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gram swaraj
Would proportional representation lead to even more splintering of parties?

 

gram swaraj

In the context of this country, would proportional representation lead to even more splintering of Canadian political parties?

For example, would the Progressive Conservatives be revived, transforming the Conservatives into their erstwhile incarnation of Reform?

Would more region-based parties form and gain a voice, for example a western separatist party?

Would the NDP and Liberals, and even Greens, also splinter along factional lines?

A lot depends, of course, on the details of the PR system adopted.

[ 29 October 2008: Message edited by: gram swaraj ]

Jacob Richter

I don't know whether to call this a propaganda stunt by the anti-democratic establishment or something based on the instability in Italy:

1) I do see the re-emergence of "Red Tories" as a political force.
2) I don't see splits within the Liberal party.
3) I HOPE to see the Socialist Caucus break away from the NDP.
4) The Greens have a broad ideological range, but I see them drifting to the right if the Socialist Caucus becomes more vocal about "green" issues.

gram swaraj

quote:


Originally posted by Jacob Richter:
[b]I don't know whether to call this a propaganda stunt by the anti-democratic establishment...[/b]

Stunt or not, it's a question that will need to be dealt with if PR is going to be discussed thoroughly.

Something dug up from surfing: [url=http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:7SK5XO-u0HgJ:www.jdawiseman.com/pape... squared in NZ[/url]

quote:

...we can see that PR-Squared has many positive qualities:
? Fairness: PR-Squared explicitly ensures that equal votes give equal seats, and that nearly-equal
numbers of votes give nearly-equal numbers of seats.
? Stable government: the squaring of votes penalises small parties and penalises party splintering.
Hence coalitions have an incentive to form before the election, rather than negotiating for power after the
election. Minority factions within a coalition would have a strong incentive not to undermine that
coalition, because if there was a split then the faction would lose most or all of its seats in the following
election. Indeed, this is similar to the “exaggerative effect” of FPTP, an effect that penalises small parties
and hence prevents them holding the balance of power. The absence of such an exaggerative effect leads
to coalition politics in which power moves from the ballot box to the post-election negotiating table.

Doug Woodard

My guess is that if we had say PR-STV, or MMP with a 4% threshold, that the Conservatives would eventually split, the Greens would get elected, and the Bloc would diminish drastically. I don't see additional parties of any great significance.

In Australia where the penalty for voting for a small party is as near zero as can be, there is a tremendous list of small parties which run, like Pauline Hanson's One Nation (xenophobic), the Motorists' Party, the Shooters' Party, the Fishing and Lifestyle party, etc., etc. (including some classical hard left parties) but very few ever elect anyone anywhere even in the PR-STV legislatures.

The parties that get elected are 2 1/2, Liberal/National plus Labour in the AV legislatures, with the addition of the Greens and the Democrats (pretty well faded now) in the PR-STV legislatures.

In Germany there were for a long time 2 big and 1 small, then on the rise of the Greens 2 big and 2 small, now with unification an ex-communist and a small proto-Nazi party as well.

In the Irish Republic there are about 1 big, 2 medium, 2 small and 3 or so very small parties that ever get elected.

The main change I would expect on the Canadian scene is that we would have an end to gaming the system and trying to work small changes in the likely vote to gain government or smash another party. We would have governing coalitions. We would probably have somewhat closer attention to serious issues. I think the "Friendly Dictatorships" would be weakened.

It would likely take a while to settle down; my impression is that the right in New Zealand has not yet reconciled itself to PR and still dreams of reinstating FPTP and ruling with fake majorities.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario

Parkdale High Park

Canada is likely to produce a large number of parties with PR (lets assume it is MMP) because barriers to entry are low (20 million dollar spending caps and restrictions on political donors), while cleavages are high (Canada has long been riven by class, linguistic and regional cleavages, to name the most prominent ones).

I predict the following...
1. The Conservatives would split into three factions - something like the Reform party, something like the Ontario PC party and something like the old Progressive Conservatives (the latter might not exist depending upon districting). The old PC's circa 1997/2000 were not red Tories, I should add, they were quasi-libertarian.

2. The NDP would split into a working class party and an activist party.

3. The Bloc would split into a left wing separatist party and a more right wing soft nationalist party (which would usurp most Conservative support in Quebec).

4. The Liberal party would remain largely intact. Most of its conflicts are personality conflicts, not ideational/interest-based ones.

5. The Green party would probably join with the activist wing of the NDP, though some of its members would go to the old PC party.

George Victor

quote:


Stunt or not, it's a question that will need to be dealt with if PR is going to be discussed thoroughly.

Something dug up from surfing: PR squared in NZ


How were you able to not "dig up" the fact that there is a 3 or 4 per cent base requirement of votes before there is representation in a legislature?

Opponents to MMP in Ontario last year managed to avoid mentioning just such facts. "Splintering" then could easily be made to become, for the unenlightened great unread, something equated with an attack on the democratic process itself.

Unrepresented voters above that arbitrary number of course actually become victims of a very un-democratic process - in the name of tradition but in reality and secretly in defence of plutocracy.

gram swaraj

ok you got me, I didn't dig it up, it was more like I skimmed it off the surface while surfing

jrootham

In reply to the post question. Yes, and that's a good thing.

The existence of a broader range of parties will give more people alternatives to vote for that they actually agree with.

I expect that some of the existing smaller parties (Christian Heritage springs to mind) will grow to the point of occaisonally electing members. I support democracy, even when I not in favour of the result.

There will be some splits, and I expect the Liberals to do a lot of melting.

Mr.Canada

quote:


Originally posted by Jacob Richter:
[b]I don't know whether to call this a propaganda stunt by the anti-democratic establishment or something based on the instability in Italy:

1) I do see the re-emergence of "Red Tories" as a political force.
2) I don't see splits within the Liberal party.
3) I HOPE to see the Socialist Caucus break away from the NDP.
4) The Greens have a broad ideological range, but I see them drifting to the right if the Socialist Caucus becomes more vocal about "green" issues.[/b]


A PR system doesn't work and will never be implemented in this country.

There are Red Tories in the Liberal party as well you know.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Since I like to read profiles of newbies I was interested in your occupation. So let me guess Mr. Canada you work for CLAC.

Great system this FPTP system. It pretty much guarantees that the status quo of who runs the country will never change. It hasn't changed in 140 years so why change now. The system works well for the rich elite.

Mr.Canada

I'm a conservative and enjoy arguing so here I am.

To argue with the left wing. Try to get some balance going here instead of the left patting each others back.

I see this board the same as Blogging Tories only opposite end of the spectrum.

In addition to that. Every Canadian is free to run in any riding in every election. Before the start of election night everyone is equal, zero.

Everyones vote is also worth the same, one. Also $1.95.

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: Mr.Canada ]

Michelle

quote:


Originally posted by Mr.Canada:
[b]I'm a conservative and enjoy arguing so here I am. [/b]

And look, there you go! Buh-bye! (For what you said in a couple of other threads, that is, not in this one.)

thorin_bane

quote:


Originally posted by Mr.Canada:
[b]I'm a conservative and enjoy arguing so here I am.

To argue with the left wing. Try to get some balance going here instead of the left patting each others back.

I see this board the same as Blogging Tories only opposite end of the spectrum.

In addition to that. Every Canadian is free to run in any riding in every election. Before the start of election night everyone is equal, zero.

Everyones vote is also worth the same, one. Also $1.95.

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: Mr.Canada ][/b]


Well then go read the policy before you get the boot and cry "boohoo why are the left so mean."
For one we already have enough arguements on here. Go look in the tax thread right now, nevermind during the election. There is almost no backpatting around here as we are always trying to move forward, not congratulating ourselves for another minority government.

thorin_bane

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]

And look, there you go! Buh-bye! (For what you said in a couple of other threads, that is, not in this one.)[/b]


Sorry nevermind my last post MrCanada. Hi michelle how's things?

It's Me D

I know he is gone but,

quote:

Every Canadian is free to run in any riding in every election.

Obviously this is not true but, on the topic of this thread, would proportional representation make "minor" party or independent campaigns cheaper or more expensive to orchestrate? I can see there'd be interaction between a change in the voting system and a change in the financial barriers to access (the ones that our recently departed conservative denied the existence of) but what would the result of such a change be?

jrootham

If individual ridings got bigger it would make it harder for independents to get elected.

For small parties it would be more a risk/reward kind of thing. It would be more expensive to run a campaign to try to reach the cutoff (either legislated or implicit) OTOH if they succeeded they would have seats (possibly a seat if we run things by regions).

George Victor

quote:


Everyones vote is also worth the same, one. Also $1.95.


He wasn't worth a shit numerically, either.

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: George Victor ]

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Jacob Richter: I have to disagree with you, I see the Liberal party splintering more than even the Conservatives -- I don't see them as having any real core constituency, they are in many respects a party of convenience for those who might reasonably be described as "technocrats". I do not want to totally malign their intentions, but they do seem to be made up of people whose primary interest is in exercising power or some deluded notion of noblesse oblige (if I wanted to totally malign them I would have used the term opportunists). It might take an election or two, but I see them splintering to both the left and the right and probably ending up as a Central Canadian (and centerist) regional interest party -- and probable coalition partners of [i]any[/i] government that is formed. They are not likely to fade away, but nor would they be likely to be the majority partner in coalitions once the electorate became more comfortable with a PR system.

Jacob Richter

quote:


Originally posted by Parkdale High Park:
2. The NDP would split into a working class party and an activist party.

Please elaborate on this. Don't you mean into a working-class party and a social-democratic, social-issues-driven party?

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: Jacob Richter ]

largeheartedboy

quote:


Originally posted by Mr.Canada:
[b]

A PR system doesn't work and will never be implemented in this country.

[/b]


Let's look at how PR systems "work". To do that we will have to make cross-national comparisons between countries with PR and majoritarian systems, like first-past-the-post.

The best book I've read that does that is Arend Lijphart's Patterns of Democracy.

In that book, he cites numerous cross-national comparisons that show that citizens in countries using PR systems are significantly more satisfied with government than those in countries using systems like ours.

In another measure of voter satisfaction, it has been demonstrated that in PR countries the difference in voter satisfaction between winners of the election (those who voted for parties in government) and losers (those who voted for parties not in government) is significantly SMALLER in countries with PR systems.

Finally, two different studies, using data from the late 70s to mid 80s, shows that governments in PR countries are more like be closer to the median voter, as measured on a left-right scale.

Sounds like PR works pretty good to me.

jrootham

If I had my druthers, an NDP split would really be along those in favour of representative democracy and those in favour of participatory democracy.

Both would be social democratic, with relatively small policy differences. They would differ fairly substantially in how they were run.

The representative party would focus on electoral politics and probably do relatively well. The participatory party would be in considerably more ferment all the time, but would do OK at election time, especially in places like Trinity-Spadina.

The parties would co-exist happily in parliamentary coalitions.

Edited to reduce confusion due to cross posting.

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: jrootham ]

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by gram swaraj:
[b]In the context of this country, would proportional representation lead to even more splintering of Canadian political parties?[/b]

Excellent topic. One can sketch the answer.

The short answer is, as many as voters want and the threshold will permit.

As to the threshold: the NDP convention in 2003 had the first recent threshold debate. The PR Committee had recommended the federal NDP take no position on the threshold, just like the Ontario NDP. A minority report won support from the convention floor: a 5% threshold. Never disrespect the wisdom of the convention. This is a long-standing debate in Europe, where Germany has stuck with 5% while Scandinavia, Austria, and others use 4%. The Ontario Citizens' Assembly even dropped to 3%, on the conclusion that "we don't see extremist parties barking at Ontario's doors." This was one of the attack points for PR's opponents in Ontario, although not the main one. I think most of us have concluded that 5% makes a good threshold for Canada. (More importantly, closed province-wide lists didn't fly: open regional lists are clearly a more acceptable Mixed Member Proportional model.)

With a 5% threshold, Germany and its provinces have usually had 3 or 4 parties, sometimes 5.

Democratic conservatives mostly want the freedom to offer competing conservative visions. In New Zealand they don't split on social conservatism but on economics: a hard-line libertarian thatcherite party with echoes of Canada's Citizens Coalition, and a larger more moderate conservative party. Other countries split on immigration as Quebec conservatives have recently. If a democratically-reformed Canada is not to have a centrist liberal party as a partner in every future government whether of the centre-left or centre-right, there needs to be a centrist conservative party and a more principled one, or however conservatives might wish to frame the distinction.

Greens, New Democrats, Liberals, PCs, Reformers; that may be all that emerges, plus a different spectrum in Quebec. Do we have room for a Left-Socialist Party, a Green Party, and the NDP? Maybe. In many European countries, even with PR, they have had to form a left-green alliance in order to make the threshold. I have grave doubts that a left-socialist party in Canada could make 5%. The attempt to do so could drain off a lot of wasted votes.

That, of course, is the great merit of STV. True, even with seven-seat districts it takes more than 5% to win a seat, although a party that gets 4% might easily get 9% in a few urban districts and win a few seats on the last count. But none of those votes are wasted: they transfer to their second choice.

So STV might give us six parties as Ireland has, plus the odd socialist or left-liberal or conservative independent. Or it might even give us seven parties as Northern Ireland has, albeit two of them are very small.

Perhaps a more interesting question is what it would do to the Liberals. Those who refuse to take part in a centre-left coalition could migrate to the centrist-conservative party. Those who refuse to take part in a centre-right coalition would be able to more safely migrate to the NDP. The Liberal "big tent" might split in two, but I think it would more likely shrink to a more principled centre party willing to be a force for moderation in a centre-left or centre-right coalition. Lots of voters want that option. New Zealand had no such party, until voters found one and pushed it into real existence.

genstrike

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]Since I like to read profiles of newbies I was interested in your occupation. So let me guess Mr. Canada you work for CLAC.[/b]

He put union rep in his profile. That means he can't work for CLAC because CLAC isn't a union (at least, I don't consider CLAC a union)

But back to the topic, I think such splintering might be good for the left as it won't result in people feeling tied to the NDP even when they screw up because it is the closest thing to a leftist party in Canada. I think we would have to have a fairly low threshold in order to be representative and allow for smaller parties to have a voice if there is a province-wide or national list system.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by genstrike:
[b]I think we would have to have a fairly low threshold in order to be representative and allow for smaller parties to have a voice.[/b]

If we don't add a whole lot of MPs to the House, Manitoba is capped at 14 MPs. High threshold or low threshold, it will take about 7% of the vote to elect an MP in Manitoba. If the "highest remainder" calculation is used, a party might get a seat with only 4% if it was very lucky.

However, Toronto with 22 MPs could, if Toronto is a region, fairly easily elect an MP with only 4% of the vote if the threshold permitted that. Same with the BC Lower Mainland with 21 MPs, and Montreal + Laval with 21.

A 4% threshold is perfectly defensible; Israel's 2% is too low for most tastes. Still, it won't matter in Manitoba.

No one proposes a national list system: the constitution deals with the number of MPs per province in relation to the population of the province. All MPs are from provinces.

a lonely worker

If PR became a reality, there definitely would be a new left party formed. Quebec Solidaire routinely polls close to 5% in Quebec already without PR. There are many Canadians who would also support a party with a similar manifesto:

[url=http://quebecsolidaire.net/quebec-solidaires-25-commitments#attachments]... Solidaire's 25 Commitments[/url]

Years ago when we had elected Communists and other progressives, the CCF and Libs were forced to protect their left flank by grabbing some of their proposals.

This is already happening in Quebec with the PQ and Libs forced to view the Greens and QS as major threats in tight races.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by a lonely worker:
[b]Quebec Solidaire routinely polls close to 5% in Quebec already without PR.[/b]

But it has no normal social democratic party competing with it.

Look at Germany: the Left Party has its base in former East Germany. But in the western states, in state elections it got over 5% only in Lower Saxony, Hesse, and the city-states of Hamburg and Bremen. It could not make 5% in Rhineland-Palatinate, Oskar Lafontaine's home state, nor in Bavaria or Baden-Wьrttemberg.

In Greece with its radical history, a left alliance caled the The Coalition of the Radical Left (Sy.Riz.A) managed only 5.05% even though it included ten political parties.

In Netherlands, the PR paradise with no threshold, the Green Left managed to get only 4.6%.

I could go on. Don't think 5% is easy.

a lonely worker

Wilf, the PQ has been traditionally received the sovereignist social democratic vote (from unions for example).Obviously those roots are fading just like with the NDP in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

I do agree the 5% is no automatic, but that QS is getting close to 5% with our pathetic system is a pretty good indication there's room for growth at least in Quebec. I also suspect there's a lot of pent up activists outside of Quebec looking for a new option as well.

On the issue of thresholds, 3 or 4% sound like good numbers considering how many parties have won between 4 and 5% of the vote in some recent elections (Greens 2006, QS - 2007, Quebec Greens - 2007).

On the issue of Europe, The Left Party is Germany's fastest growing party and those gains in the former "west" are unprecedented considering there was no historic base there.

In the Netherlands 2006 election, The Socialist Party made the largest gains (from 9 to 25 seats) whilst the social democrt Labour Party fell from (42 to 33 seats). If there was no PR those disgruntled social democrats would have sat on their hands or voted stupid (think Mike Harris). Every "western" European country with PR has a socialist party and its often these parties that keep the social democrats scared and somewhat more progressive.

In Greece, the Communists were the biggest winners in vote gains amongst the left parties and came in third in total vote. The Coalition of the Radical Left also saw its vote increase and came in fourth but not as much as the Communists.

In Cyprus, the Communists have just won the last election. Again, when one "left" party fails, PR gives voters alternatives and options to suit the changing needs of the people.

This might not be good news for the current parties (which is why their support remains luke warm at best) but its definitely good for us.

[ 30 October 2008: Message edited by: a lonely worker ]

Brian White

I do not think thresholds are necessary. Basically a threshold gets the votes of some party below the threshold, nullifies them and deals the seats from those votes out to the other partys. Not fair!
People talk routinely about disenfranchising a party if its vote drops from 5% to 4.9%. This does happen too. So suddenly one twentieth of the seats in the house are lost because of an arbitary rule. Another problem is how do you start a new party? You cannot go from zero to 5% without a serious amount of capital. But in the absence of a 5% rule, a new party can start off small and gradually build itself up.
A 5% or 3% rule is just a way for the old established partys to protect their turf.

A Blair

Usually opponents of electoral reform (eg. people that benefit from the current system, such as most politicians) trot out the "dozens of splinter-parties!" boogeyman to scare people about life with Proportional Representation.

The reality is very different. Most countries with PR have reasonable (3-6%) minimum thresholds for representation, or district magnitudes themselves naturally result in an effective minimum, like in the above example for PR in Manitoba. We have
[url=http://www.elections.ca/content.asp?section=pol&document=index&dir=par&l... a dozen[/url] Canadian political parties today under FPTP, but only 4-5 of them have much chance of electing anyone. This wouldn't change much under most forms of PR. There wasn't an explosion of one-issue parties in New Zealand when they switched to PR, there isn't more than 6 parties in the German Bundestag or the Irish parliament or Scottish parliament, and the sky does not fall.

Opponents can't avoid surmising about "unstable Italy & Israel" as well, attempting to draw the conclusion that the "dozens of splinter parties" would destabilize the country and make it ungovernable. But these two countries use PR systems that are very different from the ones we would consider for Canada, not to mention huge differences in culture. And if they even bothered to look up just how "unstable" these two countries actually are, they would find that since 1945 Canada has had more elections under FPTP (23) than either Italy (18) or Israel (19) anyways. Sheesh.

Under most systems of PR, you are likely to see more NDP and Green representation. Greens are likely to be the only new party that appear in the House, and the "big-tent" parties don't tend to split up unless they were likely to do so already under FPTP. "Regionalized" parties that gain unfair advantage of regional power concentrations lose their strangleholds: the Bloc will lose seats across Quebec, every party other than the Conservatives gain seats in the prairies, and every party other than the Liberals gain seats in Toronto and the Atlantic Provinces, etc, etc.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by a lonely worker:
[b]Every "western" European country with PR has a socialist party and its often these parties that keep the social democrats scared and somewhat more progressive.[/b]

Well, in Spain, does the United Left (IU) with its three seats scare the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) with its 169 seats? Not much. Zapatero's party is pretty progressive on its own.

In Portugal, the Socialist Party (PS) government has an absolute majority with 121 seats. The left-green alliance there is the Unitary Democratic Coalition (CDU) with 14 seats, or which 12 are Communist Party and 2 for the Green Party. As well, the Left Bloc (BE) got enough votes for 15 seats but won only 8 because of the effective thresholds: only Lisbon (48 seats), Porto (38 seats) and Setubal (17 seats) were big enough districts for it.

Even countries with good PR systems do not, except for the Netherlands, give small parties unlimited scope: they have thresholds of one kind or another.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

I think in a pr system, the NDP would remain similar to what it is now -- a party of left liberals, with a strong constituency among business unionism types, and mainstream NGO's. However, I would not expect the NDP to maintain the membership of those who are to the left of the party on the political specturm, to the extent that such people still have membership in the NDP (Socialist Caucus members being a notable exception). Electorally, I would expect the NDP to do better among Liberal-NDP swing voters, but I would not expect the party to do as well among voters who's politics are further left than the NDP. I would not expect as many of these people to make a strategic vote for the NDP.

I also think we would see the emergence of a party to the left of the NDP. Such a party might be vaguely anti-capitalist, and might be connected to social movements. It would really depend on where the impetus for the creation of such a party comes from, and who is involved in it. I would expect such a party to be much more bottom-up in it's conception. The support for such a party would likely be concentrated in palces where the social movements are strongest -- East Vancouver, and parts of Toronto. I would not expect such a party to have national support.

[ 31 October 2008: Message edited by: Left Turn ]

A Blair

quote:


Originally posted by Left Turn:
[b]I also think we would see the emergence of a party to the left of the NDP. [/b]

We already have parties to the left of the NDP, and they attract [url=http://enr.elections.ca/National_e.aspx]only about 0.1% of the vote[/url]. I wouldn't expect them to dissapear under PR, but there just isn't a lot of far-left strategic voters out there who want to vote for them but instead cast their ballots for the NDP (what voters like that we have are probably posting on this board, I'll grant you). So it's highly unlikely they would get much more than perhaps 0.2% or at most 0.3% of the vote even without the need to vote strategically. Certainly far less than any reasonable threshold required to get seats.

The unrealistic scenarios postulated on this board are hilarious. So far, people have postulated that every major political party would split up (except for the Bloc). And a horde of new parties would come up too, on both the left and the right. Documented experience in other western countries that have switched just doesn't bear these scenarios out.

A Canada with PR wouldn't have radical changes in the number of parties actually winning seats. But it would have equitable seat distribution and more effective representation.

[Correction: someone even thought the Bloc would split up, lol.]

[ 31 October 2008: Message edited by: A Blair ]

It's Me D

quote:


So it's highly unlikely they would get much more than perhaps 0.2% or at most 0.3% of the vote even without the need to vote strategically. Certainly far less than any reasonable threshold required to get seats.

0.3% is about one seat worth of the popular vote, I'm not sure why a "reasonable" threshold would deny access to parliament to a party which got enough votes for a seat... Unless voting Conservative/Liberal for another couple centuries is your definition of "reasonable", in which case we have a perfectly reasonable system right now.

Brian White

I agree. Here is the problem with 4% or 3% or 55 thresholds. You can have a couple of partys close to the threshold and pretty soon there is 10% or more of the voters disenfranchised. The threshold has the strategic vote effect on people too. "I would vote for party X but they are at 4% and the threshold is 5% and I want my vote to count" Result: a vote that should have gone to party X goes to one of the big 5. Result part 2: party x is stillborn.
The ONLY reason that all these countrys have thresholds to prevent the growth of new partys.
Take a look at the Irish green party or the irish progressive democrat party. I doubt that either party could exist if there was a 5% threshold.
The PD party might die off anyway but they were a very important part of the government for a decade. We need the safety valve. A big old party with no competition gets complacent and corrupt and lazy. But if there is a small left or right or center party waiting on the wings, they are more alert and tend to listen to the voters a lot more.
Brian

quote:

Originally posted by It's Me D:
[b]

0.3% is about one seat worth of the popular vote, I'm not sure why a "reasonable" threshold would deny access to parliament to a party which got enough votes for a seat... Unless voting Conservative/Liberal for another couple centuries is your definition of "reasonable", in which case we have a perfectly reasonable system right now.[/b]


a lonely worker

Again, the example of Quebec Solidaire shows that there is a sizeabloe amount of people who would vote for a truly progressive party. None of the current "small" parties have a similar manifesto which is why its not fair to campare QS with the Marxist Leninist's for example.

I do agree, the 5% threshold is an unecessarily high barrier (3% makes sense) but anything's better than our current political oligarchy.

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Brian White:
[b]The ONLY reason that all these countrys have thresholds is to prevent the growth of new partys.[/b]

It's not quite that simple.

The German 5% threshold was specifically intended to hinder neo-nazi splinter parties, and indeed to hinder a multiplicity of splinter parties such as occurred in the Weimar Republic with no threshold, and still occurs in Holland where the animal-rights Party For Animals elected two MPs.

Because the start-up of democracy post-1945 occurred at the state level, some parties operated only in some states, so the first thresholds were state-level. In the 1949 election this let the National Democratic Party win 5 seats with only 1.8% of the national vote, the Bavaria Party win 17 seats with 4.2% of the national vote, the German Party win 17 seats with 4.0% of the national vote, the Centre Party win 10 seats with 3.1% of the national vote, the Reconstruction League win 12 seats with 2.9% of the national vote, and four others win seats.

By 1961 the various local parties had merged, and the threshold was made nation-wide in West Germany. This cut out the remnants of the "German Party" that were slow to join the CDU, and still got 2.8% in 1961. It cut out the rightist National Democratic Party with 0.8%, as intended, and the German Peace Union, a substitute for the banned West German Communist Party, with 1.9%. The three main parties survived, counting the CDU/CSU as one.

But the Greens managed to break in. In 1980 they got only 1.5%. But on their second try in 1983 they grew to 5.6% and 28 seats. Not prevented by the threshold.

As for STV, when first conceived by Thomas Hare and John Stuart Mill, it was to have a nation-wide constituency, with very long ballots. When first used in Tasmania in 1909 the state was divided into five six-seaters. This cut the number of parties to two: the Labor Party and the Anti-Socialist Party, later the Liberal Party (much like BC, eh?). Worked like a threshold. When first used in Ireland in 1923 it had one nine-seater, three eight-seaters, and five seven-seaters, as well as smaller districts, but 46% of the MPs came from the larger districts. Six parties won seats. For the 1937 election the government shrank the district size and abolished most larger districts; only three parties survived. Yet even that didn't prevent the growth of new parties.

quote:

Originally posted by Brian White:
[b]Take a look at the Irish green party or the irish progressive democrat party. I doubt that either party could exist if there was a 5% threshold.[/b]

Not quite. Mind you, the PD evolved the easy way: it split from Fianna Fбil with a more right-wing economic policy and more secular social policies, had five incumbents on its first try in 1987, and won 14 seats. They got 11.4% of the vote, so a 5% threshold would not have stopped them. Then the Greens won their first seat in 1989. True, they did not get 5%, so STV helped them: Roger Garland got 8.8% of first preferences, but picked up enough transfers (being every party's favourite second choice) to have 16.3% on the final count. However, when the Greens won their first Scottish seat they did not have 5% either: Scotland has only the effective threshold of 16-seat districts, which is a lot lower than the effective Irish STV threshold for five-seaters.

quote:

Originally posted by Brian White:
[b]A big old party with no competition gets complacent and corrupt and lazy. But if there is a small left or right or center party waiting on the wings, they are more alert and tend to listen to the voters a lot more.[/b]

Very true, a great virtue of any PR system.

quote:

Originally posted by a lonely worker:
[b]Again, the example of Quebec Solidaire shows that there is a sizeabloe amount of people who would vote for a truly progressive party. None of the current "small" parties have a similar manifesto which is why its not fair to campare QS with the Marxist Leninist's for example.

I do agree, the 5% threshold is an unecessarily high barrier (3% makes sense) but anything's better than our current political oligarchy.[/b]


Bolivia uses a 3% threshold in their MMP system. It did not prevent the rise of Evo Morales. But in his new party's first election in 2002 they got 14.6%, so a 5% threshold would have been no problem either.

But Canada is not Bolivia. We will not form new parties so fast.

[ 01 November 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]

Jacob Richter

quote:


Originally posted by A Blair:
[b]

We already have parties to the left of the NDP, and they attract [url=http://enr.elections.ca/National_e.aspx]only about 0.1% of the vote[/url]. I wouldn't expect them to dissapear under PR, but there just isn't a lot of far-left strategic voters out there who want to vote for them but instead cast their ballots for the NDP (what voters like that we have are probably posting on this board, I'll grant you). [/b]


They just don't have as cool a party name abbreviation as the SPUSA. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Fidel

quote:


Originally posted by a lonely worker:
[b]
I do agree, the 5% threshold is an unecessarily high barrier (3% makes sense) but anything's better than our current political oligarchy.[/b]

It's interesting to note that even by Russia's stiff 7% threshold, the Green Party would have representation by even that gold standard. Canada's FPTP not as fair as Russian democracy? Who's backsliding on democracy now?

[ 31 October 2008: Message edited by: Fidel ]

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Fidel:
[b]even by Russia's stiff 7% threshold, the Green Party would have representation by even that gold standard. Canada's FPTP not as fair as Russian democracy?[/b]

Good one.

[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Brian White

One excuse people put in for thresholds is the rise of the bogeymen. Neo Nazis and so forth.
I think it is far better having these people in the system (and having the system change them) than having them outside it trying to destroy the system. I can point to the evolution of the IRA partys in ireland. The official IRA was kindo communist, became official sinn fein, became sinn fein the workers party, then the workers party (totally opposed to violence by the way!) and then democratic left. They then folded into the labour party (and i think provided their leader for a while). I think provisional ira- sinn fein has started down the same road to moderation.
(In the 1970's their manefesto called for revolution and the destruction of the republic of ireland too!)
(Their banned publication was available on every street corner in the country too)
Kinda hard to make that call when the boys are sitting in the same parliament.
I do not think you can change these partys if they are not in the system.

quote:

Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]
Bolivia uses a 3% threshold in their MMP system. It did not prevent the rise of Evo Morales. But in his new party's first election in 2002 they got 14.6%, so a 5% threshold would have been no problem either.

But Canada is not Bolivia. We will not form new parties so fast.

[ 01 November 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ][/b]


martin dufresne

An official neo-Nazi party sitting in the Canadian Parliament as a "far better" solution!!! As first recommended in Babble, folks! [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]
(I think comparing the IRA to neo-Nazis is not only dumb but unconscionable.)

jrootham

Not gonna happen. Christian Heritage maybe, but that's as about as right as Canada is going to go.

Political parties that promote violence are in the same group, if not absolutely comparable.

enemy_of_capital

is it a problem if it does? I hope it does. democracy is a good thing. if we have 150 parties who can regester and field candidacies that earn a 1% (or even meet a benchmark) then they should be included even if its the extream "lava life clients party for horny underaged teenagers for 9/11 truth of Canada" (just for clarification I would bar NAMBLA from the politcal prcess as per my own anti pedophile prejudice). MORE DEMOCRACY PLEASE!

edited to erase enemy's "DUH!" moment thanks to those hoe pointed out this most grieving error. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 02 November 2008: Message edited by: enemy_of_capital ]

adma

quote:


Originally posted by jrootham:
[b]Not gonna happen. Christian Heritage maybe, but that's as about as right as Canada is going to go.[/b]

Unless somebody like Jim Pankiw had the wherewithal to start something up.

nycndp

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]Since I like to read profiles of newbies I was interested in your occupation. So let me guess Mr. Canada you work for CLAC.

Great system this FPTP system. It pretty much guarantees that the status quo of who runs the country will never change. It hasn't changed in 140 years so why change now. The system works well for the rich elite.[/b]


Rep-by-prop pretty much guarantees that PM's can shirk their promises by saying, in effect, "my coalition partners won't go along. How many elections do you want?"

IN theory rep-by-prop is great; in practice it works horribly. Just ask Israel.

Brian White

Has austria thresholds? And have they stopped the neo nazis? Every other party in southern ireland has refused to go into coalition with sinn fein until they stop killing people. And it has worked for the most part.
I would much prefer a little neo nazi party than the neo nazis voting for the conservative party and working inside it for the bad of canada.
Anyone who thinks there are not neo nazi's here is living in dreamland.

[
QUOTE]Originally posted by martin dufresne:
[b]An official neo-Nazi party sitting in the Canadian Parliament as a "far better" solution!!! As first recommended in Babble, folks! [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]
(I think comparing the IRA to neo-Nazis is not only dumb but unconscionable.)[/b][/QUOTE]

gram swaraj

Great stuff in this thread. Worth repeating:

quote:

Originally posted by enemy_of_capital:
[b]democracy is a good think.[/b]

enemy_of_capital

hehehe yeah...I'm stupid. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Wilf Day

quote:


Originally posted by Brian White:
[b]Has austria thresholds? And have they stopped the neo nazis?[/b]

No, and proportional representation means (except in the Netherlands, where the animal-rights Party for Animals has two seats) that every group of a reasonable size deserves a voice.

quote:

Originally posted by Brian White:
[b]Every other party in southern ireland has refused to go into coalition with Sinn Fein until they stop killing people. And it has worked for the most part.[/b]

But it does show the problem, as does the Left Party in Germany and the Bloc in Canada: when a small party holds the balance of power but is so outcast that no one will form a government that depends on that party for support, it paraylzes normal political life. The result was a coalition in Ireland of the Green Party and Fianna Fail, the Party most Green Party voters most dislike; a Grand Coalition in Germany; and the nameless alliance in Canada's last parliament between the Conservatives and Liberals. So this problem is not unique to PR.

In time, Germany and Ireland will find a way to adapt (the Green Party were similar outcasts when they first won seats in Germany, and after a while a Green became Deputy Prme Minister, just as Northern Ireland eventually got a Sinn Fein Deputy Prime Minister.)

But an excessive number of small parties can indeed cause problems, as it did in the Weimar Republic. The problem with a Grand Coalition is that the opposition, extreme as it may be, becomes the only alternative, and gains strength.

When the British imposed a 5% threshold in the British zone of Germany in 1946, the election results they were all looking at were 1928:

Party, vote %, seats
Social Democrats (SPD) 29.76% 153
National People's (DNVP) 14.25% 73
Centre (Z) 12.07% 61
Communists (KPD) 10.62% 54
People's (DVP) 8.71% 45
Democratic (DDP) 4.81% 25
Reich Party of the Middle Class (WP) 4.54% 23
Bavarian People's (BVP) 3.07% 17
National Socialist Workers (NSDAP) 2.63% 12
Landfolk (CNBL) 1.89% 9
Farmers' (DBP) 1.56% 8
Hanoverian (DHP) 0.64% 4
Agricultural League 0.65% 3
Right-Wing People's 1.57% 2
Sдchsische Landvolk 0.42% 2

The result was yet another Grand Coalition of members of the SDP, DDP, Centre Party, and the DVP. The SDP, DDP, and Centre Party had formed the "Weimar Coalition" in 1919, and this was at the core of all German governments from 1922 until 1930. But it had to add the People's Party (Deutsche Volkspartei, or DVP), essentially the right wing of the old National Liberal Party. Due to its lukewarm acceptance of democracy, the DVP was initially part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Coalition. However, gradually it moved into cooperation with the parties of the center and left, until it quit in 1930, giving Hitler his big chance. After the 1930 election there was no longer a moderate majority in the Reichstag even for a Grand Coalition of moderate parties, and a centre-right minority government ruled by presidential decrees.

Both Ireland, with districts no larger than five-seaters, and Germany, with its 5% threshold, have usually avoided that kind of paralysis. No system can guarantee it will never happen, as Canada knows all too well.

[ 02 November 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ]

Brian White

First of all, Wilf there was no nameless
coalition between the libs and the cons.
Only if it was wink wink nod nod when emerson jumped partys could you call it a coalition.
The libs were just waiting for the cons to screw up in full view of the public so that they could win.
If the libs had pulled the plug earlier harper would have got his majority.
And you will never find a lot of party members that are "happy" to go into coalition. But they are happier in power than out.
Some poster said nobody votes for coalitions. Not true!
Lots of time people do vote for coalitons. You can see it in the STV records in ireland and probably in the mmp records for germany too. People vote for coalitions for many reasons, one being to moderate the excesses of leaders.

And you bring up the weimar republic. Let us not forget that germany was a slave nation at the time with all their money going to britain and france. And a very young nation too. Their country had just been destroyed. Of course it was unstable. Communications was disrupted and it was a federation of states that were at war with each other not that much earlier so of course there was instability.
Perhaps at the same stage of nationhood as southern african countrys in the 1970's.
The weimer republic is not relevant to normal politics. A coalition of 4 partys is big but not unworkable.
But like I said, all germanys production went to pay reparations so no party or coalition was going to be remembered as successful.


quote:

Originally posted by Wilf Day:
[b]
But it does show the problem, as does the Left Party in Germany and the Bloc in Canada: when a small party holds the balance of power but is so outcast that no one will form a government that depends on that party for support, it paraylzes normal political life. The result was a coalition in Ireland of the Green Party and Fianna Fail, the Party most Green Party voters most dislike; a Grand Coalition in Germany; and the nameless alliance in Canada's last parliament between the Conservatives and Liberals. So this problem is not unique to PR.

In time, Germany and Ireland will find a way to adapt (the Green Party were similar outcasts when they first won seats in Germany, and after a while a Green became Deputy Prme Minister, just as Northern Ireland eventually got a Sinn Fein Deputy Prime Minister.)

But an excessive number of small parties can indeed cause problems, as it did in the Weimar Republic. The problem with a Grand Coalition is that the opposition, extreme as it may be, becomes the only alternative, and gains strength.

When the British imposed a 5% threshold in the British zone of Germany in 1946, the election results they were all looking at were 1928:

Party, vote %, seats
Social Democrats (SPD) 29.76% 153
National People's (DNVP) 14.25% 73
Centre (Z) 12.07% 61
Communists (KPD) 10.62% 54
People's (DVP) 8.71% 45
Democratic (DDP) 4.81% 25
Reich Party of the Middle Class (WP) 4.54% 23
Bavarian People's (BVP) 3.07% 17
National Socialist Workers (NSDAP) 2.63% 12
Landfolk (CNBL) 1.89% 9
Farmers' (DBP) 1.56% 8
Hanoverian (DHP) 0.64% 4
Agricultural League 0.65% 3
Right-Wing People's 1.57% 2
Sдchsische Landvolk 0.42% 2

The result was yet another Grand Coalition of members of the SDP, DDP, Centre Party, and the DVP. The SDP, DDP, and Centre Party had formed the "Weimar Coalition" in 1919, and this was at the core of all German governments until 1930. But it had to add the People's Party (Deutsche Volkspartei, or DVP), essentially the right wing of the old National Liberal Party. Due to its lukewarm acceptance of democracy, the DVP was initially part of the "national opposition" to the Weimar Coalition. However, gradually it moved into cooperation with the parties of the center and left, until it quit in 1930, giving Hitler his big chance. After the 1930 election there was no longer a moderate majority in the Reichstag even for a Grand Coalition of moderate parties, and a centre-right minority government ruled by presidential decrees.

Both Ireland, with districts no larger than five-seaters, and Germany, with its 5% threshold, have usually avoided that kind of paralysis. No system can guarantee it will never happen, as Canada knows all too well.

[ 02 November 2008: Message edited by: Wilf Day ][/b]


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