A House Under-Represented, Not a House Divided: The Bizarre Outcome of the 2019 Election
Canada’s new House of Commons makes the country look far more divided than it really is. That, unfortunately, pushes both politicians and media to talk about regional alienation. The better conversation is better electoral representation.
Nationally, our “first past the post” (FPTP) voting system produced 34 more seats for the Liberals than for the Conservatives, despite the Conservatives getting 1.5% more votes than the Liberals. The bizarre outcomes exist across the country.
By comparison, a proportional representation election would have produced about 116 Liberals, 117 Conservatives, 57 New Democrats, 22 Greens, and 26 Bloc MPs, as compared with the FPTP outcome of 156 Liberals, 122 Conservatives, 24 New Democrats, 3 Greens and 32 Bloc Quebecois.
The voting system robbed NDP and Green voters of fair representation. New Democrats cast 16% of the votes, but elected only 7% of the MPs. Worse, Green Party voters cast 6% of the votes but elected only three MPs.
No wonder Canadian voters often feel conflicted and alienated. Here’s a memo to the pundits and the politicians: It’s the system, stupid.
In the four western provinces, the Conservatives scored about 53% of the votes, yet elected about 68% of the MPs.
In Quebec, Bloc voters cast about 33% of the votes, and elected about 41% of the MPs. Quebec Liberal voters cast about 34% of the votes, but elected about 45% of the MPs. Conservative voters cast about 16% of the votes, but elected only 13% of Quebec’s MPs. Worse, NDP voters cast about 11% of the votes, but elected only one MP. Green voters cast about 4% of the votes, but elected no one.
Proportional results in the Atlantic provinces would have produced 9 Conservative MPs instead of 4. To represent the voters’ intentions, the 32 MPs from those four provinces should have included five New Democrats rather than one, and four Green MPs rather than one.
Proportionally, Ontario voters should have elected 24 New Democrats, not 13; and 11 Green MPs rather than none.
The current voting system consistently skews results in favour of larger parties, and exacerbates differences between the various regions of Canada. It is not very democratic and not very efficient.
Here in Kootenay-Columbia, the results are also skewed. The winner, Rob Morrison, won the riding with 45% of the votes. He now has the obligation to represent us all, including the 55% who did not vote for him. This is very difficult, for both policy and ideological reasons. It also essentially throws out the votes of the 55% who did not vote for the winner. Check out Elections Canada’s numbers to see the voting results:
• Green Party – Abra Brynne: 5,998 (9.0 %)
• Liberal – Robin Goldsbury: 6,033 (9.1%)
• Animal Protection Party – Trev Miller: 336 (0.5 % )
• Conservative – Rob Morrison: 29,893 (45.1 %)
• New Democratic Party – Wayne Stetski: 22,707(34.2 %)
• People’s Party – Rick Stewart: 1,360 (2.1 %)
Joyce Green is a member of Fair Vote Canada, a cross-partisan national citizens’ campaign representing 80,000 Canadians advocating for voting system reform. FVC promotes the introduction of an element of proportional representation in elections at all levels of government.
An Open Letter To Mayor and Council of the City of Kimberley;
Re: Kimberley Riverside Campground being offered for sale by the City of Kimberley.
As patrons of this campground, we have heard rumors and have now received confirmation that the campground is to be placed on the market for sale. To say the least, we are shocked and concerned.
We discovered this gem of a campground, after our re-location from Manitoba 5 years ago and it has become our happy place. This past year we had the opportunity to be campground hosts and enjoyed meeting lots of people that share our love for this campground. We met families and others that have been coming to Kimberley Riverside Campground for 17 plus years. Many of the children have grown up spending their summers here, year after year. The campground is a very busy place in the summer.
I can’t say enough about the staff. They are top notch and go out of their way to make sure everyone’s Kimberley camping experience is first rate. I look at the Kimberley Riverside Campground and its staff as great ambassadors for the City of Kimberley, not as an asset with dollar signs attached.
The campground as I understand it is quite viable, it provides in excess of $100,000 a year into the coffers of the City of Kimberley. It hires and creates local employment for 15 people each year. The campground provides a competitively priced accommodation for visitors who in turn support Kimberley businesses and the tourism industry.
As a previous municipal councilor, I understand the delicate balance to keep taxes down, renew infrastructure, offset operational costs and meet the expectations of the electorate. Disposal of capital assets may look good in the short term, but as to the long-term effects no one can foresee.
In closing I would like to urge you as Mayor and Council, prior to signing off on any sale agreement, think about what this campground means to Kimberley and the visitors that frequent it. Is it possible to negotiate and mitigate some of the impact on those of us who have enjoyed the Kimberley Riverside Campground for so many years and those that may lose employment? What would be the impact be on tourism and local businesses?
One final thought. Apparently, during the last election, the question of selling the campground was posed to some of you and the answer was “No”.