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Voting system distorted results once again: Fair Vote

If the Canadian electoral system better reflected voters' intentions, the country would today have 26 fewer Conservative members of parliament than were elected yesterday.

Canadians elected 143 Conservatives, but their 38 percent of the popular vote should only entitle the party to 117 of parliament's 308 seats, according to analysis by Fair Vote Canada.

Parliament would also have five more Liberals, 20 more NDP members and 23 Greens. Under the current first-past-the-post system, the Greens elected nobody despite winning some 940,000 votes.

With a proportional system, the geographically concentrated Bloc Quebecois would gain about 22 fewer seats than the 50 they won yesterday.

British Columbia's 36 seats would also be divided differently, Fair Vote figures show. The Conservatives would have won six fewer than the 22 they took. The Green Party would have picked up four of those seats and the Liberals two, bringing their total to seven. The NDP won nine, which is what they would have got under a proportional system.

“Canada’s antiquated first-past-the-post system wasted millions of votes, distorted results, severely punished large blocks of voters, exaggerated regional differences, created an unrepresentative Parliament and contributed to a record low voter turnout,” said a late night statement from Fair Vote.

The statement quoted executive director Larry Gordon saying that with a different voting system there would have been no need for strategic voting and likely more people would have voted.

At 59.1 percent, voter turnout was at an historic low.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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