Per CTV News Montreal, the CAQ governing party in Quebec promises a referendum on a specific electoral-reform proposal to be held concurrent with the next general election in 2022.
The CAQ government on Wednesday introduced its electoral reform law, but backed away from its 2018 campaign promise to have it in place in time for the next general election.
The system is a form of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP), but a complex one. And not very proportional.
The number of seats in the National Assembly would remain 125. The new electoral law would divide Quebec into 80 larger electoral divisions that will mainly be the same as federal ridings, and 17 wider regions:
80 MNAs would be elected according to the current system
45 MNAs on a list of candidates would be divided among the parties, according to the percentage of votes obtained in the 17 regions
Thirty six percent of seats for the list tier is certainly on the small side, and the proportionality would be reduced further by that list tier itself being districted. Note that the mean number of seats per compensation region is only 2.65.
Based on further detail that I learned from Manuel on Twitter (and that I trust he will not mind my sharing here), we can see yet more ways that this proposal is designed to limit proportionality.
…it’s a very constrained implementation of PR, limited by a provincial-level 10% (yes, ten percent) threshold; and districted MMP in seventeen regions, with a new variation of the D’Hondt rule that skews seat distributions in favor of the larger parties.
Regarding the seat allocation method for the compensation seats (which will limit how compensatory it actually will be):
In Scotland and Wales the modified D’Hondt divisors are N+1,N+2,N+3, and so on, where N = number of single-member seats. In the Quebec proposal, they are N/2 + 1, N/2 + 2, N/2 + 3, N/2 being *half* the number of single-member seats, rounded up, and resulting in lower divisors.
One additional detail: the bill provides for separate allocations of single-member and PR list seats among regions – according to the number of registered voters – which guarantee all but one region a minimum of two seats. This would cost Montreal – a PLQ bastion – three seats.
I would still consider this MMP*, as there is a compensation mechanism. I am on record as considering even the Jenkins Commission proposal in the UK to be MMP, albeit with lots of caveats given it was also designed to be about as weak on the P as could be.
Regarding the election of 2018 when the CAQ came into power–surprisingly, with an absolute majority of seats–and the electoral-reform promises made at the time, see this earlier planting.
- * UPDATE: I am now not sure about this; I need more time to think it through, and that will have to wait till some time in 5780! In the meantime, see this Twitter thread. I think the issue hinges on whether the “modification” to D’Hondt is actually more like Imperiali. While Taagepera and I list Imperiali divisors in our book as being part of the family of PR allocation formulas, we both now believe that it should not be. We were prompted to this view by an email exchange earlier in 2019 with Steven Verbanck (regular F&V commenter). Anyway, to be continued…