First-past-the-post voting system produces 4th phony majority government in a row
Fair Vote Canada calls on Quebec Liberals to honour pledge for voting system reform
Published April 24th 2003 in Fair Vote Canada
Fair Vote Canada, a multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for voting system reform, today called on the Quebec Liberal Party to act quickly on its commitment to bring a proportional representation voting system to Quebec within two years of being elected.  The commitment was made in a Liberal Party policy resolution adopted in September 2002. 

“The Quebec election results provide yet another glaring example of how badly our first-past- the-post voting system distorts what voters are saying,” said Fair Vote Canada president Doris Anderson.  “The Quebec Liberals won only 46% of the vote ­ the majority voted against them ­ but the voting system handed the Liberals 61% of the seats.  The ADQ attracted 18% of the vote, and gained only 3% of the seats.” 

While commentators described the election as a “sweep” and party leaders talked of a “mandate”, the portion of Quebec voters supporting the Quebec Liberal Party remained virtually the same as in the last election.  Their total popular vote actually decreased.  In 1998, the Quebec Liberals won 1.77 million votes or 44%; in 2003 they won 1.75 million votes or 46%.  Despite the inconsequential change in the popular vote, the Liberals gained an additional 28 seats this time around.  A 2% increase in vote share produced a 58% increase in seat share. 

“Given that both opposition parties also support moving to proportional representation, a position that was overwhelmingly endorsed at the Estates General in February, we urge Premier Charest to act now,” said Larry Gordon, executive director of Fair Vote Canada.  “It’s time to put an end to distorted results and phony majority governments.  Mr. Charest and Quebec have an opportunity to lead the way with a long-overdue electoral reform that will likely sweep across all jurisdictions in Canada in the coming years.”