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First-past-the-post must go

2015 should have been Canada’s last election using the unrepresentative First-Past-the-Post voting system. Tell your MP to demand #ElectoralReform. Demand #ProportionalRepresentation. Demand better.

2019 Canadian Federal Election

Popular Vote

%

Conservative

%

Liberal

%

Bloc Québécois

%

New Democrat

%

Green

%

People's Party

Seat Count

Conservative

Liberal

Bloc Québécois

New Democrat

Green

People's Party

FPTP IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE

First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) is the voting system used in Canada. It is a single-member plurality wherein the winner takes all and the results are most often not representative of the popular vote. The country is divided into electoral districts. The electorate votes for a single member in the district in which they are registered. The candidate in the district that receives the most votes wins a seat in the House of Commons representing the district. This system does not, in any way, represent the popular vote.

There are 338 electoral districts in Canada, each represented by a seat in the House of Commons. Electoral districts are based on population. A Minority government is reached when no party holds the majority of the seats, however holds more seats than any other party. A Majority government is reached when a single party wins 170+ seats. The party that governs does not need to win a Majority. A Coalition government could be formed between 2 or more parties that did not receive the most seats but together would hold more seats than the other party, though this rarely occurs.

Majority governments retain 100% of the legislative power and can govern at their pleasure without regard for, or consultation with, any other parties.

FPTP FEATURES

Reward the “best loser”

FPTP routinely gives 100% of the power to a party that receives <40% of the popular vote. More Canadians vote against the winning party but that party receives all the power anyway.

Unrepresentative

FPTP creates false majorities and doesn’t accurately represent large or small parties correctly. It doesn’t accurately represent the popular vote.

 

Strategic Voting

FPTP forces the electorate to vote strategically to prevent parties from winning, rather than vote for who they would actual prefer.

 

Vote Splitting

Multiple left or right leaning parties compete for your local vote. Unless your vote is for the predominant left or right leaning party it siphons off the chances of that party winning. This leads to strategic/tactical voting.

 

Wasted Vote Syndrome

Unless you’re voting for one of the two big parties you’re “wasting your vote”. The local candidate you want to vote for has to have a realistic chance of winning or your vote is meaningless.

 

Gerrymandering

Due to the nature of FPTP the vote can be manipulated to favour a specific party by redrawing the boundaries of the electoral districts to yield a favourable result.

 

ALTERNATIVE VOTING SYSTEMS

Mixed Member Proportional Representation

Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) combines plurality/majority with proportional formulas in order to remediate the disproportional results that systems like FPTP often generate. Voters typically have 2 votes. One is for the electoral district and the second is for the party. The party vote supplements the electoral district winners so the overall result is more reflective of the popular vote.

Party List Proportional Representation

Party List PR systems allocate their seats to parties based on vote share, then to party electoral lists. Lists are sometimes open or closed.  Voters may rank the order of candidates on the list, or they candidates may be ranked depending on the system.

 

Ranked Balloting

Ranked Balloting (or Single Transferable Voting) is a voting system wherein voters rank candidates in order of preference. This system elects and eliminates candidates based on whether or not they have reached the vote quota. When a candidate reaches a quota, the surplus votes move to the next preferred candidate at a lesser value. 

Other Proportional Systems

There are many different Proportional Systems such as Reweighted Range Voting, Proportional Approval Voting, Asset Voting, and Evaluative Proportional Representation.

 

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