Electoral system works

Proportional representation: do we need it or even want it?

  • Nov. 5, 2015 1:00 p.m.

Proportional representation: do we need it or even want it?

We hear complaints from fringe parties that their voice is not heard in Parliament. Fringe parties want an alternative electoral system that would guarantee representation they are not able to secure under the present system, a so-called first-past-the-post system that is the historical electoral system in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and India, for example.

Over time, the first-past-the-post system with a single-member electoral district favours a two-party competition.

In my opinion, a multitude of similar parties imposes a burden on democracy.

In Canada, we have had fragmented political parties with trivial differences that should be worked out within a party caucus. The fringe parties represent those who are unable or unwilling to work cooperatively within one of the major parties. If we force Parliament to represent all fringe parties, Parliament will become bogged down.

The federal New Democratic Party has existed for over 50 years and has only once threatened to form a government in Canada. The time has come for the NDP to merge with the Liberal Party. MPs from the NDP have experience and ability that could contribute much to government but not within a third-place party. A merged Liberal and NDP would better represent Canadians. The Conservative Party would find it necessary to return to small-c progressive positions.

I don’t believe we should tweak elections to guarantee representation to fringe parties that are unable to have an MP elected. All variations of proportional representation require appointment of un-elected or failed candidates to Parliament. Who really wants that?

Robert McFetridgeBowser

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