Kyu Bin Lee
Professor Paul Kopas
Political Science 101
March 13, 2014
Changing the Electoral System
Canada’s friendly neighbor to the South, the US, has an electoral system that is composed of 3 separate elections, one of them deciding the head of state. The president elected by the people and he or she is the determining person of the country’s political system. In the US runs like a majority system” In Canada, however, elections are held slightly differently. Citizens vote for a Member of Parliament in a 308-seat house and candidates win not by a majority, unlike in the US, but by a plurality. This means that a candidate can actually win by simply having more votes than the other candidates. This method of representative democracy, in general, does not cause too much controversy in a global scope but has caused controversy in a Canadian scope. With many critics of the Canadian election system calling it archaic and non-modern, the idea of reforming the election system has been in discussion numerous times. In 2004 by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, created by the government of British Columbia, brought into question the current first past the post system. In an alternative state at which the Canadian election system is changed, a different set of questions is brought to the table. How can changes to the electoral system affect how the House of Commons is run and its respective procedures? In this essay, I will be discussing the possible effects of changing the Canadian electoral system on the House of Commons.
When looking at the possible implications of changing the electoral system in Canada, there are 2 possible systems that can be examined. First-past-the-post is an electoral system at which the candidate with the most votes wins the position and the candidate with fewer votes has no representation at all. First-past-the-post is a simple system, which is utilized with a two party competition (Milner). The US electoral system uses first-past-the-post to select it candidates. Proportional representation is another voting system at which the number of seats in the legislature is determined by the number of votes received (Gallagher 34). FPTP is the current system used in Canada but in the past years, critics of the system are suggesting the use of a PR system due to the advantages it can bring and it is also more democratic and modern. If changes were to occur, PR would most likely be implemented.
First-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system in general allows candidates to win who may not have a majority of the vote. It privileges big parties and majorities at the cost of smaller parties and coalitions. It also favours parties with strong regional concentrations over parties whose electoral base is more spread out. This is Canada’s current election system and for the past couple of years. In the years that Harper has been in power, he has won majority of the seats with less than 50 percent of the votes. In fact, in 2011, “Stephen...