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Jack Layton on proportional representation
Aug 22, 2011
"It's time for a rebirth of our democracy," Layton said from Charlottetown, the birthplace of Confederation. . . . "Our voting system is broken. When arrogant Liberal majorities can break promises with absolute impunity and give our tax dollars to their friends, it's time for a new voting system. . . . It's time citizens were asked if our voting system needs fixing and it's time politicians listened to citizens on the voting system they own."
CTV.ca, June 23, 2004
"So let's have an electoral system that gives effect to the will of the people instead of standing in the way of the will of the people. Three elections in a row now—in fact, I think we can say four, if we add in the year 2000, maybe even more, but certainly those four—we've had less than forty percent of the people voting for a government, and yet that government gets the power. It's absurd, wrong, and totally undemocratic. Let's grab a hold of this—people can now see how dysfunctional it is—and let's bring proportional representation to Canada, so that political parties can run, they can lay out their program, people can vote for those parties, and their vote will not get essentially cast aside and disrespected by a result that puts in power the very party that was explicitly not the choice of the majority.
"I think proportional representation is the model for Canada, because we have a multi-party system and have had for a very long period of time in this country. It's part of our political culture here, going back many decades, and different parties come and go as a part of that process. But what we haven't had is an effective way to translate that process into seats in the House and reflect the democratic will of the people.
"It's not that these models don't exist. They exist virtually everywhere else in modern democracies. We are not a modern democracy. We're using a system that was
invented before the telephone—which was invented by a Canadian, or in Canada. We certainly make that plain. And, in fact, we've gone on to invent the BlackBerry here. We've gone through quantum leaps to perform in other areas, but we've left a system of representation in place from the Gutenberg era, including an unelected Senate, which is bad enough. But we have a first-past-the-post voting system that even the originators of that system in Britain have begun to replace, in terms of what's been going on with Scotland and Wales, and could well come to Great Britain itself. Who knows? But for heaven's sakes, let's get moving here."
Tall Poppy interview - Torontoist, 2008/11
"The best solution would be to bring proportional representation to Canada It's about time we did...because we don't get the government Canadians want."
Toronto Star live blog, April 21, 2011
"The way out of it is proportional representation. We have this absurdity where a party has in the 30s by way of support, and is able to get 100 per cent of the power, whether it was the Liberals in the 1990’s, or some people talk about that possibility for the Conservatives. I’m working hard to make sure that that doesn’t happen. It’s absurd and would not be accepted in most other countries. We should change our electoral system and then people can vote for what they want and what they believe in, the platform and program they like best, and then parties work together. That’s how most mature democracies function today."
Jack Layton in conversation: riding high, talking policy and politics - Maclean's, April 24, 2011