Declaration of Voter's Rights

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Right to Proportional Volume

This Letter to the Editor was inspired by a comment in The Right to be Cold:

When asked by the late Jack Layton to enter federal politics, renowned Inuk environmental activist Shelia Watt-Cloutier's declined because she "couldn't possibly survive the loud and uncivil manner in which the House of Commons conducts itself." Where does this loud and uncivil manner originate from? It is from our winner-take-all first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system that produces phony majorities.

FPTP works well in a two party system. With more than two parties there is always the potential that more people will vote against the winners than for them. Our 2011 federal election gave 54% of the seats to a party that won 40% of the popular vote. Then, 40% of the people didn't vote (perhaps because they recognize it is as futile), so the Conservative mandate was from 25% of the eligible voters. Conversely, FPTP gave 100% of the power to a party not mandated by 75% of the eligible voters.

As soon as a party forms the government, the goal becomes to win the next election by competing with the other parties—not collaborating, so we have a "loud and uncivil" House.

FPTP has to go. Insist your candidate commit to proportional representation (PR). PR is designed to produce a House that shares out its seats in proportion to the way voters vote so that the volume of each party's voice is genuine, not phony.

Let's make 2015 the last time a party wins a phony majority. If your candidate commits to electoral reform through PR, then Go Vote.

Nancy Carswell
Co-spokesperson Saskatchewan Chapter Fair Vote Canada