Tuesday, 27 January 2015

we'll never get proportional representation

In the above article, Eric Grénier has crunched the numbers and estimated the results for a federal election to be held now, based on current polling.  The results of his analysis indicate that the Liberals would get the most votes, but the Conservatives would get the most seats.  Basically, the Tories are in position to turn 32% of the vote into 40% of the seats. 
Further, the Greens would get 50% more votes than the Bloc Québecois, but both would get the same number of seats (with a potential for more BQ seats than Green).  There are further disparities:  the Greens are polling roughly 4-6% consistently across Canada, but are likely to get only 2 seats (if they are lucky), which represents around ½ % of the seats in the House of Commons.
For me, this analysis presents more justification for tossing out “First past the post” (FPTP) voting in favour of some form of proportional representation. Unfortunately, that is not going to happen:  we have a system that benefits the top two parties, and without the support of at least one of those two parties no change will be possible.  The Liberals and the Conservatives are interested in getting and keeping power, and have no particular interest in sharing:  both are quite happy to play an all or nothing game.  When in opposition, you may hear a Conservative or Liberal speak about the need for PR (for example,http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/what-stephen-harper-was-writing-in-1997/ , http://stephanedion.liberal.ca/en/articles-en/p3-voting-system-canada-2/ ) but you can be confident that once they get their hands on power those earlier words will be forgotten.

So I will continue to waste my vote.  I am now back in Tory territory (North Shore of Vancouver), and come the next election, I’ll boldly cast my vote for yet another candidate who speaks for my interests, and will curse again the day after as I learn that I’ll be, yet again, represented by one of Stephen Harper’s puppets.

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