Should We Change the Way We Vote?

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Letter to the Editor

Canadians now have an opportunity to change the way we vote in federal elections—or keep it the same. All MPs should be seeking input from their constituents. If you haven’t received an information package about this, you should check Jamie Schmale’s website at http://www.jamieschmale.ca.

Under the present system of first-past-the-post, it is possible, though improbable, for a party win every seat with about a third of the vote. Recently, we citizens voted in a majority government with about 39% of the popular vote. The previous majority government was voted in with similar numbers. In other words, most of the cast votes mean zilch. Would you rather have a system where 39% of the vote results in closer to 39% of the seats?

We can choose to change this, or not. There are several suggestions for proportional representation. In fact, many modern democracies have some form of proportional representation. Canada does not so far. One advantage of the current system is that it is simple; just mark one x beside one name. The other suggestions involve some combination of ranking candidates, voting for party and regional representation or some combination. Alas, these systems are a bit more complicated but other democracies have demonstrated they can work. One non-government source of information about possible alternatives is www.fairvote.ca and the government site is www.canada.ca/en/campaign/electoral-reform.html .

I urge you, give our MP feedback. The deadline is September 30! If this is the first you heard of it, ask him why.

Peter Spasov, Millbrook

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