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Fair Vote Canada

June 2004

Canadian voters spoke but, once again, the voting system garbled the message.

"If Canada had been using some type of proportional representation, like most other major democracies, the election results would have been very different," said Larry Gordon, executive director of Fair Vote Canada.

If seats had been awarded to parties on the basis of the votes they received, the Liberals, Bloc and Conservatives would have had fewer seats and the NDP and Green Party more seats. For example, rather than 135 seats, the Liberals would have received about 113. The NDP, rather than 19 seats would have had about 48. The Greens, rather than no seats, would have had about 12 seats.

However, Gordon emphasized that had a fair voting system been used, many people would have voted differently and voter turnout would likely have been higher.

The election results also demonstrated that voters and their votes are not treated equally. The Bloc gained one seat for about every 31,000 votes cast for their party; the Liberals gained one seat for every 37,000 votes, the Conservatives one seat for every 40,000 votes. Meanwhile, the NDP gained only one for every 111,000 votes. The Greens attracted more than 500,000 votes but gained no seats at all ĺ─ý compared to the Liberals who attracted less than 500,000 seats in Atlantic Canada alone, where they won 22 seats.

The results also exaggerated regional differences. The Bloc received a much higher portion of seats than their portion of the popular vote in Quebec, as did the Liberals in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and the Conservatives in the west.

"In the 21st century, no democratic society should tolerate a voting system as bad as ours," said Fair Vote Canada vice president Bruce Hallsor. "We call on the new government to begin a national process where Canadians can learn about proportional, or fair, voting systems and then choose the best system for Canada through a binding referendum."

Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan citizensĺ─˘ campaign for voting system reform. FVC is supported by a 32-person national advisory committee of prominent Canadians from a variety of backgrounds and political views, and has endorsements from other national organizations as diverse as the Canadian Labour Congress and Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


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