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Marc Garneau supports electoral reform – reform that can win if put to the test.

I’m turning back my attention briefly to the Federal Liberal campaign to mention that I’m pleased to see Marc Garneau state he supports electoral reform, and that he supports a version of it that has not been tested in any referendum, and in fact is quite familiar to all the political parties:

If elected, my proposal would be to reform Canada’s electoral system by changing our voting process to a preferential ballot, or a ranked ballot. Used by many other nations, as well as the leadership races for the Liberal Party of Canada, the federal NDP and the Conservative Party of Canada, a preferential ballot better reflects the will of the people.

Using a ranked ballot, Canadians would no longer tick only one box indicating their first and only choice. Rather, they would rank their choices and tick not only their first choice, but their second, third, fourth, etc. choices.

If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent of the votes when the first choice votes are tallied, the bottom candidate is dropped and his or her second choice votes are allocated to those who remain. The process continues until one candidate has achieved at least 50 per cent plus one of the support from that riding. The preferential ballot fundamentally addresses the challenge of vote splitting. Parliament will better reflect the real preferences of its people.

This is not proportional representation, the favored electoral reform by most in this movement, but it is the most familiar to the parties and probably the least scary and easiest to understand for the electorate. PR has failed miserably at the referendum ballot box. It’s time that electoral reform proponents accept this and try going for more incremental reforms of the system. I have come to believe this method is the best way to go about it, so I’m pleased to see Mr. Garneau support it.

He also has a pretty interesting section on party reforms, including this line that caught my attention:

I would empower ridings to select the best candidate for themselves through an open nomination process in all ridings. I would also ensure sufficient time for riding associations to call nominations, allowing candidates sufficient time to run before an election.

That is more or less done now; what would really get my attention is if that “open nomination process” extends to those in ridings dissatisfied with their sitting Liberal MP.. or Cabinet Minister, if that was applicable. The Liberals have long protected those folks from primary challenges, so if Mr Garneau is willing to say that his position extends to taking away those protections from those MP’s or Cabinet Ministers (whose LPC riding members should have a right to express whether they like the job they’re doing or not) then this is a substantial move in inter-Liberal party reforms.

2 comments to Marc Garneau supports electoral reform – reform that can win if put to the test.

  • cho

    The good think about Garneau’s proposal is that we would keep local representation. It is very similar to our current system, except with more input from voters.

  • Jordan

    From his website: “Instead, I would empower ridings to select the best candidate for themselves through an open nomination process in all ridings.”

    I assumed when he said all ridings he meant those of sitting MPs too.

    Two smart policies for sure.

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