How Come We Don't Get It

Anyone interested in political process in Canada has been watching the New Brunswick election pretty closely. Voters delivered the ruling Liberals an upset Monday night bring into power David Alward’s Progressive Conservatives.

It wasn’t supposed to work that way.

In 2006, then Premier Bernard Lord promised a referendum on a proposal by the Commission on Legislative Democracy which suggested a mixed-member proportional voting system be brought into the Atlantic province.

Ironically, before a referendum could be held on the issue, Premier Lord was defeated in an election, in which Lord’s Progressive Conservatives got more votes, but in which the voting system gave the Liberals a majority of seats.

In this election half the voters cast votes for the Progressive Conservatives and half for other parties. Fair enough one might think but the half supporting the PC’s will hold a whacking three times as many seats. In fact they will hold a bit more than that.

The Liberals win the rest of the seats, 13 out of the 55 seats up for grabs. The 17% of voters who voted for other like the NDP and the Greens do not get any representation at all.

The galling part is that although far in a majority of democratic governments around the world use some sort of Proportional Representation, Canada's mainstream parties cling to the First Past the Post system which often allows them to win majority governments when they actually receive much less than a majority of the popular vote. And, of course it delivers skewed results such as those in New Brunswick.

For more information on proportional representation have a look at the Fair Vote Canada website or to have a look at how New Brunswick would look had proportional representation been in place visit Wilf Day's blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Agree or disagree, I would love to hear from anyone who visits the site