LETTER: It’s the individual contests that count

Canada should adopt half and half German model of electing government

In his Oct. 30 letter, Timothy Jones of Fair Vote Langley asserts that on October 19 Canadians did not get “the government that we voted for.”

The Fair Vote people count all votes for any party and then point out that these percentages do not even roughly match the percentage of seats won. Therein lies their error. In our elections, voters don’t select a party nationally. We have 338 individual elections. In each of the 338 constituencies, the right party, the most popular party, won. The Fair Vote people mistakenly total all votes as if that is more important than who wins each of the 338 contests.

Consider this hockey analogy. Assume that Vancouver and Chicago are playing each other for the Stanley Cup. Assume, not unrealistically, that of the seven games Vancouver wins three, with scores of 7:2, 7:1 and 9:1 and that Chicago wins four with scores of 2:1; 3:2; 2:1 and 3:2. Using the Fair Vote interpretation, Vancouver, not Chicago, should be awarded the Stanley Cup. After all, Vancouver scored more than twice as many goals as Chicago. Democracy awards the cup to Chicago! What nonsense. Wins, not goals, count.

Canada may need a different electoral system. The Fair Vote people advocate “representation by population.” In its pure form that would mean that any party getting 1/338th of the total vote would elect an MP. Doubtless our number of political parties regional, ethnic, religious, economic would mushroom as they have in other countries. Italy has 35, Indonesia 23, and Israel 39. For Canada, such proliferation of parties would be disastrous.

Further, with pure “rep by pop,” there is no local MP. You would have to find one of the 338 to help you get your passport.

Canada should adopt the German model in which half the Bundestag members are local MPs and half “rep by pop” members with a five per cent national support threshold, or three elected members, required. That way, we still retain our own MPs and small parties which garner significant support can elect some members.

John H. Redekop