Editorial: Election changes won’t come easy

Few promises will be more eagerly be awaited, and more heavily scrutinized, than the decision on the future of Canadian elections.

Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is carrying around a lengthy laundry list of promises in the wake of the election. Perhaps none stir up greater reaction than his pledge to re-examine Canada’s “first-past-the-post” electoral system.

Trudeau’s 32-point plan to “restore democracy” included creating an all-party parliamentary committee to look at the potential alternatives, including proportional representation, ranked ballots, mandatory voting and online voting.

The problem for many is that the current system does not require the winner to glean the  majority of votes cast. Since the number of votes can be split as many ways as there are parties and candidates, it means that the person who ends up representing the seat in Ottawa may also represent a minority of the constituents.

Among the alternatives to the first-past-the-post, the strongest and most frequently suggested is proportional representation, in which the seats in the Commons are apportioned according to each party’s share of the popular vote. But not only does this frequently mean electing multiple members in each district, it would make it almost impossible for any party to gather a majority of seats, increasing the likelihood of coalition governments.

Neither first-past-the-post nor the proportional representation is without faults or likely to remove voter dissatisfaction entirely. There is simply no pleasing everyone.

The task of fine-tuning and weighing the electoral process to ensure fair proportional representation in each riding would seem to be endless. Where would such well-meaning but arbitrary tampering begin, and where would it end?

It might quickly become the proverbial road to hell, paved with good intentions but fraught with complications.

The new prime minister will have his work cut out for him living up to the promises made during the election campaign.

And few promises will be more eagerly be awaited, and more heavily scrutinized, than his decision on the future of Canadian elections.


Just Posted

40 BC authors collaborate on new book celebrating the islands of the Salish Sea

Ivan Watson Special to the News Marion Cumming’s hilltop property near McNeil… Continue reading

Showers ahead in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Saanich councillor slams McKenzie Interchange Project

Coun. Judy Brownoff said the project will only create more greenhouses gases and traffic

Fairfield plan ‘counterintuitive’ to affordability aims, says working group member

Plan for Victoria neighbourhood heads to public hearing Sept. 12

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Families want Island Health to take over seniors home

Letter campaign points out longstanding issues at the Comox Valley residence

Most Read