Discussion on Democracy

A True Democracy Needs Proportional Representation

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As Canada stands in the modern world our electoral system remains in the dark ages. Canada’s current first past the post system or single member plurality destroys the meaning of democracy. majority governments are formed without most of the vote, thus clearing the way for misrepresentation and manipulation of people’s desired representation. This paper will be arguing that Canada must reform its electoral system to properly represent the diverse views within the vast boundaries of the Canadian confederation. For Canada to truly become a democracy we must reform this ancient system of first past the post to a proportional representative system so every Canadian’s voice is heard and has an impact in policies and legislation that effects every Canadian citizen.

 

First past the post (FPTP) is an unsuitable electoral system for the diverse landscape of Canada on any level of government, because it throws away the voices of so many people in its process to form a government. “In 1993, the voters repudiated the ruling progressive Conservatives, but got the electoral system almost decimated Canada’s oldest party. Rather than electing 46 members a proportional system would have given them, the Tories ended up with only two” according to Henry Milner’s (1999, P. 38) book Making Every Vote Count: Reassessing Canada’s electoral system. This is a perfect example of how FPTP destroys the equality of people’s votes, the shameful electoral system we have implemented in Canada discriminates against most of the populations vote. This means that when a government is formed it does not actually represent the people of Canada. This one-sided electoral system throws away so many votes in its process, It Makes peoples votes feel meaningless and discourage people from voting.

 

With proportional representation (PR) people have the freedom and confidence to vote for who they want instead of voting strategically to prevent the person they disfavor most from getting into power. This is best expressed by Derriennic, Jean Pierre (2016) “people can express a sincere first preference, even if it goes to a candidate who has no chance of winning, then rank other candidates in order of preference, with voter’s last favorite last. sincere voting is effective, whereas strategic voting is almost never useful.” with these new options that PR gives it allows people to vote for who they want in order of most favorable to non-favorable, this takes away the discrimination that small parties face in the FPTP system we currently have. PR would encourage a larger turn out among voters because they would feel like that have more of an impact and chance at getting someone into office that best represents their values. Having a PR system would benefit Canada because it would better show the true wants of all Canadians by better translating votes into representatives and lessening the wasted vote.

 

The most damning problem with FPTP is that the voices, concerns and desires of many people are ignored. The blatant ignorance that the FPTP system is found on leads to the injustice and abuse of the electoral system by big parties. This limits the allowed positions people can take in elections, forcing individuals to sacrifice some values to have others addressed in the way they want. If we had a PR, then smaller parties would be able to get the representation they deserve. without the heavy prejudice that FPTP has on the electoral system, this is seen time and time again against the green party. The formation and ability of smaller parties to have proper representation would allow for more diverse and better representation of Canadian’s views and wants from government.

 

Canada prides its self of the freedoms granted to its citizens so it should hold fair and non-discriminating elections so that every vote is heard and weighted the same. Canada must allow every voice to be heard with the use of a PR system. “Almost all democracies, apart from Canada, now incorporate some element of proportional representation (“PR”) into their systems. A system is fully consistent with PR principles if a party that wins X percentage of the popular vote also wins X percentage of the seats.” (Schwartz, Bryan. Pg. 133, (2001)). This quote shows how disruptive FPTP is to a democracy, the injustice and the way it distorts the popular vote to seats. With PR in Canada, Canada would be forced to hear everyone’s voice, Canada under a PR system would unite, as a nation, making parties work together relentlessly to find the best solutions to difficult problems that impact all Canadians. PR would grant people the ability to have greater impact on their own representation in Canada. Empowering smaller parties who have views that more closely represent the people of Canada. Creating a more democratic society, where no minority’s go unheard.

 

Proportional Representation is the only viable option for Canada given all the diversity within its self. Canada is a nation that has the second largest territory in the world, but only a population of 37 million as of July 1,2018 according to Statistics Canada (Statistics Canada (2018)). This Translates to the population being spread out to an extreme degree. Allowing for diverse and extremely different views across the nation on many topics. Proportional Representation would allow for a deeper and more accurate representation. “the SMP system is no longer considered fair because a political party can obtain 100% of the power with less than 50% of the votes.” (Couture, Liz (2014)) PR Would allow for a government to represent all the voters that express what that want Canada to stand for, not just one group of Canadians wishes. With minorities being better represented Canada, we would hear the voices the electoral system has overlooked with FPTP. “especially at higher levels of district magnitude, the translation of votes into seats is less distorted, thereby increasing voter feelings of efficacy.”(Cox, Gary W. ; Fiva, Jon H. ; Smith, Daniel M (2016)) with greater efficacy people would care more about voting and elections. People would Have a sense of meaning that the current FPTP system just cannot muster in people. With greater turnout of voters, it would produce an even more repetitive government and make all voices apparent in the house of commons.

 

Canada Must move forward to Proportional Representation electoral system. Canadian votes should not be distorted to fit the agendas of political parties. The government should be an equal representation of the Canadians wants, values and desires shown in the votes casted by Canadians. Canadas electoral system is unjust and destroys the meaning of democracy. Canadian’s should have power to hold the government accountable and enforce a fair and just elections. This can only be done threw a Proportional Representation. Then Canada will be a true democracy where every voice across Canada can have an impact and be meaningful in shaping the future of Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography Cox, G., Fiva, J., & Smith, D. (2016). The Contraction Effect: How Proportional Representation Affects Mobilization and Turnout. The Journal of Politics, 78(4), 1249-1263. Couture, L. (2014). Proportional Representation: Redeeming the Democratic Deficit. The Innovation Journal, 19(1), 1-12. Schwartz, Bryan. (2001). Proportional representation for Canada?(Underneath the Golden Boy: A Review of Recent Manitoba Laws and How They Came to Be)(Canada)(Statistical Data Included). Manitoba Law Journal, 28(2), 133-183. Milner, H., & Canadian Electronic Library. (1999). Making every vote count : Reassessing Canada’s electoral system (Canadian Electronic Library. Canadian publishers collection). Peterborough, Ont., Canada ; Orchard Park, N.Y.: Broadview Press. Derriennic, Jean Pierre. (2016). A Better Electoral System for Canada: Moderate Proportional Representation With Ranked Ballots. Canadian Parliamentary Review, 39(4), 27-29. Statistics Canada,The Annual Demographic Estimates: Canada, Provinces and Territories, 2018 (total population only) (Catalogue number91-215-X)Ottawa, Ontario.

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