Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ed Broadbent on electoral reform

As I said after the election, I am extremely upset at the unjust nature of our electoral system. It is a system where Harper almost received a majority with the support of 22% of registered voters. I believe that we urgently need reform of our electoral system. I want to do something about it, I have joined Fair Vote Canada, and urge other progressives of all stripes to do so as well.

Here is an outstanding op ed piece on the urgent need for electoral reform by Ed Broadbent in the Globe and Mail.

It was a bad day for Canadian democracy – more unstable, unrepresentative government.

If Tuesday's vote had taken place with an electoral system such as those in the vast majority of democracies, Canadians would now have the prospect of a stable centre-left coalition government, with a majority of seats in Parliament representing a majority of the popular votes. Instead, we will continue with a right-of-centre government rejected by a substantial majority of Canadians, elected by a mere 38 per cent of the people, with not a single MP from Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal. Federalist parties got more than 50 per cent of the votes in Quebec, but the Bloc Québécois received two-thirds of the seats.

When, oh Lord, will we wake up? Why do we persist with a 19th-century electoral system designed for two parties long since rejected by more than 40 multiparty democracies throughout the world? When a party with just over a third of the vote gets to govern, and one party, the Greens, doesn't get a single MP although nearly a million people voted for it, is it any wonder that only 59 per cent of Canadians bothered to vote on Tuesday, the lowest turnout in our history?

We need change, and we need it soon. Most European democracies have successful systems of proportional representation. And a system such as those in Germany, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales would work well in Canada, combining proportionality with an individual MP for each district. Our Parliaments would be both more representative and more stable.

Read the entire article here.