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POL2101 (183)

L16 - Electoral System and Elections

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Luc Turgeon

March 19, 2014 Electoral System and Elections Key Term • Single member plurality system (first past the post – count the most votes) Electoral system in Canada  Single member plurality system (SMP): “An electoral system in which voters in each geographical constituency elect a single representative to the legislature. The candidate with the most votes is elected, regardless of whether that candidate received the majority of votes”  Vote in 308 ridings (soon 338) -5 Ontario -6 Alberta -6 Quebec Alan Cairns and the Canadian Electoral System  Significant critiques of SMP in Canada -false majorities -weaker opposition parties  Canada’s electoral system “hinders the development of a party system capable of acting as a unifying agency in a country where sectional cleavages are significant” -discriminates against national parties with thinly spread support -fewer political parties (small parties like NDP)  Why? Duverger - voters won’t waste their vote for a party that will only win 1 seat  Arguments in favor of SMP? -preservation of “one person, one vote” principle -fewer minority parties Beyond SMP: Provincial Experiments and Reform Proposals  Provinces have historically experimented with other electoral systems • Single transferable vote • Alternative vote/Preferential voting  Recent attempts at modifying the electoral system • Referendums on mix
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