A case for proportional representation in Canada.

I am not a political scientist but, it seems to me that, in a democratic election, it would be fair to assume that the number of seats won by the various parties would be proportional to the number of people who voted for members of these parties. Below is a chart that makes it clear that this has (again) not happened in the recent federal election.

Proportional Representation voting results would have (barely) given us a minority Conservative government with the Liberals a very close second. In addition, there would have been far greater representation of MPs from the New Democrats and Greens, with six fewer members of the Bloc.

Furthermore, the distribution of the newly elected MPs from the provinces would be quite different from that delivered by our current antiquated first-past-the-post system.  For example, with PR, a potential Liberal-NDP coalition would have representation from all the provinces.

Keeping promises
I am an Albertan who did not vote Conservative.  That’s also true for 30 percent of my fellow Albertans, yet all but one of Alberta’s 34 seats were “won” by the Conservatives.  Under PR, Alberta would have obtained at least 10 seats from the other major parties. Under such a scenario, the much-heralded Western alienation would have a far lesser influence.

With PR In the Atlantic provinces, Conservative voters would have elected nine MPs rather than only four.  The 32 MPs from those four provinces would have included five New Democrats rather than only one, and four Green MPs rather than one. Ontario voters would have elected 24 New Democrats, not just 13, and 11 Green MPs rather than none.

In the 2015 election, then Liberal Prime Ministerial candidate, Justin Trudeau, promised that if he and his party won the election it would be the last to be conducted under the first-past-the-post system.  In 2015, the liberals obtained a majority government with only 39.5 percent of the popular vote (the same as the previous Conservative majority government under Stephen Harper) and promptly abandoned their promise of electoral reform. Now that Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have been re-elected in a minority position, let’s hope that the NDP and Green parties, that he may need for his government to survive, push him to keep that promise for the next election.  

As the organization Fair Vote Canada states, “The current voting system consistently skews results in favour of larger parties and exacerbates differences among the various regions of Canada.  Canadians deserve better.”


  • Robert (Bob) Bruinsma is a retired Professor of Education (The King’s University) living in Edmonton. He has interests in language and literature and loves birds and the outdoors. To help pass the time on long winter nights, he makes wine and beer (and drinks it in moderation) with his wife of 46 years (Louisa). Bob is a member of Fellowship CRC where he tells stories for children and happily participates in weekly communion. He and Louisa have three grown children and three little grandsons.

You just read something for free.

But it didn’t appear out of thin air. Writers, editors and designers at Christian Courier worked behind the scenes to bring hope-filled, faith-based journalism to you.

As an independent publication, we simply cannot produce award-winning, Christ-centred material without support from readers like you. And we are truly grateful for any amount you can give!

CC is a registered charity, which is good news for you! Every contribution ($10+) is tax-deductible.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.