Electoral Reform In Canada Essay

1870 words - 7 pages

Electoral Reform in Canada

The issue of electoral reform has become more important than ever in Canada in recent years as the general public has come to realize that our current first-past-the-post, winner-take-all system, formally known as single-member plurality (SMP) has produced majority governments of questionable legitimacy. Of the major democracies in the world, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom are the only countries that still have SMP systems in place. Interestingly enough, there has been enormous political tension and division in the last few years in these countries, culminating with the election results in Canada and the USA this year that polarized both countries. In the last year we have seen unprecedented progress towards electoral reform, with PEI establishing an electoral reform commissioner and New Brunswick appointing a nine-member Commission on Legislative Democracy in December 2003 to the groundbreaking decision by the British Columbia Citizen’s Assembly on October 24, 2004 that the province will have a referendum on May 17, 2005 to decide whether or not they will switch to a system of proportional representation. This kind of reform is only expected to continue, as Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty decided to take BC’s lead and form an independent Citizen’s Assembly with the power to determine whether or not Ontario will have a referendum regarding a change to a more proportional system. There is still much work to do however, and we will examine the inherent problems with Canada’s first-past-the-post system and why we should move into the 21st century and switch to a form of proportional representation.
First, some background on the subject. Canada is divided into 308 ridings, and each riding elects one person to represent all the citizens in that riding. The party that wins the most ridings forms the government, and if that party has gained more than half the seats, as is usually the case, they form a majority and have the ability to pass any bill in the House of Commons that they wish, regardless of the opinions that other representatives have. This SMP system has remained unchanged in Canada since Confederation in 1867. On the other hand there is proportional representation, which is broken down into two main forms: Mixed Member Proportionality (MMP) and Single Transferable Vote (STV). MMP was first put into use in West Germany after World War II, but now it can also be found in New Zealand, Hungary, and the newly formed parliaments of Scotland and Wales. Basically, voters select one candidate from their riding, just like in an SMP system, but they also place a vote for which party they would like to form the government. This second vote determines the amount of seats that each party gains proportional to the amount of votes they collected in the countries. The representatives from each party are then made up of the elected representatives from each riding (if that party was able to elect any) and...

Find Another Essay On Electoral Reform in Canada

Representative Democracy Essay

927 words - 4 pages themselves. The main aim of this paper is to argue that a Mixed Member Proportional electoral system as opposed to a Single Member Plurality electoral system offers the best possibilities for minorities within countries seeking electoral reform. Using New Zealand and Canada as cases in point, the paper will attempt to answer the following questions: First, to what extent are minority groups elected to and or present in parliaments, and to what extent

The Past, Present, and Future of the Electoral College

1775 words - 7 pages 2012 election President Obama would have won six Virginia electoral votes, but Republican Mitt Romney would have won seven votes” (Insidenova.com). These electoral reform proposals seem to be spearheaded by the Republican Party. This may be a method that the party is using to gain a more equal opportunity in large states such as, New York and California, which the republicans have trouble winning. Democrats seem to always win these states

Canadian Democracy: Veiws Of Canadians

1419 words - 6 pages satisfied with the first-past-the-post system. Canadian’s feeling of unacceptability towards the present electoral system, should be enough of a concern to at least make a consideration of reform. The electoral system in Canada directly correlates with the type of representation that Canadians receive. More specifically the representation that women and visible minorities receive in parliament. “Women, visible minorities, and Aboriginal peoples

Electoral College

1274 words - 5 pages popular vote versus the Electoral College remains at the forefront of the Electoral College reform movement (The Electoral College 8). Under the assumption that all states used the general ticket system, all electors were faithful, and there were three candidates, it would require only a 15% popular vote to win the presidency. This is because the 39 smaller states in the U.S. have a much proportionally larger vote than the larger states. If a President

Electoral College

1147 words - 5 pages (November 2, 2004). In most states, voters cast a single vote for the slate of electors pledged to the party presidential and vice presidential candidates of their choice. Electors assemble in their respective states on Monday after the second Wednesday in December (December 13, 2004). The electoral vote results are counted and declared at a joint session of Congress, held on January 6 of the year succeeding the election. A majority of electoral votes

Electoral College System

1054 words - 4 pages Analyze criticism of the "Electoral College" system and the alleged advantages and disadvantages of various reform proposals. The Electoral College is a system in which the individual voter does not actually vote directly for the president. When a person votes they are voting for an elector that has pledged their vote or allegiance to the running party. The Framers realized that without widespread communications available at the time and with

The Electoral College.

946 words - 4 pages The Electoral CollegeThe Electoral College process is part of the original design of the U.S. constitution. The Electoral College was devised by theFounding Fathers to elect the president and vice president. In this essay I will asses whether the system is democratic. I shall dothis by discussing its strengths, weaknesses and attempts to reform it.The Electoral College system has been criticised many times since its establishment. It is seen to

Plurality Voting System in Canada

2551 words - 10 pages of Political Research, 32(1), 107. Chief Electoral Office. (2009). New zealand election results. Retrieved March 9, 2010, from http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/ Cody, H. (2007). Recent new zealand and canadian elections and electoral reform in canada. The New England Journal of Political Science, 2(2), 122-151. Elections New Zealand. Voting & MMP. Retrieved March 6, 2010, from http://www.elections.org.nz/voting/ Garner, R., Ferdinand, P

The Flawed Electoral College System

1041 words - 4 pages There are quite a few criticisms that surround the Electoral College system. In the next few paragraphs we are going to explore some of these criticisms and some of the advantages and disadvantages of various reform proposals. One major criticism that we faced and still face today is why not vote by popular vote instead of rely on the Electoral votes. Well one of the reasons being is that states like Wyoming or Idaho benefit from it and

Electoral college. a persuasive essay on reasons why the electoral college should be changed.

1025 words - 4 pages . (election reform)Now you can see that the popular vote, which our country was founded on asa democracy , can be thwarted to fit the whims of the electoral college. Our basicrights of choosing the people who govern us do not apply in the case of presidentialelections which are the most important elections. This cannot stand.When our forefathers wrote the constitution, the United States was much5smaller and the people were better represented

Electoral College vs. Popular Vote

1909 words - 8 pages they do vote for the candidate he will more often than not even receive one electoral vote. For example, in 1992, Ross Perot, a member of the Reform Party received this very misfortune. Despite the fact that he won 12% of the popular vote, he failed to obtain a single electoral vote ("Electoral College Problems"). This demonstrates the very "stumbling block" that the Electoral College has become. It is best summed up with another quote found on the

Similar Essays

Electoral Reform In Canada: An Examination Of Proportional Representation

2765 words - 11 pages , electoral systems have frequently been the focus of intense scholarly debate. Electoral reform in Canada has been a main focus of these debates and "proportional representation (PR) is currently proposed as a solution to a large number of the country's ills" (Fitzgerald, 2001, 49). There clearly are many advantages for a country to adopt a PR system, however, in Canada, the adoption of such a system could have potential negative consequences thus

"Society's Restraint To Social Reform" In Canada

1454 words - 6 pages Of the many chatted words in the social reform vocabulary of Canadians today,the term workfare seems to stimulate much debate and emotion. Along with thenotions of self-sufficiency, employability enhancement, and workdisincentives, it is the concept of workfare that causes the most tensionbetween it's government and business supporters and it's anti-poverty andsocial justice critics. In actuality, workfare is a contraction of theconcept of

Time For Reform? Considering The Failures Of The Electoral College In The Us

1882 words - 8 pages TIME FOR REFORM? CONSIDERING THE FAILURES OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGEDescription: This paper discusses the many shortcomings of the ElectoralCollege, and posits possible alternative electoral processes which likely bemore democratic.Time for Reform?Considering the failures of the Electoral CollegeA common misconception among American is that when they vote they elect the President. The truth is notnearly this simple. What in fact happens when a

Reforming The Canadian Electoral System Essay

1479 words - 6 pages Although Canadian electoral system has always undergone periodic reforms, new challenges always accompany electoral changes and therefore the system should be consistently reformed to meet new circumstances.The current electoral system in Canada is a product of a series of electoral changes that have always taken place since the foundation of the Canadian confederation in the mid 1880s. During the early years, the rights of individuals to vote