The case for a ranked ballot

The case for a ranked ballot Re: Our electoral system needs an overhaul (Pointed Views, Dec 10) Absolutely, Canada needs proportional representation. If a party receives 25 per cent of the vote, that party should get 25 per cent of the seats. This is com

Re: Our electoral system needs an overhaul (Pointed Views, Dec 10)

Absolutely, Canada needs proportional representation. If a party receives 25 per cent of the vote, that party should get 25 per cent of the seats. This is common sense.

Our Westminster-style “first-past-the-post” system was designed for two parties, so the winning party automatically represents over 50 per cent of the vote. But now, in Canada, with at least four established parties, the winning party is routinely rewarded with a “majority” after winning only about 40 per cent of the vote.

That isn’t fair to the other parties and does a disservice to voters. It’s undemocratic. People are forced to vote strategically – for the lesser of evils – instead of for the candidate they truly support, and many votes are “wasted” since people vote for a party that doesn’t elect the number of members to match its popular vote.

But mixed-member proportional representation, what the federal NDP is recommending, isn’t right for Canada. Moving to larger ridings, adding list MPs or adopting multi-member constituencies may work for smaller, more homogeneous countries, but not here.

Most of our ridings, such as Yukon riding, are large and shouldn’t get larger. And people need to know exactly who their MP is. Our cities, provinces and territories are culturally, geographically and demographically distinctive and must be represented by MPs elected directly from those jurisdictions.

The best type of proportional representation for Canada is called “ranked ballot” or “instant runoff voting,” where voters indicate their first, second, third, or fourth choice of candidates. By dropping off the lowest candidates and reallocating voters’ second and third choices, the most popular candidate in each riding is elected, just what should happen.

The ranked ballot system is voter-friendly, simple, doesn’t expand ridings, keeps local representation, ends strategic voting and values every vote. Exactly what Canada needs.

Frank de Jong

Faro

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