Articles on Electoral ReformDecember 9, 2015
With the start of the 42nd Parliament, the issue of electoral reform is back in the news. But it’s not the first time the issue has been on the agenda. Twice, in 2001 and in 2005, I was invited to give my views on how to get from “here” (first-past-the-post) to “there” (some new electoral system). In 2001, I advocated a series of two referenda, as a way of winnowing down the options. In 2005 I advocated a single referendum in which voters would rank a variety of options, using a preferential ballot.
“Developing a Coalition for Electoral Reform”. Policy Options, 2001.
“The Road to Electoral Reform”. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 2005.
The real point, I think, is this: No system for a new electoral system should be enacted into law unless it has been expressly approved by the voters in a referendum. To do otherwise would be to set in place a new system that, as I noted back in 2001, “has a reasonably predictable impact on how well each of the existing parties would perform in a future election if the vote distribution were to be the same as it was in [the last] general election.” In other words, it would be seen, quite rightly, as an attempt to rig the subsequent election.
-Scott Reid, 9 December 2015.
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