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October 28, 2017 2:04 am

In the minority on minority governments

Tuesday, October 13, 2015 @ 3:45 AM

By Bill Phillips

Almost every major party has promised some sort of electoral reform if they form government next week.

Canadians are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with the first-past-the-post voting system, which continually delivers majority governments to parties that do not secure a majority of the country’s votes. Unless we move to a two-party system, which no one wants, we will always have the possibility of electing a government that doesn’t capture more than 50 per cent of the vote.
It’s a tough call. Our system democratic system is based on majority rule but we don’t need a majority to rule.
There are several suggestions for change, such as preferential balloting. Under that system, voters rank the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate secures more than 50 per cent of the votes, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes is dropped off the ballot, and the second choices of those who voted for that candidate are counted in hopes of sending someone over the 50 per cent threshold. If not, then the next lowest is dropped, etc.
It’s a good system in that it gives the voter more power. One of the biggest reasons for voter apathy is the feeling that one’s vote doesn’t matter, especially if you want to vote for someone other than the front-runner. Preferential balloting means that even if you don’t vote for one of the favourites, your vote may help determine the winner.
Preferential balloting also means the candidates have to work harder.
Currently, in a riding with three or four solid contenders, a candidate only needs to court 35-40 per cent of the vote to win the seat. The rest can actually be ignored.
Under preferential balloting candidates must try to make themselves appealing to a broader range of voters. They have to try to not only make themselves the No.1 choice of a majority of voters, but the No. 2 or No. 3 choice as well.
Tougher to do, but the end result is an elected representative for whom more than 50 per cent of the voters actually marked a ballot for … might not be their first or second choice, but they were a choice.
However, how we elect MPs isn’t our biggest problem. What they do after they get elected is a much bigger problem.
While the preferential balloting system has lots pluses, its end result is still a government ruled by party politics, party whips, toeing-the-line, and hyper-partisanship. It does nothing to alleviate the criticism that when we elect a majority government we elect a dictatorship for four years … irrespective of who is in power. Changing our voting system only to send members to Ottawa to do as they’ve always done, accomplishes nothing.
The only time things are different are when we elect a minority government. Politicians hate the prospect of a minority government because it means they have to negotiate rather than dictate. Government may move more slowly, but what it does will likely be more reflective of the actual majority.
Electoral reform involves not only changing how we vote, but how we’re represented in Ottawa. It seems likely that we will have a minority government next week with electoral reform a platform plank of a majority of the parties.
Will anyone actually make a change?
Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com



Both Mulcair and Trudeau indicated today that they would not support a throne speech given by Stephen, so that minority government would have a life expectancy less than that of a fruit fly!

If by some wonderful chance Trudeau forms a minority government, it would be so advantageous to have Tracy Calegheros as our MP. If Todd wins, then we can look forward to another 4 years of being ignored.

Will anyone actually make a change ? If the Greens hold the balance of power , yes .

There are more than 500 (five hundred) staff in Stephen Harper’s sprawling Prime Minister’s Office, about 100 more than when he took office in 2006.

After we elect a government by whatever method we must keep an eye on it during the time between elections. Just imagine how hard these handpicked people are working to keep Stephen in office and preserve their jobs!

They come up with lies (in Con attack ads in Chinese) that Justin wants to sell pot to children in corner stores and that Justin will put brothels into their neighbourhoods (CBC One)! All paid for by us, the taxpayer.

Regardless of who becomes govn’t, although I do believe it will be a minority liberal govn’t – Tracy Calogheros is the right choice for Cariboo-Prince George.

She’s a very smart, driven individual, who wasn’t afraid of calling Todd out on his lies.

Todd avoided most of the debates. I hope we’ve learned our lesson the last 22 years and elect a competent MP

” You’ve got to remember that west of Winnipeg the ridings the Liberals hold are dominated by people who are either recent Asian immigrants or recent migrants from eastern Canada : people who live in ghettos and who are not integrated into western Canadian society.”
Stephen Harper Jan 2001

Stephen Harper – contempt for parliament, contempt for Canadians.

I HOPE WE GET A MINORITY GOVERNMENT. Harper quits, we get a real leader for the conservative. go back to the polls. :-)


Cons are like the republicans in the states. Claim they know best, but their policies benefit the few.

The hogwash never seems to stop. Our system of Government has never relied on a majority of voters forming the Government. We have always had the system that the party that gets the most seats forms the Government. This is the way it is. In some instances you might have a majority Government with a majority of the popular vote, however with three parties running this rarely happens.

So the party with the most seats wins the elections. That should not be to hard to understand,. Once elected the MP represents all the people in the riding. He does not know who in the riding voted for him or against him, because we have a secret ballot. So he represents the riding, and if he gets a new airport runway, a new highway, or gets some money for a sewer system or whatever we all benefit.

So the system itself works just fine. The problem comes from those politicians who do not get elected, and what to sit at the table and collect big salaries, and pretend that they are representing someone. To them I suggest that they get more involved, work harder, and if that fails join a party that will elect them.

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