3 Articles on Proportional Representation
Provincial NDP out of step with New Federal Leader
Fair Vote Canada
Note: Fair Vote Canada is a non-partisan organization working for electoral reform in Canada.
July 22, 2022
In this issue ...
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Quebec will abolish the current voting system in favour of proportional elections in time for the next provincial election. Minister responsible for Reform of Democratic Institutions, Jacques Dupuis, said on July 9, "There is a big enough consensus in our society for us to go ahead. That is the mandate I have received from the Premier."
Prior to last spring's provincial election, the Parti Quebecois government
announced its intention of adopting a proportional voting system. The
project has been taken up by the new Liberal
At the Estates-General, held in February, 90 per cent of the participants - over 800 Quebecers from across the province - voted in support of proportional representation.
According to a study of provincial elections between 1980 and 2000 conducted by Fair Vote Canada, more than half of the votes cast (50.2%) by Nova Scotians did not produce political representation for those voters. During the period of the study, only Ontario voters were less likely than Nova Scotians to be represented as they wished.
"Political scientists call these 'wasted votes', which are a result of our widely discredited winner-take-all voting system," explained Larry Gordon, executive director of Fair Vote Canada. "Under our current voting system, the only voters who win political representation are those who support the most popular candidate in their riding.
"Winner-take-all is just what it says. One group of voters wins the right to representation, while the others lose that right."
Nova Scotians go to the polls August 5 in what appears to be a close competition between the governing Tories, the Liberals and the NDP.
The current voting system also frequently creates phony majority governments, in which one party wins a majority of seats without winning a majority of the popular vote. The 54 provincial elections between 1980 and 2000 produced 33 phony majority governments. The last Nova Scotia election was a classic case, where the voting system allowed the PCs to win a majority of seats with only 39% of the popular vote.
Fair Vote Canada commended Premier Bernard Lord for his election promise to establish a commission to study proportional representation for New Brunswick.
The commitment to an electoral reform study came partway through the provincial election campaign in May, and two weeks after Fair Vote Canada released a report identifying New Brunswick as the province with the most distorted election outcomes.
Premier Lord's commitment is included in the "Reaching Higher, Going Further" platform released on May 26. The platform states: "Bernard Lord's plan will focus on strengthening democracy by establishing a commission on legislative democracy to study the concept of proportional representation, fixed election dates and other mechanisms."
FVC Atlantic Canada coordinator J'Nan Brown made a presentation at the public consultations of the Electoral Reform Commission in PEI in June. Ms Brown commended the commission for its focus on key issues, but called for the developments of several voting system models for PEI that will deliver broadly proportional election results.
Fair Vote Canada is proud to receive official endorsements for its campaign from the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).
OPEIU has 11,500 members who work for large and small employers in both the public and private industry sectors, including the utility industry, tourism and travel, education, information technology, call centers, research, manufacturing, insurance and transit industries.
CUPW's membership includes a variety of Canada Post workers plus new members such as couriers, emergency medical dispatchers, and warehouse workers.
FVC has previously received endorsements from various unions, including the Canadian Labour Congress, and other organizations such as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
For information about activities of the Fair Vote Canada chapter in your area check the Chapters page in the "About Us" section of the website, www.fairvotecanada.org.
If you are interested in helping start a local chapter in your area, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-410-4034.
Fair Vote Canada