Canada' Needs Proportional Representation Essay

1937 words - 8 pages

One may be surprised to learn that the turnout rate of individuals voting in Canada's federal elections has never reached 80% (Elections Canada). In fact, it has been decreasing since the middle of the twentieth century, as shown by an increase in voter apathy. An electoral system is designed to provide those who live in democratic governments with the opportunity to vote – in an election – for the candidate whose platform coincides with their political beliefs. This can be achieved through a direct democracy, where citizens are directly involved in the decision-making process, or through an indirect democracy, where citizens elect a delegate to act on their behalf. In a direct democracy, all citizens would be present during governmental meetings and have the opportunity to give verbal input. As one may expect, this would be extremely difficult to coordinate with Canada's population of 34.88 billion (Statistics Canada). Canada uses an indirect democracy, which allows for two basic forms of electoral systems in which representatives are elected. In the simple plurality electoral system, the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes is elected, regardless of a majority or not. It is commonly known as the “first-past-the-post” system, which alludes to a horse race; the winner passes the post with the highest number of votes, and only need to garner more votes than their opponents. The successful candidate wins all the seats in their riding or constituency while the candidates who places second or third will receive no seats, regardless of how many votes they lose by. Proportional representation is the second form of electoral system used in Canada; the percentage of the votes received by a party is proportionate to the number of seats they receive. In this sense, it is important that nations choose electoral systems which will properly represent the views of voters. This paper will argue why the proportional representation (PR) electoral system is more effective than the single member plurality (SMP) system because it better represents the views of the citizens, supports a stable and effective government, and is a simple yet practical approach.
Proportional representation gives a more realistic image of the citizens' political views as it takes all votes into account when determining the layout of the legislature. To display how this system works, PR will be compared to SMP using the same election results. For example, if Party A receives 30% of the vote, Party B receives 30% of the vote, and Party C receives 40% of the vote, Party C wins the election and the candidate takes office. Hypothetically speaking, ten seats are available for the party candidates to fill. Using proportional representation, Party A and B receive 3 seats in office while Party C receives 4. "The results of the federal elections of the past decade and prompted... politicians to call for the replacement of SMP with a more 'proportional' electoral system" (Courtney...

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