The Liberal Party of Canada, during the general election in 2015, promised it would be the last election to be fought on the principal of “First Past the Post.”
Many Canadians firmly believe reform of the electoral system is essential to improve the fairness and provide adequate representation for a regionally, culturally and philosophically diverse population. The results from “First Past the Post” (FPtP) elections are known to produce majority governments with significant;y less than a majority of electoral support.
Aspirations and Observations Underpinning My Proposal
Direct representation and accountability is an essential aspect of a democratic system of government. The electorate must be able to know who they are voting for, and ultimately feel their interests will be conveyed in the House of Commons. The largest possible number of voters should be able to take comfort that their views will be voiced.
Any reformed system should also be easy to understand and easy to explain to voters.
The current FPtP does elect an MP voters can easily identify as their local representative. FPtP fails in about 60% of the ridings to represent the largest number of voters. Elected MPs have won seats with the support of less than 27% of the voters - ie more than 73% voter against the member.
Many candidates are nominated by the parties despite knowing their chances of winning election locally are slim at best. Sometimes, a party will parachute a “star” candidate into a “safe” riding even over the objections of a local association.
Any reform proposal will change the strategy and tactics politcal parties use in their quest seats in the House of Commons. This proposal, while simple, will dramatically change the House of Commons. It will provide much broader representation of local aspirations.
The Proposal: FPtP Plus Close Seconds
In each of the 338 (current) electoral districts, the candidate with the largest number of votes will be elected.
For each of the 338 (current) electoral districts, the popular vote for each candidate will be calculated. Comparing the popular vote between candidates on a district by district basis, the 100 closest results will be determined. In those districts, the candidate that received the second most votes will also be elected.
All MPs elected, whether by simple majority of votes (FPtP) or elected as “Close Second” will enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as Members of the House of Commons.
The size of committees of the House of Commons should be increased by about 30% to reflect the number of additional Members of Parliament.
Parties will not be allowed to nominate more than one candidate for any electoral district.
I have analysed the results for the last five general elections. A number of charts and tables are published in my Electoral Reform Blog that illustrate how the House of Commons representation would look if the proposal was used as an overlay of those results.
Go to the Electoral Reform Blog