Canada’s minister for Democratic Institutions, Maryam Monsef, has been put in charge of exploring electoral options to replace the current “First Past The Post” system. Critics of the system have stated that it does not necessarily result in the election of the most favoured candidate.

In the current system a candidate that is only favoured by, for example, 35% of the population can represent a riding as long as the other 65% is split among remaining candidates. If the candidate’s party then wins more ridings than the opposition, a party that is considerably unfavourable to most of the population can win a federal election.

Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed favour for a ranked ballot system (also known as Run off voting). In this system voters rank their favourite candidates in order. In the initial count each voter’s first choice is counted, if a candidate receives more than 50% vote they are the winner. If not than the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated and their voters 2nd pick will be counted. This continues until someone has more than 50% of the vote.

Members of the Conservative Party of Canada have accused Trudeau of suggesting this system to ensure that the Liberals win perpetually, they believe it would cause votes to trend towards the centre, which the Liberals occupy. Monsef has said that she has been instructed to explore all options and says she has “no preconceived notions.

The end goal of the reform is to bring more electoral participation from the public and create a more democratic Canadian society. A committee made up of all parties will be formed to decide on the final system.

Advertisements