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Lecture 19

POLS 1150 Lecture 19: Electoral Systems (Ill) (March 1)

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1150
Mark Yanisziewski

Lecture 19: Electoral Systems (Ill) – March 1 Reading: Ailsa Henderson, “Consequences of Electoral Reform: Lessons for Canada,” Canadian Public Policy, Vol. 32, No. 1 (March 2006), pp. 41-58. [E-Journal] Strengths and Weaknesses of Common Electoral Systems Strengths of Plurality Cont’d 3. Stable majority governments more likely - As a result, they don’t have to buy off small parties to keep their government going - They can be more fiscally responsible because they are not always in campaign mode - With a minority, less likely to pass decisions that are unfavourable o e.g. Mulroney and increase sales tax 4. Fewer fringe/special interest/extremist parties - e.g. Rhino party in Canada - Beneficial because more room for compromise 5. Promotes government turnover/accountability - Every so often in every democracy, the public gets tired of whoever is in charge - Easier to change government under plurality in comparison to PR Weaknesses of Plurality 1. “WastedBallots” - When you cast ballot for person who loses in riding o i.e. cast ballot and do not get member of parliament - e.g. Quebec election o Bloc Quebecois win but, only have 29% of vote o i.e. 7 out of 10 people voted for them, votes on Liberals/Conservatives/NDP/Green wasted - e.g. 1993 federal election o Top 2 next parties (PC and Reform) get less seats than Bloc Quebecois o Therefore, Bloc Quebecois become official opposition o This is because the Conservative vote was spread out and not concentrated, while Bloc Quebecois vote concentrated in Quebec and win several ridings there (therefore, 52 seats) o Votes wasted for Reform and PC (winner takes all, second doesn’t get much) 2. Hurts Smaller Parties andis therefore, Undemocratic - If people want to vote for communist parties, neo-nazi, etc. they
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