Media Kit

About Fair Vote Canada

Fair Vote Canada is a national non-partisan citizens’ campaign for proportional representation. We are a grassroots advocacy organization as well as having extensive expertise in electoral reform. Incorporated as non-profit in 2001, we have volunteers across the country. Find our Statement of Purpose, national board and chapters.

Proportional representation is a principle: That seats in a legislature should match the popular vote. All models of proportional representation for Canada also retain strong local representation. 

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Federal Election 2019

Political diversity exists in each province that is not reflected in the results with winner-take-all voting.

Another regional sweep with winner-take-all voting shuts out diversity.

Very similar numbers of voters voted for the Bloc and Greens, but the seats earned were wildly different: One group of voters got a strong voice, the others got hardly any voice.

Voters who helped to elect no representation with their ballots, by number and by percentage of voters for each party. In every election, it’s voters for the larger parties who cast the most “wasted” votes. 

The total number of unrepresented voters is over 9 million – about 51% of voters cast votes that made no difference to the outcome.

In countries with proportional representation (about 80% of OECD countries), usually about 95% of voters cast ballots that elect representation and help shape makeup of the legislature.

Leger National Poll 2020

Summary/Highlights
Read the full results here

Poll of Canadians on improving democracy, proportional representation, and support for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. 1,529, Canadians, 18 years of age or older, surveyed September 4-6, 2020.

Alternative Vote (winner-take-all “ranked ballot”)

Picture: Comparing two winner-take-all systems: First-past-the-post and Alternative Vote (AV). AV is a winner-take-all voting system that uses a ranked ballot.

Read: Analysis of the 2019 and 2015 election results using AV and more on AV.

4% of the experts who testified to the federal electoral reform committee recommended AV. 88% of the experts recommended proportional representation (PR). In multiple simulations done for the Electoral Reform Committee at their request by expert Byron Weber Becker, AV was shown to be the only system that could produce more disproportional results than first-past-the-post.

Note: Proportional systems aim to make the popular vote closely match seats and “make every vote count”. They can also use a ranked ballot.

Blog:  Alternative Vote – from the frying pan into the fire. Lessons from Australia

In 2017, the Liberals killed electoral reform when it became clear that the only system Justin Trudeau would permit — the “ranked ballot” – wasn’t going to fly. Trudeau meant the Alternative Vote (AV), the winner-take-all voting system used in Australia. (Proportional systems can also use a ranked ballot — but that wasn’t what he meant).  What is the result of the Alternative Vote in Australia today?

How winner-take-all voting concentrates power

2015 election (picture left). First-past-the-post concentrates power with one party’s backroom. Read our press releases on how this played out in recent years with corruption in BC, the SNC Lavalin scandal and the WE scandal:

How first-past-the-post fuels corruption

Jody Wilson Raybould and the politics of first-past-the-post
Time to let sunshine into the PMO

Why did Trudeau plunge into such a preposterous decision on WE?

Pierre Trudeau advocating for proportional representation

Pierre Trudeau was acutely aware of the regional divisions created by winner-take-all voting and said the government would have trouble speaking for the nation until Canada adopted proportional representation. More from Pierre Trudeau on PR.

False majority governments

Most majority governments in Canada are false majorities, formed with far less than a majority of the vote. In 2011, Harper won a false majority with 39.6% of the popular vote. In 2015, Trudeau won a false majority with 39.5% of the popular vote. See all results identifying false majority governments since 1867 here.

Most of the provincial governments in Canada are false majority governments.

Global Satisfaction with Democracy Index

Press release: Faith in Democracy in Peril Around the World. Researchers Find Seven Countries with Proportional Representation are an “Island” of Contentment

Cambridge University’s Centre for the Future of Democracy released a report sounding the alarm bells about the decline in faith in democracy.  The seven countries where satisfaction with democracy has actually increased all use proportional representation.

Policy lurch with winner-take-all voting

Press release: Teck and White Pines Two Sides of the Same Coin

What does the withdrawal of the Frontier oil sands project have in common with the dismantling of Ontario windmills? Both are victims of an unstable policy climate that ought to give any energy company a reason to think twice. This kind of drastic policy lurch as one government is replaced by its opposite — and the uncertainty and instability it creates — is endemic to winner-take-all voting. 

Winner-take-all voting can mean drastic policy shifts after an election. Majority governments are often formed with about 40% of the vote.  In many cases parties run on a platform of reversing what the previous government has done. Proportional representation provides more continuity and stability, even when governments change. Policies will always have the support of more than one party, representing a majority of voters. 

A National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform

What is a Citizens’ Assembly? The basics

The OECD report highlights looking at 279 processes around the world following this model.

Who’s supporting this?

Many politicians inevitably have trouble overcoming their personal or partisan self-interest – making it difficult for them to design a fairer electoral system for Canada. It’s a bit like expecting the turkeys to plan Thanksgiving. Almost every process in Canada that has looked at electoral reform has recommended a change – except the ones led by committees of politicians.

A Citizens’ Assembly is a deep and meaningful citizen involvement through a demographically representative, fully informed, independent group – basically a mini-public.  Citizens’ Assemblies and processes following the same model are on the cutting edge of better democracy and are being used to deal with complex and challenging issues around the world. Read the OECD report.

Proportional Representation in other countries

Data from 2018. Most countries with Parliamentary systems in the OECD are governed by parties working together. 

Blog: BC and NZ Elections: A sharp contrast in what democracy can be

From the timing of the election, to media coverage, to government formation – the differences between first-past-the-post and proportional representation are substantial. PR has changed the political culture of NZ.

Blog: Cooperation leads to a groundbreaking law in Denmark.

Denmark just passed a trailblazing law for climate action. Almost every party in the Parliament worked together for months to write the law, including the conservative parties, that would ensure Denmark’s success far into the future. As BBC reports, it’s now almost “illegal” for a government to drag its feet on climate action.

Blog: Historic new cooperation deal between parties in Ireland – proportional representation made it possible

One hundred years of rivalry between Ireland’s two main parties – ninety-seven years after the two sides ended the civil war – is ending with an historic grand coalition agreement. It is cooperation on an unprecedented scale in Ireland, even with the country’s long history of proportional representation.

Blog: New Zealand – An all-party cooperation success story during COVID-19.

Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party got 37% of the vote in 2017. They formed a coalition with the NZ First Party and a supply and confidence agreement with the Greens. All three parties had Ministers. All parties in NZ, including the opposition party, National, worked in close cooperations in the legislature to deliver a top-notch repsonse to COVID-19.

Proportional Representation Matters: Research

Summary of Research: Building Better Democracy
More detailed research summary

Strengthening our democracy, making it more fair, stable and inclusive, is fundamental to meeting the challenges ahead. Research shows that citizens in countries with PR enjoy better health, longer lives, lower income equality, stronger economies, better environmental protection and more.

Provinces and Yukon – Results, Local news/contacts

Yukon

Local media contact:
Sue Greetham, Fair Vote Yukon
Email: [email protected]

British Columbia

Local media contact:
Gisela Ruckert (Kamloops), Fair Vote Canada Board Member and Past President Fair Vote Canada BC
Email: [email protected]

Alberta

Local media contact:
Peter Adamski (Edmonton)
Email: [email protected]

Press release with analysis of election results. 

Press release: First-past-the-post leaves voters with phantom MLA

In another glaring first-past-the-post fail, the town council in Slave Lake Alberta is so fed up with their invisible MLA, Pat Rehn, they’ve demanded his resignation. With proportional representation, there would be more than one MLA working to represent those constituents.  A little competition is good for everyone. How would voters in Northern Alberta, including Lesser Slave Lake, be represented with PR?

Saskatchewan

Local media contact:
Nancy Carswell
Email: [email protected]

Manitoba

Local media contact:
Alon Weinberg (Winnipeg)
Email: [email protected]

Ontario

Réal Lavergne, (Ottawa), President, Fair Vote Canada
Phone: 613-413-2950
Email: [email protected]

Press release with analysis of results.

Press release with analysis of election results. 

Press release: Ford rams through bills that shut out MPPs, public

In June, 2017, Ford’s PCs were elected to a majority government with only 41% of the popular vote. Today Doug Ford rammed through two wildly unpopular bills: Bill 195 and Bill 197.  The opposition MPs were easily outvoted by the PCs. The PCs used time allocation to shut down debate quickly. Both new bills make it harder for MPPs and the public to have their say in decisions.

Press release: Suspending Environmental Rights Highlights Need for More Cooperation

At this critical juncture, it is incumbent upon the government to ensure that perspectives from all political stripes are represented in their decision-making, rather than bolster their own ability to control the agenda. Concentration of power within the minority, an unfortunate side-effect of our antiquated first-past-the-post voting system, is further exacerbated by this move.

Press release: Flip flop on wind farms highlights cycle of bad decision-making

Following a strong rebuke to the government from the Ontario Superior Court, Ontarians are on the hook for $126,000 in wasteful spending. The courts minced no words about the quality of government decision-making: “not reasonable,” and lacking in “transparency, justification, and intelligibility.” With winner-take-all voting, abrupt policy lurches―often driven by nothing more than ideology―are par for the course. 

Press Release: Ford’s Gas Pump Stickers Show Need for Regulation of Political Advertising

Doug Ford’s plan to plaster stickers opposing the federal government’s carbon tax on gas pumps across Ontario – and fine gas stations who fail to comply up to $10,000 – starkly illustrates the need to regulate political advertising in Canada.

Quebec

The provincial proportional representation campaign in Quebec is run by an independent organization, Mouvement démocratie nouvelle.

New Brunswick

Local media contact:
Sandy MacKay, Fair Vote Saint John
Phone: 506-639-1007
Email: [email protected]

Nova Scotia

Local media contact:
Andy Blair and Cindy Beaton, Fair Vote Halifax
Email: [email protected]

PEI

Provincial campaigns for electoral reform in PEI are led by an independent, PEI-based citizens’ group, Islanders for PR.

Note: A 2020 by-election in PEI delivered another seat to the PCs, moving them from a minority government into a false majority.

Newfoundland and Labrador

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