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Blame first-past-the-post for Canada’s growing rural-urban divide

Blame first-past-the-post for Canada’s growing rural-urban divide

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cdnbiker45

I have lived in large cities in Ontario and Rural cities in that Province and in western Canada and I feel like there has always been be large rural City divide. I have found from my experience most people who spend their whole lives in large cities do not have any connection anymore to family members or friends who live in rural areas. And do not know what it is like to live there


throwawayindmed

The urban-rural divide is much broader than electoral politics. It's true that an STV or MMP system would get more Liberal and NDP candidates elected from rural areas, but I have to imagine that the priorities of rural voters would continue to be quite different from urban voters. There's no world in which urban and rural voter blocs are going to see eye to eye on things like firearm legislation.


TOMapleLaughs

This. I'm just wondering how going with a different electoral system would do anything about it. So you mix up the seat counts a bit... Well, the same issues for the minority of rural Canadians are still there, being largely overruled by the majority of urban Canadians. The author's recollection of the 90's also seems off. >As recently as the 1990s, the Liberals competed in the rural West and the Progressive Conservatives won in urban centres. Not too sure about that as the west including BC saw fit to form another major party based on the theme of 'western alienation.' Of course it helps that cause when Mulroney delivered a deathblow to the Progressive Conservatives via the historically unpopular GST, and the PC's led by Campbell and Charest were all but shut out of the west during the 90's.


Radix2309

What specific rural issues are being demied by urban voters? In my province the Liberals just this uear did some good support for farmers and fisheries. Definitely not urban there. We exist in a symbiotic relationship. This isnt a zero sum game where urban and rural are competing. We can have common goals and urban voters can support policies thay are good for rural voters.


LastBestWest

It's not a policy divide so much as an identity one. Rural people rightly observe that the leadership of this country in almost all spheres (political, economic, cultural) is urban. They believe this means their concerns aren't taken into account. I don't think the latter is true, but it's a valid gripe. It's no different than women or ethnic minorities having concerns about their representation in positions of power.


TOMapleLaughs

Agreed in principle but the divide is always played up for votes. Gun policy is frequently mentioned. Other wedge issues would be propped up as well. Covid policy is forming a wedge currently.


Radix2309

And those wedge issues actually matter less in PR. In FPTp you can use them to flip a couple dozen seats with only 1% change in the vote.


TOMapleLaughs

Imho that's partly why fptp isn't going away.


jrystrawman

I think the heading "parties harden to their views" is relevant to gun control though. If you had rural Liberals and urban Conservatives, some of which are in my mind to the right of urban conservatives, they may be more effective at persuading their co-partisans of nuance in policy making rather than blanket bans on drugs. The regional divides are entrenched and aggravated in our system (which in the short term suits all sorts of regionalists). I am myself skeptical of changing the voting system but I do think this argument works in it's favour.


Affectionate_Gap2813

I'm curious. in what world would liberals be country folk, and conservatives city folk. I just don't see that world prospering, I imagine some robocop level cities, and farms being hippie communes that barely feel their local communities, rather than the cities that depend on them


scottb84

I mean, [agrarian socialism](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agrarian_socialism) is very much a thing. The NDP grew out of the [Co-operative Commonwealth Federation](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-operative_Commonwealth_Federation), a movement that began on the prairies, and North America's first avowedly social democratic government was elected in Saskatchewan in 1944. Contrary to popular belief, left-wing governments can be very pragmatic. Saskatchewan's [farms were electrified](https://www.producer.com/news/electricity-forever-changed-life-on-the-farm/) and the rural grid road system was built by the CCF government under Tommy Douglas, for example. Farming has never been easy work, but in the first part of the 20th C it was truly brutal. People had to unite together just to survive on the land, and prairie socialism grew out of this spirit of mutual aid. It was also a reaction to cruelly indifferent central Canadian political and business interests. To this day many people on the prairies choose to bank at credit unions and shop at co-operatives, but these institutions were originally founded out of necessity by farmers who were ill-served by central Canadian banks and equipment suppliers.


3pair

What exactly is your definition of 'country folk' here? In 2015, every single riding in Atlantic Canada went Liberal, and that's includes some extremely rural areas.


jrystrawman

Maybe we are misunderstanding each other? I suspect the City of Toronto votes ~20% Conservative... and Calgary is urban; so urban Conservatives exist. I think 40% of rural Canada still votes for a left leaning party, moreso in the east of this country. Historically rural ridings were much more competitive but they’ve been incrementally declining in importance year by year so large swathes if rural areas can be safely ignored now without major consequence for our parties. But yes, in our current system white-collar-urban conservatives and the “hippie farmers” are underrepresented.


moeburn

> It's true that an STV or MMP system would get more Liberal Could you tell that to the Liberal party leadership? They seem to be acting like they are under the impression that proportional representation would mean the end of the party.


throwawayindmed

Those are two different issues. I'm not saying that the Liberals would win more seats in a PR system in general, just that there would likely be a more even mix of urban and rural MPs. If the current voting patterns hold, most PR systems (except perhaps ranked ballot) would obviously be detrimental to the LPC's overall seat share.


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joe_canadian

Rules 2 and 3.


LastBestWest

> Part of the problem is Canada's insane level of party discipline and intolerance towards any competing opinions within a party. There is little reason for real areas to be economically liberal (in the classical sense of the word) and support deregulation and privatization (which disproportionately hurts rural consumers) and low taxes for the wealthy (which most rural people are not). Candidates who have these views, however, don't find much support in most of rural Canada, because they come packaged with progressive positions on cultural issues like abortion, gun laws, and "woke" politics. If our party system allowed it, I could see candidates with economically left and culturally conservative views do well in rural Canada. If parties other than the CPC had more representation in rural Canada m, it could do a lot to bridge the growing political divide between the urban and rural parts of this county.


espomar

The entire election would have never been called if Trudeau and the Liberals has kept their promise, and added an element of proportional representation to the electoral system (as there was a [wide consensus on in 2016](https://www.fairvote.ca/2017/03/06/mythbuster-was-there-no-consensus/) ). With First Past the Post, there is always the temptation to pull the trigger, and gamble on winning a phoney majority. It's a lottery. And one that cost us $650 million during a pandemic. Scrap FPTP.


Bruno_Mart

Wow, that article is bad. Fairvote.ca is deliberately misquoting themselves to push their agenda. They say "88% of experts consulted by the ERRE supported PR" while the true quote from fairvote.ca is that "88% of experts consulted by the ERRE **who had an opinion on an ideal voting system** favored PR". Which is a deliberate misuse of statistics in two ways. One, if you look at their data only 52% of consulted experts supported PR total. And that's just a vague support for any PR system. Two, only around 15% of "experts" supported a specific PR system. So no, there is no consensus. Even the people who like PR can't agree on which system to use. And that's before I even talk about how the "experts" who didn't voice support were largely warning about the consequences of changing the electoral system or before I talk about Fairvote.ca's questionable definition of "expert".


zeromussc

The final report from the committee was also full of contradictions and giant holes in their reasoning which effectively made it a wasted effort. They said the government should hold a referendum on some form of PR addition or change to our electoral system. They had \*a lot\* of PR models in the reports and supporting evidence. Ok great. \- They also noted they wanted a gallagher score of under 5, also laudable. Ok cool. \- They wanted to maintain an MP-Riding link. Makes sense. \- Not yet ready to do electronic/online voting. Ok ... \- we want to limit the ability of single interest fringe groups from becoming big voices to avoid a highly fractured HoC wait but that's really hard with PR \- Government needs to present canadians with a viable model via referendum Ok cool makes sense, wait, \*government\* not committee or elections Canada? But ... \- EC needs to educate Canadians on the model(s) chosen as alternatives and the way things would be redistricted as a result and how it impacts them Ok, wait thats a lot of work and a lot of confusing information for the general public, and, you didn't recommend more budget? Oh and weren't the best options to maintain all your requirements of riding-mp, tracking similar results as past elections in terms of prorportionality of votes accounting for discrict and vote models applied to past final results from the polls and achieving a low gallagher score and PR AND limit the fracture of parties into large number of special interest fringe groups - all require more complex ballot counting and the use of electronic counting and voting stations with major redistricting? And you all from a partisan perspective can't agree on more than "let the public service under a minister of an incumbent government should figure out the details" because you couldn't agree on a shortlist of PR types to be explored in detail? Isn't that a partisan poison pill? No wonder it went nowhere. And when we add onto this the more recent referendums on PR type reforms done elsewhere? Yeah, the committee doomed itself and the investment to go nowhere with the political issue of no third part or neutral party or multi-party committee making a real recommendation to then be put to a referendum history tells us will fail ... Maybe we try again in a decade or two once the next generation of politicians come in and want to work on this more seriously ... hopefully. People act like its \*so easy\* and like all the parties would just agree to a majority government forcing a referendum, and like most of Canada that isn't a political junkie actually cares, and like the committee made strong recommendations and it was the Liberals who just ignored them \*grumpy face\* When in reality its complex as shit, no one agreed, no one wanted to seriously do this in the end, and everyone decided to make an impossible set of recommendations and then the Liberals had to wear it because they were given something impossible to actually act upon with the end result. This is the kind of thing that needs, honestly, a long term standing committee, working for years - probably in the senate not the house - to ever get down to a real set of actionable recommendations that we then hold a referendum on. Preferably without any outside political interference. Just straight facts without the paid advertisement grandstanding and let people decide.


Radix2309

1. PR isnt inherently likely to cause single issue voters to split the House. We can easily set up systems with certain magnitude requirements. 2. It wasnt the job to pick a system. Their mandate as given by the government was to examine the options and present them. Which they did. It is ultimately uo to the government to pick. 3. Maintaining a low gallagher score whilr maintaining local ridings does not require a complex system. It can be as simple as MMP. There is also STV which doesnt require electorinic voting either. 4. They did have a short list of options that would work and be under the Gallagher score desired. MMP, STV, RUP, and P3 all fulfill the requirements.


Radix2309

Why do the experts need to recommend a specific system? They recommend a proportional system. Any proportional system fulfills that. And those that recommend a specific system don't say only use this system. They would also be fine with other proportionsl systems as any are better than FPTP. It is like picking out a car to replace your old beater. Someone may recommend a specific car, but that doesnt mean that they are saying you shouldnt get a new car if you don't get the one they recommend. Also you are the one twisting statistics here. It was 88% who had a preference. The fact that it qas 52% of total experts doesnt imply that there are 48% against it. It means that a portion simply didnt have a preference for or against. That is just bad statistics there.


CrowdScene

The whole point of a committee is to work through all of the details to present the House with a recommendation, not just to present the House with all of the details they were tasked with combing through. If you asked somebody to recommend a new car, and after months of work they came back with a recommendation of "Buy a car that fits your budget, seats as many people as you need, carries as much stuff as you need to carry, has a fuel economy that you're comfortable with, and I think it should be painted some shade of grey rather than yellow or purple," would you say that they gave you a good recommendation?


Radix2309

That isnt the whole point of the committee. Their job was explicitly to present the options. It was in their mandate given by the House. You have a problem with that, tell it to the house. The committee did its job. It's not their fault the government turfed the whole thing. They werent asked to recommend a new car, they were asked to give the options available, what kind of features Canadians wanted from their car, and what the positives and negatives of each car were.


CrowdScene

They failed at even that though. If they were tasked with finding out what features Canadians want and which cars have those features, their conclusion was basically that Canadians have differing demands for various features, half of the experts they spoke to had no opinion on the car colour, and the other experts said the colour should be greyscale but wouldn't commit to white, black, or any shade in between. That is not enough information to go forward with a car purchase that affects every Canadian whatsoever.


Radix2309

Maybe you should actually read the report. They outline several key features that must be there. They gave a way to measure how proportionate a system is. And then they offered 4 options that each rate well under the measurement. They offered plenty. It was enough to easily pick a system and then build it.


Iustis

> if Trudeau and the Liberals has kept their promise, and added an element of proportional representation to the electoral system I see this a lot, but I don't think he ever promised that? Even back in 2013 one of the reasons I supported MHF > Trudeau was that he was already set on IRV being the replacement, not MMP/STV.


OutsideFlat1579

Never promised PR in any form. Maybe he should have been more clear, people hear what they want to.


Linmizhang

Every election that FPTP stays in place is another year of the Governing parties of Canada works for themselves, not the people.


foley589

We need electoral reform and switch to a PR system. It is absurd that the NDP has a higher supporting base but doesn’t have the representation in the house, the same can be said for the PPC compared to the GPC.


ThePowerOfWeToe

PR proponents and FairVote.ca are so dishonest that it has completely turned me off their cause. Growing rural-urban divide is a global phenomenon as the lifestyles and education levels of rural-urban populations increasingly diverge. This is happening literally everywhere in the world regardless of if they use FPTP (US) or PR (Italy, Poland to name a few) and has been happening since the 60s. To rest it on FPTP is just blatantly false. I used to be ambivalent about FPTP but PR proponents have turned me into a FPTP supporter.


LastBestWest

FPTP exaggerates and exasterbates regional differences. For example, the seat distribution makes Toronto look overwhelmingly Liberal, even though only about 50% of voters supported the LPC.


turnips_thatsall

>I used to be ambivalent about FPTP but PR proponents have turned me into a FPTP supporter. Changing your stance on an issue because some people are annoying, instead of reviewing the actual arguments for either position, is peak *Culture Wars*^TM derangement.


GaiusEmidius

...the job is to convince people. When you are on the fence and see their dishonesty why would you trust them?


turnips_thatsall

> When you are on the fence and see their dishonesty why would you trust **them**? (emphasis mine) You answered your own question. That would only warrant distrusting those *people*, not a particular position on the issue.


Lordmandeep

I think it would be wise if we had more urban conservatives and more rural liberals and NDP in office. It seems liberals are becoming an urban only party and conservatives a rural only party and that just creates more divide and why neither party can get a majority now.


ptwonline

Trudeau had a majority in 2015. While there is a problem with urban/rural divide, the difficulty in getting majorities is more due to: 1. Vote splitting amongst more traditional Liberal voters due to the NDP getting more votes and the BQ taking a lot from Quebec 2. A distinct minority of Canadians who support similar values as the CPC, and so they have to rely on vote splitting amongst the centre-left/left to find a narrow path to victory. Go back to the traditional 2 main parties and the NDP maybe getting 10% and you'd see a lot of majorities again. Both the LPC from lack of vote splitting, and the CPC because they'd go back to being more like the PCs of old.


thomasthemassy

No, blame politics as a whole. People are so afraid of their 'enemies' winning elections and forcing them to do things they don't consent to and making them follow laws they don't agree with, so they push even harder to win elections at all costs - so they can force their enemies to do things they don't consent to and make them follow laws they don't agree with.


GaiusEmidius

Oh I didn’t realize it was bad to make people follow laws they don’t agree with. Except…that’s they whole legal system? Should criminals be let free because they disagreed with the law they broke?


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Tom_Thomson_

Removed for rule 2.


fumfer1

Bad laws are bad.


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Tom_Thomson_

Removed for rule 3.


DM_ME_VACCINE_PICS

Ah yes I'm sure there would never be a rural focused or urban focused party in a PR setting. Surely those divides would fizz away, as Canada is the only place where it's currently an issue. In seriousness I'm here for discussions about changing our ballot but good god FPTP is not responsible for everything ever.