Just Talking …
I have been pursuing electoral reform for Canada for a number of years. So I was, of course, delighted when it became a plank in our 2015 election platform.
And I was, therefore, devastated by the Cabinet’s decision not to proceed with it.
But, I get it.
Our promise was to convene an all-party parliamentary committee to propose a solution for replacing first-past-the-post (FPTP) in time for the 2019 election.
But, though the committee worked long and hard, in the event, their recommendation was simply unattainable in the time remaining.
As a practical matter, we have at this point (2017-03-01) no more than two years in which to complete such an undertaking. Solutions such as multiple representation (MR), and proportional representation (PR) as well, particularly as proposed by the committee, involve just too many moving parts, too much big change; change comes slowly in Ottawa, and two years is simply not long enough.
As I see it, seeing no path forward consistent with campaign commitments and time constraints, the Cabinet saw no option but own up to that reality.
But this is my long-time issue, after all, and from this different perspective I see things quite differently. I see a different, but clear, path forward, and two years is plenty of time in which to achieve it. As long as electoral reform remains achievable, I remain committed to it.
The solution I propose is Condorcet voting. In a single voting round each voter casts a simple ballot from which a round-robin of head-to-head match-ups between candidates in each riding ensues, holistically considering all preferences from all ballots.
With Condorcet voting there is no vote-splitting and no need for strategic voting. Condorcet voting reliably determines the majority’s true preference. It is scrupulously fair, with no systemic bias for any party, and every vote counts.
In short, Condorcet voting resolves many of the problems that drive so many to ask for MR or PR in the first place, yet it can be implemented as a straight-forward plug-and-play FPTP replacement.
There is still time to do this, but no time to waste. We must come together here if we want to achieve change.
I urge those who would really prefer a MR or PR solution to park those goals for a while, for I emphasize that there is simply no path to MR or PR for 2019.
In addition, for those who just want to continue the conversation, failing to acheive any reform at all will severely undercut our ability to revive the conversation another day.
You must decide whether you want to eliminate FPTP elections, at least as a first step, or whether you want to hold out only for MR or PR in one fell swoop. It’s not going to happen. You can certainly stick to your guns, but it will just leave us all proudly waving our banners in brave futility through yet one more FPTP election after another.
Let us make common cause, now, around the elimination of FPTP.
Let us build the broad consensus that we need, now, on this attainable goal, so that we can go back to the Cabinet and show them that there is, indeed, a way forward.
Let us win here, now, and save those bigger conversations for another day.