Transcript: Jeffrey Simpson on Jean Chretien | Nov 05, 2001

Allan is in his mid fifties and has light brown hair, and a greying goatee. He wears a black blazer and a black button up shirt. He sits in a studio across from Jeffrey Simpson.

Allan says NOW, MOST CANADIANS CERTAINLY
WOULDN'T THINK OF THEIR
GOVERNMENT AS A DICTATORSHIP,
EVEN A FRIENDLY ONE.
AFTER ALL, WE'RE A
PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY.
WE VOTE.
WE HAVE ALL THOSE
NICETIES.
WHAT'S THE MAIN ARGUMENT
YOU'RE PUTTING FORWARD
IN YOUR MOST RECENT BOOK?

The caption appears. It reads “Jeffrey Simpson: Author, “The Friendly Dictatorship.”
Jeffrey is in his forties and has a side part with light brown wavy hair. He wears glasses, has a black blazer on with a light blue shirt and black and white plaid tie.

Jeffrey says BY THE WAY, NOT
EVERYBODY THINKS
THE GOVERNMENT'S
FRIENDLY.
A FRIENDLY DICTATORSHIP IS
ADMITTEDLY A PEJORATIVE TITLE
FOR THE REASON
YOU'RE SUGGESTING.
BUT I'M BASICALLY SAYING
THAT IF YOU LOOK AT
THE LAST ELECTION, FOR
EXAMPLE, THE VOTER TURNOUT
WAS THE LOWEST IN HISTORY.
IF YOU LOOK, AND YOU ARE A
PROBER OF PUBLIC ATTITUDES
AT ENGAGEMENT IN POLITICS,
IT'S AT ALL-TIME LOWS.
AND YOU TRY TO
PARSE, WHY IS THAT?
AND IT'S A MULTI-LAYERED SET
OF REASONS, ONE OF WHICH IS,
WE DON'T HAVE COMPETITIVE
PARTY POLITICS ANYMORE.
THERE IS NO CREDIBLE
ALTERNATIVE NATIONWIDE
AGAINST THE LIBERAL PARTY.
SECONDLY, THE
SYSTEM ITSELF;
WE SEND MEMBERS OF
PARLIAMENT TO OTTAWA.
WE THINK THAT WE HAVE A
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM BUT,
IN FACT, WE HAVE A PRIME
MINISTERIAL SYSTEM
WITHIN THE TRAPPINGS OF
A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM.
AND PEOPLE WHO SEND MPs TO
OTTAWA SEE THAT THEY HAVE
ALMOST NO CAPACITY TO EXERCISE
INDEPENDENT JUDGMENT
ABOUT ANYTHING, BECAUSE THE
SYSTEM DEMANDS LOYALTY,
TOTAL LOYALTY, TO THE
PARTY LEADERSHIP, AND,
IF YOU'RE IN POWER, THAT
MEANS THE PRIME MINISTER.

Allan says WELL LET'S START
THERE, BECAUSE EVEN IF
IT'S A PEJORATIVE TERM, THE
NOTION THAT THERE IS A DICTATOR
IS USUALLY ASSOCIATED
WITH AN INDIVIDUAL.
I MEAN, YOU MAKE THE
POINT THAT IN OUR SYSTEM
THE PRIME MINISTER HAS MORE
POWER THAN A LEADER IN VIRTUALLY
ANY OTHER SYSTEM, INCLUDING
OTHER PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS.
HOW SO?

Jeffrey says ALL OTHER
PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS.
I MEAN, YOU JUST
TICK THEM OFF.
IN FRANCE, IF YOU'RE
THE PRIME MINISTER,
YOU CAN BE DISMISSED BY
THE PRESIDENT AT ANY TIME.
IN GERMANY, YOU HAVE TO
DEAL WITH AN UPPER HOUSE
THAT'S APPOINTED
BY THE PROVINCES,
AND YOU USUALLY LEAD A
COALITION GOVERNMENT.
IN THE UNITED STATES,
IF YOU ARE PRESIDENT,
IT'S A DIVIDED GOVERNMENT,
WE ALL KNOW THAT,
WITH THE LEGISLATURE
AND THE EXECUTIVE.
IF YOU'RE IN AUSTRALIA,
YOU CAN BE DEPOSED
BY YOUR PARTY CAUCUS AT ANY
TIME, AND YOU HAVE TO DEAL
WITH A SENATE
THAT'S ELECTED.
THE ONLY SYSTEM I KNOW THAT'S
SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO OURS
IS THE BRITISH SYSTEM.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey say BUT EVEN THERE, BECAUSE THE
HOUSE IS SO BIG WITH 600
AND SOME-ODD MEMBERS, AND I
WELL KNOW THIS HAVING SPENT
A LOT OF TIME IN THE HOUSE OF
COMMONS AS A CORRESPONDENT,
THE GOVERNMENT - THE PRIME
MINISTER ALWAYS HAS ALL KINDS
OF BACKBENCHERS WHO KNOW THEY
ARE NEVER GOING TO GET IN
THE CABINET, AND WHO ARE IN
ABSOLUTELY DEAD SAFE LABOUR
OR CONSERVATIVE SEATS.
LIKE WINCHESTER IS GOING
TO VOTE CONSERVATIVE
LONG AFTER YOU AND I ARE
GONE FROM THIS EARTH,
AND LEEDS CENTRAL IS GOING
TO VOTE LABOUR ALL THE TIME.

Allan says RIGHT.

Jeffrey say IF YOU'RE AN MP FOR ONE OF
THOSE DISTRICTS AND YOU KNOW
YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO
GET IN THE CABINET,
YOU'VE GOT A KIND OF LATITUDE
TO BUCK THE PARTY LINE.
THAT SIMPLY DOESN'T
HAPPEN IN CANADA.
YOU'VE BEEN AROUND PARLIAMENT;
I'VE BEEN AROUND PARLIAMENT.
THE PRICE FOR DISSIDENCE IN
THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT
IS EXCOMMUNICATION
OR MARGINALITY.

Allan says WELL, IN FACT, YOU MAKE
AN INTERESTING POINT
IN COMPARING THE
BRITISH SYSTEM
TO THE CANADIAN IN
TERMS OF, YOU KNOW,
WHAT SOME PEOPLE SEE AS THE
CHRETIEN-MARTIN RIVALRY,
THAT THAT PROBABLY WOULD BE
RESOLVED IN A MUCH DIFFERENT
WAY IN A BRITISH
SYSTEM THAN OUR OWN.

Jeffrey says WELL, THERE WAS A PATTERN
UNTIL VERY RECENTLY
IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY
WHERE YOU COULD - IN BRITAIN,
WHERE YOU COULD DEPOSE THE
LEADER BY A CAUCUS VOTE.

Allan says RIGHT.

Jeffrey says NOW THEY HAVE A
TWO-STAGE PROCESS.
SO THAT'S NOT SOMETHING
THAT HAS TO BE FACED
BY A CANADIAN
PRIME MINISTER.
TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE,
NO CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER
HAS EVER BEEN REPLACED AGAINST
HIS WILL WHILE IN OFFICE.
IT IS TRUE, AFTER
THEY LOSE ELECTIONS,
THEY MAY BE THREATENED, BUT
NOT WHILE THEY'RE IN OFFICE.
SO WHAT WE HAVE AT THE MOMENT
IN THE LIBERAL PARTY
IS A FAIRLY EXTRAORDINARY
CIRCUMSTANCE IN WHICH
THERE IS A CLEAR HEIR APPARENT
WHO WOULD CLEARLY LEAD
THE LIBERAL PARTY TO VICTORY
IN THE NEXT ELECTION,
BUT A PRIME MINISTER
WHO WISHES TO STAY ON
AND WHO HAS WON THREE
STRAIGHT ELECTIONS.
I WOULD ARGUE, NOT SINCE
MACKENZIE KING HANDED OVER
TO LOUIS ST. LAURENT HAS
THE LIBERAL PARTY,
OR ANY PARTY FOR THAT MATTER,
BEEN SO PERFECTLY POSITIONED
FOR A HANDOFF FROM THE
EXISTING PRIME MINISTER
TO SOMEBODY ELSE, BUT
IT ISN'T HAPPENING.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says AND, INDEED, ONE OF THE
REASONS I WROTE THIS BOOK WAS,
I WENT ACROSS THE COUNTRY
IN THE LAST ELECTION AND
I DETECTED THIS SORT OF BOTH
ENNUI AND FRUSTRATION BECAUSE
PEOPLE SAID, A, WE'D
LIKE TO SEE A CHANGE.
BUT WHERE CAN WE
TURN FOR THE CHANGE?
THE LIBERALS AREN'T
GIVING US THE CHANGE,
BECAUSE THEY'RE STAYING WITH
THE SAME LEADER AND THE SAME
TEAM, AND THE OPPOSITION
IS NOT CREDIBLE.
SO WE MIGHT LIKE TO VOTE FOR
AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE LIBERALS
BUT WHAT HAVE WE GOT?

Allan says I WANT TO TALK ABOUT ONE
PARTY DOMINANCE AND CITIZEN
ENGAGEMENT, BUT FIRST,
AGAIN, THE PRIME MINISTER.

Jeffrey says RIGHT.

Allan says AGAIN, HOW MUCH OF THE POWER
THAT HE WIELDS IN OUR SYSTEM
IS ATTRIBUTABLE SIMPLY TO
HIS POWER OF APPOINTMENT,
DO YOU THINK?

Jeffrey says HE MAKES EVERY SINGLE
MAJOR APPOINTMENT
IN THE GOVERNMENT OF
CANADA UNFETTERED.
HE DOESN'T HAVE TO
SUBMIT IT TO A COMMITTEE.
IT'S ALL HIS.
EXCEPT ONE, SPEAKER OF
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says OKAY?
BUT THE GOVERNOR
GENERAL, OF ALL PEOPLE,
IS APPOINTED BY
THE PRIME MINISTER.
THE HEAD OF THE
SUPREME COURT,
WHICH OUGHT TO BE
QUITE INDEPENDENT.
THE HEAD OF THE CBC, WHICH
OUGHT TO BE QUITE INDEPENDENT,
BOTH THE CHAIRMAN
AND THE PRESIDENT.
THE HEAD OF THE
ARMED FORCES.
EVERY CROWN CORPORATION.
EVERY DEPUTY MINISTER.
EVERY AMBASSADOR, THE PRIME
MINISTER HAS TO SIGN OFF.

Allan says NOT TO MENTION

HIS CABINET.

Jeffrey says WELL, OF COURSE,
THE CABINET.

Allan says AND SECRETARIES.

Jeffrey says THAT'S THE SYSTEM,
YEAH, AND EVERYTHING.
SO EVERYTHING FUNNELS
UP TO THE PRIME MINISTER,
AND THERE'S ABSOLUTELY
NO CHECK ON THAT,
EXCEPT FOR A KIND OF
INTERNAL POLITICAL CHECK
INSIDE THE PARTY.
LIKE, IF I GIVE HARRY THIS
JOB, WILL SALLY BE OFFENDED?
IF I GIVE SALLY THAT JOB,
WILL HARRY BE OFFENDED?
I MEAN, YOU'VE GOT TO
BALANCE ALL THOSE THINGS.
THAT'S INTRA-PARTY STUFF.
SO HIS POWER IS ENORMOUS
AND, AS YOU CORRECTLY SAID,
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT
MAKES IT ENORMOUS
IS THIS UNFETTERED
CAPACITY TO MAKE EVERYBODY
IN THE SYSTEM TOTALLY
DEPENDENT UPON HIM.

Allan says YOU'VE WRITTEN RECENTLY THAT
THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH
JUST DEMONSTRATE
THE INEFFECTIVENESS
AND THE MEANINGLESSNESS
OF PARLIAMENT.
HOW SO?

Jeffrey says WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT
THAN SENDING OUR PEOPLE
INTO HARM'S WAY?
I CAN'T IMAGINE
ANYTHING ELSE.
WE DID NOT FORMALLY
DECLARE WAR SINCE,
AS WE'VE ALL BEEN TOLD, THIS
ISN'T A WAR LIKE THE OTHERS.
BUT PARLIAMENT WASN'T EVEN
CALLED BACK TO DEBATE
THE SENDING OF CANADIAN MEN
AND WOMEN INTO HARM'S WAY.
WHEN THE ATTACKS TOOK PLACE
AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTRE,
PARLIAMENT WAS NOT IN
SESSION, AND THE GOVERNMENT
JUST DIDN'T THINK ABOUT
BRINGING PARLIAMENT BACK.
THE NORMAL SCHEDULE
TOOK PLACE.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS
TERRIBLY REVEALING.
I THOUGHT IT WAS REVEALING
FRANKLY THAT THE OPPOSITION
LEADERS DIDN'T SCREAM
ABOUT IT BECAUSE,
AS I SAID TO A FEW
OPPOSITION MPs,
IF YOU GUYS DON'T SCREAM ABOUT
IT, WHO ELSE IS GOING TO?
THE OTHER THING POST
SEPTEMBER 11TH REVEALED,
AND I'M NOT BEING
CRITICAL HERE,
ANY KIND OF
INTERNATIONAL CRISIS,
YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A
SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE
WHO ULTIMATELY MAKE
ALL THE DECISIONS.

Allan says RIGHT.

Jeffrey says IN FAIRNESS, OKAY?
AND THAT'S WHAT WE'VE
SEEN SEPTEMBER 11TH,
BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO HAVE
SPEED AND DECISION MAKING.
THERE'S A LOT OF CONFIDENTIAL
INFORMATION THAT IS PASSING,
AND YOU CAN'T LET THAT OUT
TO A WIDE NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
ALL SEPTEMBER 11TH,
POST-SEPTEMBER 11TH DID
WAS MAGNIFY THE TRENDS
THAT I'M TALKING ABOUT
IN THE BOOK, AND EVEN AFTER
THE CRISIS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH
PASSES, AS WE
ALL HOPE IT WILL,
WE WILL STILL BE
BACK IN A SITUATION
THAT'S DESCRIBED
IN THIS BOOK.

Allan says NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT
CHRETIEN HIMSELF.
AND YOU HAVE WATCHED
HIM UP CLOSE.
AFTER 40 YEARS, THERE
ARE STILL MANY OUT THERE
WHO HAVE NO UNDERSTANDING WHY
THIS GUY IS SO POPULAR.
YOUR VIEW?

Jeffrey says WELL MY THEORY, WHICH I PUT
IN THE BOOK, ABOUT CHRETIEN,
IS THAT HE, GENERALLY SPEAKING,
READ THE MOOD OF THE COUNTRY
CORRECTLY, AND I DON'T
ACTUALLY MEAN THAT HE GETS UP
EVERY MORNING AND WANTS A POLL
OR STICKS HIS FINGER IN THE AIR
AND SAYS, YOU KNOW,
“WHAT SHOULD I DO TODAY?”
I THINK HE SAW
THAT OVER 20 YEARS,
BEFORE HE BECAME
PRIME MINISTER,
THE BODY POLITIC OF THIS
COUNTRY HAD BEEN PUMMELLED
BY PRIME MINISTERS.
YOU CAN START
WHEREVER YOU WANT.
I MIGHT START BACK
IN THE OIL CRISIS.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says AND ALL THAT THAT PRODUCED
LEADING UP TO THE NATIONAL
ENERGY POLICY, THE
GOODS AND SERVICES TAX,
WAGE AND PRICE CONTROLS, FREE
TRADE WITH THE UNITED STATES,
MEECH LAKE, CHARLOTTETOWN, THE
FIGHT AGAINST THE DEFICIT,
AND EACH OF THESE INITIATIVES,
MAJOR AS THEY WERE,
BY THE PRIME
MINISTERS OF THE DAY,
WERE ACCOMPANIED BY THIS KIND
OF HORTATORY RHETORIC THAT
SAID, IF YOU CANADIANS
DON'T PULL UP YOUR SOCKS,
IF YOU DON'T SHAPE UP, THE
BLUE-EYED SHEIKS WILL GET YOU,
QUEBEC WILL SEPARATE,
THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY
FUND WILL HAVE TO COME
AND BAIL US OUT,
ET CETERA, ET CETERA.
AND WE WERE DIVIDED, AND WE
WERE SORE AFTER ALL OF THAT,
AND I THINK CHRETIEN READ THAT
AND CAME INTO OFFICE AND SAID,
CALM DOWN, TAKE A VALIUM.
ONE PROBLEM AT A TIME.
CANADA IS NUMBER ONE.
THAT'S WHAT CANADIANS
WANTED TO HEAR.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says UNDER TRUDEAU AND MULRONEY,
THEY KEPT BEING TOLD
THEY WERE INADEQUATE.
HE CAME ALONG WITH THIS
KIND OF FACILE PATRIOTISM.
CANADA IS NUMBER- AND
PEOPLE SAID, THANK GOD.
HERE'S A GUY WHO IS
BULLISH ON CANADA,
WHO LIKES US JUST
THE WAY WE ARE.
DOESN'T ASK ANY
SACRIFICES, DOESN'T THINK
WE NEED TO MAKE
ANY BIG CHANGES.
HE READ THE MOOD OF
THE TIMES, CORRECTLY.

Allan says YOU USE ON-AND -

Jeffrey AND - AND HE WAS
GIVEN THIS HEAVEN-SENT GIFT
OF OPPOSITION PARTIES THAT
DIDN'T UNDERSTAND
THE ESSENTIAL
LESSON OF CANADA,
WHICH IS THAT YOU CANNOT
SUCCEED IN CANADIAN POLITICS
UNLESS YOU'RE MODERATE.

Allan says MM-HMM.
THE CORNERSTONE OF MAKING
PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY WORK
IS HAVING A
GOVERNMENT IN WAITING.

Jeffrey says ABSOLUTELY.

Allan says HAVING AN ALTERNATIVE.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE ALLIANCE,
AND YOU MAKE THE POINT,
I MEAN, THEY LOOK
LIKE ANYTHING BUT.
WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO DO TO GET
THEMSELVES IN A POSITION
WHERE CANADIANS DO FEEL
THEY HAVE THAT CHOICE?

Allan says THE FIRST THING THEY SHOULD
DO IS PUT IN ON THEIR BEDSIDE
TABLE A SLOGAN THAT SAYS,
WE ARE THE LEAST POPULAR
SECOND PARTY IN CANADA.
IN OTHER WORDS, OUR
GROWTH POTENTIAL
IS EXTREMELY LIMITED IF
WE PURSUE THESE POLICIES.

Allan says IN TERMS OF SECOND CHOICE
VOTING WHEN YOU ASK PEOPLE
WHO IS YOUR SECOND CHOICE,
THEY ARE NOWHERE.

Jeffrey says EXACTLY.
EXACTLY, RIGHT, SO YOUR
CAPACITY TO GROW WHEN YOU'RE
UP AGAINST THAT KIND OF
AN OBSTACLE IS ENORMOUS.
MY BASIC LESSON TO THEM, OR
GOSPEL OR WHATEVER YOU WANT
TO CALL IT, TO THEM, IS
VERY, VERY SIMPLE.
BACK IN THE LATE 1980s,
FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS,
A GROUP OF PEOPLE, AND THEN
A LARGER AND LARGER GROUP
OF PEOPLE, SAID WE WANT TO
BREAK THE MOULD OF CANADIAN
POLITICS, AND WE WANT
TO CREATE A NEW MOULD.
THEY BROKE THE MOULD
OF CANADIAN POLITICS
TO SOME EXTENT, THEY
CREATED A NEW MOULD.
THE NEW MOULD IS
CALLED PERPETUAL
LIBERAL PARTY
GOVERNMENT.
I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE
MOULD THEY HAD IN MIND.
THEREFORE, THEY'VE GOT TO
GO BACK AND SAY, WELL,
WE'VE GIVEN IT THREE TRIES
ON A SET OF A POLICIES AND
APPROACHES, WE TRIED
DIFFERENT LEADERS.
WE'VE TRIED DIFFERENT NAMES.
WE'VE GOTTEN SMARTER ON
HOW TO ORGANIZE CAMPAIGNS.
WE ARE MORE
SOPHISTICATED IN POLLING.
IT HASN'T WORKED.
THEY'VE GOT TO GO
BACK AND REALIZE,
THIS COUNTRY IS
NOT IDEOLOGICAL.

Allan says WELL, AND YOU MAKE THAT
CASE VERY, VERY STRONGLY,
AND THAT YOU LOOKED
BOTH HISTORICALLY,
AND IN A CONTEMPORARY
SENSE, TOO,
THAT TO CHALLENGE ESPECIALLY
THE NATURAL GOVERNING PARTY,
THE LIBERALS, YOU HAVE TO
DO IT FROM A POSITION
OF THE CENTRE.
WHY HAVE THESE GUYS
NOT LEARNED THAT?
WHY CAN THEY NOT GET
THAT IN THEIR HEADS?
WHY WOULD THEY ELECT
A STOCKWELL DAY
IF YOU KNEW THAT AND
OTHERS KNOW THAT?

Jeffrey says IT'S A MYSTERY TO ME.
WHEN THEY WERE IN THE PROCESS
OF REPLACING PRESTON MANNING
WITH STOCKWELL DAY, I SAID
AND WROTE AT THE TIME,
ALL YOU'RE DOING IS GOING
DEEPER AND DEEPER
INTO YOUR CORE, WHICH PUTS
YOU FURTHER AND FURTHER
AWAY FROM THE CANADIAN
MAINSTREAM.
I CAN'T ANSWER THAT,
BECAUSE IT SEEMS TO ME,
TO USE A BASEBALL
ANALOGY, THREE STRIKES -
THREE ELECTIONS IN THIS CASE,
THREE FAILURES - YOU'RE OUT.
YOU SIT ON THE BENCH, AND
YOU BETTER SIT THERE
AND FIGURE OUT, HOW AM I
GOING TO IMPROVE MY GAME,
AND I UNFORTUNATELY
DON'T SEE ANY OF THEM
DOING THAT AT THE MOMENT.
IN FAIRNESS, SOME OF THE FOLKS
WHO BROKE AWAY TO FORM
THE DEMOCRATIC REFORM CAUCUS, -

Allan says CAUCUS.

Jeffrey says I THINK THEY UNDERSTAND
THAT THE REFORM PARTY WAS IN
A BOX, A KIND OF IRON BOX
THAT IT COULDN'T
GET OUT OF.
AND THAT DAY'S LEADERSHIP
BASICALLY MADE IT
MORE DIFFICULT, BUT IT WAS
STILL GOING TO BE DIFFICULT
AND THAT THEY HAD TO
SEARCH BEYOND.
AND THE CONSERVATIVES, I DON'T
THINK THEY DEMONSTRATED-
BECAUSE THEY ARE AN OLD
HISTORIC PARTY WITH A CERTAIN
SENSE OF THEMSELVES - THE
DEGREE TO WHICH THE REFORM
PARTY BROUGHT INTO CANADIAN
POLITICS CERTAIN IDEAS WHICH
HAVE RESONANCE, PARTICULARLY
IN WESTERN CANADA,
THAT THE CONSERVATIVES WERE
PAYING NO ATTENTION TO.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says THIS BOOK, IN THE
CONCLUDING CHAPTER,
HAS QUITE A NUMBER
OF SUGGESTIONS,
BECAUSE I WANTED TO
BE CONSTRUCTIVE ABOUT
INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS.
WELL THE REFORM PARTY
DOMINATED THAT AGENDA.

Allan says RIGHT.

Jeffrey says THEY TOOK IT OVER.
THE CONSERVATIVES HAD
NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT THAT.
BECAUSE THEY HAD
BEEN IN OFFICE AND,
LIKE THE LIBERALS TODAY,
THEY COULDN'T CONCEIVE
OF A DIFFERENT SYSTEM.

Allan says AT THE ELECTORAL LEVEL, YOU
LOOK AT A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT
SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD,
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION,
SECOND-CHOICE VOTING, WHAT
SYSTEM COULD IMPROVE
THE PUBLIC SENSE OF
INVOLVEMENT OR MEANINGFULNESS
IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS?

Jeffrey says FEWER THAN 50 PERCENT OF THE
MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
WERE ELECTED WITH MORE THAN HALF
OF THE VOTES IN THEIR DISTRICTS.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says SO THE SYSTEM THEY USE IN
AUSTRALIA WOULD CORRECT THAT.
IN AUSTRALIA, VERY SIMPLE,
SAME BALLOT THAT WE HAVE,
BUT RATHER THAN CHECKING
OFF ALLAN GREGG'S NAME,
IF THERE ARE FIVE CANDIDATES,
YOU LIST THEM IN ORDER OF
PREFERENCE: ONE, TWO,
THREE, FOUR, FIVE.

Allan says ONE TO FIVE, SURE.

Jeffrey says NOBODY GETS 50 PERCENT.
YOU TAKE THE SECOND
CHOICE PREFERENCE OF
THE FIFTH CANDIDATE,
YOU REDISTRIBUTE THEM,
AND THAT GUARANTEES THAT
EVERY MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
WILL BE THERE WITH AT LEAST
50 PERCENT OF THE VOTES,
FIRST OR SECOND ROUND.

Allan says MM-HMM.

Jeffrey says THAT WOULD MAKE THE HOUSE OF
COMMONS MORE REPRESENTATIVE.
SECONDLY, WE GOT
TO HAVE, OVER TIME,
AND I KNOW HOW DIFFICULT IT
IS BECAUSE I'M A VETERAN
OF CONSTITUTIONAL WARS, A SENATE
THAT REFLECTS THE DIVERSITY
OF THE COUNTRY INSTEAD OF
BEING PART OF THAT ARSENAL
OF PRIME MINISTERIAL
APPOINTMENTS THAT
YOU TALKED ABOUT A
MOMENT AGO.

Allan says REGIONAL AND PROVINCIAL.

Jeffrey says YEAH, EVERY OTHER FEDERATION
IN THE WORLD HAS A SENATE
THAT'S EITHER
ELECTED OR APPOINTED
BY THE STATE LEGISLATURES.

Allan says RIGHT.

Jeffrey says WE ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT
HAS THIS KIND OF SENATE.
SO I THINK WE NEED
TO HAVE A NEW SYSTEM,
NOT A RADICALLY DIFFERENT, BUT
A NEW SYSTEM FOR ELECTING MPs,
AND THEN A SENATE WHICH WOULD
HAVE TWO IMPORTANT ELEMENTS.
NUMBER ONE, WE WOULDN'T HAVE
EQUALITY AMONG PROVINCES,
THAT'S A NONSTARTER.
I'M SORRY TO TELL
MY TRIPLE-E FRIENDS
THAT IT'S A NONSTARTER.
YOU'LL NEVER GET ONTARIO AND
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND TO ACCEPT
THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE THE
SAME NUMBER OF SENATORS.
BUT A SENATE RATHER THAT DOES
GIVE DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER
OF SEATS TO SMALLER
PROVINCES AND, SECONDLY,
ELECT THEM ON PROPORTIONAL
REPRESENTATION,
SO THAT SMALLER PARTIES,
DIFFERENT GROUPS,
CAN BE REPRESENTED
IN PARLIAMENT.
YOU HAVE AN ELECTED SENATE,
ELECTED HOUSE OF COMMONS.
PEOPLE SAY, WELL THAT'S A
RECIPE FOR DEADLOCK.
IN MY ESTIMATION-

Allan says ITALY.

Jeffrey says NO, AUSTRALIA WHERE THEY'VE
HAD THESE DEADLOCKS.

Allan says YES.

Jeffrey says AND MY ANSWER
IS VERY SIMPLE.
IF YOU HAVE A 301-SEAT
HOUSE OF COMMONS,
YOU HAVE 132 OR
28-SEAT SENATE,
IF THERE IS A DEADLOCK,
THEY JUST VOTE TOGETHER.
AND SINCE THERE'S GOING
TO BE ROUGHLY THREE TIMES
AS MANY COMMONERS AS SENATORS,
ULTIMATELY THE COMMONS
CAN GET ITS WAY.
BUT IT'S A WAY OF REFLECTING
THE DIVERSITY OF THE COUNTRY,
BOTH IN THE PROVINCES
AND AMONG THE PROVINCES,
AND PROVIDING SOME CHECK ON
THIS UNFETTERED CAPACITY
OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND
A MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT
TO GET THEIR WAY.
SO I'M LOOKING FOR A
RESTORATION OF THE BALANCE
IN THE SYSTEM BETWEEN
EFFECTIVENESS,
WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT,
AND REPRESENTATIVENESS,
WHICH WOULD MAKE PEOPLE FEEL
THAT THE SYSTEM REFLECTS THEM
MORE THAN THE PRESENT SYSTEM
DOES, AND FINDS THIS BALANCE,
WHICH I THINK IS WHAT PEOPLE
ARE REALLY LOOKING FOR.

Allan says JEFFREY SIMPSON, AS ALWAYS,
I WANT TO THANK YOU
VERY MUCH FOR JOINING ME.
IT HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE.

Jeffrey says THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

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