Proportional representation: Not if, but how, when and what?

Following the #fairvote hashtag, I spotted a twitter conversation between Melinda Morrissey and David Weber in which Melinda writes:

"It's a system we need,sadly PR is not likely to come out of Ottawa,PR debate has raged for years & nothing has changed."

I've heard this argument often. However the fact that we do not have PR yet (since the conversation started since about 1995) doesn't mean there hasn't been change.

  • No other movement has managed to enact 4 provincial referendums in its decade of existence (BC 2005, 2009; Ontario 2007; PEI 2005).
  • The fact that media and politicians are talking more about it then they were ever before is a change in itself. I don't think I've ever seen it talked as much as after the federal 2011 election.
  • In a poll conducted during the 2007 referendum, the 18 to 34 age group overwhelmingly supported reform.

So its not so much a question of if but when, what and how. We will see reform, if it will be a proportional system or the non-proportional alternative vote remains to be seen.

What about how? How do we get there? Through another referendum? If so, 2 referendums (one to abolish FPTP , one to pick the next system). Do we have a Royal Comission or a Citizens Assembly? Do we lobby for a private member's bill? If so, what is the content of the bill?

Fortunately there has been enough maturity in the movement to realize that lobbying is an essential component. I'd say its going to take another 2 years to truly identify the most effective targets (media, government, public) and finally have a solid plan on how to get there.