How would it work?
By Guy Dauncey
1. Under the Mixed Member Proportional system, each voter would have two votes – a Constituency Vote and a Party Vote. With your Constituency vote, you would vote for the candidate you wanted as your MLA. With your Party vote, you would vote for the party you want to see represented in the Legislature.
2. The Legislative Assembly would have 68 seats, instead of 79. There would be 34 constituency seats, following the 34 federal riding boundaries, and 34 Party List seats, making administration easier, and reducing the cost of running the Legislature. If the number of federal seats increases, the seats in the Legislature would increase by double that amount.
3. There would be 34 Constituency MLAs, and 34 Party MLAs. The Constituency MLAs would represent the constituencies, and the Party MLAs would be chosen from a ranked list of candidates which each party would submit before the election, prepared in whatever it chose. Usually the party leader and the party’s most respected constituency candidates would head the party lists. The lists would be well advertised, and subject to public and media scrutiny. Based on experience elsewhere, parties would try to balance their candidates in terms of male-female, rural-urban, and minorities representation. Candidates could run for both Constituency and Party Seats.
4. The Party List would be used to create proportional representation. In an election, when the votes had been counted, the chief electoral officer would examine the proportion of the Party vote that each party won, compare it to their number of Constituency MLAs, and make up the difference from the Party Lists. If the Purple Party won 18% of the Party vote, they would be entitled to 18% of the 68 seats (12 MLAs). If they won 3 Constituency MLAs, they would receive 9 MLAs from their Party list. Party MLAs would also represent their constituents, and have offices in their home constituencies. There would be no distinction between Constituency and Party MLAs in the Legislative Assembly.
5. If a party won more Constituency MLAs than warranted by its share of the Party vote, it would keep the seats it won, and the other parties would receive a smaller number of Party seats.
6. Parties must win 5% of the Party vote, or one Constituency seat, and run candidates in at least 4 of the 34 constituencies to be eligible for Party seats. This is similar to the system in New Zealand and Germany. 7. Between elections, Party lists could not be added to. If a list from the previous election was exhausted and there was no one to fill a vacant Party seat, it would remain vacant until the next election.