Declaration of Voter's Rights

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Electoral Reform Need Not Be Like First-Past-the-Post on Steroids

There was dancing in the streets—or at least in the offices across Canada of non-profit organizations when the Liberals announced a committee on electoral reform that will be looking at systems to replace first-past-the-post (FPTP). Why would non-profits be dancing? Their hope is that the 2019 federal election will use a system of proportional representation (PR); one where seats in the House of Commons will be in proportion to the way people voted.

Community-serving non-profits recognize that FPTP serves the rich community as the rich can bet their money on a party and influence the election. Then, post-election, they have their hands on the reins.

Ominously, as well as PR, the Liberals are considering a ranked voting system called preferential-balloting or alternative voting (AV). Analysis show that Liberals would win with AV because being in the middle of the Conservatives and NDP, people would rank them as a second choice. Enough second choices makes you a winner. Ed Broadbent says, "Simply put, ranked ballots in a federal election would be like First Past the Post on steroids – even larger false majorities, results even more outrageously torqued and even more unrepresentative of the popular will."


The electoral reform committee is charged with finding a system that is effective and legitimate, engaging, accessible and inclusive, and has integrity and local representation. The committee is setting up consultations; written, online, and face-to-face. Visit FairVote.ca to compare PR and AV then let the committee know which you think is best for all Canadians.

Nancy Carswell
Co-spokesperson Saskatchewan Chapter Fair Vote Canada

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