Compromising the Canadian Citizens Voice
Fascinatingly, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are the only main democracies which still function on the basis of a single member plurality (SMP) (also known as First-past-the-post (FPTP)) voting system. The SMP system is the most basic voting system in use and has been used in Canada since confederation in 1867. "First-past-the-post in the 21st century is like using a hand-crank telephone rather than the internet. It was good in its day, but that century is long gone." The SMP system function on the basis that every voter is allowed to vote for one candidate and the winner of the election is the candidate who receives the most votes. In Canada the SMP system is applied under the following circumstances: Canada is divided in to 308 ridings and each riding has multiple candidates running to represent the citizens of that riding. Each candidate is usually associated to a political party but is not limited to this. Essentially the party who wins the most riding is that party who will form government. Generally, the party elected should win more than half the ridings to form a majority government. However, this is not always the case because the oppositions may not allow for one party to take half of the ridings. In this case, minority governments are formed. Since confederation, Canada has seen eleven minority governments. Currently, the most contentious issue in Canadian political affaires is that of Canada's current electoral system. In recent years, many Canadians have come to the realization that Canada's single member plurality voting system is producing questionably legitimate majority governments. Consequently, issues of electoral reform are surfacing all across Canada, specifically in PEI, New Brunswick, British Columbia and Ontario. The Canadian single-member pluralistic voting system contains flaws that compromise the integrity of Canada's political electoral system by misrepresenting the Canadian citizen's point of view. Such flaws which are compromising the representation of Canadians are the popular vote, unequal riding representation and distortion. However many of the problems can be rectified with electoral reform and the implementation of a system of proportional representation.
Although the SMP system is less costly, easier and quicker to adminster than most other electoral systems, Canadian citizens points of view are beeing misrepresented by the use of a SMP voting system. The SMP voting system comprimises the democractic integratic of our country by dismissing the popular vote, compromising riding boundaries, distorting results and not representing all of the citizens intrests. Arguably, the Canadian SMP system does not provide accurate representation of the general Canadian population. Therefore, the general population has become less involved with Canadian politics because they feel that the system no longer addresses their concerns.
The topic of popular vote is one of the largest issues which is said to compromise the integrity of Canadian citizens representation. As a result of the way SMP system works in Canada, a political party can be elected into government by gaining the most ridings with out having the majority of votes in their favor. This exact predicament occurred during the 31st Canadian election . In 1979, the progressive conservative's party was elected in 136 ridings and obtained a total of 4,111,606 votes. However, the liberal party was elected in 114 ridings and obtained a total of 4,595,319 votes. Ultimately, the progressive conservatives formed a minority government with only 35.89% of the popular vote, yet the liberals held 40.11% of the popular vote . Nevertheless, this election exemplified the misrepresentation which occurs as a result of the SMP system because even though the progressive conservatives were elected to represent Canada, the majority of Canadians favored the liberals. Moreover, the...
References: Wearing, Joseph. The Ballot and it 's message: Voting in Canada. Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1991
Irvine, William P.
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