Liberal Convention 2012: Party Votes In Favour Of Preferential Ballots
Canadians may be one step closer to electing their MPs through a ranking system which would allow voters to select who they perceive to be the least worst option.
On Sunday, federal Liberal delegates voted 73 per cent in favour of implementing preferential ballots for all future national elections.
Under the new system, voters would rank their riding candidates in order of their relative preference, for example, their first choice, second choice, third and so on.
The new formula would help ensure that candidates have to go out and get support of people that might not otherwise vote for them, Liberal MP Justin Trudeau told delegates at the Liberals' biennial convention in Ottawa.
"Will it help us? Me, I am a fairly polarizing figure, it might actually harm me in my own riding, but I think it is a good thing for Canada that we move towards this," he said.
A delegate from Oakville said there was no evidence to back the suggestion that a preferential ballot would be beneficial.
"We need to look at other electoral voting systems like proportional voting system, this resolution does not allow for this," she said, adding she was concerned this it would stop efforts to adopt proportional voting in their tracks.
The resolution won't fix every problem, former Liberal leader Stephane Dion acknowledged.
"It's not perfect. But I think it will improve something very important in our country. We want to have a more civilized debate in politics and then if you have the possibility, if you want and you want to convey the voters of other parties that you are an acceptable choice for them don't come with ugly attack ads against them," Dion said, to cheers from the crowd.
"This is the reason why I implore you to vote for this resolution, even to the ones of you that would like to have something more, this is a step in the right direction," Dion said.
Dion and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff suffered through months of negative attack ads from the Conservative Party of Canada which helped contribute to their unpopularity.
The voting method now preferred by the Liberals would also help ensure that the political party that forms government enjoys wider public support. The Conservative Party won a majority government with 39.6 per cent of the vote last May .
If the Liberals want to stop the Conservatives, one delegate suggested, voters could rank them last.
"Put them behind the communists, put them behind the marijuana party, put them behind whoever you want, rank them last and punish them," he said, to applause.
Six Hot Topics At The Liberal Convention
It's was extreme makeover time for the Liberal Party of Canada at its <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlthiaRaj">biennial policy convention in Ottawa</a>. Here's a half-dozen hot topics the 2,600 delegates debatedor decided.<br><br> Photo: CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld<br><br> <i>With files from CBC.</i>
Who's Running This Show? Part One: Bob Rae
UPDATE: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/14/liberal-convention-2012-ottawa_n_1206071.html?ref=canada&ref=canada">Leadership speculation swirled at the Liberal convention</a>. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty ruled out a run and his brother David said he was considering a campaign. Former cabinet minister Martin Cauchon also attracted attention by hosting a hospitality suite, encouraging some to argue he must be considering a bid for the party's top job. Former astronaut and MP Marc Garneau is also said to be considering a bid. Of course, current interim leader Bob Rae continued to be the primary focus of leadership rumours.<br><br> He's the interim leader for now, but after Wednesday's barnburner of a speech to his Parliamentary caucus, those inclined to think he also wants to be the permanent leader had fresh fuel for their burning suspicions. Will more signs emerge over the convention weekend? Will other potential candidates for the permanent leadership stand up and say something about their own ambitions?<br><br> Photo: CP
Who's Running This Show? Part Two: The Party President
UPDATE: <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/15/mike-crawley-liberal-convention-2012-ottawa_n_1207459.html?1326654076&ref=canada#s612012&title=_Whos_Running">Mike Crawley was elected President of the Liberal Party of Canada</a> at the biennial convention in Ottawa.<br><br> Will it be Mister President (Mike Crawley) or Madame President (Sheila Copps)? Or do the media pundits have it wrong and delegates are prepared to elect one of the other two contenders? Will the party elect someone with radical ideas for reform or someone more comfortable with the party's established path? The presidency vote could become a proxy for the bigger tug of war touching nearly every aspect of the convention -- how ready is the party to embrace change?<br><br> Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Frank Gunn
Who's Running This Show? Part Three: The Contest For National Policy Chair
UPDATE: Maryanne Kampouris was elected National Policy Chair at the Liberal convention in Ottawa.<br><br> Five party activists are in the running to helm the party's quest to redefine its policy platform before the next election, including one (20-year old Zach Paikin, above) who can't personally remember not just Liberal glory days in the seventies, but any of the party's history prior to Jean Chrétien's leadership. What coherent vision will emerge from the race for the chair and from policy resolutions delegates will debate on the floor.
Monarchy, Marijuana ... Oh My!
UPDATE: The Liberal party <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/15/liberal-vote-legalize-marijuana_n_1207388.html?ref=canada">voted for the resolution to legalize marijuana</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/15/liberals-stand-behind-the_n_1207370.html?ref=canada&ref=canada">against the resolution to cut ties with the monarchy.</a><br><br> Speaking of youth and policy debates ... a range of ideas are up for discussion at this convention, including some more radical ideas originating with the youth wing of the party, such as dropping the Queen as Canada's head of state in favour of a Canadian-born figurehead and the legalization and regulation of marijuana. If the delegates go for some of the more exotic policy ideas, will that capture some excitement in the eyes of the voting public?<br><br> Photo: PA
Quebec (isn't it always?)
Was the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/10/lise-st-denis-ndp-join-liberals_n_1196406.html">defection of Quebec MP Lise St-Denis from the NDP</a> a one-off, or the start of a trend? If Quebec is up-for-grabs as pollsters suggest, what strategy do the Liberals have to capitalize on that opportunity and try for a return to the party's glory days of dominating the province's politics? Can their brand be saved in Quebec?<br><br> Photo: Alamy
Reform, Rebuild, Renew...
If it starts with "re-" it was probably a theme at this convention ... which might explain the giant letters displayed at the entrance to the convention centre. If the party wants a rebirth, it has to reform in order to rebuild. To do that, it may need to recycle some past hits, but the party's regeneration will require fresh ideas, too. To avoid re-igniting past tensions, Liberals will need to avoid repeating their past mistakes. Job one is restoring the party in the minds of voters as the best alternative to the governing Conservatives. And that means renewal.<br><br> Photo: Getty