Please Reconsider the Electoral System Decision
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Prime minster Justin Trudeau promised Canadians that 2015 would be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post electoral system. He won the elections with a clear mandate to implement his promises.
The Liberal Party of Canada’s official platform is still available online, promised to “make every vote count. We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.”
It is time to retire the federal election voting system First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) as it is antiquated and encourages lower voting turnout by enforcing the idea that not every vote counts.
FPTP made sense when the country had two political parties; now that the Canadian democracy is enjoying a diversity of voices, FPTP no longer effectively translates voters’ ballot results to seats in the parliament.
Changing the system will help:
Increase voter participation
- In western European democracies with voting systems in which parliament is reflective of the votes each party receives, the voter participation is at least 80% (for example: Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland)
- Countries still using the outdated FPTP participation average a much lower voter turnout of 50% to 60% (for example: Canada and UK).
Strengthen the Canadian democracy
- With 25.6 million registered voters, increasing participation from 62% (the median for the last 5 elections) to 80% will mean that 4.6 million more Canadians will participate in our elections.
- Since Canadians of 18 to 34 years of age consistently have the lowest participation rate, we can expect that the majority of the new participants to be young Canadians.
Critics of voting reform claim that most European democracies “sever the connection between voters and their MP.” Election results year after year proven the statement to be wrong.
Canadian voters have connections with the political party they support and not to any one specific MP. In election after election, Canadians have voted for the party than their incumbent MP, if the incumbent MP is no longer the party candidate.
In the 2015 elections, three incumbents ran as independents or changed party affiliations:
- Jean-François Fortin won in the 2011 election as a Bloc Québécois candidate. In 2015, the new BQ candidate, Kédina Fleury-Samson, received more votes.
- Manon Perreault won in the 2011 election as a NDP candidate. In 2015, the new NDP candidate, Martin Leclerc, received more votes.
- Brent Rathgeber won the 2011 election as a Conservative candidate. In 2015 the new Conservative candidate, Michael Cooper, received more votes.
These are but three examples that clearly show that Canadians vote for the party not for the candidate. In these examples, the incumbent either lost for his former party candidate or received less votes than the party candidate received.
As demonstrated on strategicvoting.ca website, the current system does not reflect the wishes of the majority of voters. Under the FPTP system, 4.8 million progressive voters who voted in the 2011 election did not elect a single MP.
Please join me in asking the Prime Minster to reconsider his decision and to replace the outdated FPTP system as promised in his 2015 election campaign.
Founder of strategicvoting.ca
We, the undersigned, call on the Prime Minster to reconsider his decision against replacing the first-past-the-post system with a system that effectively reflects the wishes of voters.
Though replacing the current system with a new voting system for the next election might not be possible due to the time requirement by Elections Canada to prepare for the election, we ask the Prime Minster to:
1. For 2019 federal election, update the voting system to a two-round system where:
- If no candidate receives a 50% plus one majority of votes in the first round, a second round is held between the two candidates receiving the most votes.
- This should be a simple change from the current system, and it will require using the current electoral district map.
2. Before the 2019 federal election, prepare and pass a proportional representation-based voting system that:
- Is comprehensive, fair and is reflective of all Canadian voters
- Will be implemented if the Liberal party wins the 2019 election and forms the government
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