NDP Introduces Mixed-member Proportional Representation Motion

Harper Conservatives likely to oppose NDP motion to democratize Canada’s electoral system

by: Obert Madondo  | Published Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014

New Democrats to introduce a motion for a mixed-member proportional representation electoral system. (Photo: OBERT MADONDO/The Canadian Progressive)

New Democrats to introduce a motion for a mixed-member proportional representation electoral system. (Photo: OBERT MADONDO/The Canadian Progressive)

This afternoon, the New Democrats will introduce in the House of Commons a motion seeking to ensure that the 2015 federal election “will be the last in the era of unfair elections.”

The motion, sponsored by Craig Scott, the NDP’s democratic reform critic, proposes to steer Canada’s electoral system from the current anti-democratic first-past-the-post toward a mixed-member proportional representation one. It seeks to ensure that future elections “better reflect the diversity and political preferences of all Canadians.”

The motion states:

“That, in the opinion of the House:

(a) the next federal election should be the last conducted under the current first-past-the-post electoral system which has repeatedly delivered a majority of seats to parties supported by a minority of voters, or under any other winner-take-all electoral system; and

(b) a form of mixed-member proportional representation would be the best electoral system for Canada.”

Why does this motion matter? As I blogged earlier:

We have a majority government rejected by over sixty per cent of Canadians during the 2011 federal election. The Conservatives bagged 54% of the seats in the House of Commons after winning only 39.5% of the vote. Not only that. Now a right-wing regime relentlessly prosecuting a dictatorship-style assault on Canadian democratic institutions and values presently holds power in Ottawa.

In a real democracy, every vote should count.

The House will vote on the motion at 6:45 PM EST.

“If the Conservatives and Liberals truly believe in democracy, they will vote with us,” said Scott said in a statement. “The current system, in which a party can govern without a majority of votes, has gone on long enough. We need to make every vote count.”

Also gravely troubled by Canada’s anti-democratic electoral system are these prominent individuals and organization: environmentalist David Suzuki, Green Party leader and MP Elizabeth May, Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, Idle No More organizer Sheelah Mclean, and Fair Vote Canada, a grassroots advocacy group campaigning for voting system reform.

In a Facebook post, Fair Vote Canada said while it “does not endorse just one proportional system,” MPs voting yes to the NDP motion would be supporting “the premise that every vote should count.”

“If a party earns 30% of the vote they should earn roughly 30% of the seats,” the post stated. “A yes vote to this motion will open the door for a process to design the best electoral system for Canada, consistent with Fair Vote Canada’s 2015 campaign.”

Fair Vote Canada argues that the 2015 federal election should be held under a system of proportional representation. Over 44,000 people have signed the group’s “Declaration of Voters’ Rights.”

Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter.com/Obiemad

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Obert Madondo

Publisher and editor
Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based independent journalist and progressive political blogger. He's the publisher and editor of The Canadian Progressive.