Will election reform stay on the agenda?

Ramifications of the election of the Liberals to a majority government

One of the most interesting ramifications of the election of the Liberals to a majority government is the pledge made by Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau to consider election reform.

The first-past-the-post system has a major flaw in that the leading party can form a majority government without holding a majority of the popular vote – a situation where more Canadians actually voted against the leader’s party than for it.

This advantage represents a serious problem for the health of our democracy. A majority government wields a lot of power and since the a majority government controls the bulk of the seats in Parliament, that party is able to pass legislation it likes virtually unchecked.

There are many formulations that could be considered in achieving reform, but whether it is a preferential ballot ranking choices, single transferable vote or proportional representation, each would help alleviate the concern that the will of Canadian voters would be expressed in the House of Commons.

What remains to be seen is whether Trudeau will move ahead with reforming Canada’s elections system – a system which just helped propel him to a stunning majority victory. After all, it’s easy to be a critic of the system when you aren’t the one benefitting from it.

 

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