17 September 2008

If we had proportional representation...

If we had proportional representation, then all votes would matter in this federal election.

Instead, with our first-past-the-post system, there is a chance that Canadians will get the "majority" Stephen Harper has been threatening. That is, a disproportionate number of Conservatives will be elected to the House of Commons on the basis of less than 40% of the popular vote - not 50% + 1, as a true majority would warrant.

Now in my federal riding, there isn't a hope in hell of either a Liberal or Green winning. No matter the quality of the candidate or party platform, the Liberal will come third and the Green fourth.

However, if our first-past-the-post system were replaced by a system of proportional representation - Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or Single Transferable Vote (STV) -, then in the first case voters would make two selections: one for the candidate, the another for their party of preference.

With STV, which is coming up for referendum in BC in 2009, voters would have at least three choices, marked in order of preference: 1, 2, 3.

Here's how I would vote in each of these cases and the likely result in the riding.


Result: Counts for nothing


MIXED MEMBER PROPORTIONAL (two ballots, 1 for candidate, 1 for party)
Candidate - Party -
Result: Likely win for candidate; Party vote goes toward proportional representation in the HOC


SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTE (single ballot, select candidates in order of preference)
1 - 2 - 3 -
Result: Least portion of the vote is wasted. Best reflection of voter preference.


Both MMP and STV better reflect voter choice and help support democracy. FPTP does neither.

Which would you choose: First past the post, or a system of proportional representation?

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