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In proportional representation, all candidates face voters

Dear editor,

David Melnick spreads one huge wrong fact about proportional voting systems, along with the usual fear mongering, in his opinion piece on November 3rd 2015 ("Proportional representation would thwart democracy")**.

In all proportional voting systems so far being discussed for our federal elections, *all* candidates face the voters. Mr. Melnick's confusion spread from the fact that the Ontario 2007 proposal did have closed lists. The closest model to the Ontario 2007 proposal, the Law Commission of Canada 2004 MMP model has open, regional lists where voters get to indicate their preferences for list candidates. The other models (Single Transferable Vote, Jenkins-Day MMP, Dual Mixed Member Proportional, Dion's P3) all expose every candidate to voter scrutiny.

As for the fear of minority governments, most OECD countries are governed by coalition governments elected using proportional voting systems. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland all use proportional representation and they are all doing just fine.

If columnists and senior editors would at least agree that in a healthy democracy, more votes should count, we could have a debate about the pros and cons of different voting systems. Unfortunately, advocates for equal and effective voting have to spend their time correcting misinformation like this.

I invite your readers to http://www.fairvote.ca/proportional-representation/ where there are videos of different PR voting systems.

In a healthy democracy, the right of representation belongs to all.

Julien Lamarche

Update 2016/08/29: Some groups in Quebec have recommended closed list, but in English Canada I don't know of anyone recommending closed list.

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