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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 were significantly limited as only white males had the right to vote but only after meeting certain requirements. A secret ballot was unheard, and it was only after a number of changes were implemented that all social groups in Canada were given the right to vote. Even after these changes, electoral partisanship, as well as cases of electoral frauds were rampant and further reforms became necessary for the Canadian electoral system to gain legitimacy and support among the citizens. Canadian electoral system is currently based on the federal constituencies each of which is entitled to elect their parliamentary representatives (Lavoie and Lemieux, 3). In this system, candidates who meet the Canadian electoral criteria are free to participate in the process and only the individual who won the biggest number of votes becomes the elected representative.
Generally, Canadian electoral system has been subjected to periodic reforms and frequent minor amendments in an attempt to improve some aspects of Canadian voting processes and conduction of elections. An important challenge in this regard is that new challenges always accompany the electoral changes and therefore the system should be continually reformed to meet new challenges and circumstances (Boyer, 13). There are however a number of alternative voting systems that can be used to ensure fair representation of groups and parties. This paper critically examines the nature of the Canadian electoral system, as well as the necessary reforms needed to improve its popular support and legitimacy.
Canadian electoral system is largely based on the single member plurality (SMP) system which was inherited from its former British colonial masters. The system dates back to several years before the formation of the Canadian confederation. Some of the common features of the Canadian electoral system include election candidates to represent designated geographical areas popularly known as” ridings”, counting and tallying of the votes casted on the basis of the districts as opposed to the parties of the candidates (Dyck, 622). Finally, a candidate only needs a simple majority over the other candidates in order to be considered a winner, even if the winner has a small percentage of votes. This system has however been heavily criticized for its winner takes all way of judging victory. Critics argue that if the winner takes over the whole system, it may result into unfair representation of the various social groups, but it may also bring into power unstable minority...

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