Canada can become more representative

Canada can become more representative Recently we held a mock vote. The purpose was to compare election results using Canada's present electoral system and a preferential-choice/proportional voting system. In a representative democracy with this prefe

Recently we held a mock vote.

The purpose was to compare election results using Canada’s present electoral system and a preferential-choice/proportional voting system.

In a representative democracy with this preferential-choice electoral system, many more voters will be able to point to an elected representative whom their vote helped to elect.

Canada’s present system often results in less than 50 per cent of the voters electing a member of their legislature or Parliament.

When applied to official results of past elections, this proposed system usually raised that number to more than 90 per cent of voters electing a member.

However, in this mock election there were only 25 voters in each riding, so ties were much more probable than in ridings with thousands of voters. This electoral area (group of adjacent ridings needs a minimum of four ridings in an area for this preferential/proportional system to function most effectively) contained four ridings or two paired ridings (PR) totalling 100 voters.

Popular vote: The total number of valid votes in the four ridings was 99, not 100 as expected.

These votes were split as follows: Party A Ð 22, Party B Ð 22, Party C Ð 24, Party D Ð 15. Six independent candidates in the four ridings won 16 of the votes, but their votes did not benefit each other.

Effectiveness: Using Canada’s present electoral system, the results in the four ridings showed the number of voters who had elected a candidate was only 35 immediately following the counting of the votes.

Had there not been a tie in riding four, 43 or 44 of the electors would have been able to point to a member whom their vote had elected.

With this proposed new system, 74 voters could have pointed to one of the candidates whom their first-choice vote had elected. That lower-than-usual number for this proposed system was related to the larger-than-usual number of unsuccessful independent votes in the area.

However, 21 second-choice votes were needed to elect the winners of the paired ridings with more than 50 per cent confidence of voters in the two paired ridings.

Party B and Party C each won a paired-riding seat, giving representation to all their voters in the area. Each party has 25 per cent representation (one out of four).

With this new system, after the winners of the paired ridings are determined, the political parties with the most unrepresented votes win the proportional seats.

The winner of a successful party’s proportional seat is its candidate with the highest proportion of votes in their riding.

Efforts of the supporters of the other same-party candidates in the area help their winning-party candidate win his/her proportional seat. Those candidates and their supporters gain some personal satisfaction and appreciation for their efforts. Party A and Party D each won one of the two proportional seats.

Results: There were no political parties in this electoral area who were very popular or unpopular in voter support.

With both systems, each party won one seat for 25 per cent representation in this electoral area consisting of four ridings or two paired ridings. However, the number of voters who can point to an elected representative whom their vote helped to elect is far greater using the proposed preferential-choice/proportional system.

So Canada can become a more representative democracy.

How can change happen? Change will happen when all convinced Canadians personally inform their MPs and MLAs they want a more effective electoral system before another ineffective election is called.

Many thanks to the people who participated in this event. A special thanks to those who helped stage it – Connie and Lawrence Dublenko of the Council of Canadians, Ted Dean and Grant Rayson, as well as Juliana Scramstad, who put forward the idea of having a mock election at the market and also served as returning officer. You can now link below to Dean’s work on comparing the results of Yukon’s 2002 and 2006 elections using Canada’s present and this proposed preferential-choice/proportional system.

The press were also very helpful with this event. Many thanks to the CBC, Yukon News and Whitehorse Star for encouraging people to participate in this event.

The participation in this Fireweed Market event increased 10-fold over the first mock election where each participant had 10 votes.

We plan to hold another mock election August 13 at the Council of Canadians booth.

We look forward to your participation in that event.

For more on how this new system would work, how New Zealand made its change in 1993 and how this system would have affected the results of past elections, see www.electoralchange.ca and visit LINKS at the bottom of the page. (Comparisons of the present and proposed systems on the results of the last two elections for both Canada and Yukon are presented.)

Dave Brekke

Whitehorse