LETTER: Voting system distorts will of electorate

Today, we do not have the government that we voted for.

Canada’s winner-take-all voting system has significantly distorted the will of Canada’s electors, handing an unearned majority to one party. Today, we do not have the government that we voted for!

Nationally, Liberals earned the votes of 39.5 per cent of Canadian voters, yet the voting system handed them over 54.4 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons as a result. This is a majority government – on only a minority of the vote. The desire for change was clearly evident in the results, but our winner-take-all system granted the Liberal Party many more seats than their vote merits and shut out other voices.

The First Past the Post voting system yielded the Trudeau Liberals a solid majority (elected or leading) of 184 seats, more than the 170 threshold for a majority. A number of experienced long-time Members of Parliament were swept away with the Liberal landslide. A proportional voting system would have granted 134 seats to the Liberals (less than a majority), 108 seats to the Conservatives, 67 to the NDP, 16 to the Bloc and 12 to the Greens. Today we should have a minority government in place in Canada.

Regional distortions are also evident. The Bloc, with its geographically concentrated 4.7 per cent of the vote, gained 10 seats, but the Greens with diffuse support and 3.4 per cent of the vote only achieved one seat.

Last month, over 500 Canadian academics, including several Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, 29 Canada Research Chairs and two professors with the Order of Canada, called on all political parties to work together to bring in a fairer electoral system. It should no longer be acceptable to have a system that disenfranchises a third of the electorate, forces people to vote strategically, or distorts the will of voters. It’s time we modernized our dysfunctional democracy so that election results truly reflect the way electors vote.

Fair Vote Langley is part of Fair Vote Canada, Canada’s national multi-partisan citizens’ movement promoting fair voting reform at all levels of government. For more information search for fairvote.ca

Timothy Jones of Fair Vote Langley

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