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Coming Together: Greens Invite Outsiders To Talk Cooperation In Canadian Politics

Coming Together: Greens Invite Outsiders To Talk Cooperation In Canadian Politics

Former Liberal leader Stephane Dion was the keynote speaker at the bi-annual Green Party convention August 17 through 19. It marks the first time a member of one political party has addressed the gathered members of another.

Dion was there to talk about ways to improve Canada’s democratic system. The Green Party is pushing for Proportional Representation rather than the current First-Past-The-Post system in which an MP can be elected without a majority of the vote. The NDP also has electoral reform as part of their platform.

This is not the first time Dion and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have come together in the name of democracy. While Liberal leader, Dion agreed not to run a candidate in Central Nova so that Liberal votes might go to May as she was trying to win a Green seat. The ploy didn’t work, Peter MacKay won the riding handily, and the next election, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals refused to do the same for May. She won her seat in Saanich anyway, defeating former Cabinet minister Gary Lunn.

Some provinces have studied the move towards a new electoral system, with two referendums in BC, one in Ontario and one in Prince Edward Island. Each province has rejected any changes and most experts say that there will be no change at the federal level until a new system is tested at the provincial level.

Also, the current Conservative majority government has no interest in changing the current system.

Bruce Hyer, an independent MP who was elected as a New Democrat, also spoke at the convention. He told the gathered Greens that there are issues that just need to be put ahead of party politics. Hyer introduced a private member’s bill that would allow for cross-party sponsorship of legislation.

For her part, May pointed to the way Canada’s system was actually designed, with Members of Parliament meant to be elected to serve their constituents and not their party.

Related Stories:

Another Call For Cooperation From Green Party Leader Elizabeth May

Canada Elects Its First Green Member Of Parliament

Canada Divided: Socialist East, Conservative West


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Photo Credit: Tania Liu

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16 comments

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9:30PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Our first-past the post system is undemocratic, it leaves the majority of people unrepresented in government.

But of course the general populace continue the refrain that electoral reforms are "too confusing" highlighting general lack of education and unwillingness to learn even the most rudimentary things.

12:17PM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

The statement in the article "with two referendums in BC, one in Ontario and one in Prince Edward Island. Each province has rejected any changes" is missleading (or false) with reference to BC. With the first referendum BC voters chose STV, a moderately proportional system, by 58%. The BC Liberal Party arbitrarily refused to impliment the system. Instead the BC Liberals changed the wording of the referendum question, gave half a million dollars to a small group of back room party hacks and called a second referendum. The party hacks used the money to deliberately and substantially misslead, confuse and decieve voters. The predictible result was 61% against.

You can read about the ugly details at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BC-STV.

The article above also confuses two separate aspects of our distructive FPTP system with the statement; "The Green Party is pushing for Proportional Representation rather than the current First-Past-The-Post system in which an MP can be elected without a majority of the vote."

The problem of a candidate being elected with less than half the votes is corrected with a preferential ballot and Alternative Vote (AV). In the US this is called Instant Runoff Voting. This would be a trivial change to our present electoral system.

If you want proportional representation you need to move to Single Transferrable Vote (STV) or Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). Each of these requires more substantial changes with STV being the simpler and mo

3:38AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

First past the post is just plain undemocratic. Time all governments had proportional representation or some description, otherwise how will the voice of sanity ever be heard.

12:21PM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Proportional Representation is also supported in the US. The Green Party of the United States strongly supports Proportional Representation but the D's and Rs do not.

11:06AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

B.C. would have proportional representation by now, if the three women in charge of drafting the ballot proposal had not spent their time fighting each other, and promoted it instead. And still, the Greens prescribe "more women in politics" as a panacea. They have the moral high ground on most issues, but on gender, they have been co-opted by a cult.

10:51AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Good! There are some decent people in politis after all!

10:37AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

I preferred Dion to Ignatief. Ignatieff was a joke.

10:00AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

My ideal is Green and Mulcair united. I don't trust Liberals any more than I trust PC. And I certainly DO NOT trust Harper!!!

9:05AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

I am glad to hear that the Greens are getting together and also pleased that S. Dion and Elizabeth May are working together at times. Both seem nice people and we need them and more importantly the environment needs them.

8:51AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

"with Members of Parliament meant to be elected to serve their constituents and not their party."

The party decides who runs in a riding. If members of parliament serve their constituents and not the party, they will not get to run in the next election.
And they will lose their precious pension !!!

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