Are you loath to upgrade to a new cell phone? I was and I regret it. My new cell has upgraded my life. This may sound exaggerated but it is not. My new cell’s space allows for audiobook downloads. Listening to them turns joyless boring chores into joyful interesting experiences. Its software supports a fitness app and its feedback inspires more steps and more sleep.
It is impossible to calculate the cost of keeping my old cell. What is possible to calculate is the years Canadians have been cheated out of an upgraded democracy. Before 1921, Canadian elections were between two parties. The 1921 election had three. This made our majoritarian electoral system of first-past-the-post (FPTP) undemocratic. Winning a seat no longer required a majority of votes. As the number of parties increased, our democracy decreased. In the 2021 federal election, the Conservatives won more votes but with FPTP the Liberals won 160 seats to the Conservatives 119. The Bloc won 32 seats with 8% of the vote compared to the NDP’s 25 seats with 18% of the vote. Not upgrading our democracy has cost us over a hundred years of distorted election results.
Since 1921, commissions, reports, politicians, and citizens have consistently and repeatedly recommended electoral reform with proportional representation (PR). Parties have promised it (and reneged after getting 100% of the power with FPTP). Other countries using FPTP have upgraded their democracy with PR. It is time we did the same. Support FairVote.ca, NationalCitizensAssembly.ca, and/or CharterChallenge.ca.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.