David Shanahan hits the nail on the head when he identifies the need for Proportional Representation in his editorial last week. Only in election math can 41% equal 67% while 23% equals both 25% and 6%. Only a handful of developed countries around the world still use First Past the Post to elect their legislatures. Canada, the US, the UK, and India are the only G20 members to use FPTP. While my knowledge of Indian politics is limited, I don’t think many people would argue that the US and UK have been well governed in recent decades.
PR should be part of a package of electoral reforms, including making election day a holiday, and increased political education. PR would enable people to vote for whom they want to, rather than being exhorted to vote strategically to keep someone out. One recent survey showed 44% of people voted strategically, yet the PCs were returned with an increased majority.
It should be a fundamental principle of an electoral system that the seats won reflect support for that party. Although in theory with FPTP we vote for a local representative, the fact that only one independent MPP was elected shows how much people vote for a party. We have a tightly controlled party system and our electoral system should reflect this, rather than trying to maintain a fiction.
Both the NDP and Liberal parties in Ontario are searching for new leaders. I hope that members of these parties stress the importance of PR to their leadership candidates. Electoral reform has long been a key policy for the Green Party of Ontario. Readers looking to support non-partisan efforts on electoral reform should support the work of Fair Vote Canada (www.fairvote.ca).
President, Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands & Rideau Lakes Green Party of Ontario Constituency Association
Member of Fair Vote Canada