Fair election results would tell a different story

Fair Vote Canada - January 24, 2006 - News Release



Once again, Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post system wasted millions of votes, distorted results, severely punished large blocks of voters, exaggerated regional differences, created an unrepresentative Parliament, and may possibly have even given us the wrong government.

The chief victims of the January 23 federal election were:

- Western Liberals: In the prairie provinces , Conservatives got three times as many votes as Liberals did, but won nearly ten times as many seats. In Alberta , the Conservative Party won 100% of the seats with 65% of the votes. The 500,000 Albertans who voted otherwise elected no one.

- Urban Conservatives: The 400,000-plus Conservative voters in Toronto , Montreal , and Vancouver should have been able to elect about nine MPs, but instead elected no one. The three cities together will not have a single MP in the governing caucus, let alone the cabinet.

- New Democrats: The NDP attracted a million more votes than the Bloc, but the voting system gave the Bloc 51 seats, the NDP 29. Nearly 18% of Canadians voted NDP, but the party won less than 10% of the seats and does not hold the balance of power, unlike the Liberals and the Bloc.

- Green Party: More than 650,000 Green Party voters across the country elected no one, while 475,000 Liberal voters in Atlantic Canada elected 20 MPs.

- Federalists and nationalists: As usual, the voting system turned entire regions of Canada into partisan fiefdoms, rather than allowing the diversity of views in all regions to be fairly represented in Parliament and within each national party.

“How can anyone continue to think that this voting system gives us good geographic representation,” said Wayne Smith, President of Fair Vote Canada , “when it fragments and divides our country like this?”

“Had results been fair, it is possible that we may have even seen a different government,” said Smith. “The Liberals, NDP, and Greens represent a majority, and together they would have held a majority of seats.”

Had the same votes been cast under a proportional voting system, Fair Vote Canada projected that the seats allocation would have been approximately as follows:

Conservatives - 36.3% of the popular vote: 113 seats (not 124)

Liberals - 30.1% of the popular vote: 93 seats (not 103)

NDP - 17.5% of the popular vote: 59 seats (not 29)

Bloc - 10.5% of the popular vote: 31 seats (not 51)

Greens - 4.5% of the popular vote: 12 seats (not 0)

However, Smith emphasized that speculation should be tempered.

“With a different voting system, people would have voted differently,” he said. “There would have been no need for strategic voting. We would likely have seen higher voter turnout. We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds. We would have had more real choices.”

“The voting system really matters – a lot – and the system we have is simply not acceptable in a modern democracy.”

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