Seat swapping: a solution to vote splitting in Canadian politics?
June 6, 2014 9:54 AM Subscribe
The Canadian Conservative Party is currently at 30.2%
in nationwide polls but, due to factors such as vote splitting and regionalized support, is currently projected to form a minority government with 131 out of 308 seats in Parliament. That's undemocratic. Idea: what if opposition parties agreed not to run candidates in specific ridings so as to create two party races (Conservative-Liberal in some ridings, Conservative-NDP in others). Would that be lawful?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not proposing merging parties - there's too little trust for that.
I'm aware that the party leaderships might be strongly opposed to a swap, especially now that the Liberals have a realistic chance of forming a government. Could this be done not through the central party leadership but locally if riding associations in two ridings formed an agreement with each other?
I'm not proposing to do this nationwide. An agreement by one party not to run candidates in 30 ridings in exchange for the other doing the same in 30 other ridings would change 60 seats from closely contested to non-Conservative blowouts, and that would be enough to ensure that the Conservatives would be nowhere close to forming a government.
Something that might make a seat swap more palatable: look for mutually acceptable candidates. I have a hard-left Liberal incumbent in my riding who would be a plausible NDP candidate if she chose to jump ship. Likewise, Liberal voters wouldn't have to hold their noses voting for centrist NDP candidates. The parties are far enough apart that mutually acceptable candidates might not exist in many ridings, but, if the number of seats being swapped is relatively small, that might not be a problem.
Why yes, it would be nice to extend this to a three way arrangement with the Greens (currently polling at 8%). Some sort of weighting might be required (a 3:1 ratio?) Even at an unequal split, a Green party running candidates in 100 ridings and winning thirty seats would be far more powerful than a Green party running candidates in every riding and winning two seats (the current projection).
What would the consequences be for party funding? My understanding is that coming in first or second in a small group of ridings brings in more money than coming in second or third in a larger group. Is that correct? That would make a swap make financial sense. I'm fairly sure that an NDP riding association would be prohibited from endorsing a Liberal candidate or vice versa, correct?
If you're familiar with the Canadian system (or other Westminster parliamentary systems) I'd like to get a sense of whether this might be feasible.