Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Which Edmonton City Councillor are You?

Since the Ward 12 by-election just a few months ago, Edmonton city council has gotten into quite a few rather contentious votes. Most recently the Mezzo Building decision left quite a few observers rather upset, but earlier council decided to scrap the proposed Hawrelak Park Water Play Feature (worst name ever, by the way) after being faced with price increases, and has had to face some struggles with the proposed green development in the Blatchford area.

With that all being said, since Councillor Banga has taken on the role, Edmonton's open data suggests that there have been 25 votes of council that have been non-unanimous, which it turns out is more than enough that no two councillors have voted the same way on everything over the last two months (even though Councillor Oshry and Mayor Iveson gave it their best shot at 24/25). That means that, with only a few questions, we can generate a choose-your-own-adventure game in the style of a Buzzfeed quiz to see which councillor you agree the most with over the last term!

Which Edmonton City councillor are you? The answer will surprise you!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Edmonton Zone Map

Earlier this week, there was a bit of a kerfuffle raised at City Council when they contentiously passed a motion to allow a new 16-storey building near Whyte Avenue. In order to allow the new building, they had to change some of the zoning around the area.

I was curious about exactly what the distribution of zones in Edmonton look like, so I decided to see if I could find a map. Oddly enough, despite the data being available on the city's OpenData portal, there wasn't a readily-available one to be found via Google.

And maybe there's a good reason - it turns out there are over 85 different zone descriptors that the city uses, and many of the individually set zones are actually rather tiny (small parks count as their own zone, for instance). If you coloured a map based on all the different types of zones, it would be a scary kaleidoscope that wouldn't be terribly useful.

So instead, I've reverted to the tried and true Sim City method and labelled things broadly as either Residential, Commercial, or Industrial zones. Take a look:



If you've lived in Edmonton for more than a couple minutes, I'm sure that this map isn't surprising to you at all. I find it still cool to actually see things laid out like this though - it really shows you the industrial moat that surrounds Mill Woods, for instance, and specifically locates all of the strip malls we seem so fond of. (If your favorite strip mall isn't coded blue, it's most likely because many areas tend to end up as 'Site Specific Development Control Provision', which is essentially bylaw code for 'none of the above'. I didn't end up colour coding them all because there 650 of them, mostly all for different reasons...)

One final thought: I'm not so sure I like the sounds of the Anthony Henday being an agricultural zone. Hopefully they keep the agriculture and the four lanes of speeding gas guzzlers a little separated...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Gender Equality in APEGA

Pop quiz: Given that recent data suggests that women earn 72% of what men do for similar work in Canada, what is the wage gap for women in engineering in Alberta?

  • A) 13%
  • B) 0.15%
  • C) The math depends on your agenda

You're right! The math behind the wage gap depends on what you're looking to achieve in your analysis. Congratulations!

Let me explain. For the last couple of years, APEGA has published a detailed salary survey of its members. (This year, APEGA instead published an 8-page summary of the survey, and asked $1,900 to share the full information with you, while also withholding the complete data from previous years. Yuck.) Fortunately, through the power of the web archive, we can access the previous salary survey data, which is helpfully broken down into many demographics. Let's take a look.

From the 2014 salary survey, the average male engineer's salary was $125,721, and the average female engineer's salary was $109,402, for a wage gap of 13%. Alright, we're done here. That was easy.

Well, maybe not so fast. One of the biggest determinants of salary is seniority, and if seniority isn't distributed similarly between genders then that may skew the data. If we compare male to female earnings based on seniority, we get:


For salary survey purposes, an A- class would be the equivalent of a co-op student, and an F+ class would be senior management.

When we look at the data like this, we see that until maybe the very top levels of senior management, male and female engineers make approximately the same salaries (within 2% one way or another). If we weight this based on the total number of engineers in each category, we actually end up with females earning 0.15% more than men on average.

So on the one hand we have women earning the same as men, and on the other hand we have women making 13% less, all depending on how you look at the statistics. While things are looking good from the point of view of co-workers getting paid similarly for similar responsibilities, is there a chance that something else may be pulling back on womens' chances at the better paying jobs? We can investigate further by looking at seniority by gender:


Alright now that's something. Women tend to average around a B to a C level, whereas men tend to average around a C to a D level. Here's a major difference, and when compared with the salary averages at each seniority level, we can see where the previously-established 13% salary difference comes from.

Based on the earlier analysis, I'm pretty optimistic that for the same responsibility level, male and female engineers make approximately the same wages. But it's definitely worth looking into what's causing the differences in distribution of work responsibilities.

Starting out, I think there are three major plausible theories. A pessimistic and sexist theory could be that men are promoted faster in the workplace, and as a result tend to sit higher in seniority (glass ceiling style). The disappointing yet potentially less sexist theory is that women, for one reason or another, leave the workplace earlier than men, and as a result there are fewer of them to take on senior management roles. And the last theory is that changes in the graduation rates of female engineers are leaving women just now catching up to men in equality.

Let's examine each in turn. Each level of seniority in the APEGA salary survey also contained information on length of career post-graduation, for women and for men. If the distribution of these values doesn't line up, perhaps that tells us something. The three largest groups by seniority are B, C, and D:


Well that's bang on, how about:


Still pretty close. Then there's:


Alright, they actually all look reasonably similar. If anything, there may be a higher percentage of younger women in D-level positions than men, similar to the higher percentage of very young men in C-level positions than women. Nothing that could quite explain a 13% wage disparity though.

The second theory I suggested was that women may leave the workplace at younger ages than men, for various reasons. Here's the distribution of women at different stages in engineers' careers:




Yikes. Please note though that the salary data for people who've worked 35-40 years is pretty slim, so it's not terribly unlikely that there actually are some women engineers in that demographic, and the 2014 salary survey actually over-polled the number of females which may also skew the data. Either way, we see a clear trend where older and more senior engineers are substantially less likely to be female than younger engineers.

The final piece of the puzzle comes from the third theory I listed above. Graduation rates for female engineers have changed wildly over the last 40 years, as shown in this graph from the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering:

For a wide variety of reasons, the proportion of engineers graduating in 1975 who were female was only 3.6%. This climbed to approximately 20% only in the late 1990s, where it has fluctuated a bit since then. The last graph I present to you is the comparison of graduated female engineers since graduation and the percentage of female engineers in APEGA over the same time range:


While there may be a bit of a discrepancy between Canada graduation numbers and Alberta employment numbers, I think this comparison is still valid.

So what are we left with to explain the wage gap for engineers in Alberta? It appears as though a significant part of it may be due to the fact that, until relatively recently, the rate of women entering engineering education was dreadfully low. A lot of the high-paying senior management positions that are held by men simply don't have many women counterparts to be offered to, leading to an imbalance in seniority. That being said, women in engineering, certainly past the 20-years-since-graduation mark, are still lagging behind their graduation rates, suggesting that women who did graduate over 20 years ago were still more likely to leave the field than their male counterparts.

Where does this leave us? Well, while things are definitely getting better, and engineering is surprisingly better than the average of other workplaces, there's always work to be done. I suspect that as the workforce ages, we'll see a narrowing of the disparity in seniority, and hopefully in the meantime we can figure out which factors lead to women leaving the field disproportionately. Only when we reach a situation where opportunities at all levels of engineering employment are equal will we have a truly equal environment for engineers in Alberta.

Edit: It's worth noting that the APEGA salary survey does not distinguish between full time and part time, or contract or non-contract work. As a result, any potential gender disparities between these forms of employment haven't been assessed in this post, or in the APEGA salary survey as a source.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Edmonton 2015 Federal Election Results

As you might remember, that big old scary 2015 Federal Election happened way back in October. However, the Government only released the official results of the election just yesterday - go take a look at them, they're quite cool!

In the meantime, here's the final official map of how each poll in Edmonton voted, in a similar format to my post regarding the previous Alberta election. Each poll is coloured by which party had the most votes there (red is Liberal, blue conservative, and orange NDP), and then darker colours indicate the party had greater than 50% support.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Edmonton Ward 12 By-Election Results

Edmonton's Ward 12 by-election took place this week, and it had a historic 32 candidates running to sit on council. There were a couple of fun outcomes from this election that are worth taking a quick look at:

Winning Vote Total

I didn't bother doing a full write-up on this, but I was curious at the beginning of the race about just how many votes it would require to win this election. With 32 candidates, technically the winner could have won with 3.125% +1 votes, which is terribly low, but I had a hunch that there would be a few front runners, and lots of trailing candidates. I decided to take a look at historical civic elections in Edmonton and Calgary, and posted this graph on twitter:


Obviously it was a long shot extrapolation, as very few past elections have had even half the number of candidates as this one.

How well did I do? The winner, Moe Banga, got 17.76% of the vote, which adjusts our graph to this:


I'd say that looks pretty decent. Sure, it was a long shot estimate, but it was certainly a lot less dire than the worst-case guess would have been.

Vote Distribution

Sadly, because of its by-election status, there were only seven polling stations in this election, which means that mapping voting data is a bit silly. Here are the results of the winner in each poll anyway, though.


Again, not much to write home about. This map is a lot more boring than it could have been largely because all the vote totals tend to be quite close together, and each poll represents several neighborhoods. 7 data points just isn't enough to have fun with.

That being said, we can see that Moe Banga had fairly wide-ranging support, which will be encouraging for him going into council. Irfan Chaudhry, who came in fourth, had a narrow lead in Charlesworth, Walker, and Ellerslie neighborhoods, and Laura Thibert, who came in second, had a decent lead in Larkspur and Wild Rose.

Election Strategies

Finally, when we look at the total vote breakdown a little more closely, we can get a bit of an idea as to how some of the campaigns prioritized.

Take advance voting, for example. Advanced votes accounted for 27.3% of all votes cast, but were prioritized by some candidates more than others. Moe Banga, the winner, was clearly quite organized and got 37% of his vote in advance (these advance votes of his were enough to beat the total votes of 26 other candidates even). Other high-ranking candidates, like Balraj Manhas, Arundeep Sandhu, Yash Sharma, and Rakesh Patel all got over 35% of their vote in a similar way. Candidate Sam Jhajj was a clear outlier though - getting 70.3% of his votes from advance voting.

And finally, special ballots only accounted for 1.1% of all ballots, and are reserved for people who can't vote in either advanced or normal ballots. Strangely enough, three candidates (Moe Banga, Rakesh Patel, and Balrash Manhas) combined had more than half of these votes. Kudos for grabbing the out-of-towners, I suppose!

That's it! And we won't have another election in Edmonton for 18 months! See you after the next one.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Taxi Stats for Edmonton

The fight in Edmonton for Uber vs Taxis has finally reached its head today, with the final vote for the  updated Vehicle for Hire bylaw to be debated by the end of the day (barring any disruptions to council).

Potentially complicating matters is that this takes place during the very beginning of the Ward 12 by-election, meaning one seat on council is vacant. This is perhaps extra complicating matters as some of the candidates for the by-election are either directly involved with the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton or calling for a postponement of the debate, under the understanding that Ward 12 contains a disproportionate number of taxi drivers relative to other wards of the city.

Of course, taxi drivers are only one half of the equation, and taxi users are also important to consider. While the stat on the previous link that 35% of cabbies live in Ward 12 is only sourced to the Nav Kaur campaign, there is plenty of other information from the cab users from a 2014 city survey that reveals some data from the consumer side of things. This first map, for instance, indicates the percentage of people who regularly take taxis in each ward*:


Green: higher taxi usage; Red: lower taxi usage
*Postal codes T5C, T5S, and T6P had low survey turnout and probably should be disregarded in this map.


As may be expected, taxis are more commonly used in the interior of the city, and less commonly used to the west and east. Councillors who might be more concerned than average about their constituents' access to taxis could include McKeen (ward 6), Henderson, (ward 8), Walters (ward 10) and Nickel (ward 11).

The survey also looked at the perceived importance and satisfaction for taxis in Edmonton. Both questions were rated from 1-5, with five being the most positive (extremely important and very satisfied, respectively). The averages for each ward are:

Importance:


Green: High importance; Red: Low importance

Satisfaction:

Green: High satisfaction; Red: low satisfaction

 On average, Edmonton citizens tend to view taxi services as somewhere between moderately and very important (3.86/5), and are somewhere between somewhat dissatisfied and neutral about their experiences (2.79/5).

This post is mostly not to provide opinions, but to share some of the data that the city has on taxi users in Edmonton. There are parts of the city where people regularly take taxis and think they are important, but also aren't satisfied with the service they receive, and regardless of the outcome of today's vote hopefully opening up the discussion around taxi alternatives results in a better user experience overall.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Electoral Reform

In less than two weeks we're going to head to the polls and elect the 42nd Government of Canada. The elections process we use is pretty old and potentially outdated, and it's time that we started to take a proper look at how it works.

A quick overview of what we currently have: on October 19th, you and the ~100,000 people who live closest to you will have the chance to pick who represents you at the House of Commons. Whoever gets the most votes between you and your neighbors wins, and becomes a Member of Parliament.
Now, most candidates in each riding are associated with a political party. When they all get to the House of Commons, they tend to stick together with other people of their party, and most of the time vote the same way. Once everyone has gotten to the House of Commons, the Governor General (representing our Head of State, the Queen of England), offers the leader of the largest elected party the opportunity to form a government, which is subsequently voted on by all members of the House. 
Unless you happen to live in a riding with the leader of a major party, you never actually directly vote for who is going to be prime minister or how powerful of a government that leader will have. 
If the largest party has more than half of the seats (a majority), they'll win this vote pretty easily and form government. If they don't, they can still form government by arranging deals with other parties, but probably won't stick around for too long. 

Our system of electing people to represent us has its share of failures. For one thing, as a representational democracy, you'd hope that everyone is equally represented in the House of Commons, but this isn't necessarily the case. In fact, the riding with the fewest voters (Labrador - population 26,728) has almost 5 times less population than the riding with the most (Brantford-Brant, population 132,448). This means that a voter in Labrador has 5 times the voting power of one in Brantford. The full distribution of voters per riding looks like this:


This is actually really badly distributed, and the problem is serious enough that there are often laws in place to prevent this sort of thing from happening. In Alberta, for instance, the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act limits population deviation between provincial electoral divisions to 25% of the average. Provinces like Saskatchewan and New Brunswick limit deviation from the average to only 5%, but in federal elections the largest deviation is an overwhelming 73% below average.

(Before you despair, though, keep in mind that the US Senate assigns the same number of senators per state regardless of its population. The best-represented US senate voter has 66 times the voting power of the worst-represented, and the largest population per senate seat is 510% of the average.)

So our system isn't really all that great at ensuring that everyone's vote is worth the same, but is it any good at reflecting people's voting choices?

Not entirely. At a small scale, the winner of any given riding is indeed the candidate with the most total votes, but more often than not they don't win with a majority of votes. Over the last three years, 58% of seats have been won with less than 50% support, and the worst winner became an elected Member of Parliament with only 29.1% support.


This in and of itself isn't inherently evil, but our system is designed to elect representatives for each riding, and it is hard to argue that someone with less than 50% support is always the most representative of the area. The worst case situation I mentioned earlier had a Bloc Quebecois member elected with 29% support, but if the elected MP were to vote on the issue of Quebec separation, should he listen to the 29% of people who supported him, or the 71% of people who voted for explicitly non-separatist candidates??

Most issues that MPs vote on aren't that white-or-black, of course, but it's not unreasonable for MPs to be put in positions where their party line disagrees with the majority opinion of their constituents, and this is not an effective form of representational democracy.

This leads to one of the biggest issues with First Past the Post electoral systems - they are prone to dishonest or strategic voting. In our current election, there is a push from multiple groups to coordinate voting in swing ridings, with the mindset that it's better to vote against a specific party than to vote for a party you actually care about. Any seat that is won with less than 50% support can be prone to strategic voting, especially if voters either don't feel their preferred candidate has a chance to win or if voters are particularly angry at the front-runner.

When we zoom out a bit, though, this lack of majority support per riding can lead to larger effects on a reigonal scale. If a region of five ridings has an evenly-distributed population with, say, 40% support to one party and 30% support split between each of two other parties, the party with 40% could easily end up with candidates elected in a majority of ridings and take control easily (if that party has control of setting electoral boundaries, they can potentially do this even without being the most popular by gerrymandering).

This is the issue of (non-geographic) proportional representation, and on a national scale our elections haven't always turned out terribly proportionately. In fact, the last four elections look like this:


For the last four elections, the parties that contested all available seats (hence the lack of Bloc Quebecois in the graph, they're silly anyway) have actually very neatly traced a cubic relationship between party support and seat allocation, instead of the line that we might expect.

Before I talk about proportional representation too much more, I'd like to acknowledge a key assumption about proportional representation: it is often assumed that a voter for a candidate from a party in one region supports that party in all regions. This is definitely not always the case - I personally have voted for candidates while disliking their party leadership, and have known others to vote strictly based on candidate and not on party at all. When people argue that a party with 40% voter support should get 40% of the power in the House of Commons, that is definitely not the motivation that has driven all of those votes to have been cast in the first place.

Nevertheless, there are certainly benefits to having a system where party power post-election reflects party support. Much like an individual MP being elected with less than half of the support of their riding, the above graph shows that it's likely (and has certainly happened in the past) for parties to end up with a majority government with less than a majority of voters' support.

Hopefully by now I've shown that there are issues with the current first past the post system that we have in Canada. Not everyone's votes counts at the same value, and once they've been counted we're not represented to the best extent possible.

There are three leading proposals out there that are being put forward for how to deal with some of the shortfalls of our current system that are worth discussing: Alternative Voting (AV), Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), and Single Transferable Vote (STV). There are, of course, hundreds of ways that we could change our system, but these three have a history of being considered in Canada, and are worth taking a closer look into.

Alternative Voting

AV (also called Instant-Runoff Vote) isn't officially being proposed by a political party right now, but is apparently a leading possibility in the Liberals' current plans to overhaul the electoral system.

When voting in an AV election, every voter has the choice to rank as many candidates as they want. All voters' first choices are added up, and if any candidate has over 50% of the votes they win. If nobody has enough, then the candidate with the lowest first-place votes is eliminated, and all votes for them are redistributed to the second-ranked choices. This process continues until eventually one candidate has over 50% of the vote and wins.

Source
If we were to replace our current system with Alternative Vote tomorrow, the results in ~42% of our ridings would definitely not change at all, as historically about that many seats have over 50% support to one candidate anyway. Only ridings with very close first-round results would be likely to end up differently between FPTP and AV election systems - quite often the front-runner off the first-choice votes ends up winning.

So why is Alternative Vote any better than First Past the Post? Mainly because it reduces the need of strategic voting. If your favored candidate is unlikely to win, you don't have to consider a vote for them wasted, because either the winner will win with over 50% support (and you couldn't have changed it anyway), or your vote will get redistributed to someone else of your choice. This is good inasmuch as it allows voters to vote with their conscience.

On the other hand, all the rest of the problems that exist in First Past the Post still exist in Alternative Vote. An analysis of the 2015 UK election, for instance, suggests that the results would have been even more disproportionate under AV than FPTP, and while it's true that voters can't be left with a candidate winning with 30% support, if the 50% benchmark is hit through a series of second, third, or fourth-place votes then we still have a situation where the majority of voters never picked their representative, or only picked them as a compromise solution. Keeping a system of single-winner ridings with a minimum 50% support doesn't ensure proportionality at all.

Mixed Member Proportional

MMP has been proposed by the NDP as an election promise this year, to be implemented by the next election. It has been proposed by the Law Commission of Canada and independent provincial commissions, but has also officially been rejected by the voters of Ontario in 2007.

Youtube again does a very good job of explaining it here, but the quick explanation is that when a voter goes to vote in an MMP system, they get two ballots. One is the exact same as our current ballot, and the other is strictly for party preference. After all votes are cast, whoever ends up with the most votes in each riding from the first ballot gets elected, just as normal.

After that, the proportion of party support received off the second ballot is compared to the number of seats won from the first ballot, and additional seats are filled from pre-existing party lists until the overall proportion of seats in the House of Commons matches the proportion from that second ballot. Overall, half of the seats in the House of Commons would be filled by each ballot.

Source

MMP is touted as providing a good balance between keeping geographical representation, while guaranteeing partisan proportionality and avoiding the need for strategic voting. However, it misses the mark on most of these.

The issues mentioned before regarding First Past the Post winners not representing a large proportion of their constituents absolutely have not disappeared in MMP - this would leave the same number of voters without a local representative in parliament as before. Strategic voting for or against candidates at a local level would still occur too - in fact, MMP is at best a half fix from First Past the Post, since half of the ballot takes place in the exact same way as always. (It may be worse than FPTP, since the directly-elected MPs would be responsible for ridings double in size from previous ones, in order to make room for the new list-only MPs.)

So let's focus on the second half of the ballot. By filling seats based on a candidate's ranking on a party list, instead of electing them directly, a whole second class of MP would be created. These MPs wouldn't be accountable to any citizens or have to represent them, since they would owe the existence of their jobs solely to the popularity of their party.

In my opinion, this is less of an issue in countries that currently use MMP, like New Zealand, Germany, and Scotland, than it is in Canada, mostly because combined those three countries cover an area only a little bigger than Alberta. If a party ends up being elected largely without direct constituency seats, then their MPs in the country capital may not be the best suited to debate issues taking place thousands of kilometers away as opposed to only hundreds of kilometers away. The lessened importance of geographical representation in MMP becomes more of an issue when your country sprawls across five and a half timezones.

The second ballot of MMP also isn't immune from strategic voting. For instance, in the 2005 Albanian election the two major parties convinced their supporters to vote for them on the constituency ballots, and to vote for smaller coalition partner parties on the party ballot. This resulted in an unbalanced situation where previously tiny parties shared all the party ballot seats, and the large parties shared the constituency seats, and a pre-determined coalition took control. Similarly, in the 2007 Lesotho election, the major parties split in two and used decoy parties for the list seat votes. This example of gaming the system resulted in one party taking 69% of the seats with 52% of the vote.

Obviously these are in the past and the development of a new electoral system could hopefully take steps to avoid loopholes like this, but other concerns still exist. MMP ballots tend to fall into two camps - open lists or closed lists. A closed list would trust the parties to fill in their top-up seats at their discretion, creating the possibility of career politicians who keep getting elected based on value and loyalty to the party, whereas an open list (as favoured by the NDP) would have voters choose the list of MPs-to-be. Needless to say, this option would take a "simple two ballot" system and add an enormous amount of ranking to it.

Mixed Member Proportional voting system tries to be the best of both worlds, but doesn't necessarily excel at either. Its local representation has all the issues we already have, and its push for proportionality creates a second class of MP with questionable accountability. Both MMP and AV appear to be half solutions to the current issues with FPTP, but they seem to address separate halves of the issue.

Single Transferable Vote

STV was recommended by the Citizens' Assembly of British Columbia in 2004, and got 57.7% percent support in a 2005 referendum. But the BC government said they wouldn't be bound by anything lower than 60% support, campaigned hard against it, and when it came back to referendum in 2009 it only got 39.1% support.

Yet again, Youtube has a good explanation, but what happens in STV is that ridings are merged together, with several winners getting elected from each riding. Because of this, each party can nominate multiple candidates. Voters then rank as many candidates as they want in each riding.

Based on the number of seats to be filled in each new riding, a minimum threshold of votes is needed to get elected. Then an adapted version of Alternative Vote takes place - any candidates with more than that the threshold are elected, and their surplus votes are redistributed at a fractional value to the next-ranked choices. This repeats until no candidate has reached the threshold, at which point the lowest-ranked candidate is eliminated, and voters' subsequent choices are redistributed at full value.

Source
The use of fractional vote redistribution for winners ensures that voters who pick popular candidates aren't penalized. If a majority of the population all pick candidates from Party A, then effectively the most popular candidate from the party will share their surplus votes to voters' subsequent choices, so that voters don't have to worry too badly about the order in which they rank multiple more-or-less equal choices. Similarly, candidates who are eliminated have their votes redistributed at full value so that their voters aren't penalized either.

So how does this fix anything? Well first of all, the issue in FPTP where people could feel unrepresented is very nearly eliminated. Imagine a riding that elects five MPs - in this case, each MP would need 16.67% of the vote (plus one vote) to get elected. This is the minimum threshold that five MPs could each hold, but that six people couldn't (because of the +1 vote requirement). This means that, at the absolute worst case scenario, 83% of everyone's ballots would go directly or indirectly towards electing someone, and almost always the people elected would be the first or second choices of the voters.

Strategic voting would no longer be an issue. Unlike FPTP, if a voter's preferred candidate doesn't get elected, that isn't going to jeopardize the chances of a compromise candidate. Voters could vote with a clear conscience, and smaller parties would not have to worry about losing votes to strategic coordination.

Also, the more seats there are in each riding, the closer to proportional the overall result would become. If 40% of people vote Party A in a 5-person riding, then only the two most popular Party A candidates will get elected, and all the votes cast for Party A candidates won't be redistributed anymore because they've succeeded in getting seats filled. Smaller parties will have a better chance of getting elected by the popularity of individual candidates, as the threshold to get elected to a multi-seat riding will be lower.

While the national results will be very close to proportional, proportionality isn't the end-goal of STV like it is in MMP. That means that voters who vote based on party affiliation can lump their ranking by party, but voters who vote based on candidates would be free to do so as they wish.

STV keeps geographical representation and proportional representation. So why isn't it being proposed by any major parties?

Well for starters, those reports I mentioned before supporting MMP were a bit weakly worded. The PEI report liked both systems, but felt that MMP would be easier to swallow for Canadians since it's only changing half of the system (pg 98). The Law Commission report considered STV for about half a page (pg 103) before rejecting it based on it not having "geographical representation ... effective/accountable government ... [or] regional balance" without explanation. To their credit, neither the Liberals nor the Green Party have dismissed STV, and instead officially are proposing to form committees to investigate the best way forward.

Most complaints about the STV system are that it is complicated to explain and results in long ballots. These are definitely true, though as mentioned before an open list MMP system would likely have a similarly long ballot, and the idea of ranking people is the same as in AV. STV is also certainly not the most complicated voting system out there, but often the complications are required to avoid strategic voting openings.

Canada's electoral system is old and showing some signs of wear and tear. Both the disproportionate and inadequate representation that we have in our current system can and should be fixed, and the sooner that this happens, the better. But we don't have to accept only the Alternative Vote being entertained by the Liberals or the Mixed Member Proportional system offered by the NDP - they are at best half a fix, and at worst no better than our current system. If we're going to fix this, we should do this right.