Proportional Representation, Making every vote count, First past the post, Is democracy dead? Fairvote meeting on Proportional Representation, November 22, 2014, 1 to 3 pm at The Lower Elks Hall, Courtenay, BC
Is democracy at risk?
The Vancouver Island North chapter of Fairvote Canada thinks so and has a question for you.
Is 39.6% a majority?
Ordinarily the answer would be “NO” but in the world of Canadian Elections the answer is “YES”.
Canada currently has many examples of ‘majority’ governments being formed without the consent of the majority of voters. Federally we have a Conservative government that received 39.6 % of the popular vote securing 166 seats, which translated into 100% of the power to make decisions and create legislation, that the majority of voters may disagree with. Provincially we have the Liberals in British Columbia with 44.1%, the NDP in Manitoba with 46.5%, and the Liberals in Ontario with 39.%.
This means that the majority of the votes cast did not count.
Fairvote spokesperson Michael Nutland, stresses that this is not a partisan or political issue but one of democracy and Fairvote Canada is advocating the implementation of a system of Proportional Representation, (PR), to address this situation of false majorities. “Under the current ‘First Past the Post’ system everyone, somewhere, sometime, regardless of political stripe, loses representation to which they are entitled. For example, if only 60% of eligible voters exercise their right to vote, which is not uncommon, a party can form a majority government with as little as 25% of the popular vote, meaning that fully 75% are discarded. There is no effective representation for the majority. This is NOT democracy”.
Some of the other negative effects of the ‘First Past the Post system include;
• Low voter turnout (due to fact that if you do not want to vote for the potential ‘winner’, people don’t believe there’s any point in voting?),
• Concentrates a disproportionate amount of power in the hands of a few.
• MP’s, once elected, are accountable to their party leadership and not to the people who elected them.
• Voting against someone instead of for someone.
• A vocal but powerless opposition.
• Negative, attack style campaigning.
• Creates ‘swing’ ridings that disproportionately influence the outcome of an election.
“One of the main objections to Proportional Representation is that it will create minority governments, which some view as ineffective and unstable. History tells us differently. Minority Governments were responsible for Universal Health Care, the Canada Pension Plan and the Charter of Rights, to name a few” says Nutland.
With Proportional Representation ALL votes would count and that would be more accurately reflected in the make-up of the legislative body. 39% of the vote for any one party would get that party 39% of the seats.
There are only three major democracies left with the antiquated FPTP. All others have moved to some form of Proportional Representation. It’s time for Canada to join them. The North Island chapter of Fairvote Canada is hosting an information session, including two speakers with a vast amount of knowledge about PR. Representatives of the federal political parties have also been invited to briefly present their parties position on PR. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Fairvote Canada extends an invitation to all who believe in and are concerned about true democracy to attend at the Lower Elks Hall, 231 6th Street, Courtenay from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday, November 22nd
For more information, go to www.fairvote.ca, or contact Michael Nutland at 250-897-6188

Fairvote meeting on Proportional Representation, November 22, 2014, 1 to 3 pm at The Lower Elks Hall, Courtenay, BC
Is democracy at risk?
The Vancouver Island North chapter of Fairvote Canada thinks so and has a question for you.
Is 39.6% a majority?
Ordinarily the answer would be “NO” but in the world of Canadian Elections the answer is “YES”.
Canada currently has many examples of ‘majority’ governments being formed without the consent of the majority of voters. Federally we have a Conservative government that received 39.6 % of the popular vote securing 166 seats, which translated into 100% of the power to make decisions and create legislation, that the majority of voters may disagree with. Provincially we have the Liberals in British Columbia with 44.1%, the NDP in Manitoba with 46.5%, and the Liberals in Ontario with 39.%.
This means that the majority of the votes cast did not count.
Fairvote spokesperson Michael Nutland, stresses that this is not a partisan or political issue but one of democracy and Fairvote Canada is advocating the implementation of a system of Proportional Representation, (PR), to address this situation of false majorities. “Under the current ‘First Past the Post’ system everyone, somewhere, sometime, regardless of political stripe, loses representation to which they are entitled. For example, if only 60% of eligible voters exercise their right to vote, which is not uncommon, a party can form a majority government with as little as 25% of the popular vote, meaning that fully 75% are discarded. There is no effective representation for the majority. This is NOT democracy”.
Some of the other negative effects of the ‘First Past the Post system include;
• Low voter turnout (due to fact that if you do not want to vote for the potential ‘winner’, people don’t believe there’s any point in voting?),
• Concentrates a disproportionate amount of power in the hands of a few.
• MP’s, once elected, are accountable to their party leadership and not to the people who elected them.
• Voting against someone instead of for someone.
• A vocal but powerless opposition.
• Negative, attack style campaigning.
• Creates ‘swing’ ridings that disproportionately influence the outcome of an election.
“One of the main objections to Proportional Representation is that it will create minority governments, which some view as ineffective and unstable. History tells us differently. Minority Governments were responsible for Universal Health Care, the Canada Pension Plan and the Charter of Rights, to name a few” says Nutland.
With Proportional Representation ALL votes would count and that would be more accurately reflected in the make-up of the legislative body. 39% of the vote for any one party would get that party 39% of the seats.
There are only three major democracies left with the antiquated FPTP. All others have moved to some form of Proportional Representation. It’s time for Canada to join them. The North Island chapter of Fairvote Canada is hosting an information session, including two speakers with a vast amount of knowledge about PR. Representatives of the federal political parties have also been invited to briefly present their parties position on PR. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Fairvote Canada extends an invitation to all who believe in and are concerned about true democracy to attend at the Lower Elks Hall, 231 6th Street, Courtenay from 1 pm to 3 pm on Saturday, November 22nd
For more information, go to www.fairvote.ca, or contact Michael Nutland at 250-897-6188