Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vote for MMP!!! The 1993 Federal Election Edition

So, Andrew Coyne's excellent column savaging the first-past-the-post, winner take all system we use for elections in Canada reminded me of some election results that truly illustrate how crazy FPTP is, and how terribly it works in giving us legislatures that represent the expressed will of the people, or in making sure people's votes count equally across the province or country.

Here are some numbers from the 1993 federal election:

In the '93 federal election the Progressive Conservatives earned the votes of 2,186,422 Canadians. The Reform party did slightly better, garnering 2,559,245. However, lest you think this was the actual RESULT of the election (a 2.6% difference between the two parties) think again. Because as we all know, the Tories 2.1 million votes was a DEVASTATING result, and they were reduced to just 2 seats in Ottawa. Meanwhile, Reform's 2.5 million votes was a TERRIFIC result, giving them 52 seats on Parliament Hill.

The Tories got one seat for every 1,093,211 votes they received.
The Reformers got one seat for every 49,216 votes they received.

In simplified terms, a voter who voted Reform had a vote that was for all practical purposes 22 times more powerful than the vote of a voter who marked their ballot for the Tories.

Another great example comes to us from the 2004 federal election. In that election, the NDP got a respectable 15.7% of the vote, with 2,116,536 votes. The Bloc Quebecois meanwhile were over 3% (and over 440,000 votes) behind with just 1,672,874 votes. What did FPTP do with these numbers? Well, it gave the NDP and their 2.1 million voters 19 seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, the 1.6 million Bloc voters got 54 seats in Parliament. NDP voters got one seat in Parliament for every 111,397 votes they cast, while Bloc voters received one seat for every 30,979 votes. Does that sound like democracy to anyone?

As Mr. Coyne points out, the majority of Quebecers have voted federalist in every federal election since 1993. Does anything about our Parliament, or our recent history, reflect that reality?

It's long past time for a change.

Vote for MMP in Ontario, and get the ball rolling.

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