We live in a country where 9.97 percent of the popular vote can translate into 50 seats in Parliament (Bloc Québécois) and 6.8 percent gives you zilch (Greens).
The table below illustrates how our electoral system disproportionately allocates seats. (Thanks to Challenging the Commonplace for the table.) A rational observer has to ask why the Tories, for example, can lose almost 170,000 votes and win an additional seats. At the other end of the scale, one wonders how the Greens can improve their vote by almost 300 thousand votes and still be shut out of the House.
|2006||2008||Vote Change||Seat Change|
|Cons||5,374,071||5,205,334||– 168,737||+ 19|
|Libs||4,479,415||3,629,990||– 849,425||– 27|
|NDP||2,589,597||2,517,075||– 72,522||+ 8|
|Bloc||1,553,201||1,379,565||– 173,636||– 1|
|Green||664,068||940,747||+ 276,679 votes||0|
Voter turnout was at an all-time low of 59.1%. So-called “voter apathy” undoubtedly has many causes, however, it is not unreasonable to conclude that disgust with an undemocratic electoral system is a major one.
While this is not a new problem, there seems to be a new willingness on the part of a growing number of Canadians to do something about it. If you are one of them, or even merely curious, consider joining Fair Vote Canada.
And while you’re there, check out their video: Electoral Dysfunction: there is a cure.
After the election we’ve just endured, we need a chuckle or two.