a good idea, Ontario would already be using the system. Same goes for Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax, which elicited such strong support in Toronto-based media.

    • Well, we were never offered STV in Ontario, or I’d like to think we WOULD be using it now. The PR option we were offered (which I voted for despite it’s flaws) was arguably not as good as STV, and more confusing to boot.

      • I voted for MMP in Ontario, though it had a face only a mother could love …
        I get to vote on Tuesday for STV here in BC…
        but it ain’t too cute either

        Should STV pass (lets hope) this multi member system is going to prompt “list” voting I’ll bet.
        Besides political junkies – who has the time to seriously choose and rank 7 candidates among a huge list of alternatives??

        A better, simpler and less threatening proposal would see STV used in single member ridings and then doing a run-off style (ala France) without the need for the second ballot. You drop candidates and allocate their 2nd choices until you hit 50%. Done and decisive

      • oh ya – the $1.95 subsidy goes exclusively to the #1 choice regardless of the riding outcome. (ie regardless how that vote ultimately get counted)

    • Quite.

  17. What is the popular will? Nothing more than that reflected by the public mood on election day. A couple of months later, it is something different again. I don’t see this STV thing as leading necessarlily to better government, if policy must change with every change in public opinion, and public opinion effectively manipulated by activist lobbies and biased media. What do you vote for anyways in an election? I tend to vote for a platform – a statement of what a party stands for and will implement, in at least broad terms. The actual guy or woman who sits in the green chair is there to support it or oppose it. Sure, I don’t always get what I voted for, but at least I know what I voted for and can govern myself accordingly in the future. With STV, all I know is some vague notion of having marked an X beside a bunch of names in some order of priority that I dreamed up. What does Priority Number 1 stand for, or does she stand for anything other than what she deems to be the public will of her constituents on a given day. Seems pretty iffy to me.

    I’ll stick with the devil I know.

  18. Andrew, why not support run off voting? It seems that would be a more palatable to most voters and increase the number of choices in an election if people aren’t afraid of “wasting” their vote.

  19. I disagree with almost all the arguments AC makes (see the website for a point-by-point argument), but I support STV regardless. Preferential balloting is better than the current system, and the introduction of the STV makes true proportional representation less likely.

  20. you got it right on the issues panel Tues night.

  21. So now that Ontario scorched PR, BC scorched STV deux, and Canadians scorched coalitions, can we finally look at reforms that work within our historical notion of “mandates”?

    How about one simple change – a preferential ballot for unchanged single member ridings? If a voter wants to put an ‘X’ or a ’1′ next to one name and stop there, fine. If they want to put numbers next to every party but the one they want to stop, fine as well. But at the end of the night every MP has majority on the final count.

    Oh. and if anyone still wants to experiment with preferential balloting with multi-member ridings might I suggest the Senate.

    Oddly enough the Aussies do both of the above.

    A preferential ballot as a tweak to our existing system would undercut both the media cynics that say MP’s only have minority support and the pol cynics that stampede strategic voters. Not bad for a little delay in the count.

  22. I can assure everyone that the BC rejection of STV most likely has more to do with ignorance than it does preference for one type of voting method over another. Almost every person that I spoke with about STV had absolutely no clue as to what it was. A few friends of mine knew. Not a single one of my co-workers. Not my family. As well, the BC-STV promotional material confused people because it was very similar to the NDP materials: both were equal parts of blue and orange. I talked to several people that simply thought STV had something to do with the NDP.

    I don’t mean to imply that if everyone knew what STV was, that it would have passed. Rather I’m simply saying that most people likely had no idea what it was.

    How screwed up is that? Voter turn outs of 60% elect governments where 60% of the 60% might as well have thrown out their ballot, while real and important issues are ignored in favour of hockey games, reality tv and disenfranchisement.

  23. Thank God Canadians have rejected this awful way leading to proportional representation. We in Brazil have been the victims of proportional representation for more than 100 years – and it has only led to unending mess and instability. Our only stable system, at least in Congress, was the one in place during the 1824-1889 period, in which the district/constituency/winner-takes-all system was followed.

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