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This appendix looks at Canadian values identified in five of the main consultative processes on electoral reform across the country in recent years and assesses whether they can be satisfactorily addressed under a made-in-Canada PR system as compared to a majoritarian system (FPTP or Alternative Vote).

These tables summarize the reasons why each of these processes chose some form of PR as their preferred option.

The five consultative processes in question are:

  • In 2004, the Law Commission of Canada released a 200 page report, “Voting Counts: Electoral Reform for Canada,” following two years of study, 15 public hearings across Canada, an internet questionnaire, and over 30 other meetings.
  • In 2004, the New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy released its report “Making Your Vote Count,” following a year of public hearings, community leader roundtables, online submissions and academic research.
  • In 2004, the BC Citizens’ Assembly released its report following a process which brought together 160 citizens in an intensive, participatory forum to examine electoral reform. The year long process included 50 public consultations which identified four core values important to voters.
  • In 2006, after 27 public hearings in 2003 by the Estates-General on the Reform of Democratic Institutions, and consultations in 16 cities across the province by the Select Committee on the Election Act and the Quebec Citizens’ Committee in response to a draft bill presented in the National Assembly for a MMP system, the Select Committee and the Citizens’ committee both recommended that the proposed system be made more proportional.
  • In 2007, the Ontario Citizens Assembly conducted 41 public consultations and  released its report following intensive study and direction by an all-party committee of MPPs to recommend improvements to the voting system based on the values identified by the MPPs and the members of the Assembly.

For more information on the evidence relating to families of systems based on comparative research, please see Appendix 1 of this Submission.

To hear the reflections of the non-partisan members of past consultation processes about why proportionality was so important to them, see “Appendix 7: Reflections from Participants of Past Processes”.

Law Commission of Canada (2004)

Value Met by Proportional System Met by Majoritarian System Notes
Representation of parties (proportional representation) YES NO PR systems may include a threshold but Law Commission did not recommend one
Demographic Representation YES NO PR systems better reflect all diversity
Diverse Ideas YES NO PR systems represent diverse ideas and media covers more diverse policy discussion
Geographic Representation YES YES All PR systems for Canada keep local representation
Effective Government YES YES Majority governments formed through majoritarian systems or PR systems are equally stable but PR systems represent voters accurately.
Accountable Government YES YES Depends how you define accountability. A government only accountable to its base is not responsive to all Canadians
Effective Opposition YES YES Opposition can often be seriously weakened in majoritarian systems. There have been elections in New Brunswick, PEI and BC where opposition was reduced to only one or two MPs or even completely eliminated.
Valuing Votes YES NO About 52% of voters in the last federal election elected no-one.
Regional Balance YES NO With PR systems, no single party can sweep every seat in a region – diversity is represented
Inclusive Decision Making YES NO

 

British Columbia Citizens’ Assembly (2004)

Value Met by Proportional System Met by Majoritarian System Notes
Fair election result (proportional representation) YES NO
Effective Local Representation YES Partial Under STV you receive a collection of local MPs. Under SMP, half the voters did not support MP
More Voter Choice YES NO Choice of candidates of the same party
More Inclusive, Consensual Politics YES NO

 

Commission on Legislative Democracy – New Brunswick (2004)

Value Met by Proportional System Met by Majoritarian System Notes
Fair Representation (PR, and better representation of women) YES NO
Equality of the Vote YES NO
Local Representation YES Partial See above
Effective Government YES YES

 

Quebec Citizens’ Committee (2006)

Value Met by Proportional System Met by Majoritarian System Notes
Equality of Votes, Wishes of Electorate (proportional representation) YES NO
Reflect Diversity of Ideas in Society YES NO
Maintain Current  Political Weight of Various Regions YES YES Proportionality by separate regions in large provinces

 

Ontario Citizens’ Assembly (2007)

Value Met by Proportional System Met by Majoritarian System Notes
Fair Election Results (proportional representation) YES NO
Legitimacy (of process and results) YES YES
Stable and Effective Government YES YES
Stronger Voter Participation Possibly NO
Accountability YES YES
Simplicity and Practicality YES YES Over 80% of OECD countries use proportional ballots
Strong Local Representation YES Partial