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### New model for Canada's electoral system

Hey folks, Imagine a poker game where the top player has 3 Queens, the second player has 3 Jacks, the third has 3 tens, the fourth has 2 Kings, the fifth has 2 nines and the sixth has nothing of value. The winner in this very tight race takes all and the game is won.
Now transfer this hypothetical poker result to a possible election result where A gets 33%, B gets 31%, C gets 29%, D gets 6%, E gets 3% and F gets 1%.

In the First Past the Post system(FPTP) the candidate with only 33% takes all ! - just like in the poker game.

And that is the way we vote in Canada !

A proposal for a Mixed Priority-Proportional voting system

To correct this outdated and unfair voting system Canadians need to explore new and better approaches to deciding on who wins in an election. The chart below consists of two tables with the centre column containing the titles for each line of both tables. On the left side, Table 1 shows that in 2011 it was the FPTP Winner Taking 53% of the Commons seats  with just 39.6% of the popular vote. The Bloc, Green and Liberal parties received significantly fewer seats than the percent of votes earned.

So we raise the question:

Is this the type of electoral system we want to continue  using in Canada?

 Comparison Charts Model of 2011 Election Using Actual 2011 75% for Constituency Seats and Election Results 25% for List Seats in each Province Table 1 Table 2 Bloc Cons Gr Lib NDP Bloc Cons Gr Lib NDP 6% 39.6% 3.9% 18.9% 30.6% Canada % Votes 6% 39.6% 3.9% 18.9% 30.6% 4 166 1 34 103 Results CSeats-250 3 139 1 26 81 NOT Applicable for only ListSts-85 10 9 9 30 27 1.0% 53.0% 0.0% 11.0% 33.0% 10 Prov Seats as % 3.0% 44.0% 3.0% 16.0% 32.0% Eastern Provinces 0 28.3 0.9 37.9 32.6 Nfld Votes- % 28.3 0.9 37.9 32.6 0 1 0 4 2 CSeats-5 0 1 0 3 1 NOT Applicable 2ListSeats 0 2 0 0 0 0.0% 14.0% 0.0% 57.0% 28.0% Seats- % 0.0% 42.8% 0.0% 42.8% 14.2% 0 41.2 2.4 41 15.4 PEI Votes- % 41.2 2.4 41 15.4 0 1 0 3 0 CSeats-3 0 1 0 2 0 NOT Applicable 1ListSeats 0 0 0 0 1 0.0% 25.0% 0.0% 75.0% 0.0% Seats- % 0.0% 25.0% 0.0% 50.0% 25.0% 0 36.7 3.9 28.9 30.3 NS Votes- % 0 36.7 3.9 28.9 30.3 0 4 0 4 3 CSeats-8 0 3 0 3 2 NOT Applicable 3ListSeats 1 1 0 1 0.0% 36.0% 0.0% 36.0% 27.0% Seats- % 0.0% 36.3% 9.0% 27.2% 27.2% 0 43.8 3.2 22.6 29.8 NB Votes- % 0 43.8 3.2 22.6 29.8 0 8 0 1 1 CSeats-7 0 6 0 0 1 NOT Applicable 3ListSeats 0 0 0 2 1 0.0% 80.0% 0.0% 10.0% 10.0% Seats- % 0.0% 60.0% 0.0% 20.0% 20.0% Central Provinces 23.4 16.5 2.1 14.2 42.9 Que Votes- % 23.4 16.5 2.1 14.2 42.9 4 5 0 7 59 Cseats-58 3 4 0 5 46 NOT Applicable 20ListSeats 10 6 0 4 0 5.0% 6.0% 0.0% 9.0% 78.0% Seats- % 16.0% 12.0% 0.0% 11.0% 58.0% 0 44.4 3.8 25.3 25.6 Ont Votes- % 0 44.4 3.8 25.3 25.6 0 73 0 11 22 CSeats-91 0 63 0 9 19 NOT Applicable 30ListSeats 0 0 4 17 9 0.0% 68.8% 0.0% 10.3% 20.7% Seats- % 0.0% 43.8% 2.5% 18.2% 19.0% Western Provinces 0 53.5 2.6 16.6 25.8 Man Votes- % 0 53.5 2.6 16.6 25.8 0 11 0 1 2 CSeats-10 0 8 0 1 1 NOT Applicable 4ListSeats 0 0 0 1 3 0.0% 78.0% 0.0% 7.0% 14.0% Seats- % 0.0% 57.0% 0.0% 14.0% 28.0% 0 56.3 2.6 8.5 32.3 Sask Votes- % 0 56.3 2.6 8.5 32.3 0 13 0 1 0 CSeats-10 0 9 0 1 0 NOT Applicable 4ListSeats 0 0 0 0 4 0.0% 92.0% 0.0% 7.0% 0.0% Seats- % 0.0% 64.0% 0.0% 7.0% 28.0% 0 66.8 5.2 9.3 16.8 Alta Votes- % 0 66.8 5.2 9.3 16.8 0 27 0 0 1 CSeats-26 0 25 0 0 1 NOT Applicable 8ListSeats 0 0 2 2 4 0.0% 96.0% 0.0% 0.0% 3.0% Seats- % 0.0% 73.0% 5.0% 5.0% 14.0% 0 45.6 7.7 13.4 32.5 BC Votes- % 0 45.6 7.7 13.4 32.5 0 21 1 2 12 CSeats-32 0 19 1 2 10 NOT Applicable 10ListSeats 0 0 2 4 4 0.0% 58.0% 2.0% 5.0% 33.0% Seats- % 0.0% 45.2% 7.1% 14.2% 33.3%

The chart In Table 2 (above- right side) shows what the results for  the 2011 election might have looked like if the Commons had the new seat total of 338  with 75% (or 253 seats) being Constituency Seats (CSeats) and 25% ( or 85 seats) being List Seats. Although the percentage allocation of seats won is not in exact correspondence with the percentage of votes won, it is significantly better than the result delivered by the FPTP system.

There are different types of Mixed Member Proportional voting systems. The type presented on this web site consists of Constituency seats that would use a Priority voting system as advocated by the Liberal Party and List seats that would use a Proportional voting system as advocated by both the Green and NDP parties. In other words this is an attempt at illustrating a compromise system.

By definition Constituency seats would be for members who would represent a specific riding and the winning candidate in each Constituency would have to obtain at least 50% +1 of the votes by using the Priority voting method.

For a detailed explanation of how the Priority Voting method would work, please go to the page :                                                      Priority Voting

Since no data is available to show how the Priority voting would have worked in ridings that were won with less than 50% of the votes, the model has been simplified to use FPTP data for Constituency seats. The results  shown in Table 2 for Constituency seats would be somewhat different than the 2011 results  taken from  Table 1 if Priority voting is used. The deciding votes to determine a winner would vary according to the composition of voters in each riding. In some ridings centre type voters would lean to supporting a left of centre party with their second choice , but in other ridings these centre voters would probably lean to supporting a right of centre party.

List seats would be assigned in each province in order to get a  percentage of seats won by each party that is close to the percentage of votes won by that party. The 85 List seats would be divided between the provinces as shown in the  Table 2 chart and selection of members would be done using a proportional system based on the percentage vote count in each province.The details for how this re-balancing would be calculated are explained in :   Proportional Voting

If you compare the results produced by the model  in Table 2 with the actual 2011 results in Table 1 you will notice that both the Bloc, Greens  and Liberals won enough List seats to raise their percentage of seats in the Commons to be much closer to their percent of the votes cast.

This increase for the smaller parties meant that the percentage of seats for the Conservatives was reduced to 43.9% which made it much closer to the 39.6% of the total vote that they earned. It is likely that a further change would take place in these numbers if the Priority system were used in all Constituency ridings instead of the First Past the Post system.

The 12 February, 2015 debate on Canada's electoral system made it clear that three of Canada's national political parties are in favour of making changes to the First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system. In June the party leaders of the three national opposition parties have set out their preferences for a new electoral system. Although their positions varied, it was clear that there is the possibility for a compromise that could involve some type of Mixed Member Priority-Proportional voting system.

The question for all Canadians is:

Do you want a system that allows for representation in the House of Commons that is closer to the percentage of votes cast for each party?

If your answer is yes to the above question, then start talking to the candidates about this problem and make it an issue for the 2015 election.

For more detailed explanation  on why we need to update Canada's electoral system go to:

Basic principles for a fair electoral system

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Gordon Nicholls,
20 Mar 2015, 11:02
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