A country in need of electoral reform

Posted by in Broadsides

The image above is taken from the CBC – it’s a map showing Canada’s electoral colours. Under a system of proportional representation, this map would look  A LOT different. The Harperites would have less, the NDP more, and Greens would even have a handful of seats. Imagine that!

I’ve decided recently to get more involved in electoral reform in Canada in whatever capacity I can. I’m going to start by supporting Fair Vote Canada here and there, beginning with posting this press release received yesterday afternoon:

Election analysis determines that, once again, a majority of the electorate are Orphan Voters

Based on an analysis of preliminary results from Elections Canada, as available on October 16, Fair Vote Canada determined that the majority – 50.7% – of those casting votes in the federal election elected no one.

How many millions of voters were orphaned?

The election created just over seven million Orphan Voters – the disenfranchised voters who were unable to send an MP to Ottawa to represent them in Parliament.

“This travesty was completely predictable,” said Barbara Odenwald, President of Fair Vote Canada. “In every election, the first-past-the-post voting system denies millions of Canadians their right to elect a representative to Parliament – a right that voters in most Western democracies take for granted, because they use fair and proportional voting systems.”

Which party had the most Orphan Voters?

In terms of party support, more than 2.1 million Orphan Voters cast votes for the Liberal Party, 1.8 million for the NDP, 1.7 million for the Conservatives and just under 1 million for the Green Party.

“People are often surprised to see that the majority of Orphan Voters are those who support the Liberals and Conservatives,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “Our electoral system discriminates against people of all political stripes, whoever happens to be in the minority in any region. This includes Liberals in the west and Conservatives in large urban centres such as Toronto and Montreal.”

Which provinces fared worst?

Among the provinces, Quebec had the highest percentage of Orphan Voters at 54.7%, followed by Nova Scotia at 53.0% and Ontario at 52.9%.

Every Conservative voter in Newfoundland was orphaned on October 14, along with every Liberal voter in Alberta, every NDP voter in Saskatchewan and PEI, as well as every Green voter in every province.

Which ridings fared worst?

In 40 ridings, the percentage of Orphan Voters exceeded 60%.

The worst riding in the country was Gatineau (QC), where 70.9% of the voters were orphaned, followed by Guelph (ON) with 67.8%, Brossard-LaPrairie with 67.4%, Pontiac (QC) with 67.4% and Welland (ON), with 67.0%.

Great Democracy Disaster Contest

The cash prize winners of Fair Vote Canada’s Great Democracy Disaster Contest will be announced in the coming days at OrphanVoters.ca. Prior to the election, people were invited to predict the number of Orphan Voters at the national and provincial levels to qualify for prizes totaling $2,300.

Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum