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How low can you go? New Québec government least supported Canadian government in almost 90 years.
Wed, 2012-09-05 12:58 - Author: Wayne Smith
For immediate release
For immediate release
September 5, 2011
The Quebec election has shown just how little support you can get and still form government with our winner-take-all system says Fair Vote Canada (FVC), Canada’s citizens’ movement for electoral reform. Only once in Canadian history has a government been elected with less support –that was the Liberals in BC in 1924 with 31.34%.
“Sadly, due to our electoral system, we’re used to parties forming government with less than 40% of the popular vote, but how low can you go and still claim a mandate to govern?” asks Shoni Field, national president of Fair Vote Canada. “This is a recipe for divisive, unstable governments whose policies can be perceived as radical or out of touch by the majority of voters”.
“With three parties in the Quebec election earning around 30% we’ll see the usual Canadian election blame game – ‘Who split the vote?’” says Field. “However what we should really be asking ourselves is why we’re willing to stick with an archaic two party voting system when our political affiliations are far more sophisticated?”
“Fair and more proportional voting systems lead to more coalitions and consensus building ensuring that a majority of voters are represented whilst avoiding the unstable minority governments that have plagued Canada.” says Wayne Smith, FVC Executive Director. “We badly need a system that can accurately reflect Canada’s diversity of opinion.”
The Parti Québécois only barely outpolled the incumbent Liberals with 31.93% compared to 31.20% of the popular vote. However both parties won more seats than they earned – the Parti Québécois earned 40 but won 54, while the Liberals earned 39 but won 50. At only 4% behind the Liberals, CAQ votes were cheated of 15 seats that they’d earned.
The results also highlight another perversity of our electoral system – the Parti Québécois won fewer votes (dropping from 35.15% in 2008 to 31.93% now) but has gained 5 seats.
“There is very little relationship between votes and seats in our current system”, says Wayne Smith, FVC Executive Director. “People are gobsmacked when they realize that even if less people vote for a party our system might actually reward them with more seats.”
Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a multi-partisan citizens' campaign for voting system reform. FVC promotes the use of fair and proportional voting systems for elections of all levels of government and throughout civil society.
President, NCR Chapter
Fair Vote Canada