Fake voting one’s way to a better system

Tommy Douglas, Rosa Parks and Bob Marley are unwittingly running in an election this week -- too bad they're all dead.

Tommy Douglas, Rosa Parks and Bob Marley are unwittingly running in an election this week—too bad they’re all dead.

A mock vote at the Fireweed Market this Thursday with well-known historical figures will be used to demonstrate how Canada’s voting system could be improved.

“The purpose is to increase people’s interest in changing Canada’s electoral system,” said Dave Brekke, organizer for the event.

“As it is now, only 50 per cent of people have any effect on the outcome of an election.”

Brekke is referring to Canada’s first-past-the-post system which, like a horse race, acknowledges only the winner.

“I would say this is one of the worst electoral systems in the world. What kind of democracy do we have here?” said Brekke.

“In the 2002 Yukon election, there was only one Liberal elected in the Yukon even though the Liberals captured 35 per cent of the vote.”

He says that statistics like these discourage people from voting in the first place.

Brekke would know. He used to be a federal returning officer with Elections Canada and sat on an advisory committee that discussed changes to the electoral system.

No longer employed by Elections Canada, Brekke can freely say now that he favours proportional representation voting.

A proportional system awards seats to parties based on the overall percentage of votes they receive in an election, unlike the current system, which disregards votes that don’t go to the winning candidate,

This spring, British Columbia voted against introducing a form of proportional representation, known as single transferable vote, to the province. The vote was just three per cent shy of the 60 per cent approval rating needed to implement the new system.

Ontario and Prince Edward Island also voted on introducing proportional representation, in 2007 and 2005 respectively. But voters in both provinces rejected the plans.

The idea often doesn’t gain much traction with voters because it’s seen as too confusing said Brekke.

“We’re trying to work to make this simpler; it seems so simple to me but that’s likely because I’ve been doing it so long,” said Brekke.

Brekke is proposing a different form of proportional representation in the Yukon.

He calls his own brand of proportional representation “paired riding preferential proportional.” It’s a tongue twister, he admits.

Unlike other proportional-representation systems, he says his maintains the most direct contact between citizens and their government officials.

It works by pairing two adjacent ridings so that the riding actually doubles in size. One of the seats is determined by the candidate who wins the popular vote in that paired riding. And the other seat is determined by the political party that receives the greatest proportion of seats in that riding.

“The biggest problem with other proportional systems is that there are additional seats that needed to be voted on. In this system there are no extra seats.”

This won’t be the first time that Brekke and friend Ted Dean will be running a mock election in Whitehorse.

They previously held an election at the public library, but received fewer votes than they would have liked.

This time Brekke and Dean have sent out invitations to all four high schools in the city and have stationed themselves at the market where they know they’ll get more foot traffic.

“I’ve had good feedback with presenting this new system. It has lots of value if people just take the time to look at it,” said Brekke.

Contact Vivian Belik at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Most Read