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NEW BRUNSWICK VOTERS SAY ONE THING, THE VOTING SYSTEM ANOTHER (September 19, 2006)
Yesterday, the majority of New Brunswick voters failed to give their support to any single party, while the voting system handed majority control to the party finishing second in the popular vote.
“If you want yet another illustration of why so many countries have scrapped first-past-the-post voting, here it is,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada, a national citizens’ campaign for electoral reform.
“In a democracy, you would think any party failing to win a majority of votes should not have majority control of the legislature,” said Gordon. “You would certainly not expect a party coming in second place to be given complete control of the political agenda.”
Gordon noted that first-past-the-post voting produced two other wrong-winner elections in the 1990s in British Columbia and Quebec.
Fair Vote Canada commended former Premier Lord for his June 2006 commitment to hold a binding referendum on the mixed member proportional voting system recommended by the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy.
“Particularly given these distorted election results, we call on Premier Graham to honour the former Premier’s pledge for an electoral reform referendum in 2008 and to honour a majority decision by New Brunswick voters in that referendum,” said Gordon.
In a previous study of Canadian provincial elections between 1980 and 2000, Fair Vote Canada reported that New Brunswick had the most distorted election results among all provinces, when comparing the differences between the percentage of votes cast for parties to the percentage of seats won.