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Kenneth H. Young talks about the common frustration Canadians feel about our voting system. BONNIE
The Numbers don’t add up, and maybe the 41% who do not vote have a point.
I know that what I am about to suggest will not sit well with most politicians who, when they win an election even with only 30% of the popular vote
, take all their marbles and head off to Ottawa
. I understand the concept of one person–one vote but what about the other 70% of the voters
? There are inequities in our system. When the Bloc
receive 10% of the Canada
wide popular vote, they receive 49 seats, while the NDP
with 18.2% of the votes only have 37, and the Green with 6.8% have none.
Now in all fairness, though many, especially the Bloc, would disagree with me, the Bloc should have no more than 10% of the seats in the House of Commons if we apply the principle of every vote is to be considered as equal to any other vote. So, this means the Green with 6.8% should have 21 seats; the NDP with 18.2%, 56 seats; the Liberals with 26.2%, 81 seats; and the Conservatives with 37.6%. 116 seats. This is 305 of a possible total 308 seats, so the remaining 3 can go to Independents.
Now the above would be the results if we were to take the country as a whole.
A different approach which would break down provinces and take whatever number of seats which that province has and divide them up again by popular vote would change the numbers slightly and would have the added effect of not disenfranchising any voter regardless of which party voted for. For instance, in Alberta at the end of the last election, the Tories had all of the seats and so anybody who voted otherwise was not going to be represented in Ottawa, while in Newfoundland, zero Tories achieved a seat, even though they did in fact have a fair number of votes in the province.
The present system seems to divide the country by popular vote. It makes the west and this time the east look as if it were 100% behind or against one party, when nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is one party with close to one million votes has no representation at all and the number of seats which all parties have in the house of commons does not represent the Votes they received. Some have more seats than their voted share, others have much less and some none of their fair share.
Is it any wonder why 41% of the voters stay home and don’t bother to vote? Is it any wonder that the 41% feel that their vote won’t and in fact can’t make any difference?
Yes, I know that achieving a majority would be extremely difficult. After all when was the last time any party received 51% of the popular vote? And yes, Canadians would have to get used to and comfortable with the concept of Coalition, cooperation and understanding. And Yes, the House of commons would have to actually ask and answer questions with a mutual respect for the Canadian Parliament
, because one would never know when they might need a vote or two to pass a bill–result: there would have to be a lot more free votes
But most of all, Canada would finally have a system where every vote does count equally in all parts of this country, where every vote matters and where every voter is represented in Ottawa. No more taxation without representation.
Kenneth H. Young CD
Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Agent Orange Association of Canada