Editorial: Voting reform needed

If the results of the October 21st election are any indication, there is a real need to reform our voting system. The First-Past-The-Post system that has governed how we elect our representatives for 152 years needs to be modernized.

The Liberal Party received 33.1 per cent of the popular vote, yet gained the plurality of seats in the House of Commons. Not enough to form a majority government, under current rules, but enough to form a minority government with 157 of 338 seats won. The Conservative Party received 34.4 per cent of the popular vote and received 121 seats.

Losing out in Monday’s election was the New Democratic Party, which received 15.9 per cent of the popular vote, but only 24 seats. The Green Party received 6.5 per cent of the vote, but only three seats in the House.

The votes of those who chose the Liberals or Conservatives, counted for proportionally more than those who voted for the other parties. The biggest winners in terms of proportion of vote to actual seat count was the separatist Bloc Québécois whose 7.7 per cent of the vote earned them 32 seats.

Four years ago, then Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau said that 2015 would be the last FPTP election. Had those reforms been implemented for the 2019 election, the Liberals would have only had 112 seats, the Conservatives 116 seats, NDP 54, BQ 26, Green Party 22, and the People’s Party 5 seats. Clearly the two traditional political parties have benefited the most from this failure to reform the voting system. In order to truly represent the will of the voters of Canada, we need to reform our electoral system to better reflect the options available to voters.

Adopting a Proportional Representation voting system, or a Mixed-Member Proportional system would ensure that the popular vote would more truly represent what Canadian voters actually seem to want from their government. Being the second place choice should not give you a first place prize.

The Liberals have a minority government and will need the help of other parties to govern. The NDP and Green Party both had electoral reform as platform planks in their campaigns. Hopefully electoral reform can be accomplished during this Liberal term in office, however long, or short, it may last.

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