Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Alex Himelfarb to Tasha Kheiriddin: “it’s false because it’s not true.”


That was a great debate April 2 between Andrew Coyne and Alex Himelfarb, advocating for proportional representation, and Conservatives Tasha Kheiriddin and Michelle Rempel.  

My favourite moment was at 38:45.


Tasha Kheiriddin had not done her homework.

“There would be a list. The parties would choose that list. You would not vote for a local MP. The party could re-appoint people. The party would choose . . .”

Moderator Even Solomon interrupts: “Some people are yelling out “false.” And so was Alex Himelfarb, former Clerk of the Privy Council, the very top position in Canada’s civil service.

Tasha Kheiriddin: “I don’t see why it would be false.”

So Evan Solomon calls on Himelfarb. 

“It’s false because it’s not true” say Alex Himelfarb, to great laughter and applause. 

“Almost invariably what the Commissions have recommended has local MPs . . . There are systems which are designed otherwise, but not for Canada.”

Andrew Coyne spelled it out: “Not all PR system use lists. The members on the lists can be elected by the members at large. People can choose names off the lists, voters can vote directly off the list. Lists are not the caricature that’s being presented.”

Worth sharing.



Multi-MP ridings in big cities, proportional single-MP ridings in the rest of the country

Note: this post was revised and updated Oct. 29, 2016.

In the excellent debate on proportional representation April 2 at the Broadbent Institute’s 2016 Progress Summit, Andrew Coyne said most of our population live in large-urban areas, so you could have multi-MP ridings quite easily in those areas. “You may wish to have some kind of hybrid where the other areas could have one MP per riding. That’s going to be part of the debate.” See 46:55:


This echoes the similar suggestion by Jean-Pierre Kingsley, Canada’s Chief Electoral Officer from 1990 to 2007, who has gotten great interest by suggesting an urban/rural hybrid system.

So some of us started to discuss an urban+rural model for proportional representation. 

Rural-Urban Proportional Representation

This has become the Rural-Urban PR model now being proposed by Fair Vote Canada, along with the other models Fair Vote Canada also proposes. Details are here.
If large-urban communities will accept multi-member ridings, this model may be the best answer for rural and small-urban communities' ridings, which it keeps only about 17% larger than today.  

If not, then this moderate Mixed Member proportional representation model keeps our local ridings everywhere.

I will now outline the Kingsley-inspired example.


Multi-MP ridings in big cities, single-MP ridings in the rest of the country.

Large urban centres over 100,000 people contain 60.0% of Canada’s population, says Statistics Can from the 2011 census. A couple of those are cities with a bond to the single MP: Kingston just elected its former mayor Mark Gerretsen as its MP, while Guelph elected Lloyd Longfield. On the other hand, a couple of centres under 100,000 – like Saint John (N.B. – could be in a multi-MP riding. So could some people living near those large urban centres.

Still, that leaves about 84 MPs from the other ridings (see list below). In Ontario and the West the majority of those seats are safely held by Conservatives. No other party will agree to hand them these seats.

Whichever parties hold those 84 seats, those voters are the ones most in need of having their voice no longer silenced. In Quebec, 428,000 Conservative voters cast ineffective votes last October. In Atlantic Canada, everyone but Liberals was shut out. So we have to give unrepresented voters in those 84 ridings representation too.

Top-up seats - Regional MPs

Sweden elects 11% of their MPs as top-up MPs, because their multi-MP districts have a range of sizes, one with only two MPs, and four more with 4, 5 or 6 MPs. So one way to look at this model is, Sweden's model, but with about 25% of the MPs from our present single-member ridings. Since so many of the MPs come from multi-MP ridings, it will be easy to add a few regional MPs to compensate for any disproportional results. 

In my simulation, we keep 22% of MPs from single-MP ridings, and need only 14% of MPs in regional top-up seats. To keep the House of Commons the same size, the single-MP ridings would become about 17% larger.  That’s better for those communities (and their MPs) than having the ridings become 56% larger under an MMP model.

The typical top-up region might contain 20 MPs: 13 from multi-MP districts (typically with four or five MPs each) and four from single-MP ridings, all topped up by an additional three MPs (15% of the region). For the seven smaller provinces the province is the top-up region. See details of the 17 regions below.

So who would elect the 48 regional MPs?

Swedish option

They could, as in Sweden, be the best runner-up candidate in the region where that party’s voters were the most under-represented. Some people fear that MMP would mean list MPs from large urban centres would swamp the small-urban and rural communities. They prefer the Swedish model.

The three top-up regional MPs would be the party’s candidate in the region who was the best runner-up in the area where that party’s voters were the most under-represented; either a multi-MP district, or an aggregation of single-MP districts. 

Two-vote option

Or they could be elected from a regional ballot, where voters have two votes, as in MMP.

The three top-up regional MPs would, just like open-regional-list MMP, be the regional candidate of the party who got the most votes (after skipping over candidates who had already won a local seat).

One way to limit the size of the ballot, and eliminate the risk of a party trying to copy the Berlusconi trick (running a twin "decoy" list of regional candidates), would be to copy Bavaria and put only local candidates on the regional ballot.

How would the Swedish option actually work?

Take Saskatchewan. It has 14 MPs. Four will be elected from the Saskatoon region, three from the Regina—Moose Jaw region. Five single-MP ridings are only about 17% larger than today. That lets Saskatchewan have two regional MPs.

On the votes cast in 2015, the Conservatives win two seats in the Saskatoon district, the Liberals and NDP one each. Each party wins one seat in the Regina—Moose Jaw district. The NDP still wins the northern single-MP district, and the Conservatives win the other four. The two parties under-represented are the Liberals and NDP. Therefore, they each get a regional (provincial) MP.

The Liberals are most under-represented in the group of five single-MP ridings. Their best candidate in those ridings was aboriginal leader Lawrence Joseph, who came close to winning in the Northern riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River.

The NDP are most under-represented in the Saskatoon Region. If current MP Sheri Benson still won the first NDP seat there, those voters elect a second Saskatoon Region MP such as Claire Card.

Lawrence Joseph and Claire Card have dual mandates, although this is less obvious than under MMP. They were each ranked as a near-winner by voters in their district, but were elected thanks to voters in the whole of Saskatchewan. So they are Regional MPs (or in this case Provincial MPs). They would make themselves available to voters across the region not already served by a local MP of that party. They would be allowed to open satellite offices where needed across the region, just as Conservative MP Robert Kitchen has offices today in Estevan, Weyburn and Moosomin. Just the way it's done in Scotland.

It is proportional

On a simulation from the votes cast in 2015, adding one MP for each of the three Territories, the total results are (compared with perfect province-wide proportionality) Liberal 135 (137), Conservative 111 (110), NDP 71 (69), Bloc 15 (15), Green 9 (10). Little more than the inevitable rounding anomalies.

But how robust is this model? On a simulation from the votes cast in 2011 (transposed to the 2015 ridings), the total results are (compared with perfect province-wide proportionality) Conservative 147 (141), NDP 100 (103), Liberals 64 (66), Bloc 18 (18), Green 12 (13). This model is robust enough to give almost perfectly proportional Quebec results despite the Orange wave of 2011 (a Conservative bonus of 1). In a few regions of Ontario and BC a local Conservative sweep creates small bonuses.  

If the Green vote doubled (from non-voters, and except in Saanich—Gulf Islands), can it handle such a shift? The results are (again compared with perfect proportionality) Liberal 132 (132), Conservative 108 (105), NDP 68 (67), Bloc 14 (15), Green 19 (22). Again, the differences are rounding anomalies.

Would the Green regional MPs all come from the large-urban areas? In my simulation with the doubled Green vote, the 15 regional Green MPs are eight from large-urban areas, and seven from single-member districts, added to the four directly elected from multi-member ridings.   

We have used only five 2-MP ridings across Canada, and only when necessary, since voters generally want to have representation from more than two parties.

Accountable and proportional

The result of the simulation shows that this model lets voters elect MPs who are both highly accountable to the small regions or local ridings that voted for them, and very proportional to the votes cast.

Summary

The 84 present ridings become 74 single-MP ridings. The 254 larger-urban MPs become (adding three MPs from the Territories) 219 MPs from multi-MP ridings .

The large-urban multi-MP ridings could use any good PR system. (The Swedish open-list system, STV, or Dion’s P3.) For the simulation we used the Swedish system because it is the simplest calculation (it requires no assumptions about second choices).

The 74 single-MP ridings use a winner-take-all ballot: FPTP or AV.

This model lets communities under 200,000, and almost all medium-urban, small-urban and rural communities, keep their local MPs in ridings only about 17% larger than today, not 56% larger. This will not only please those voters, it will reassure many current MPs.

The seat totals are the same under the Swedish option or the two-vote option. Those options change who fills the seats, not the party totals.

Regions all keep their number of MPs

The regions will ensure that, for example, only Northern Ontario votes help elect Northern Ontario MPs, GTA votes elect GTA MPs, BC Lower Mainland voters elect Lower Mainland MPs, and all regions keep their present numbers of MPs.

Will voters in big cities accept multi-MP districts?

Take Toronto. The multi-MP districts would not include the whole megacity. They might be six MPs from the area served by the “Community Council” for Toronto and East York, and five from each of the others (North York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke—York). If the GTA’s 55 MPs are in one “top-up region” that includes seven regional MPs. So, no MP specifically from Beaches—East York. But a candidate who was already, for example, a ward councillor might get enough local support, added to support from the rest of the larger district, to elect him or her as one of those six MPs.

The BC Lower Mainland might have districts ranging from 3 MPs to 7 MPs.

Option: A bigger House 

If MPs prefer, these 48 additional MPs (plus 3 from the Territories) could be added to the House by expanding its size, so that the 338 present ridings would continue either as multi-MP ridings or single-MP ridings. It has often been said that "it is easier to have a more representative system if you have more representatives."

What would the map look like?

Of course, the actual multi-MP districts and single-MP districts would be set by the normal Boundaries Commissions process.

Still, here’s the map I used for my simulation.

A group of seven present ridings becomes (in large urban areas) a 6-MP district, or (in other areas) an aggregation of six single-MP ridings. Eight becomes seven, nine becomes eight, six becomes five, five becomes four, and four becomes three.

These multi-MP districts are from metropolitan areas with at least 200,000 residents, sometimes including adjacent communities. They also include, of necessity, St. John’s, Charlottetown, Barrie, Kelowna, Sudbury, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Moncton, Saint John, and Thunder Bay. 

Newfoundland & Labrador (2+4+1):
St. John's 2 
Singles 4
Nova Scotia (4+5+2):
Halifax 4
Singles 5
PEI (2+1+1)   
Eastern PEI 2
Single 1
New Brunswick (6+3+1):
Saint JohnFredericton 3 
Moncton—BeauséjourMiramichi 3
Singles 3
Eastern QuebecMauricieCentre-du-Quebec 25 (14+8+3)  
Quebec City 6  
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean 3
Lévis—Lotbinière 2 
Mauricie 3
Centre-du-QuebecChaudière-AppalachesBas-Saint-Laurent—Gaspésie—Côte-Nord singles 8
Montreal-estMontérégieEstrie  27 (20+3+4)
Montreal-est 5                                                         
Montreal-nord 4                                                       
Longueuil 3
Richelieu 3
Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent 3 
Sherbrooke 2 
Singles 3
Quebec-ouest (Montreal-West, Laval-Lanaudiere-Laurentides and west) 26 (19+3+4)
Montreal West 6 
Laval 3 
Lanaudière 3
Laurentides 4
Outaouais 3                            
Singles 3
Eastern Ontario (19: 8+8+3)
Ottawa-East—Prescott-Russell—Cornwall 4 (the bilingual district)
Ottawa West 4 
Singles 8 (from Renfrew and Leeds—Grenville to Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes)
Greater Toronto Area 55 (48+7)
Toronto and East York 6
Etobicoke—York 5
North York 5
Scarborough 5
Markham—Aurora—Newmarket—Georgina 5
Vaughan—Richmond Hill 4
Durham Region 5
Brampton—Caledon 5
Mississauga 5
Oakville—Halton 3
South Central Ontario (Hamilton—Niagara—Waterloo) 19 (12+4+3)
Hamilton (incl. Burlington) 5                                  
Niagara Region 3
Waterloo Region 4  
Singles 4
Western Ontario (Barrie--London—Windsor) 18 (11+4+3)
BarrieSimcoe 3       
London—Elgin—Middlesex 4
Windsor-EssexChatham-Kent 4
Singles 4
Northern Ontario 10 (5+4+1)
SudburySault Ste. Marie region 3                
Thunder Bay region 2                     
Singles: 4
Manitoba 14 (7+5+2)
Winnipeg 7
Singles 5
Saskatchewan 14 (7+5+2)
Saskatoon 4 (incl. N½ of Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan)
Regina—Moose Jaw 3
Singles 5
Alberta 34 (18+11+5) 
Calgary South (5) & North (4)
South-Central Singles 6
Metropolitan Edmonton North (5) & South (4)
North Singles 5
British Columbia Lower Mainland 26 (22+4)
Vancouver and Vancouver North and West 7
Surrey—Richmond—Delta 7 
Burnaby--Maple Ridge 5
Fraser ValleyLangley East 3

BC Interior and North and Vancouver Island 16 (8+6+2)
Kelowna—Okanagan 3
VictoriaNanaimo 5
Singles 6
Territories 6 (2 from each)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Canada’s 83 missing MPs in 2015

Canada’s 83 missing MPs in 2015

(Note: this post was revised and updated Oct. 28, 2016.)

Electoral reform is not a partisan issue, as every electoral reformer knows. But some people, including some in the media, aren’t so sure.

To show this, let’s see at least 83 missing MPs: the MPs who would have been in the House of Commons right now, if so many of us had not cast ineffective votes. Last October voters for every party were shut out in some regions, electing MPs only in their strongholds.

Of course, as Prof. Dennis Pilon says in this video: "Now keep in mind that, when you change the voting system, you also change the incentives that affect the kinds of decisions that voters might make. For instance, we know that, when every vote counts, voters won't have to worry about splitting the vote, or casting a strategic vote. Thus, we should expect that support for different parties might change."

And when every vote counts, turnout will be higher -- perhaps 7% higher. So, when voters have more choice, the results will be far more representative of our diverse population and their diverse views. Who can say what would be the result of real democratic elections?

For more information on the mixed compensatory proportional voting system, click here.

Meanwhile, I’ve done a simulation on the votes cast in October 2015. Of course, not every MP elected last October would still be elected, but you can see how proportional representation would instead have given each region balanced representation:

18 or 19 missing Liberal MPs

In Alberta, voters cast enough Liberal votes to elect nine MPs, not the four who went to Ottawa. They would have elected another MP from Calgary like Matt Grant or Nirmala Naidoo, one from southern Alberta like Marlo Raynolds or Mike Pyne, one from Central Alberta like Jacqueline Biollo, Ryan Maguhn or Jeff Rock, another from Edmonton like Karen Leibovici, and one from the north like Fort McMurray’s Kyle Harrietha.

In Saskatchewan, Liberal votes would have elected three more MP, not just Ralph Goodale. Two from Saskatoon and North Saskatchewan like Tracy Muggli and indigenous leader Lawrence Joseph, and one from Regina and South Saskatchewan like Louis Browne or Della Anaquod.

In the BC Interior and North, Liberal votes would have elected two more MPs, like Tracy Calogheros from Prince George and Metis lawyer Karley Scott from West Kelowna.

On Vancouver Island, one or two more Liberal MPs like Victoria lawyer David Merner and Parksville city councillor Carrie Powell-Davidson.


In Manitoba outside Winnipeg, two Liberal MPs like Brandons Jodi Wyman and Rebecca Chartrand.

In Windsor-Sarnia two more MPs like Chatham’s Katie Omstead and Windsor’s Frank Schiller.

In the London and mid-western Ontario area one more MP like 
Huron’s Allan Thompson. 

In West Central Ontario two more Liberal MPs like Barrie’s Brian Tamblyn and Owen Sound’s Kimberley Love or Orillia's Liz Riley.

31 Missing Conservative MPs

In Toronto, Conservative voters cast enough ballots to elect six MPs like Joe Oliver, Mark Adler, Marnie MacDougall, Bin Chang, John Carmichael and Joe Daniel or Maureen Harquail or Roxanne James.

In York Region two more Conservative MPs like Costas Menegakis and Konstantin Toubis or Julian Fantino or Lois Brown.

In Peel and Halton Regions, four Conservative MPs like Halton's Effie Triantafilopoulos, Mississauga’s Stella Ambler and Brad Butt, and Brampton’s Kyle Seeback.

In Ottawa-Cornwall another Conservative MP like Pierre Lemieux or Walter Pamic.

In Northern Ontario two Conservative MPs like Bryan Hayes and Greg Rickford or Jay Aspin. 

In Metropolitan Montreal, four Conservative MPs like Côte Saint-Luc architect Robert Libman, Laval architect Roland Dick (of Lebanese ancestry), Longueuil’s Afghan-born management expert Qais Hamidi, and Jonathan Lefebvre.

In Montérégie a Conservative MP such as Réjean Léveillé.

In Metro Vancouver, three more Conservative MPs like Andrew Saxton, former MLA Douglas Horne, and incumbent Wai Young or Kenny Chiu.

On Vancouver Island, one MP like John Duncan.

In Nova Scotia, incumbent Scott Armstrong and one more like Arnold LeBlanc or Michael McGinnis.

In New Brunswick, two  incumbents like Tilly O'Neill Gordon or or Robert Goguen and John Williamson or 
Rob Moore

In PEI, incumbent Gail Shea. In Newfoundland and Labrador, one MP like former provincial cabinet minister Kevin O'Brien. In the Yukon, Ryan Leef.

32 missing NDP MPs

In the GTA, NDP voters cast enough ballots to elect eight MPs like incumbents Craig Scott, Peggy Nash, Andrew Cash, and Dan Harris, along with Oshawa’s Mary Fowler, Brampton’s Harbaljit Singh Kahlon, Newmarket’s Yvonne Kelly, and Mississauga’s Michelle Bilek or Milton's Alex Anabusi.

In Eastern Ontario, three MPs like incumbent Paul Dewar, new star Emilie Taman, and Peterborough’s Dave Nickle. In Northern Ontario, another MP like incumbent Claude Gravelle. In West Central Ontario, an MP like Kitchener's Susan Cadell or Waterloo’s Diane Freeman. In South Central Ontario, another MP like incumbent Malcolm Allen.

In Nova Scotia, two MPs like incumbent Megan Leslie and Dr. Monika Dutt. In Newfoundland and Labrador, an MP like incumbent Jack Harris. In New Brunswick, two MPs like Jason Godin and AJ Griffin. In PEI an MP like Joe Byrne or Herb Dickieson.

In Montreal, one more MP like incumbent Maria Mourani or Isabelle Morin or James Hughes. In the rest of Quebec, maybe six more like incumbents Annick Papillon and Raymond Côté in Quebec City, Philip Toone in the Gaspe, Hoang Mai in the Rive-sud, Pierre Dionne Labelle in Saint-Jérôme, and Mylène Freeman in Mirabel.

In Alberta, three more like Calgary’s Laura Weston, Cheryl Meheden from Lethbridge, and Edmonton’s Janis Irwin. In the NWT, incumbent Dennis Bevington. In Nunavut, former MP Jack Anawak.

Two missing Green MPs, but when their vote doubles, nine more

In BC, two more Green MPs like their Finance critic Ken Melamed and Arts, Culture and Heritage Critic Jo-Ann Roberts.

With PR, the Green vote will double, they expect, and I agree. That would let Green voters elect 12 MPs, enough for official party status. In Ontario, five Green MPs like Gord Miller from Guelph (
Infrastructure and Community Development critic), Thunder Bay's Bruce Hyer (Democratic Reform critic), Kemptville's Lorraine Rekmans (Indigenous Affairs critic),
Deborah Coyne from Ottawa, and Hamilton's Peter Ormond. In Manitoba, an MP like Environment & Climate Change critic Andrew Park. In BC, three more like Urban Affairs and Housing critic Wes Regan, and Arthur Green or Simmi Saminder Kaur Dhillon, and Bill Green or Chris George or Elizabeth Biggar. 

NDP MPs and candidates who improved their vote total from the transposed 2011 results

NDP MPs and candidates who improved their vote total from the transposed 2011 results

(Note: most posts on my blog are about proportional representation, but not this one. If you are looking for information on proportional representation, click here.)

Many people will be surprised to learn that, of the 44 NDP MPs, almost half – 20 of them – won more votes last October than the NDP vote in 2011 (transposed onto the new boundaries). In other words, they not only ran ahead of the party in 2015, they were such stars they even ran ahead of the 2011 support. Nine of them are new MPs, 11 incumbents.

Of those 20, 12 were in BC, where the NDP picked up three seats while losing votes in other ridings, as clever BC voters cast strategic votes against the Conservatives. But the other eight stars were across Canada: Three in Ontario, three in Quebec, one in Manitoba and one in Saskatchewan.

MP                                      2011               2015 (Riding)
Tracey Ramsey                17528             25072 Essex
Gord Johns                       23400             26582 Courtenay—Alberni
Wayne Stetski                   20510             23529 Kootenay—Columbia
Rachel Blaney                   21239             24340 North Island—Powell River
Nathan Cullen                   19550             22531 Skeena—Bulkley Valley
Richard Cannings              21886             24823 South Okanagan–West Kootenay
Ruth Ellen Brosseau         20193             22942 Berthier—Maskinongé
Niki Ashton                        10962             13487 Churchill—Keewatinook Aski
Brian Masse                       21592             24085 Windsor West
Fin Donnelly                       17580             19706 Port Moody—Coquitlam
Don Davies                        18752             20763 Vancouver Kingsway
Peter Julian                        21200             22876 New Westminster—Burnaby        
Jenny Kwan                       27794             29316 Vancouver East       
Randall C. Garrison           22324             23836 Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke
Alistair MacGregor             20818             22200 Cowichan—Malahat—Langford
Alexandre Boulerice          27644             28672 Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie
Guy Caron                         18360             19374 Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata
Cheryl Hardcastle              22235             23215 Windsor—Tecumseh
Georgina Jolibois                9454               10319 Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River
Kennedy Stewart               16072             16094 Burnaby South

And 32 other NDP candidates improved their vote total from the transposed 2011 results, even without winning, including three incumbent MPs:

Candidate                             2011               2015 riding
Philip Toone                         10186             12885 Gaspésie—Les-Iles-de-la-Madeleine
Maria Mourani                      14550             16684 Ahuntsic—Cartierville
Jinny Sims                           11459             11602 Surrey—Newton

And 29 others, including eight in Alberta, five in Ontario and three in P.E.I. (candidates who got less than 10% not included):

Candidate                             2011               2015 riding
Mira Oreck                          10670            14462 Vancouver Granville
Howard Hampton                 6855             10420 Kenora
Jason Wayne McMichael   14856             18102 Sarnia--Lambton
Sara Norman                      12477             15400 Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam
Jacqui Gingras                   15075             17907 North Okanagan—Shuswap
Aaron Paquette                    9082             11582 Edmonton Manning
Cameron Alexis                    4859              7127  Peace River—Westlock
Janis Irwin                          14151            16309 Edmonton Griesbach
Bob D'Eith                          13404            15450 Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge
Gil McGowan                     11127             13084 Edmonton Centre
Herb Dickieson                    2369               4097 Egmont
Jack Iyerak Anawak            1525               3171 Nunavut
Melissa Atkinson                 2308               3943 Yukon
Doug Hart                           5805               7055 Red Deer—Lacombe
Diane Freeman                    8014              8928 Waterloo
Duane Zaraska                    4621              5513 Lakeland
Trent Derrick                        13016              13879 Cariboo—Prince George
Carolynn Ioannoni              12681              13525 Niagara Falls
Bill Sundhu                        20682           21466 Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo
Claire Card                       13344           14115 Saskatoon—University
Lon Borgerson                  10482           11244 Prince Albert
Brian Fleck                             9159               9846 Edmonton Riverbend
Constance Barnes              10952             11618 Vancouver Centre
Guy Desforges                      5655               6166 Sturgeon River—Parkland
Martin Singh                       7498             7946 Brampton North
Carol Baird Ellan                 15219             15537 Burnaby North—Seymour
Joe Byrne                           4632             4897 Charlottetown
Billy Cann                              2164               2503 Cardigan
Seonaigh MacPherson        8972               9218 Chilliwack—Hope