Declaration of Voter's Rights

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ping Pong and Political Policies

What do Canadian politics and ping pong have in common?  At the Saskatoon "Making Every Vote Count" Green Party event, former MP Bruce Hyer explained how our winner-take-all voting system turns politics into a game of ping pong.

In order to win votes, Party R must differentiate itself from the other parties.  Party R enacts their promises when they win and then get bounced off the table by voters.  Party L reverses Party R's policies and enacts the opposite.  Policies get batted back and forth like a ping pong ball.

Unlike first-past-the-post (FPTP), Hyer said that proportional representation (PR) produces longer-lasting policies resulting in better governance.  This is supported by an article on how Scotland's PR is helping change politics.  Journalist Adam Ramsay wrote, PR "seems to have replaced the pendulum of Big Ben, swinging back and forth between two increasingly tired parties."

Hyer also constructed a check list for what a democratic electoral system should provide.  While FPTP and alternative voting/ranked balloting get check marks for local representation and accountability, unlike PR, they miss check marks for fair representation, reflecting Canadian diversity, or giving voters equality. PR gets check marks for all plus for good governance because cross-party cooperation yields the mentioned longer-lasting policies.

Thankfully, the Liberal government is now basing its electoral reform committee seats proportionally.  Connect with your MP today and ask them to invite you to their electoral reform town hall.  Phone or visit
Nancy Carswell, Co-spokesperson Fair Vote Canada Saskatchewan