Tuesday, May 4, 2010

April Averages

Time to look at April's polling. Nine national polls were taken during this month (the same as last month), totaling about 14,390 interviews. Here are the results we get at the national level, with the difference from last month's average in brackets.

Conservatives - 33.0% (-0.3)
Liberals - 27.4% (-1.8)
New Democrats - 17.1% (+0.4)
Greens - 10.8% (+1.0)
Bloc Québécois - 9.5% (+0.4)

After a couple months of gains, the Conservatives take a small step backwards. This is compensated by an even larger Liberal loss. Over the last two months the Liberals have dropped 3.4 points. Compare that to the Conservatives, who in that time span are up 0.2 points. The New Democrats are up again, gaining almost an entire point in the past 60 days. The Greens are up a point this month.

The seat projection for these results is as follows, with the difference from last month in brackets:

Conservatives - 127 (+1)
Liberals - 95 (-7)
Bloc Québécois - 52 (+2)
New Democrats - 34 (+4)
Greens - 0 (unchanged)

The Conservatives make a modest seat gain, thanks to increases in Ontario and Atlantic Canada. The Liberals are down big, once again, now down 14 in the last two months. The Bloc solidifies it's hold on Quebec while the NDP makes a big gain thanks to wins in every part of the country.The regional results, with difference from last month in brackets:

BRITISH COLUMBIA (9 polls - about 1,870 people)

Conservatives - 34.8% (-0.1)
New Democrats - 27.2% (+2.7)
Liberals - 22.2% (-2.2)
Greens - 13.9% (+0.1)

The Conservatives remain virtually unchanged in the province. The NDP is up big after a month of stagnation. The Liberals are down again, making that a loss of 4.1 points in the last two months. The Greens are steady, but that is coming off a gain of 1.1 points last month.

ALBERTA (9 polls - about 1,380 people)

Conservatives - 57.3% (+0.1)
Liberals - 15.9% (-2.4)
Greens - 12.1% (+0.7)
New Democrats - 11.7% (+1.9)

The Conservatives are steady, which in a small region like Alberta is relatively remarkable. The Liberals are really starting to lose the decent level of support they had built in the province, as they have lost more than five points in the last two months. The NDP seems to be taking advantage, as they have gained almost two points in the last month. They haven't re-taken third spot, however, which remains in the hands of the Greens.

PRAIRIES (9 polls - about 1,010 people)

Conservatives - 44.5% (-1.7)
Liberals - 23.1% (+1.5)
New Democrats - 21.3% (+1.1)
Greens - 10.0% (-0.2)

The Conservatives take another hit, and have lost 2.5 points in the last two months. The Liberals have shown another month of gain in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The NDP seems to have bounced back and have re-gained the losses they sustained in March. The Greens fall back a little.

The Conservatives take 67 in the West (unchanged since March), while the Liberals win 15 (down two) and the NDP wins 13 (up two).

ONTARIO (9 polls - about 4,630 people)

Liberals - 35.1% (-1.4)
Conservatives - 35.1% (-0.3)
New Democrats - 17.0% (+0.3)
Greens - 11.1% (+1.5)

The Liberals have lost three points in the last two months, and are now tied with the Tories. The Conservatives drop a little, but it only cancels out their gains of March. The NDP is up, and is now up 1.7 points in two months. The Greens make a tidy gain as well.

The Liberals win 46 seats (down three, down seven in the last two months), the Conservatives win 45 (up one), and the NDP wins 15 (up two).

QUEBEC (10 polls - about 4,080 people)

Bloc Québécois - 38.6% (+1.4)
Liberals - 22.3% (-2.2)
Conservatives - 16.5% (-0.6)
New Democrats - 12.1% (+0.4)
Greens - 8.9% (+0.4)

The Bloc makes a good gain and has a solid lead in Quebec. The Liberals have dropped almost five points in the last two months. The Conservatives are also down after a month of gains. The NDP is up 1.1 points over the last two months. The Greens make another month of gains.

The Bloc takes 52 seats (up two), the Liberals take 15 (down one), the Conservatives take 6 (down one) and the NDP win 2 (unchanged).

ATLANTIC CANADA (9 polls - about 1,000 people)

Liberals - 35.9% (+0.4)
Conservatives - 32.3% (+2.5)
New Democrats - 22.5% (-2.0)
Greens - 8.3% (+0.4)

The Liberals re-gain their footing, but it doesn't make up for their two point loss in March. The Conservatives take a step forward after last month's step backwards. After looking like the ship was turning for the NDP in Atlantic Canada, they head in the wrong direction.

The Liberals win 19 seats (down one), the Conservatives win 9 (up one), and the NDP wins 4 (unchanged).The big winners in April were clearly the New Democrats. They saw improvements in five of the six regions of the country, making significant gains in the Prairies, Alberta, and especially British Columbia. Their loss in Atlantic Canada, however, is a problem.

Next would be the Bloc, who made a solid gain but, more importantly, increased their lead to 16.3 points over the Liberals and 22.1 points over the Conservatives.

Then it would be the Greens, who made gains in five of the six regions. The problem is that the only place they really need to make gains is in British Columbia, and they were only up 0.1 points there.

Both the Conservatives and Liberals had a bad month. Both saw losses in four of the six regions of the country. The Conservatives did make a decent gain in Atlantic Canada, however, and their losses in Ontario and British Columbia were negligible.

That can't be said for the Liberals, who saw significant drops in support in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

46 comments:

  1. Éric: [The Greens] made gains in five of the six regions. The problem is that the only place they really need to make gains is in British Columbia, and they were only up 0.1 points there.

    That focus is a bit narrow; the historical best Green results have been in Ontario where a 1.5% gain was posted. The first Green seats will come from there, BC or both, but increases in either province are good news. This is doubly true because in Ontario the party is climbing above the critical 10% threshold for reimbursement of 60% of election expenses.

    The April averages will bring smiles to Green Party faces.

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  2. To me the big news is seeing the big 2 slowly work their way down to sub 60% combined - 60.4% in this poll. If both fall below 30% in an actual election we should start to see more grumbling about electoral reform. Of course, that could be wishful thinking.

    Agreed with John that Ontario is a likely breakthrough for the GPC as Guelph and Bruce Grey/Owen Sound are both strong and other ridings in SW Ontario have good support. My local riding's Green Party was less than 100 votes from getting that 60% refund (which I feel should be removed - it just encourages spending and going into debt) and has beat the NDP in the last federal and provincial election.

    Still, I hope we don't see an election until the fall or 2011 at the earliest as odds are we'll just end up where we are today, with the CPC needing one other party to agree with them for them to have power.

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  3. Another smile from the Green perspective: this is the highest monthly average the party has seen. Ever. That observation stands regardless of any voodoo corrections applied.

    These numbers have an unmistakable happy factor.

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  4. John do you think it would have been better for May to stay in London North Centre in 2008 ?

    Next election will be her third riding. She's kind of getting a reputation for quixotic behaviour.

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  5. Shadow - I don't think that will hurt her. Green isn't about individual representation; it's about a global perspective. Moving around to advance her cause is entirely consistent with that.

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  6. Ignatieff pledges $500M for rural Internet access

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100504/ignatieff-rural-internet-100504/20100504?hub=QPeriod

    Does anyone know what kind of form this will take?? Brad Wall promised it in Saskatchewan... his solution was basically to have the local telephone crown partner with and advertise for one of the dish companies.

    In other words advertise.... since it was already available to us.

    What form is Iggy's policy going to take? if it is for rural areas then central libraries aren't gonna help much. If it is land based infrastructure it is gonna cost more. (enterprise Saskatchewan is estimating almost a hundred million cost to put fiberoptics to every house in the southwest... Canada is bigger than that.

    Not to mention future requirements for speed from the internet. Downloading a movie rental on blu-ray for example. Bell labs broke a speed record a while back 2 tb data in 1 second.... Cable, DSL, satellite.... none of them are currently capable of that.

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  7. Anyone have any thoughts on Helena's likely replacement:

    http://www.ivey.uwo.ca/MBA/health/kellie_leitch.htm

    Dr. Kellie Leitch is her name. Her credentials are very impressive. Much like Chris Alexander running in Ajax – Pickering.

    Its likely she'll be minister of state (sport) on day one. Which will be nice because there's a lot of dead wood in cabinet right now.

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  8. I believe Dr. Kellie Leitch will be a wonderful replacement for Helena and if that does not work out (since Helena is battling being replaced), she would be more than welcome to come down to my riding :)

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  9. Shadow: John do you think it would have been better for May to stay in London North Centre in 2008 ?

    No, because Parliament needs all the Glen Pearsons it can get.

    My fellow party members in London North Centre may understandably have other views. I wish them a record Green vote in the next election, but I won't be disappointed if Pearson is returned to the House.

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  10. Barcs: Does anyone know what kind of form this will take??
    ...
    If it is land based infrastructure it is gonna cost more. (enterprise Saskatchewan is estimating almost a hundred million cost to put fiberoptics to every house in the southwest... Canada is bigger than that.


    I certainly don't speak for Michael Ignatieff (hey, I don't speak for Elizabeth May), but I assume his goals are far more modest than fibre-to-the-home. Installing more local offices would go a long way to improving rural service. That's not happening today because they're not cost-effective from the provider's point of view. Installation subsidies could certainly change things.

    Not to mention future requirements for speed from the internet.

    That's a problem we'll never fully resolve. Technology and demands will continue to evolve and bandwidth will always be cheaper to provide in areas of higher population density. When virtually every rural home has 10 Gbps service, rural residents will complain that they can't make full use of the internet because they don't have 200 Gbps like urbanites.

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  11. On the concept of averages:

    In the last 97 polls published in the month prior to the 2008 election the average (not wieghted) results were and the diffence to actual:

    CPC 36.0 under by 1.6%
    Lib 25.9 under by .3
    NDP 18.8 over by .6
    Grn 9.7 over by 2.9
    BLQ 9.1 under by .9

    The major parties CPC / Lib and BlQ did better than polling said they would. They were able to get their vote out better or more people not intending to vote jsut picked a party at random when answering the poll

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  12. Rural internet is different from rural fibreoptic highspeed internet, which is what Saskatchewan has (I understand Saskatchewan has already laid cable to every town of 1,000 people or more - highspeed is available in Wilkie, for example).

    Since SaskTel has basically already wired up the whole province, getting every single person hooked up is a small step compared to what Iggy is suggesting.

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  13. Just a reminder, please don't post possibly defamatory statements. If I understand correctly, as blog host I am responsible for them.

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  14. Sorry about that, Éric.

    Though, as I understand defamation law, to be defamation I would have to be shown to know what I was saying was false, and given Mr. Lingenfelter's behaviour I'm pretty sure that's not possible.

    But I'll try to refrain in future.

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  15. There are significant restrictions with DSL for rural areas. Assuming the infrastructure is up to it the limitation is about 8 km from the switching station where the DSL modem is. Even then you will see a relatively slow feed. Distance affects transmission speed.

    So I'm not sure what Iggy is proposing as there are a lot of houses more than 8 km from a switching station.

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  16. No problem, Ira. Being more careful with wording and HOW things are said usually takes care of it.

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  17. So I'm not sure what Iggy is proposing as there are a lot of houses more than 8 km from a switching station.
    Maybe an expansion of this? They usually colocate on cell towers; 2Mbps up to several km.

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  18. liberal supporter.

    The useful limit is about 40-50 km. Sasktel used to be building a system much like it but moved to the satellite promotion when they hit the sparser areas. It is too expensive to set up and maintain without a critical customer mass on each location.

    Yourlink also does much the same thing providing wireless internet off a tower. and yes I am annoyed at them too. If there system was only 900mhz I could pick it up, but the current signal .. to reach farther is I think 2.4ghz. So I can see the marker light on the top of their tower,.... but at 50ft up in my yard I can only get 1/2 of the signal they need to set it up.... so I could bounce it off a neighbour (none of whom have it,...) for only triple the equipment cost, and double the latency......or put up a tower approximately 170 ft to see over the hill. neither is cost effective.

    I am real interested in the idea of getting internet. (which is why iggy's proposal caught my eye) but currently I am stuck with $75+ month or $1200 setup cost with a $50/month fee. For a reasonable speed (still 1/2 what I used to get in the city for $40)

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  19. They usually colocate on cell towers; 2Mbps up to several km.

    Actually the wife has that or equivalent (Xplornet) and is less than 2 km from the cell tower and is lucky to get 1 Mbps.

    Not really very good and damned expensive.

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  20. but currently I am stuck with $75+ month

    Whereas I'm paying $29.95 + tax for 4.3 Mbps in small town Ont.

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  21. One answer might be satellite transmission. There was a company in Toronto that provided the service at one time but it went broke. Service was very fast though. The company was Look.ca. They did offer wireless internet.

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  22. Shadow,

    "Which will be nice because there's a lot of dead wood in cabinet right now."

    Here's a thought: perhaps this Prime Minister is keeping many of them in because of a fondness for the fossilized...

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  23. Minority Governments!

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/our-inability-to-elect-a-majority-government-imperils-democracy/article1545122/

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  24. Isn't part of living in the country, or living anywhere for that matter, the understanding that there are going to be advantages and drawbacks ?

    Being able to live away from all the crime and traffic, with the outdoor beauty and yet all the conveniences of city life sounds like having your cake and eating it too.

    And at taxpayers' expense no less !

    I just don't know about these big new spending promises we're hearing every week from Ignatieff.

    I'd hate to go down the European (and to a lesser extent the American) path with endless debts and deficits.

    Just seems irrresponsible to make these big promises before the budget is balanced.

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  25. I don't agree with that assessment of minority governments.

    Countries all over the world elect governments without majorities of one parties, and they haven't fallen apart.

    While the system should be changed to be MORE democratic (which means more minority governments), what really needs to change in Ottawa is the mentality. We need coalitions to reach majorities.

    Tweaking our system so that we can artificially elect majority governments is not the answer to save democracy.

    When two out of three Canadians are voting for someone other than the Tories or the Grits, neither of those parties should be able to get a majority.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. When two out of three Canadians are voting for someone other than the Tories or the Grits, neither of those parties should be able to get a majority.

    So what you are really advocating is Prop Rep ??

    The problem with that system is that you always have minority govt. Witness NZ or Germany or a number of other countries that have gone that route and invariably have (gasp) coalition govt.

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  28. Representation by population is an option. I'm not sold on any one system, but I do think some reform is needed to make things more democratic.

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  29. Representation by population is an option. I'm not sold on any one system, but I do think some reform is needed to make things more democratic.


    I'm not going to argue with you on that as I tend to agree.

    The problem of course is what system or what tweaks to the current one are either possible or acceptable?

    Germany has some kind of mixed system where some seats are FPTP and others are PropRep. Seems to work for them but there are always coalition govts. Now the current mindset here seems to be heavily against coalitions even though in the past they have worked quite well.

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  30. I am not a fan of proportional rep for a number of reasons. Some of which are solved by making it a mixed system like Germany.

    But even then I am really against party lists where people who are elected get pulled from. There is no way to remove stupid people from parliament if they happen to be high up on such a list. We could very easily be stuck with a Pankiw, a Parish, a Jaffer, a Dosanjh, wacialecia-leys. etc etc. Atleast they can be removed if they piss off enough people right now.

    I would far prefer to see riding associations nominate 3 candidates for their party. On voting day you go vote for the party you want, then on the right side of the ballot choose which on of their 3 candidates you want to represent you. It would give you more of a chance to pick someone decent to represent you than being stuck choosing the party you support vs a good candidate from another.

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  31. I would far prefer to see riding associations nominate 3 candidates for their party. On voting day you go vote for the party you want, then on the right side of the ballot choose which on of their 3 candidates you want to represent you. It would give you more of a chance to pick someone decent to represent you than being stuck choosing the party you support vs a good candidate from another.


    Ingenious idea, however the essence of our form of politics is the candidate not the party, or at least it used to be. Now it is true that parties now command more attention than the candidates. Not as it should be IMO.

    There is also the Alternate vote idea used in Australia, The mechanics of it I'm not sure but it does seem to work.

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  32. "Just seems irrresponsible to make these big promises before the budget is balanced.

    If you had actually bothered to read his proposal you would have understood that what he was proposing would NOT have cost the taxpayers anything. It would have been funded by revenue from the next wireless spectrum auction.

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  33. I am not sure how many of our parliamentarians, represent a majority of their constituents.
    With vote splitting, an MP, can be elected with as little as 35 or 36%
    of the vote in their riding.

    I will toss this one out there.

    How about a run off election?

    In round one, if no candidate reaches the threshold of 50% of the vote, there is a second round of voting.

    The top two candidates go through, and we have a runoff. Then an MP, would truly represent a majority of people in their riding.

    I am not saying this is an ideal system, just some food for thought.

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  34. "But even then I am really against party lists where people who are elected get pulled from. There is no way to remove stupid people from parliament if they happen to be high up on such a list. We could very easily be stuck with a Pankiw, a Parish, a Jaffer, a Dosanjh, wacialecia-leys. etc etc. Atleast they can be removed if they piss off enough people right now."

    Actually, its the exact reverse of what you describe. In a list based PR system - MPs who are seen to be lazy or unpopular or embarrassing are very easy to get rid of since parties typically have some sort of internal primary process to determine the ranking of the list. If the 28 seats in Alberta had been allocated by PR in the last election - you can be sure that Rahim Jaffer would have been number 28 on the Tory list and could only have been an MP if the Tories had taken about 98% of the vote in Alberta! Its actually harder to get rid of the deadwood in a FPTP system where you have some Grade Z MPs who are from supersafe ridings that their party can never lose. Look at Rob Anders - the embarrassingly bad MPs in all of parliament. A man hated by Tory members in his own riding - but he will be MP until the day he dies because in the Tory party, sitting MPs are not allowed to be challenged for their nominations and Calgary West is such a safe Tory seat that Anders can never lose.

    In a PR system, Anders and Jaffer would have been ranked numbers 27 and 28 on the Tory list and had no chance of getting in since they were clearly the two most worthless people running as tories in Alberta in the last election!

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  35. I'll throw another idea into the pot.

    Compulsory Voting.

    It's used in Australia and certainly results in a far bigger turnout than here on a percentage basis.

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  36. because in the Tory party, sitting MPs are not allowed to be challenged for their nominations

    Got a hunch that isn't just a Tory thing, I suspect all parties do the same ?

    Which indicates a need for a reform IMO.

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  37. No argument on the quality of those 2 DL.

    Just on the people voting against for them.

    In a party list you have only the party members voting for them. (and make no mistake, each of them did win a nomination at one time) Its easily possible that they could again. Some of the people you and I don't like are quite loved in their party.

    Wouldn't you rather have the entire population pass judgment on them rather than just a few supporters?

    Thats why I have always suggested nominating 3 candidates that go to election. Be voted on by everyone that votes for the party rather than just a handful of supporters.

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  38. Compulsory Voting.

    Good god no. There is already enough people on all sides that don't know what they are voting for.

    I'd rather a skill testing question before you get your ballot.... who are the parties the leaders atleast. If you can't answer it then your ballot doesn't get counted.

    I'd rather have a smaller number of informed people making the choice rather than someone who thinks government is something that doesn't affect them.

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  39. Peter: The problem with that system is that you always have minority govt. Witness NZ or Germany or a number of other countries that have gone that route and invariably have (gasp) coalition govt.

    Could you clarify how the word "problem" applies here?

    New Zealand, Germany and many other modern democracies with different forms of proportional representation have effective governments. The key difference is that they've learned how to share the sandbox.

    If we get away from the mindset that every member of another party is a fool, scoundrel, villain or worse, a whole new range of possibilities opens up.

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  40. John:
    Could you clarify how the word "problem" applies here?

    Actually I don't see it as a "problem" but all the political scientists, or most of them, think it is.

    If we get away from the mindset that every member of another party is a fool, scoundrel, villain or worse, a whole new range of possibilities opens up.


    I agree, the "confrontation" vs "cooperation" idea. Unfortunately at the moment we aren't mature enough to try the cooperate approach. Seems a lot of our pols are still playing in the sandbox !

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  41. Barcs: I am not a fan of proportional rep for a number of reasons. Some of which are solved by making it a mixed system like Germany.

    "Proportional representation" covers a wide range of systems, each with their strengths and weaknesses. A weakness in one is no reason to condemn all variations.

    But even then I am really against party lists where people who are elected get pulled from. There is no way to remove stupid people from parliament if they happen to be high up on such a list. We could very easily be stuck with a Pankiw, a Parish, a Jaffer, a Dosanjh, wacialecia-leys. etc etc. Atleast they can be removed if they piss off enough people right now.

    This supposed problem is self-regulating since there's a strong incentive to manage candidate lists. If a party puts major clowns high on their list in such a system, they'll suffer at the polls. The clown filter isn't perfect, but neither is our situation today. Under our system we don't have a "party list"; we have "safe ridings". Candidates in such ridings may be removable in principle, but not in practice.

    So what's the perfect electoral system? Simple: there is none. We should therefore look for a least bad alternative. This generalizes to much in life.

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  42. Barcs: Compulsory Voting.

    Good god no. There is already enough people on all sides that don't know what they are voting for.


    This is a great example of how some opinions transcend party affiliations.

    Low voter turnout is the symptom, not the disease.

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  43. A mixed system would be best, imo.

    When Ontario asked for ideas before the referendum I pushed for this (wording adjusted for federal)...

    1) Elect MP's as today
    2) Add in 308 extra votes based on party, with any party getting over 1/308th of the national vote getting to participate.

    The votes would go ...
    308 votes via MP's (MP's elected the same as today although I'd like it to shift to a preferential ballot system)
    308 party votes via leaders of each party (party votes determined by a new question - which party do you support).

    Thus parties like the Greens who get support would have their leader in the house (paid and supported like any other MP) stating where the party stands on each issue that comes to a vote, thus allowing Joe Voter to judge the party in the next election on more than just a platform. Majorities still would occur, but less frequently.

    Btw, this would've required a party to get 44,917 votes nationally to get a seat - after the GPC the next highest party was the Christian Heritage Party with 26,475 votes, then a batch with sub-10k.

    Another reform I'd like is for the party leaders to NOT run as MP's but only as leaders. After all, how much time does anyone think any of the leaders spend in their home ridings anyways?

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  44. John.... if poor candidates aren't removed from safe ridings now.... what incentive is there to do it in a party list system??

    They reflect just as badly on the party in each situation.

    Don't we already complain about party hacks being rewarded enough??



    ... and please don't accuse me of writing off all variations of a system based on a criticism of one weakness (and there are alot more).... especially when the quote you chose shows me partially supporting one of those variations.

    Other quick problems...
    - with geographical representation we atleast have someone to represent our area (even if they do a poor job). a party list only encourages representation of larger populations where they can get votes.
    - how small do you make the "seats"? small enough to elect an independent? or do you banish them for all time? If you make it that small... how many extremist parties get seats? Based on religious zealots, Racist views (imagine pankiw leading a party and being able to pull votes from all over.), etc etc. They do exist still unfortunately.
    - if we can't vote in a party different than the 2 main parties now... what makes you think we would have a choice between more than 2 major coalitions with mostly the same seats?? you might move parties from 3% to 10%.... but it is unlikely to replace the major partner in the coalition... just as the NDP and Greens are unlikely to form government as a majority in the next couple elections now.
    - How do you effectively make the tough decisions when you are constantly trying to please other parties? sure some give and take can be done. Has Greece done an effective job of managing the public purse??
    - there is still more...


    Lastly, I keep have people telling me that they are election fatigued (which is complete bs created by the media in my opinion).... but if one of the problems is that we vote too often. PR cannot extend the election period, as a minority (perpetual minority since we only have had a real majority 5 times in the last 90 years since we became a 3 party system.) it can however shorten it.

    Harper currently holds the record for the longest minority (Mackenzie King had a longer one, but it wasn't a minority all the way though) and the 4th longest. I think it is February next year when this parliament becomes the second longest (another feather in Harpers hat). We have never had a federal minority in Canada run the entire ~4yr mandate.

    Some countries have had successful transition to PR. Have elections reasonably spaced. Some have elections almost annually.


    There is a best case. And if you only consider it then maybe it is the way to go. But you shouldn't ignore the worst case (and some of the democracies under PR are in fact there in various forms). The result is somewhere in the middle of that.

    And when I look at it... PR is not the least worst.

    Nor will I ever consider least worst options. When I look at something I want the best outcome.

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  45. I'm opposed to electoral reform. I'd need to see a compelling reason to change the system we have, and I haven't seen such a reason yet.

    Appealing to principles like "democracy" is pointless, because then you need to show that democracy has some sort of instrumental value, and that's probably even harder.

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