On your letters page of Aug. 26, William E. McLeod wrote, “Proportional representation has some dirty little secrets that most of its proponents choose to keep hidden. Wilfred Day of Port Hope let one slip out (re: Aug. 21 letter “Most Canadians want to end ‘unfair elections’ ”). He admits that systems of proportional representation have no local MPs."
I said the very opposite: Israel has no local MPs, unlike the Scottish proportional representation model that I prefer.
I noted some readers don't know how proportional representation works and Mr. McLeod has proven my point. He wrote, "The other dirty secret is the question of who gets to occupy the seats in Parliament and who chooses them."
Under the model recommended for Canada by the Law Commission of Canada (inspired by Scotland's), voters still elect local MPs. Voters also help elect a few regional MPs to top-up the results in the region (such as Northern Ontario), so that all voters count equally.
In Northern Ontario in 2011, that would have meant a regional Conservative MP and a regional Liberal MP, because northern NDP voters were over-represented in 2011, unlike most of the rest of Ontario (like my region).
Every MP faces the voters. You have two votes: one for your local MP; one for a regional MP.
Mr. McLeod doubts any Liberals and Conservatives support proportional representation. Many Liberal MPs in fact do, starting with Stephane Dion, but also Joyce Murray and many others.
Liberal voters everywhere but in Newfoundland were cheated of fair representation in 2011. Many Conservatives support it, too, starting with Hugh Segal and Patrick Boyer. Conservative voters in Quebec, Newfoundland, Northern Ontario and Vancouver Island were under-represented by the 2011 election results.
Finally, Mr. McLeod says proportional representation would necessitate a constitutional amendment. The Law Commission was very clear that it would not, because the number of MPs from each province would not change.