Electoral reform

I would really like to see a proportional, fair voting system in Canada. Our current system, first past the post, is based on a winner take all principle. In each riding, one group of voters wins and their votes send an MP to Parliament. Every other voter in that riding loses and their votes are wasted. Their votes do not elect anyone to represent their beliefs or views in Ottawa or Victoria. In a typical federal election, more than seven million Canadians, just over half of all voters, cast wasted votes. When people feel that their votes do not count, they quit voting.

When the system provides no representation for nearly half of the voters, and routinely creates phony majority governments, people either vote against a party they fear, rather than for a party they support, or they just stay home. Given the way our current system treats voters, it is not surprising that 40 per cent of registered voters do not get to the polls — it is amazing that 60 per cent still do. I feel that Canada would benefit from proportional representation.

Proportional representation is any voting system designed to produce a representative body (like parliament or legislature) where voters elect representatives in proportion to the votes cast. For example, if 30 per cent of votes are cast for a party, that party would have 30 per cent of the seats. If we had proportional representation, our parliaments and legislatures would mirror Canada’s political, ethnic, and gender diversity and would represent all of its citizens. It would be fair. If every citizen’s vote had equal value, more people would get involved in our democracy.

Jane Weixl