Ideas for replacing FPTP with some form of PR have been floated in Canada many times in the past, but so far no serious reform process has gotten underway.
This month, the former leader of Canada’s Liberal Party, Stephane Dion, has advocated a new system. He calls it P3, for “proportional-preferential-personalized vote”.
As best I can tell, this would be an amalgam the likes of which we have never seen before. District magnitude would be 3-5, and voters would undertake two voting steps:
1. They would rank parties in order of preference, and a process apparently akin to single transferable vote would be followed to determine how many seats each party would win in the district.
2. The voter could cast a single candidate preference vote (non-transferable, it seems), and these would determine which candidates would win the seat(s) each party was entitled to after the completion of the phase of party-level allocation.
In other words, it is party-STV-open-list PR!
Meanwhile, Benjamin Forest, a geography professor at McGill, has advocated other solutions to get “effective representation for national minorities“, by which he means French speakers outside Quebec and aboriginals. He proposes either separate voter rolls or minority-majority districts. The first of these ideas is akin to what New Zealand practices for Maori voters: separate districts for the minority, with voters of the minority group eligible to vote in those separate districts. The second idea–which Forest appears to prefer, given “difficult legal issues” with the separate rolls–would be the affirmative gerrymander widely practiced in the US.
Both of these districting concepts strike me as highly retrograde. As for Dion’s proposal, whatever one might think of it, one has to give him credit for originality.