The idea a federal election is in the offing falls somewhere between wishful thinking and a fever dream, but that hasn’t stopped Canada’s conservatives from talking about it.

Never mind that they complained bitterly about the decision by Trudeau’s Liberals to call an election just last September, or that calling another one now would make no sense for either the governing Liberals or their NDP partners. As Corus radio host Roy Green said, “Stand by for the Trudeau/Singh deal to be consigned to the shredder.”

Folks like Green are going to be standing by for a long time here. A pair of recent polls from Ipsos and Angus Reid suggest Pierre Poilievre is in the midst of a political honeymoon, one that has him well ahead of both the Liberals and the NDP. And while the NDP could theoretically pull the pin on this Parliament in the hope that they could overtake the Liberals, as they did in 2011, that would be the political equivalent of a suicide mission.

Angus Reid’s poll showed that NDP voters are even more negatively inclined towards Poilievre than Liberals, with 79 per cent saying they had an “unfavourable” or “very unfavourable” impression of him. On the other hand, more than 50 per cent had a “favourable” or “very favourable” impression of Trudeau, which makes the prospect of them coalescing behind a Liberal “anything-but-Pierre” push practically inevitable.

There’s also the memory of 2006 when Jack Layton’s NDP supported a Conservative vote of non-confidence in Paul Martin’s minority Liberal government. Stephen Harper ended up winning his own minority in the election that followed, and he quickly put an end to the massive child-care deal being negotiated at the time along with the so-called “Kelowna Accord” between the federal government and Indigenous leaders. That wasn’t Layton or the NDP’s fault, as the Liberals often like to suggest. But it serves as a reminder that elections can come with a cost, and they are often paid by the people least able to afford them.

Instead of rolling a set of loaded dice, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP should spend the next three years trying to improve the odds a bit in his party’s favour. He should start by making electoral reform a condition of the NDP’s participation in the supply and confidence agreement with the Liberals beyond a certain date — say, September 2023. Putting an end to the scourge of strategic voting, that Liberal campaigns have used to great effect, would permanently shift the balance in Canadian politics. It would also make our democracy fairer, more empowering, and more just, which could help stem the recent decline in voter participation and engagement.

Singh shouldn’t stop there. By proposing a broader package of democratic reforms, anchored by electoral reform and including lowering the voting age to 16 and making every federal election a statutory holiday, he can help renew the push for a more proportional system and expand its appeal. If it passed, it could both invigorate our politics and help protect it from the increasingly prevalent populist nihilism. The recent news that Jenni Byrne, an operative who fellow conservatives describe as a “scorched-earth tactician,” will run Poilievre’s campaign in the next election should add even more urgency there.

The real question here is whether the Trudeau Liberals would be willing to go along with this sort of proposal. Their party, after all, has been the biggest beneficiary of Canada’s first-past-the-post system, with virtually all of their majority governments supported by a minority of the population. In the most recent election, they won 47.3 per cent of the available seats with just 32.6 per cent of the votes. Giving up on the current system would mean relinquishing a certain degree of power, and the prospect of being able to wield it in the future.

That choice between party and country may well be the most important moral litmus test for Trudeau’s time in office. Will he support the implementation of democratic reforms that would meaningfully improve the quality of our political interactions but permanently impair Liberal fortunes? Or will he be willing to risk the possibility of a Prime Minister Poilievre if it means future majority governments for other Liberal leaders?

Opinion: #NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh should make electoral reform a condition of his party's participation in the supply and confidence agreement with #Trudeau @maxfawcett writes for @NatObserver.

For someone who rode into office on the promise of being a transformational political figure, those should be easy questions to answer. Perpetuating the status quo isn’t exactly a feather in his cap, especially if it puts his government’s signature policies — a national climate plan and a national child-care system — in jeopardy. But a decade in politics, especially when you’re in power, can do strange things to people.

For the sake of everyone else in Canada, we ought to hope that Trudeau still has a bit of transformation left in him.

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The question then is what sort of electoral reform would both parties support. The NDP has traditionally been behind Proportional Representation, and the Liberals favour preferential ballots - the Liberal method is close to what every party currently uses to select their leaders.
In the first Liberal parliament, when they were trying to hash out electoral reform, the Conservatives endorsed the NDP idea of proportional representation so long as whatever was chosen was sent for referendum. On the surface that seems fair enough until you realize that EVERY campaign in Canadian history to reform from First-past-the-post, has gone down in electoral flames. And the Conservatives and their owners would have easily funded a campaign to put a nail in teh coffin of any referendum on the matter.
Why not support Prop Rep in this parliament? On the surface it does seem like a good idea but be careful what you wish for. There are two big problems with it: 1) you end up with a parliament where a non-trivial number of MP's do not represent any region - one of the key things of our parliament is that each MP represents a riding and that riding's interests; 2) you make it more likely for extreme parties to get into parliament. For every Green that gets elected under this scheme, you will get a PPC or worse also elected.
The Preferential method does have the drawback that it is possible to get someone who came in second to end up winning the riding which could wrangle a lot of nerves and undermine confidence, but it has the benefit of there being one MP per riding. It does favour the Liberals, or more to the point, any party that is more towards the centre as they will have broader appeal.
It may be worth considering a hybrid - something like the mixed member proportional, where a percentage of MP seats are allocated to fill in differences between the MP riding elections won and the overall proportion of the vote, but you'd have to cap it so that the vast majority of MP's represent actual ridings. Either way, even if LPC and NDP were to agree on something like this, expect the CPC to push hard for a referendum to guarantee it never sees the light of day. Ontario voted on MMP representation in 2007 as part of that province's election and it failed.

The text says that the liberal party of Canada «...has been the biggest beneficiary of Canada’s first-past-the-post system, with virtually all of their majority governments supported by a minority of the population. In the most recent election, they won 47.3 per cent of the available seats with just 32.6 per cent of the votes. ...»
The first past the post system is great if you have only two political parties. But if you have five political parties (+ a few fringe parties and independent candidates!), it leads to serious distortions of the popular will. We saw a blatant exemple of this distortion in yesterday's elections in Québec.

We have 125 ridings in Québec. Last night, before going to bed, the results showed those serious distortions. With 41% of the votes, CAQ (Coalition Avenir Qc) of Premier Legault won a landslide victory with 90 seats. The four opposition parties were almost tied in their popular support; yet their number of seats has nothing to do with the number of votes they got in the polls! The once powerful PLQ(Parti libéral du Qc)of Mme Anglade got 21 seats with 14% of the vote. The QS(Québec Solidaire) of M. Nadeau-Dubois got 11 seats with 14%. The PQ (Parti Québécois) with M. St-Pierre-Plamondon got 3 seats with 14% of the votes And the PCQ(Conservative party of Qc) with Éric Duhaime got 13% of the votes with NO (zero) seats!

I strongly disagree with the PCQ. Their gripe is that their voice is not heard. With no seats in l'Assemblée Nationale, the 13% who voted for Éric Duhaime will have a point!

How was that 2006 move by Jack Layton and the NDP that enabled Harper and co. NOT their "fault?" They DID do that, knowing Harper was different, and knowing the CPC had been taken over by religious nutbar Preston Manning's Reform Party. We've been fielding a constant stream of "bozo eruptions" ever since while continuing to give these creeps the full benefit of the doubt. It's a classic case of the "banality of evil." Or hiding in plain sight; what IS it about people that they refuse to recognize this? It's where we have to start.
There is some excuse for the NDP because back then political "bothsidesism" was even more deeply ingrained, especially for the fair-minded NDP. But those days are gone; our politics is now binary. In light of that reality (which DOES have its advantages; too many choices demonstrably cause our democratic system to founder, which is the downside of proportional representation), what Jagmeet and Justin have come up with is brilliant, the giving of enough rope to Skippy, the con boy in short pants, unplugged.
Mark Carney has an article in the Globe and Mail today taking a shot at British conservatives AND crypto-currency. That's who the Liberals have in the wings. Who do the cons have in that stunningly shallow talent pool of theirs?

A mixed member proportional system would keep regional representation and ensure everyone's interests are far better represented. Yes, a party with an extreme agenda might get an MP elected but better that than an existing "mainstream" party get high-jacked by an extreme agenda and end up forming a majority government!

It's an interesting suggestion and I, too, wonder if the Liberal Party would rather continue the current path, even if it means putting Harper's acolyte at the helm.

"Giving up on the current system would mean relinquishing a certain degree of power, and the prospect of being able to wield it in the future."

I think those conclusions remain to be determined. I believe it's fair to say that the tactics and strategies of governance would necessarily change.

A complementary idea to proportional representation is to physically change the layout in Parliament from two opposing sides, separated by a carpeted No-person's Land, to a round chamber. Behaviour is meaningfully affected by our built environment and perhaps it's time to evolve from a governance philosophy of opposition to one of debate and collaboration.

Debate and collaboration are inherent in a prop. rep. Parliament, where the only usual way to form a government from 3+ parties is to form a coalition.
Bring on some form of prop. rep. Preferably one the preserves the element of 'representation', e.g. transferable votes within ridings.
Reform the riding boundaries so that most ridings are the same size by population. Sparse or small populations do not deserve more representation because people live far apart or because they 'historically' had it. That's what the Senate is about.
Talking of reform, add a whole bunch of seats to the Senate, and I mean a whole bunch, that are reserved for 'sober second thought' from Indigenous representatives. And let them decide how to appoint them too.

Here’s a simple solution to get the best of First Past The Post [FPTP]
(strong governments, without ongoing election campaigns, unlike USA, Israel & much of EU),
and Proportional Representation [PR]
(more opinions heard from many more diverse sources) :

At each Commons election, we will be given 2 ballots, to elect :

1. our local Riding MP by First Past The Post. (Same system.)

2. 1/3 of our province’s Senators by Proportional Representation - we vote for the parties who choose the Senators, in proportion to each party’s % of votes.
These Senators will serve for only 3 Commons elections, regardless of length of Parliament, and their terms will overlap for continuity.

The Senate’s powers will not change; they will continue to suggest changes to Government bills and pass them after Commons review.

Let’s remember that there were 25 parties running in the 2015 election, and PR will bring many disparate interests into politics.
With a PR Senate coming into office over the next 3 elections, we will see many more diverse linguistic, cultural, religious, indigenous, cultural, gender, economic, political, ecological, etc. views appear to help but not hinder our governing parties.

PR is contrary to our 400+ year tradition of electing an MP to represent us. In PR, the parties present a List, and electors get No choice.

However, this bi-cameral solution keeps the best of FPTP in the Commons, while acknowledging our increasingly diverse citizenry with a PR Senate.

There are Prop. Rep solutions that deliver riding specific representatives and open possibilities for minority views, e.g. single transferable votes.
This is a very simple reform compared to the elaborate scheme you propose for transforming the Senate.
And from a practical point of view, reforming the Senate requires changing the Constitution - remember Meech Lake?
So, no, not gonna happen.

Max Fawcett asks: "...will [Trudeau] support the implementation of democratic reforms that would meaningfully improve the quality of our political interactions but permanently impair Liberal fortunes... or will he be willing to risk the possibility of a Prime Minister Poilievre if it means future majority governments for other Liberal leaders?"

The evidence points to the latter. Despite the vast consensus favouring PR among Citizens' Assemblies, Special Commissions and informed testimony heard by Parliament over the past several years, Trudeau has resolutely and unilaterally opposed it at every turn. We can't know his real reasons, because he so far hasn't offered any. He's simply said that it's his decision to make, full stop.

According to reports ( back in March the NDP did in fact try to make electoral reform a condition of its cooperation with the Liberals, and was flatly rebuffed. This is instructive, given the concessions Trudeau was otherwise happy to make.

Worth underlining is that it's not even about the Liberal party. Only eight years ago, just before the election that returned them to power, half of the Liberal caucus voted their support of a non-binding motion favouring PR in the House. Then as now, Trudeau was having none of it. As party leader and PM though, whip firmly in hand, it's been him calling the shots ever since.

Max hopefully writes, "...but a decade in politics, especially when you’re in power, can do strange things to people." Maybe. But looking at Mulroney, Chretien, Harper et al, it's hard to see that it shows. Many PR advocates are deeply pessimistic that Trudeau will become anything much different than who he is now: a guy who thinks Canadians are best governed by a guy who gets to call all the shots. In this he is utterly akin to the above-mentioned former PMs, and, presumably, to PM contender Pierre Poilievre. They're of the same company.

The worry is that Trudeau will never yield to the principle of democratically shared power—the essence of PR. The hope is that he might yield on convening Canada's first country-wide Citizens' Assembly to at least explore the idea on the national stage. It'll be interesting to see how the NDP plays its hand.

All these are moot points and will not happen.
And Trudeau or ANY Liberal in power isn't remotely the same as ANY current conservative in power. You've succumbed to the conservative narrative.
Can we also note here that we never talk about a "liberal narrative" for the same reason that we never talk about a "conservative democracy?" Because the right wing is actually bent on destroying democracy as we know it.
The Liberal/NDP agreement is the first step in uniting the left and is our best hope with climate change and chaos. They may not be moving as quickly as we need, but they got us through the initial waves of pandemic and an imminent cap IS hanging over the heads of the oil and gas industry.

We desperately need a national Citizens’ Assembly, like the one we had in BC in 2004. It recommended we adopt a Single Transferable Vote system and this received 58 % support in the subsequent referendum. The BC government did not like it so it was not implemented.
If one’s main objective for a voting system is representation, the STV does the best job as it gets about 90-95 % of the voters a representative who they want and voted for. For our present system the figure is under 50 %; (note that many people vote not for the candidate they want but for the lesser of evils, which is why I said under 50%).
A single national Citizens’ Assembly would be hard to form. Instead perhaps one should form five or six of them, from various regions of the country, to make travelling not too onerous. Each would take a year, and then send delegates to a national meeting, perhaps in Ottawa, to make a final recommendation, which the government would be obliged to implement for at least three elections.
One feature of the BC Assembly was the use of the Asia- Pacific room in the Wosk Centre in Vancouver. This room has seats arranged in circles around the centre in order to make the delegates all equivalent; the dynamics of such an arrangement is quite different from that of a standard lecture room. Such rooms should be build in the various regions of the country in preparation for these assemblies.