A new poll from Environics, commissioned by Leadnow.ca, shows that a majority of Canadians from across the political spectrum support bringing in a form of proportional representation for Canadian elections.
The Environics poll showed support for proportional representation spread broadly across party lines, with 77% support from self-identified Liberal voters, 61% from Conservative voters, 82% support from NDP voters, and 93% from Green Party voters. Only 18% of all poll respondents oppose such a change.
“This is not a left or right issue. Regardless of which party they support, voters understand that proportional representation would benefit our democracy,” said Doug Bailie, president of Fair Vote Canada (FVC), Canada’s citizens movement for electoral reform.
Under our current voting system about half the votes cast do not help elect any candidate. Countries that use proportional representation show that it is possible to have over 90% of votes count towards the election of a candidate.
“Proportional representation would be a win for Canadian voters,” said Bailie. “This poll shows people understand that.”
“It’s no surprise. Major polls done over the past ten years, repeatedly show that about 70% of Canadian voters support the introduction of a proportional voting system for Canada,” said FVC Executive Director Wayne Smith.
Proportional voting systems are designed to ensure that election results accurately reflect the way voters cast their votes. The number of seats a party wins would closely match the percentage of votes they receive. Under the current system, the winning party usually receives a hefty bonus. For example, the current federal government holds a majority of the seats in the House of Commons, although they received less than 40% of the votes cast in the 2011 election. The same was true of the Liberal government elected in 2000.
“More and more Canadians are realizing that it is not a good idea to give one political party 100% of the power,” added Smith, “especially when most people voted against them. Excessive power inevitably leads to arrogance and corruption. Proportional representation gives voters the power to hold politicians and political parties accountable.”
“So if most Canadians want it, why don’t we have it?” asked Smith. “Good question! Ask your MP.”