Proportional representation is a principle underlying a voting system: People should be represented in proportion to how they voted. The percentage of seats a party has in the legislature should reflect the percentage of people who voted for them.
Our current system – first-past-the-post – divides the country into 338 areas known as ridings (also called constituencies or electoral districts). No matter how diverse the voters in a riding are, just one MP is elected to represent the riding in our Parliament. Many voters feel they do not have an MP who represents them. In some ridings, 70% of the voters cast ballots which elect no-one.
In contrast, any PR voting system elects several MPs to represent a given geographic region so that most voters in that region have a voice in Parliament. The overall results in Parliament are fair. 30% of the votes = 30% of the seats.
MADE-IN-CANADA Proportional Representation reflects key values such as:
- Proportional results
- Local representation
- Regional representation
- More Voter Choice
- All MPs elected by and accountable to voters
With made-for-Canada proportional representation, almost every vote will count towards the make-up of Parliament. Almost every voter will help elect an MP who shares their values. All regions will have representation in both government and the opposition.
A single party will no longer be able to attain a majority government with just 40% of the vote, and cooperation and compromise will become the norm.
A Framework to Think about Systems
There are several different ways proportional systems can be designed.
Fair Vote Canada believes it is very important that the proportional systems are “made-for-Canada” designs – maintaining strong local and regional representation, and ensuring MPsare elected by the voters, not chosen by the parties.
This effectively eliminates any system with province-wide closed lists.
About 60% of the MPs will be elected as they are now (first-past-the-post), in larger single member ridings. We will also elect at least 40% regional MPs to ensure results in each region are proportional.
As a voter, you can go to your local MP or one of your regional MPs, with a choice of MPs from different parties.
System Names: Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
Combine single member ridings to elect several MPs in a local district, producing proportional results in each local district.
As a voter in multi-member district, you can go to any of your local MPs, with a choice of MPs from different parties.
System Names: Single Transferable Vote (STV), Local PR
Features of both multi-member and top-up systems can be incorporated to allow for Canada’s varied geography.
Multi-member ridings can be used in urban areas.
Up to 25% single member ridings, not much bigger than today, will be retained in the most sparsely populated parts of rural and samml urban communities in Canada.
Just a few regional MPs would be needed to ensure the results in each a region are proportional.
As a voter you can go to your local MP(s) or regional MP(s).
System Names: Rural-Urban Proportional