Monday, December 03, 2012

Joyce's Modest Proposal

While the press follows Justin Trudeau everywhere, both Paul Adams and Andrew Coyne  have chosen to give Joyce Murray some attention. Adams writes that what she proposes deserves serious consideration. Like her fellow British Columbian, Nathan Cullen, she urges opposition party cooperation. Adams writes:

For Joyce Murray, the experience of the Cullen campaign for the NDP leadership is instructive. Cullen’s advocacy of joint nomination of candidates was met at first with derision. Many commentators, inside the party and out, felt it hobbled his candidacy. But after a while, the idea — combined with his winning personality, it has to be said — began to attract attention and win wider appeal, some of it organized by outside groups such as Leadnow. Some people who had been on the sidelines joined the party to support Cullen and his idea. He went from being a marginal candidate to running a strong third, and in doing so he opened the door to a discussion of the idea.

Andrew Coyne also backs Murray's proposal as a one time election pact:

The details no doubt vary, but here’s how I can see it working. The opposition parties would agree on a single candidate to put up against the Conservatives in each riding. Were they to win a majority, they would pledge to govern just long enough to implement electoral reform: a year, two at most. Then fresh elections would be called under the new system, with each party once again running under its own flag, with a full slate of candidates.

Such an arrangement would be the first step on the road to proportional representation. A system which casts aside more than 60% of the votes will ultimately fail. If Canada is to survive as a democracy, it will have to move to some form of proportional representation.


bcwaterboy said...

If the right wing also were to embrace a long term view, they too would benefit from proportional representation as the time will come when it will work to their advantage. The majority based on 30% of the vote will not last forever.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, waterboy. It's in all parties interests to embrace proportional representation. Today's majority is tomorrow's minority.

Lorne said...

I have read both the pros and cons of proportional representation, Owen, and I am still undecided. What I would like to see,however, is an approach that works for the betterment of all Canadians, not just the political elite. To me, a first step toward realizing that goal has to be an agreement amongst progressives parties not to divide the vote in hotly-contested ridings; even that, however, is likely too much to expect due to the winner-take-all mentality that pervades politics today.

Owen Gray said...

When proportional representation was suggested for Ontario, Lorne, I wrote a post against the proposal.

At the time, I was concerned that PR would end the notion of "responsible government," because representatives would no longer be chosen by the voters in a riding, but by the overall population of the province.

However, under Stephen Harper, that's exactly what we've got on the federal level. Harper has destroyed responsible government -- with 39% of the vote.

I've come around to accepting the idea that you vote first for a person and then for a party. There has to be a way to put that notion into practice.

Otherwise, the 60% of Canadians whose votes don't count will give up -- and then we'll be in real trouble.

thwap said...

Besides proportional representation we'll also need an inquiry into the election fraud and a new look at harpercon war crimes in Afghanistan.

Then, since there's no statute of limitations on these things, war crimes charges for the Liberals in Afghanistan and Haiti.

Just to teach these imperialist stooges that there's consequences for getting involved in US aggression.

Owen Gray said...

There is a lot to account for, thwap. But Mr. Harper will stand in the way of any accountability. Nothing will happen until his government is defeated.

kirbycairo said...

The plan will not work unless there is some agreement concerning what sort of electoral reform they are going to work toward. If the co-op government simply attempted to convene another committee and then came up with a plan that they are not 100% committed to then it will be DOA.

I believe Waterboy is wrong in as much as the current form of the Con party is so far gone that they would have no chance of functioning in a government of compromise (which is what PR demands). Furthermore, a system of PR would no doubt cause a significant split in the rightwing as well as perhaps the rise of a genuine leftwing party. In other words, once a system of PR is founded all bets are off as to what might happen.

Owen Gray said...

Before any such co-operation, Kirby, an outline -- or even a developed proposal -- would have to be part of that co-operation.

Certainly, the current incarnation of the Conservative Party could not function under a PR system. Stephen Harper doesn't accept differing views within his own caucus let alone negotiating with other parties.

I think waterboy is assuming that a Conservative party which could deal with PR would be a post Harper party.