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Kanivanan Chinniah

Proportional representation: Fundamentally undemocratic

Very recently, Fair Vote Canada and the Association for the Advancement of Democratic Rights launched a Supreme Court challenge to the first past the post electoral system, claiming that it violates the “effective representation” requirement espoused by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Their solution to this astounding injustice is proportional representation (or variants thereof), where every political party receives seats in proportion of the national vote that they received. However, aside from the fact that Pierre Trudeau, the father of the Charter, led three governments that never received more than 50% of the vote, which may make the Charter itself unconstitutional, PR is fundamentally undemocratic.Unsurprisingly the Green party is supporting this because it’s “good for democracy,” in other words they want minority views such as theirs at the table. Yet according to Eric Walton, foreign policy critic of the Greens, the party supports proportional representation German-style, where parties are only allocated any seats at all if they manage to obtain a minimum percentage of the vote. So it is apparently okay to disenfranchise the voters of the Communist Party of Canada since they didn’t get a baseline vote. Of course, we know about Elizabeth May’s disdain for those silly fringe groups.Let us take a look at the German model. There are essentially two major parties; the centre-right CDU/CSU, which is technically a (mostly) permanent coalition, and the centre-left SPD. First and second place positions are routinely rotated between those two parties, as is the Chancellorship. The third largest party is the FDP, which has historically been the centrist party, although it has veered libertarian as of late. The Greens and The Left appear later on in the German story. Since World War II, only one election out of 17 (1957) has managed to create a de facto single party government (CDU/CSU),… Read More