Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Post Election Numbers

Well, the election is done, and while the new parliament looks suspiciously like the old one, it's once more a case of the majority of the people not getting the government they want.

As everyone probably knows, Canada uses a first-past-the-post system -- whoever gets the most votes, wins. This works well when you only have two parties running, but not so well when you have multiple parties. Here are some numbers from Fair Vote Canada. showing how many seats everyone got, versus how many they should have gotten.

Number of Seats in Parliament:
Conservatives - 143
Liberals - 76
NDP - 37
Bloc - 50
Greens - not 0

Actual Percentage of the Popular Vote Each Party Received:
Conservatives - 38%
Liberals - 26%
NDP - 18%
Bloc - 10%
Greens - 7%

Now, if we were using a system of proportional representation, twe would still have a minority government, but the seat distribution would look quite different:

Seats in Parliament based on Popular Vote
Conservatives - 117
Liberals - 81
NDP - 57
Bloc - 28
Greens - 23

To put it another way:
- If you were a Conservative supporter voting in Toronto, your vote didn't count.
- If you were an NDP supporter voting in Quebec, your vote didn't count.
- If you were a Liberal supporter voting on the prairies, your vote didn't count.

Proportional Representation is a much better syetem than the one we are using because it means that all Canadians get represented, and reflects the true political make-up of the country, both nationally and regionally. It also, because it usually results in minority governments, forces all parties to work together to make laws and policy. Not a bad thing, really.

So, if you haven't yet, I encourage you to learn about Proportional Representation, and ask your MP (and MPP) to support it.

Fair Vote Canada is a good place to start.

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