Re: "Hogwash to proportional representation, two-stage balloting the way to go," (The Hill Times, May 16, p. 9). I recently read Sheila Copps' column attempting to slam the concept of proportional representation, and whilst I wholeheartedly disagree with Ms. Copps' support for the two-round system, she made some claims about proportional representation that are, well, 100 per cent counterfactual. Ms. Copps claimed that MPs would be selected by parties and not voters if Canada were to adopt a proportional voting system. Well, for the most part, two proportional voting systems have been seriously proposed for Canada. In 2004 the Law Commission suggested a variant of mixed-member proportional inspired more by the voting systems of Scotland and Wales than Germany or New Zealand. In the former two, voters have two votes, one for their preferred party and the other for a constituency representative. However, unlike German, MMP party lists are specific to larger regions, sort of like multi-member ridings superimposed on smaller ridings, and after voters select their preferred party list they are allowed to select their preferred candidates on that list. Switzerland takes it one step further by allowing voters to go so far as writing in the names of candidates they would like to see on their party list (although that may be taking it a bit far). To summarize, all party-list MPs under this variant of MMP are local representatives tied to a specific region and specifically selected by that region’s inhabitants. This is the variant of MMP supported by the New Democratic Party, and Fair Vote Canada has also made it clear that it only supports a model of proportional representation based 100 per cent on regional representation, so the chances of an Israeli or Dutch style, closed list system being proposed for Canada, almost a cliched straw-man argument at this point, are pretty slim. Another alternative often suggested for Canada is proportional representation by the single transferable vote (PR-STV or STV). It’s used in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Malta, the Australian state of Tasmania and for elections to the Australian Senate. Under this system, there are no party lists at all. Voters use ranked ballots to elect representatives in multi-member ridings, less popular candidates are eliminated and their preferences transferred in addition to the surplus preferences of elected candidates who have passed the threshold. The multi-member ridings in addition to the transfer of surplus votes ensure a degree of proportional representation. The larger the riding, the more proportional the result. In fact, Stéphane Dion proposed an STV-inspired model, uniquely tailored to Canada, entitled “P3” (proportional, preferential and personalised). As a young, door-knocking volunteer in 2007, I remember Ms. Copps' opposition to the rather horrendous model of MMP proposed for Ontario. There is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding this debate, so while I respect Ms. Copps' overall opinion, I get it that she likes the winner-take-all voting systems, I do feel obliged to respectfully ask Ms. Copps to stick to the facts and not muddy the waters further. Canadians deserve an open, transparent and factual debate on this important topic. Chris Gilmore Ottawa, Ont.