The electoral reform committee has made recommendations to overhaul the voting system and to hold a referendum. But recommendations were criticized by the Liberal MPs, saying the voting reform and referendum is too radical to implement. But electoral reform is a major decision that has a broad, long-lasting impact on all Canadians, say Bob Mok in his third article of a series on electoral reform, which encourages citizens to get involved and to make their voice heard. For his previous articles, click http://096.ca/news/655268
Let us continue our examination of other Proposed voting systems:
(3) Plurality or Majority System:
The winning candidate is the one that either wins by a majority (50%) of votes cast or a plurality (receiving more votes than others). This is also called “Ranked Balloting”.
In this arrangement, voters rank the candidates in the order of their preference. If no one receives a majority on the first count, then additional counts will take place. The candidate with the least first-preference votes will be eliminated from the race and his/her second place preference votes are reallocated to the respective candidates. The cycle will be repeated until one candidate receives a majority.
This system is rumoured to be the one preferred by the Liberal Party since their platforms are very close to those of the NDP. With the Liberals running first or second with the Conservatives in most ridings, it is advantageous to the Liberals as they will likely be the one party to receive the most second place preference from the NDP voters when the NDP candidates are eliminated late in a counting cycle. In this scenario, the Liberals will win big with almost a guaranteed majority.
(4) Mixed Electoral System – Mixed Member Proportional (MMP):
Mixed Electoral System is a combination of Plurality or Majority System with Proportional Representation. Voters get 2 votes at the polling station for their voting “district”. One vote is to directly elect an individual member to serve as their representative and a second for a party or parties to fill seats in the legislature allocated in according to the proportion of the vote share they receive. Each party's seat count is proportional to the share of votes it received in the election. Seats are held by a combination of directly elected MP's and candidates from parties' lists.
All of these proposed systems are very difficult for the average citizen to comprehend and cast their votes properly. Some of these will also allow political parties to maximize their chances and success through the strategic placement of candidates within voting districts based on voting popularity histories. Results can be unpredictable as there are many variables that can affect the outcome in a dramatic fashion.
On Dec1, 2016 the committee majority report suggested that a referendum be held and on a Proportional Representation system against the “First-Past-The-Post” system without specifying any particular model. There were also joint supplementary reports from NDP and Green party members, as well as one from the Liberal Party members of the committee.
This majority report was criticized by the Minister responsible (Monsef) as “incomplete” since it did not identify a “specific” election model. It is evident that committee members from different parties cannot come to an agreement on specific election models. The joint supplementary report from the NDP and Green Party clearly proposed two specific models!
The Minister has repeatedly stated that the Government will not proceed with reform without the board support of all Canadians yet she questions whether a referendum is the best way to tabulate public opinion.
If the government is not giving the Canadians a referendum on the final product and opting to ask for support through a mailing survey (as reported by the media), the returns will not be a true picture of the majority's will and opinion. Many feel that the government is afraid of failure to gain public consensus and approval as previous provincial referendums on electoral changes were twice voted down by citizens. Many questioned the need to have Electoral Reform in the first place!
Electoral Reform is a major decision that will affect all Canadians for decades to come. We cannot rely on a committee of 12 MP's to decide it. Make your concerns be known to your local MP's by calling them or writing to them and demanding a referendum on this matter. Our future depends on it – let us do this correctly or don't do it at all.
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