In a recent op-ed in the Globe and Mail, Ed Broadbent and Hugh Segal argue that the time has come for electoral reform
The two argue that proportional representation must replace Canada’s archaic first-past-the-post voting system.
They point to Quebec’s stance on the issue, and what it may mean for electoral reform across the country.
“Three of the four parties now represented in the National Assembly, including François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec, who will now form a majority government, have signed an agreement declaring that they will support changing the province’s voting system from the first-past-the-post model to a proportional system before the next election, and do so without a referendum. Mr. Legault now has the clearest of mandates to implement this commitment,” they point out.
In Prince Edward Island, the legislation has decided to hold a referendum on the question of proportional representation next year. “As a possible foreshadowing of the result, in 2016, a majority of Islanders voted in favour of a proportional voting system in a non-binding plebiscite,” they write.
In British Columbia, starting October 22, people will vote in mail-in ballot referendum on proportional representation.
So while the federal Trudeau government failed to fulfill its promise to enact proportional representation, arguing there wasn’t the popular support for it, provinces are forging ahead.
Broadbent and Segal say “the fact that Canada still uses an archaic first-past-the-post system, dating from before Confederation, is increasingly anomalous in the world. Even Britain, whose system is the basis of our own, now uses proportional representation for elections in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.”
“The imperative of moving to proportional representation is neither a right-wing nor a left-wing point of view. It’s simply democratic common sense. And recent Canadian election results underline the urgency of getting a move-on,” they add.
The Council of Canadians has long supported proportional representation. Council of Canadians chapters are active in communities across the country educating people in communities about the benefits of this more democratic voting system and lobbying for its implementation. In the last federal election, we included questions to candidates as well as a call for people to support proportional representation. It ensures a fairer representation of votes cast and prevents a governing party from holding total power after gaining only a small percentage of the popular vote.