Nov 1, 2012 DGD – Aaron
**Question: how do u interpretat “working in the public engagement for so long”, What is your role in
your country... “i have a role as a political actor in Canada, and I have to play it”
Nov 6, 2012
Electriol system: how the vote that ppl cast get translated into seats.
“Lary johsnton from votes to seats” on the library website
Electriale systems are difined aas the system in which the votes ppl cast are translated into the
representations of political parties in the legislative assembly. Some of these systems are somewat
complex. Should know the features and principles. Every contry that allows the ppl to vote uses a
electrol system. They are important. More in more research has gone into electrical systems and their
effect. They are more important than we thought. They also have social and political impacts. The
system we use in Canada is not good for national unity and natoinal solidarity. The system to unit the
country dos more to fracture. The results of the system dos not actually represent the views of the ppl.
Our democracy has clrealy suffured. Some systems are more advanced then others. Those who work in
and for, give a lot of thought on whjich electial system to use. Some facilitate conflict resolution and
other worship relationaship between communities.
In Canada this has been an ecademic debat for a while. In BC and PIE, referenda held to change the
system, it has been defeded. In QB there has been an in dept study. Number of politician from NDP and
liberals and green party have spoke about system reform but not actions have come
4 types of systems: 1-plurality system. 2- majoritarian system. 3- proportional representation system. 4-
mixed systems. Not everyone uses these classification.
Political science who study system, look for 3 arrangements of systems in order to makes some
assessments: 1- district magnitude. Refers to the number of reps that are elected from each
constituency. 2-Ballot type or ballot structure. Refers to whether the ballot makes u chose one or the
other, or whether u can rank ur preferences. Have to make one choice or rank them. 3- electoral
formula. Refers to how the winner is determined. In some cases it is very similar. In others its more
To determine which of the 4 types are appropriate, u need to have some sort are assessment criteria
that u can use to make a judgement. In ON the legislator identifies 9 criteria, some are clear some
aren’t. 1- simplicity, ppl should be able to understand how it works. 2- legitimacy, the electors should
have confidence in the system, ppl should think that the electoral process accords their will with the
political values. They have to believe it to be legitimate. 3- strong voter participation, should promote
voter engagement, elections should be accessible and meaningful. 4- accountability, voters should be
able to throw the rascals out if they don’t deliver, know who to account, who to blame if something
goes wrong, limit the party leaders to chose candidates. The plurality system seems to be effective. 5-
voter choice, the system should promote voter choice in term of quality and quantity in options for
voters, some systems promote voters choice some not. 6- fairness of representation, the legislator
should reflect the population of the jurisdiction for proportionality to represent the population.
Parliament should be a mirror of the population. All regions, ideology, religion, ethnics, gender... should
be represented. 7- stable and effective gov. Dos not depend on the electrole system, but the sysmte
shouldn’t be responsible for for instability. 8- effective parliaments. Electrola system should ensure a strong opposition is in place. Parliemtn and opposition to fulfil their role. 9- efeective political parties.
Related to oters choice. Electrol system should encourage strong partys, have policy proposal and speak
Some groups n scallors emphasis that the electoral systems has inter ethnic reconciliation or tolorence.
Donald Horowitz, seys there ways to divide the ethnics to seek votes amongs other communitess. Feels
taht this will foster conciliatory behavuior on the parte of politicians.
*Don’t need to know the details of the types, just basic principles. plurality system. 2- majoritarian
system. 3- proportional representation system. 4- mixed systems.
1- Plurality system: only has one type. FPTP/ SMP. First past the post. Single member plurality. Simplest
of the 4 systems. In terms of district, theres only onf member. In terms of ballot type, theres categorical.
In terms of electoral formulor the winner is determined by the one who gets the most votes. Most the
voters in the world live under this system. Advenatge: a)simpls, errbody understand, direct and clear link
between the vote and the result. Ppl will kno who their representative will be, accountable to those
votes. FTPT allows individual representative to incount in their actions n inactions. Provides and
incentive in the constituency service. Because u can identify ur member, u provid the person with the
concenttitve that hes agood Mp. b) majority gov c) the FTPT encourage broadly based political parties.
G) excludes extremist parties. Problem in this system: the number of seats that the party gets donts not
correspond withthe proportional with the votes partys get. In terms of our 9 criteria, this system scores
well on accountable n stable and effective gov, but weak on fairness and voters choice. National unity
problem. Some provinces to poorly in terms of setas, but do well in terms of votes.
2- majoritarian system: has 2 types: alternative vote and the 2 round system or the runoff system. A)
Alternative vote: system similar to SMP but in rder to win, canadaite needs more then 50% of the votes.
The Ballot type is called preferiencial or ordinal, voters can rank their preference. When the votes are
counted in the canadidate wins the majority of the votes, theyr declared the winer, if not majority then
last place finisher and droped from the account the voters second preferences are given to th other
candidates. This system is not widely used, Australia... this system have recommendaded for societies in
deep ethnic communites to reach out in all ethinic communities in order to get the majority. B) 2 round
or runoff: bsed on the same principle s A) but operationalised in deff manner. If a candidate dosnt win
the majority, a second vote will be held. Ex: france. With the 9 criteria, they score well on legitimacy,
accountability, and stable and effective gov. Weak on fairness representation, dosnt do well in
proportionality. Prof thinks alternative is a good system, and should be used more. Has the support of
the scollar D. Horowitz. Advantage: increases the legitimacy and minimise the dis porportinaly issues.
3- proportional representation: link s the % of seats a party gets iwth the % of the votes a party gets.
40% of the votes = 40% of the seats won. Types: list-PR and Single transferable vote (STV).
Nov 8, 2012
2- Majoritarian system: 2 types: alternative vote, similar to wat we use, ppl can rank their candidates,
winner is the one who get 50% or more. 2 round system, only 2 elections are held. Top 2 do another
election 2 weeks later for round 2.
3- proportional representation system: seeks to have the % of votes u get and seat u get in alignment. 2
main types: a_ list pr: popular system. B- single transferable vote. A- each political party presents a list of
candidates determined by the party order..? voters chose the party not the candidate. The
determination of the list is the job of the political party. Sometimes the party executive will decide who should be on that list. The order they apper on the list is important, it reflects who they want the most.
In terms of discritc maginitude: the entire country is the district. There are several districts. In order to
get a seat in the parliament, partys need to reach a certain level of support. The majority of list pr
systems use a pr list. The voters must accept the names on the list. Gives partys the opportunities to
address the minorities in the parliament, the party that wants to win will make sure that there will be a
suffiecent number of women and minorities on their list. List pr has been very effective in making
women part of it... The criteria is accountability, because u have multi member district its not always
easy to blame somebody or praise somebody, not always clear. In a list pr system u usually have
coalition gov. Austria, belgin, polland, greec, swiss, brazil use this type. B- singles transferable vote: not
popular. Onle irland, molta, autralia use this. Has enourmous popularity of ppl who studies this who.
This system is complexe. This system privodes for multimember districts. in australi there are 12
senators of each district. U can rank them. U can have a ballot with 2 or 3 members from the same
political party. To get elected, candidates need to get a certain amont of votes. U have to reach a quota.
The counting of the ballot is a multi stage process. The first count any candidate that reaches the quota
in part of it. Those who exceed, are scrutinized. If no candidate reaches the quota or not enought to fill
the seats, then the last place is droped and distributed to the second place... ???objective to make sure
there are no wasted votes. *all u need to know: multimember district, can have more then one
candidate in a district, counting process is a multi stage, u can rank order the candidates listed.
4-mixed systems: 2 types: mixed member proportional (MMP) and mixed member parallel. 1- used in 9
countries in the world. The system recommendated by the Ontario cictezens elected reform. Theres 2
types of electrical system. Yo have a ballot that has 2 categories: one for the candidates and one for the
party. On one side they vote on a FTFP system so they for one, the candidate. And on the other side they
vote for the party. The party vote determines the % of seats the political party is intended to in the
parliament. The party vote tells us the seats ur accounted too, and the candidate votes tells us the
amount of seats u have. Scores well on votes representation and voters choice. Canadians will have a
difficult time with Mps at large. B- mixed member parallel: used in 21 countries: japan Russia korea.
Similar to the other type. Again, list of candidates and list of parties. The diff is that, its as tho 2 elections
are going on at the same type. They get the results and add them up. You add up the 2 totals of seats.
Have very lil popularity profile in canada or the us.
Federalism: system of governance characterised by a constitutionally protected division of law making
powers between a central or federal government and governments of constituent units (provinces, and
states) applied on a territorial basis. Sometimes we use the terms subnational governances. Jurisdiction
is another term : refers to a governments power over, of for. jurisdiction of education. Autonomy is
another term: range of decision making power that the gov will have. Large autonomy= large space of
power. Centralization: movement of power toward the fedral go or central gov. Decentralization:
movement of power towards the provinces.
The difficulty of federalism has to do with power. Federal sysyte, is a union of governance nd citizem.
Confedral system: union of governance were the power lies in the provinces.
There lots of fetures: 1-brings states together and keeps them together. 2-Theres no one model of
federalism, diff types of federalism. 3-Fed gov can governe the citizens. 4- the existence of those
governance and power must be constitutionally protected. Existence of the 2 levels are protected. When
the powers of each levels are protected, that means neither can approache to the other unless it
aggress to it. 5- they differ in their constitutional configuration. visions of Rached and smith: equlity of the federal and provincial governance vision: stresses provincial
autonomy. Sees Ottawa n the provinces as acting independently of each other. Importance of the vision
is the latitude of the goevernance of doing their own thing. Were Ottawa wants to intervene in some
issue, the provinces must give their consent. They implications of this vision are profound. Most cheif
don’t agree that the federal gov speaks for Canada, some say they all speak for Canada.
Second vision of federalism is the equality of the provinces with each other. In this view there is no
prvinc that has a special status in Canada. They don’t have anything special that isn’t available to the
others. Denies the special and legal status of any particular province. Ex: of quebec wanted special
regocnision for being the only French speaking.
Third vision: asymmetrical federalism. This vision, one province is seen merit to constitutional given
power that are not given to the others. has great acceptance in the quebec liberal party. The opposition
is based on several grounds 1- if QB got powers to govern themselves, then others would want the
same. 2- the diff of qb and others are not that diff, theyr pretty much the same. 3- no specification for
special powers for qb. Difficulties: how its constitutionally expressed; Powers that wont be available to
others or a broad claim can be made, that QB can have its protection of its own culture.
Final vision: the nationalizing federal vision: the basis of political identity is Canada itself. Not provinces,
not minority or not ethnic groups. Previliges the federal level. It sees power accrouwing the federal
level. It uses its constitutional powers to the fullest. The authers identify 3 versions of this vision. 1- by
john a macdonal, saw canda as a national identity. Design a constitution of law making. 2- by social
democrats, saw a federal gov having the only tools that can get a country out of depression. 3- pierre
trudeaus view was like the others, this view has lil support amounst politicians. Liberal party use to be a
supporter of this view. The nationalizinf vision is valuble for a country like Canada that has so many
decentralizing forces and 1- strong provincial governments. The diff between equality and solidarity
seems sensible. One of the features of federalism is the constitution that protect the gov on both levels.
1- institutions at the federal level that protects the gov in the national level, the senate does this. 2-
Another institution is the impartial empire, which is the courts. Needs to dispute the contradiction
between the governments. Because the supreme court is appointed by the parliament, they might favor
Fiscal federalism: financial. Refers to the financial relations between the federal gov and the provinces.
Talking about the taxing and spending powers of bother levels, and the payments Ottawa makes to the
provinces (transfer payments). Issue cus the revenus capacity varies amongs province and cu the
autonomie of the provinces wont mean much if they aren’t able to do want they want to do. There is a
need to find a way to ensure that both levels have the financial resources to do what they need to do.
Federal gov transfers huge among to the provinces. 3 largest tranfers from Ottawa are the eualizaton
programs, the Canada health transfer, and the canda social transfer. 1-The equalization program has
been since 1982, to ensure that the poor princes have enought to provide a good level of services. To
afford hospitals and roads to the same levels as other provinces can. 2-Canda health transfer is the
largest. Money to diliver health care, amounts are huge. 3- canda social transfer. Ottawa gives money
for welfare and post secondary education.
There are many other programs that Ottawa founds and give money to other provinces. Some provinces
need more help then others. In making transfer payments to the prov, the fed gov is making use of its
federal spending power.
Nov 13, 2012
Guest speaker – Christopher wadelle – Media
Relationship between corporalship and the media Owners of media don’t tell reporters want to report on. They have discussions buut
management dosnt edit they stories they write and or tell them what to write. Reporters don’t
want ppl telling them wat to do
Coverage of politics have changed throughout the years
1988 election year. Voters had decide if the wanted to vote for conservative who were for the
trade agreement with the states, or vote for liberal who were against the trade.
1988: the Canadian press that write stories had 36 ppl in their buereau. CBC television had just
14 reporters at the beginning. 2 for on east. And 2 for monitoba west. Every news bureau had
specialist. Most reporters had 1 or 2 deadline a day.
Theres was time to do reaserch and time to talk to ppl to get info
14 just doing television news. Today they just have 4 ppl doing television news working for CBC
After the free trade election. It was introduced. Early 1990s as the country adjusted to free
trade, a big ressicion came into Canada, unemployement. When the resicion happend
advertisement went down, and they had to reduce spending and had to make cuts.
News orgas had to cut back the number of reporters they had.
In early 1990s all different types of bureaus had a reporter in Ottawa and just one in a province.
All the one person bureau had to shut down because of the recission.
Lot of talking between the reporters of Ottawa in the parliament hill and their bureaus. Telling
them the fair amount of importance of their hometown.
This impacted the amount of pl that came out to vote.
After they shut down the bureaus, less ppl were voting
Local MPs had fewer things written about when they shut down the one person bureaus.
Had an impact on how much ppl knew about the mps of their town because it was written for
everyone. They lost that local contact.
In about 2000, they ran into convergience. They took news papers and television stations and
putting them into one owner.
Everyone that worked under the same owner were friends, shared information, worked
together, reporters also went on television... you can have 1 person do the job of 3 things
(write, write on internet, n be on tv)
The internet, ppl started getting th internet converage. Newspapers and television reports were
all posted online. And now instead of working on only 1 report a day, w=youd be working on 2
In early 2000s, the ppl who built these huge enterprises had to loan money. The semi recission
that was happening in 2006,2007, 2008 was because these companies had to pay back their
2006: there were no real local reporters or local bureaus left on the hill. Local news wasn’t as
covered properly. They lost all the connection between parliament hill and local political and
community. They were looking for stories that had run broad news and had no actuall local
They were looking at storie that would go across the whole country
As they lost reporters, they couldn’t assign them in to specific regions. So they would make
them move around and change the genre of report. Reports that are dramatically different
everyday. They weren’t specified in these subjects so they had to do theyr research and go on
the internet. Howver internet can have the effect of changing a fact into a fiction. Changing the
story into a put were its not even true anymore.
The problem that came with this: when u don’t know issues and the policies that come with it
you can write about conflicts and personality because u don’t need as much dept and knowledge about these, and they were specialists on other things. Reporters were more about
superficial things. It was more about personality and conflicts instead of political issues.
Media was smaller then it was before, lost of specialisation of the reporters, they were doing
more things and reports. The political coverage was dissolved.
When the economy went down advertisement was doing down. Affected news and reporters,
real estates... market starts to fall off
classified advertising didn’t exist anymore because everything was now advertised online and
now doing it online and not in news papers.
Convergence between tv n news paper fall apart. And it became vertical... ppl who owned the
satilite system and internet and blablablaaa
No local media left on parliament hill. They now figure about wats going on by looking at
national news watch.
The incress of technology. The media now have caught themselves up that political parties have
engaged themselves in too many things. Media that dosnt catch on everything politically
anymore because of tech (twiter internet... )
Wats cover in politics is the fault of media. The dept of the coverage u can get depends on the
amount of ppl you have to do so and on their specialities and on the amount of time to go so.
Political engagement, getting political coverage, getting more dept, more resources, more time
to have a better quality report.
Media isn’t covering in the dept that other ppl want.
Voters need too look more and harder if they want to find information
NOV 15: DGD
1- Plurality : getting 50% of the votes, majority. Tend to have few big parties cuz its easier to
compete. Regional parties benefits too, like bloc quebecois. The most simple way
2- Majority: wat do we do about the fact the ppl getting elected without getting the majority. Rare
that ppl get 50% of the votes. So to do so theres 2 ways: the runoff (have an election and take
out the ones one don’t have the chance, and then have another election for the final 2). The
other way is the ranking ballots (ranking the candidates, voting for more then one person. Ex:
first conservative, second liberal, third ndp...). runoff: first round take the top 2 candidates with
the most vvtoes and ignore the rest of the parties, then they would do another election
between only these 2 candidates. Everyone gets a chance to begin with, but in the end theres