Since the beginning of Canadian history, regionalism has had a prominent effect on the country’s political system. A single-member plurality system exists in which, one person is elected to represent the citizens of a particular district or riding. The candidate who wins the most, a plurality of the votes, in a specific district or riding election becomes the Member of Parliament or legislator for that geographic area. In Canada due to the division of votes between the three main parties, Liberal, Conservative and the Bloc Quebecois, a majority of votes is not necessary for election. This system has certain consequences in a representative democracy and in this essay I will analyze Alan Cairns main arguments against the ‘winner-take-all’ electoral system from Canadian Democracy, by Stephen Brooks.
In a single-member plurality system, Alan Cairns states, “It tends to produce more seats than votes for the strongest major party and for minor parties whose support is regionally concentrated,” (Brooks, 2009). This is a problem in Canadian democracy due to the divisions created by regionalism and also differences in Anglophone and Francophone cultures. A strong base in Quebec votes for the Bloc Quebecois therefore they usually maintain a small but important number of seats in Parliament. In contrast Cairns also states, “Minor parties whose appeal is to interests that are distributed widely across the country will receive a smaller percentage of seats than votes,” (Brooks, 2009). Special interest parties are unable to garner strong support and the votes needed to gain seats even if they have a strong support base but it is spread out instead of condensed.
In respect to regionalism Cairns says, “The parliamentary composition of a party will be less representative of the different regions of the country than is that party’s electoral support,” (Brooks, 2009). Since Canada is a federation the individual... [continues]
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