National poll shows strong majority support for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform
A new national poll by EKOS research, commissioned by Fair Vote Canada, shows 76% of Canadians would support a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.
This includes 73% of Liberal voters, 69% of Conservative voters, 84% of NDP voters, 91% of Green voters, 88% of Bloc voters, and 72% of People’s Party voters.
A citizens’ assembly is an independent, non-partisan body. Participants are selected like a jury to ensure they are representative of the Canadian population by characteristics such as age, gender, region, and education. They spend up to a year learning from experts, consulting with Canadians and deliberating before making an informed recommendation.
Other key findings from the poll:
- 78% of respondents agree that in order for a political party to form a majority government, it should have the support of over 50% of Canadian voters.
The last two “majority” governments at the federal level in Canada had the support of just over 39% of voters.
- 87% of respondents agree that an electoral system should encourage parties to cooperate and compromise so that the most important policies that are passed in Parliament reflect the support of over 50% of Canadian voters.
Winner-take-all systems (like first-past-the-post or the winner-take-all ranked ballot) discourage cooperation. When one party can seize all the power with 39% of the vote, it’s not in their self-interest to share credit with other parties. They are more likely to discredit or demonize other parties.
With proportional representation, parties seek to find common ground—cooperation is the norm. Cooperation can occur between parties from all parts of the political spectrum. A great example is Denmark, which is now governed by a coalition consisting of parties on the left and right.
- 90% of respondents agree that the overall composition of Parliament should be an accurate reflection of how people voted. That’s PR!
- Only 6% say it’s okay for a party to change the electoral system to one they prefer without the agreement of any other party.
Canadians are firmly opposed to any single party unilaterally changing the electoral system. Politicians are distrusted on electoral reform, because time and again they have shown that when it comes to electoral reform, they will put their own self-interest ahead of the common good.
We need an independent, non-partisan National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform to look objectively at all the options and make a recommendation in the best interest of all Canadians.