Proportional Representation for Canada?

Given the results of yesterday’s election, it is past time to retire the first-past-the-post system and replace it with a Mixed Member Proportional System (MMPS). I see you asking your self “How does such a system work?” I’ll try and help you understand it:
The concept is that the total of seats per party in the goverment should mirror the overall proportion of votes recieved. There are two sets of members elected to the House of Commons. The first are constituency representatives and the second are party representatives. When you go to mark your ballot, you would make two selections. The first selection would be for a representative for your constituency just as you always have voted. The constituency representative is elected just as they are under the current system (first-past-the-post or most votes wins). The second would be a party selection – the party representatives are elected on a regional basis (by Province for example). It is possible to vote for a candidate from one party in the constituency section, and vote for a different candidate by picking a different party in the proportional section.Wikipedia has the best description of this method that I’ve seen:

The total number of seats in the [house of commons] are allocated to parties proportionally to the number of votes the party received in the party portion of the ballot. Subtracted from each party’s allocation is the number of constituency seats that party won. The number of seats remaining allocated to that party are filled using the party’s list.

Hopefully this helps you understand the MMPS.

One drawback to this system of represenation is that it is almost impossible for a majority government to be formed unless two (or more) parties form a coalition. Under Canada’s parliamentary rules and traditions, when a minority government loses a spending or confidence vote, an election is called. This has to change in concert with any changes to the electoral system. Currently when the government falls, the leader of the ruling party visits the Governor General who then calls an election. The Governor General should be compelled to approach the other parties to try to find a workable government before calling a new election. The electorate does not want to go to the polls too often.

A method of recalling elected Members of Parliament also needs to be added to the system. If a sitting member is so unpopular that the electorate in the constituency or region (depending on how they were elected) petitions to have them removed, a by-election needs to be called for that seat. This would work to hold parties responsible for the people they put on the regional lists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s