- Fair Voting
- About Us
- Get involved
- Donate and join
NDP leadership candidates' responses to FVC questionnaire
Fair Vote Canada asked all of the candidates in the 2012 NDP leadership race to answer three questions:
1. Have you signed the Declaration of Voters’ Rights at http://FairVote.Ca?
2. If elected Prime Minister would you, in your first mandate, undertake a process that includes public consultation to make the federal electoral system fairer and more proportional to the popular vote?
3. As NDP Leader, would you make a process (which includes public consultation) to make the federal electoral system more proportional a necessary condition for supporting any minority government?
Here are their responses, in the order in which we received them:
Peggy Nash (Feb. 24, 1:43 pm):
2. Yes. I think public consultation will lead to better policy-making on this issue and will generate the popular support needed to make it a reality. In the coming week I will be putting forward a specific plan to move Canada forward towards a system of proportional representation.
3. Setting out absolute deal-breakers before entering into negotiations is not always possible, but I will commit to making the implementation of proportional representation a top condition for supporting any future minority government. I think it should absolutely be one of the key issues on the table in any agreement between parties during a minority government. A number of very important measures were implemented in the past because the NDP was able to use its leverage during minority parliaments, and I think we should do the same for proportional representation if the opportunity presents itself.
The Peggy Nash plan for PR: http://peggynash.ca/2012/peggy-nash-will-move-swiftly-to-implement-propo...
Nathan Cullen (Feb 28, 11:27 am):
1. Yes, I have. I am also the only candidate for NDP leader proposing we be open to co-operating with other progressive, federalist parties in Conservative-held seats. This will help overcome the ancient voting system and reduce split votes—helping replace Mr. Harper’s majority with a progressive one. The fact is the current voting system does not help Canada’s progressive majority govern. We need to change that. Since we can’t change the voting system before the next election, we should change how we do politics to make changing the voting system easier.
2. I was the first NDP leadership candidate to release a policy on voting reform, which can be found on my website at nathancullen.ca. I’ve also said many times that the first bill I introduce as prime minister will be to change the voting system. Since it exists for citizens, this bill would logically include citizen consultation and education.
3. I’m first going to quibble with the premise of your question. The NDP will be the government. We are in an ideal position to lead the conversation about how to get politics that work for more people: first by co-operating, then by changing the voting system. So I don’t envision the NDP being a supporting partner in a minority situation. But under any circumstance, I will certainly make working with other parties in the House to change the voting system a priority. We need to prevent ever having another “majority” government (elected with less than 40% support) attacking Canadian values instead of acting on them.
Nathan Cullen—improving our democracy: http://en.nathancullen.ca/improving_our_democracy
Niki Ashton (Feb. 28, 3:10 pm)
Paul Dewar (Mar 1, 12:37 am):
1. Yes. The current electoral system is not fair. It's time to work together and find solutions that will ensure our Parliament represents the real will of our citizens.
2. Yes. As Prime Minister, I would make democratic reform, including introducing proportionality and greater fairness into our electoral system, a priority. My first critic portfolio after my election to the House of Commons was democratic reform. Over the years I have worked with organizations like Fair Vote to advance fairness in our electoral system. As leader of the NDP, I will campaign with our grassroots to promote greater awareness of the solutions for a fairer electoral system in Canada. I have long promoted the idea of a mixed-member proportional representation similar to New Zealand's system.
3. Yes, although my goal would be to earn Canadians' support to form our country's first New Democratic government - where electoral reform would be a priority.
Brian Topp (Mar 1, 2012, 12:45 pm):
1. Yes I have. I'm signing your declaration in response to your email, with pleasure. I've detailed my democratic reform proposals in a paper on www.briantopp.ca. I co-chaired the NDP's most recent platform committee, and you'll note an important section on this issue was also included in the NDP's spring 2011 election platform.
2. Yes I would. My preference would be to compaign on the following proposition: if an NDP government is elected in 2015, Canadians will be voting on a mixed proportional system in 2019. I favour a public consultation on the details of such a system during our term, to ensure it is well understood and that all of the issues have been considered before implementation. My preference is to then enact the system, not to conduct a separate referendum as has been done provincially -- in my view the fundamental decision should be made in an election. I set out my views on this issue here: Restoring Responsible Government in Canada
3. Yes I would.
Tom Mulcair (Mar 1, 11:48 pm):
1) I wholeheartedly agree with the three basic democratic rights that the petition demands, i.e. to cast an equal and effective vote and to be represented fairly in Parliament, regardless of political belief or place of residence; to be governed by a fairly elected Parliament where the share of seats held by each political party closely reflects the popular vote; and to live under legitimate laws approved by a majority of elected Parliamentarians representing a majority of voters. As such, I will be honoured to table your petition in Parliament. However, as a Member of Parliament, it is somewhat inconsequential to petition the House of Commons myself, and I thus have not signed the petition.
3) Cooperation among political parties, in the scenario of a minority Parliament requires careful negotiation and building bridges, where others try to divide us. I commit to making electoral reform one of my key demands in the case of such negotiations, but I would not make it a necessary condition for cooperating. In the continuation of Jack Layton's approach to minority Parliaments, I would seek to get results for Canadians if such results can be obtained. Electoral reform can unfortunately not be accomplished in every political constellation in the House of Commons.
Martin Singh has not yet responded to our questionnaire.
However, at a February 29 NDP leadership meet-and-greet in Peterborough, he drew applause for this line: "First-Past-The-Post is the ultimate voter suppression scheme; it suppresses half the votes by throwing them in the garbage can."
See also: New Democrats for Fair Voting