Consensus is better

Canada is one of the few countries that still has a “first past the post” voting system.

Canada is one of the few countries that still has a “first past the post” voting system. Between 80 and 90 countries in the developed world have had a “proportional voting system” of one kind or another for most of the last century.

Our system often results in phony “majority” governments with only 40 per cent of the votes or less like the one we have now and tends to be “exclusive, competitive and adversarial.” In our system voter turnout has usually been approximately  60 per cent, sometimes less.

Proportional voting enables parliament to hold government accountable, and it also means that political parties have to negotiate with each other to achieve their common goals. That’s why proportional representation creates a more consensual type of government and a more civilized style of politics. They force broader participation in government and broader agreement on government policies. These political systems tend to be “characterized by inclusiveness, bargaining and compromise.” Consensus democracies tend to have higher levels of voter satisfaction and much higher voter turnout. They elect more women and minorities, have better social programs, and are at least as well run as we are in terms of inflation and unemployment.

Len Mulholland

Nelson

 

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