Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quebec anglos would benefit from two-ballot voting system, say reform supporters

Ontario isn't the only province where supporters of electoral reform are active. This article ran this week in Montreal's The Chronicle.

In the 1998 Quebec provincial election, first-past-the-post handed the Parti Québécois a majority government (76 out of 125 seats) even though it trailed the Quebec Liberal Party in the popular vote (the PQ won 43% versus the Liberals' 44%).

Quebec is one of six provinces in recent decades where the second-place party in the popular vote won the most seats, thanks to first-past-the-post. It happened in Ontario in 1985 when the Tories won the most seats even though they trailed the Ontario Liberals in popular support. It's also happened in Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Mixed Member Proportional would correct this flaw in our current system, ensuring party representation matches its popular support.

The Chronicle article reads: "The Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (or APDR) has launched a lawsuit in Quebec Superior Court through which they hope to invalidate the current system. The case, which is being argued by well-known Montreal lawyer Julius Grey, is scheduled to be heard in December next year. In a summary analyzing the current electoral system's faults, the APDR recommends the provincial government adopt legislation along the same lines as a proposal for electoral reform that is being voted on in a referendum taking place in conjunction with the upcoming provincial election in Ontario. The APDR is proposing a mixed-member proportional model entailing two ballots. One ballot would be for single-member districts, a second would be used to calculate each political party's support. One of the ballots could also be cast for candidates running in a single, province-wide, multi-member district."

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