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visibility and importance that the voting choices of the electorate will become directly related to the behaviour of the MP, creating solidly based representation, and real responsibility and accountability from citizens to representatives. That would be reform indeed. But to believe that it will happen requires a strong act of faith, confounding the lessons of more than a hundred years of parliamentary tradition in Canada. The advocates of more independence for MPS and stronger, non-partisan committees make a judgment that the adversarial system is bad. But a strong

regional contrasts have greater ‘play’ in public policy than they would in Canada. Across the South, for example, the average response to rela- tionship issues, or any other question about gay rights, is persistently conservative enough that centrist and progressive politicians give voice to inclusive stances at their peril. This is not just because of popular responses to issues of sexual diversity, but also because polling has shown that Southerners are more likely than others to weigh party positions on gay marriage in making voting choices.50 The more favourable

member voted yea or nay or if the member was paired with another member. Therefore, we cannot know for sure if someone was absent for a valid reason or abstained from voting to avoid antagonizing the party. To consider abstentions as a vote choice, the online appendix to this chapter includes an additional analysis in which the dependent variable is a weighted Rice index (see Hix, Noury, and Roland 2005, 216). The third limitation of the Rice index relates to the number of votes found in each Parliament. As we saw in chapter 4, the total number of recorded

, I calculated the locations of all legislators using a binary discrete choice model based on Poole’s (2005) Optimal Classification (OC) algorithm.18 This approach computes the ranking of all MPs from their voting records to maximize the proportion of correctly classified votes in a one- or two-dimensional spatial model.19 A correctly classified vote implies that the algorithm separates all members according to their vote choice (either yea or nay). The classification becomes trickier when party unity breaks down. In this context, it is often necessary to add

reason these polls demanded more of the respon- dents intellectually because they had to come to conclusions about their voting choices. Moreover, these polls required pollsters to use the more precise kind of intensity measurement we have mentioned above. On the other hand, polling on Canadians’ perceptions of key issues facing the nation in 2004, such as the state of health care or the implica- tions of the Gomery inquiry, was mainly judgment-oriented. It can be distinguished from the former polling objective by the fact that it at- tempted simply to measure

improvement in the flow of Ontario political news, but the gaps identified above remain a problem. Election Coverage During election campaigns, the media step up their coverage of provin- cial politics. In the process, they make the campaign visible and through their selection and presentation of news help to shape the images of candidates, define campaign issues, and influence the tone of the elec- tion. In liberal democracies, the media are expected to provide sufficient impartial information to permit citizens to make a reasoned voting choice. In 1990, for example, two

citizens to a full range of information to direct their voting choice, they also found that the right to vote (in the expanded Figueroa form of a right to effective participation) provided a strong off-setting consideration. Their concern was that removing the restriction on “third party” spending would unbalance the political debate. The danger is that “those having access to the most resources” might be able “to monopolize the election discourse,” and this “unequal dissemi- nation of points of view undermines the voter’s ability to be adequately informed of all

politics than men or were more conservative in their policy preferences and voting choices. The belief that women were less engaged with politics than men appears to have some basis in fact, as we have seen, although the conventional explanation of this phenomenon - which attributed political apathy to women's biological and mental weakness — has now been completely discredited. The idea that women were more conservative also appears to have been true earlier in this century, but it is no longer true.51 Nonetheless, the old ideas die hard. Women are still being