For Immediate Release
New Brunswick voters lost last night, as the party with more votes got fewer seats.
With only 31.9% of the votes, the New Brunswick PCs have won 22 seats, while the Liberals with 37.8% of the votes have won only 21 seats. Since the potential Conservative ally, the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick, has three seats while the Greens also have three seats, the Conservatives claim they will form the next government.
But a fair and proportional voting system would have let every vote count. With 49 MLAs in New Brunswick, those Liberal voters deserved to elect 19 MLAs against only 16 PCs. Voters for the Greens and People’s Alliance deserved six MLAs each, while the 5% who voted NDP deserved two MLAs. Instead of a coalition representing only 44% of voters, the new government would have been accountable to the majority of voters.
Worse, New Brunswick appears more divided into linguistic groups than it really is.
The New Brunswick Commission on Legislative Democracy proposed a proportional voting system in 2004 with four regions, so that voters in each region would be fairly represented in both government and opposition. Their Mixed Member Proportional model was similar to the model PEI voters chose in their plebiscite in November 2016.
In the 12 ridings of Northern New Brunswick, heavily francophone, the Liberals won all but one seat. However, those voters cast 24% of their votes for the PCs, 8.9% for the Greens and 8.5% for the NDP. They could have elected regional MLAs like PCs Danny Soucy and Jeannot Volpe, Green Charles Thériault who won 32% of the local vote and New Democrat Jean Maurice Landry who won 30%.
Conversely, in the 12 ridings of the Southwest, heavily English-speaking, Liberal voters elected only one MLA. They deserved two more, like incumbents John Ames and Rick Doucet.
Some fear-mongers claim proportional representation favours extremists. However, as a former conservative MLA in British Columbia, Nick Loenen, said three days ago “The best guarantee against abuse of government power is to share that power among the many, rather than the few.”
Fair Vote Canada is a national citizens’ campaign for proportional representation.