Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Andrew Coyne on MMP

Go Andrew, Go!

Yes, but wouldn't these lists be made up of party hacks, chosen on the basis of loyalty to the leader? First response: Have you had a look at how candidates are chosen now? Where they are not appointed by the leader, they are typically chosen by busloads of instant members.

Second response: Why would the parties do this? Why would they commit electoral suicide? Why would their members let them? It's one thing to impose your hand-picked lackey on some poor riding association somewhere, amid the hurly-burly of a general election. It's quite another to post an entire slate of ward-heelers and log-rollers to represent the party --in the shop window, as it were, where everyone could have a good look at them.

Again, the experience in other PR countries is that list members tend to be chosen democratically, by internal party elections. Notably, that is true of the two countries with systems similar to that proposed for Ontario: New Zealand, where it's required by law, but also Germany, where it's left up to the parties to decide. As one would expect -- if competition between parties were not enough to ensure a more open process, agitation from the membership almost certainly would.

Indeed, one result of electoral reform might well be to force the parties to adopt more democratic nominating processes generally. After all, if they are going to have "clean" lists, they can hardly avoid the ridings. That alone would make the experiment worthwhile.

H/T: More Notes From Underground

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