Wednesday, October 15, 2008

If we had PR

Here are the unofficial seat results from yesterday's 40th general election (subject to verification, of course, by Elections Canada) -- the results we got thanks to first past the post:
  • Conservative 143
  • Liberal 76
  • Bloc Québecois 50
  • New Democrats 37
  • Independents 2
  • Green 0

I reviewed the results by province then allocated the seats based by popular vote. (The three territories each elect one member at large -- and as luck would have it the three major national parties split them three ways.) What would have happened with PR?

  • Conservatives 118
  • Liberal 81
  • New Democrats 57
  • Bloc Québecois 29
  • Green 22
  • Independents 1

What Parliament would you prefer? This isn't sour grapes, or partisan in favour of the Liberals. I'm furious that the Liberals were out polled by the NDs in Saskatchewan, yet the NDs failed to win a single district there while the Liberals won one. This is patently unfair. People who voted for the Green Party all across Canada were left unrepresented as well, thanks to FPTP.

We need PR, and we need it now. The opposition parties, all three, should demand PR will be part of the Reply to the Throne in the opening days of the next Parliament. Otherwise, the Cons should be non confidenced.

UPDATE (1:23 am Thursday EDT, 0523 GMT): Fair Vote Canada did some number crunching of their own, and they came up with 117-81-57-28-23 and no indies. HT to Chrystal for this one.

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Jaytoo said...

Agreed, though your numbers don't even capture it. If we had PR -- if everyone knew their vote counted -- there'd be much less misguided "strategic" voting, thus far fewer votes parked in the Liberal lot.

BlastFurnace said...

On that one, jaytoo, I have to reluctantly agree. The Liberals might have lost another 10 to 15 districts if it wasn't for some last minute vote switching. Even under a hybrid system with half and half, people could safely vote for a local candidate and a national platform (splitting the vote) and not feel guilty.

ChrisInKW said...

I couldn't agree more. The record low turnout is illustrative of the democratic emergency we're facing in Canada.

The system is broken and must be fixed.

Hishighness said...

One point I've been trying to bring up in all the hoopla over PR is that there are two problems with the way our system works: The way we vote and the way that vote translates in to power in the House of Commons. So far every system I've seen addresses the former while ignoring the latter. I have no problem with PR based on principle, but fixing one problem and not fixing the other doesn't make our electoral system any better.

What I mean is, PR allows for a result in the house where a small party can hold the balance of power, essentially giving them %50 of the power while only receiving %5 of the vote.

Most PR proponents don't care about this problem because all they want is more power for their chosen small party whether it be the NDP or the Greens. Then they call me greedy because I'm a Liberal and don't want to give a small party a disproportionate amount of power.

As a Liberal I don't mind giving up some of the power my party has, fair is fair, but I'm not going to willingly give it up in an unfair way, and that's what PR would do.

BlastFurnace said...

There's no argument about that, HH. People need to have a reason to vote. For me, it's because my parents came from a then communist state. They know what's it like not to have a choice in leaders. For many, though, they are not so motivated for whatever reason and it's terrible.

For the record, I decided to do another rough crunch and applied the numbers using mixed member representation or 50-50. Allowing for some overhang seats bringing the total to 311 from 308 this would have been the result: 131-79-48-40-11-1.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering if you were in favour of PR when the Libs had majority goverments?

BlastFurnace said...

Yes, anon. Absolutely yes.

It's worked in Europe and they tend to have very stable coalitions on both the right and left -- pretty much every EU country except Italy. I can't see any reason why PR wouldn't work here.

The excuse that both the Cons and Libs use, that PR violates the "Westminster" tradition is complete BS, because in the UK PR is used for the regional assemblies in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We don't have to throw out the Standing Orders in order to accomodate a truly democratic system.