In English-speaking Canada, the principle of One Member One Vote has for years been a major commitment of Vaughan L. Baird, retired Q.C. and Member of the Order of Canada. Long a proponent of the election process that empowers all members of a party to chose their leaders, Baird was instrumental in having the provincial constituency of Morris, Manitoba successfully put forward the principle of One Member One Vote to the provincial Progressive Conservative Party on 5 November 1985. Immediately after the Morris victory, Baird wrote every national and provincial party in Canada and urged them to do the same. Soon after, the Manitoba Liberal Party adopted the principle. Alberta PCs used the method in electing Ralph Klein as their new leader in December 1992.
Manitoba PCs adopted the principle in early 1987, but the hierarchy of the PC Party had it revoked. Though again adopted by the party in 1994, OMOV was revoked a second time in November 1995. Finally, on November 17, 2001, by almost unanimous consent (only three votes against the motion), OMOV was passed by the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. Thus after 16 years of effort, the vote for leadership of the provincial PC party was democratized.
Also in 1995, the New Democratic Party moved some way towards OMOV when they developed a series of regional primary elections prior to their convention. In the subsequent contest, he party went further adopted a modified OMOV process for the 2003 NDP leadership election in which the vote was calculated so that ballots cast by labour delegates had 25% weight in the total result, while votes cast by all party members on an OMOV had a weight of 75%.
More recently in Canada, the Alberta Progressive Conservatives elected a new leader, Ed Stelmach, who succeeded former premier Ralph Klein, utilizing the OMOV system. 97,000 people voted in December 2006.
Conversely, on December 2, 2006, the Liberal Party of Canada elected their new leader, Stéphane Dion, with fewer than 5,000 voting delegates. (Most delegates were elected at constituency party meetings, and were required to cast their first ballots according to the wishes of those meetings. They were free to vote as they wished on subsequent ballots.) At their annual meeting, the Liberals also voted to amend their constitution allowing all members to vote for the leader of their party. But it failed by just a few votes to meet the requirement necessary of 2/3 votes to amend their constitution.
In January 1998, the One Member One Vote principle was adopted as part of the series of reforms of the Conservative Party. The MPs would choose two candidates to go to a vote by all Conservative members.
The system was first used by the Conservatives in the 2001 leadership election to replace William Hague. A run off by various candidates led to Ian Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke being put forward to a vote of all Conservative members, with the final result announced on September 12, 2001. The eligible voters were 328,000 members of the Conservative Party of which 79% of the voters exercised their rights on said date.Duncan Smith became the new Leader of the Conservative Party with 61% of the votes (155,933 votes). Kenneth Clarke obtained 39% of the votes (100,544 votes).
In the 2003 leadership election no ballot took place, since Michael Howard was unopposed in standing to replace Duncan Smith - but the two candidate run off was employed again two years later. On December 6, 2005 it was announced that David Cameron had been chosen by the Conservative members to be the new leader over David Davis. Cameron had 134,446 votes compared to Davis’ 64,398 votes, making a total number of 198,844 votes.
Thus both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party in Britain now elect their leaders by processes which include all their members having the right to vote. Since the party's foundation in 1988, the Liberal Democrats have always elected their leaders through a one member, one vote system. Rather than having a runoff the Liberal Democrats use the Alternative Vote system of preference voting.
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