Submission COCHRAN-1576 (Online)
|Submission By|| Doug Cochran
|Category||Electoral system change
Support for an MMP system with a legislature of 100 seats, 25
chosen from party lists. Within the one
year before a general election, a party's
slate of candidates must be elected by all registered
party members. [2 pages]
I will be brief with this submission since I know you have had a
mass of information and documentation to plow through. At least
people are interested in this topic.
I have not had an opportunity to exhaustively study other
submissions on the topic of proportional representation, so if I
repeat points made by others, my apologies.
While I fully endorse changes to the system for electing a
provincial government, I share some concerns that we should ensure
that changes create a more representative and responsive system of
government. I will address my comments to the mixed mode of
proportional representation [MMP]. Currently we have 79 MLAs
elected to represent constituents in each riding. This personal
representation is something that I believe should be maintained.
Yet, it should be possible to supplement this process with a form
of additional representation that will more closely approximate the
wishes of the public as expressed in their voting.
I appreciate that many people are interested in a form of
proportional representation and some have sounded warnings about
what can be lost when abandoning a first past the post system. At
any rate, as a good Canadian, compromise holds considerable appeal
to me. Here is my suggestion.
Redistribute the ridings so that there are 75 ridings where MLAs
are elected in the same manner as they are now. With relatively
little tinkering and redistribution of the urban ridings this could
be accomplished. It may be that the first go-round would leave the
ridings as they are presently, at 79 and just add 25% in
proportional representation seats. But, as will soon be apparent,
reduction to 75 has a certain symmetrical appeal.
25 additional "seats" would then be created to be distributed
amongst participating parties based on the proportion of the vote
received on a second, "proportional ballot". Thus each voter could
vote for their representative and have a second vote to cast for
the party that has the proportional slate that is most appealing.
While most voters are likely to vote the party line, this is by no
means something a party could take for granted. It is most Canadian
to want to have someone there to keep the other guys
Thus there would now be 100 MLAs which for some undefinable
psychological reason I find appealing. One advantage is that it
doesn't increase the size of the Legislature too substantially and
may in the end be an incremental change which is appropriate for
such a major experiment.
All parties running candidates would be entitled to put forth a
slate of candidates and encourage all electors to vote their slate.
This would be a way of promoting representation for
under-represented groups (women, minorities, disabled persons) and
parties would be subject to scrutiny for how "representational"
their offering is.
BUT it is essential that each Party have an election within the one
year prior to the General Election where their slate is elected by
all registered party members. This is key, since one of the most
alienating aspects of our present system is the stranglehold that
the "old boys" of the party have over promoting candidates or
rewarding insiders. This creates cynicism and skepticism about the
electoral process. The MLAs would gain their seat if they rank
within the percentage of the proportional representation slate that
the party receives in the proportional representation vote.
Thank you for the opportunity to put forth these thoughts.