So the PQ was elected in Quebec and the federal government is returning from its summer break. This is the perfect time to talk about the Canadian voting system. We currently use the First Past the Post voting system which means that once all the votes are counted the person with the most votes in each riding wins. It seems like a logical setup. The problem is that we do not have a two party system and you can get situations like this
Candidate A – 34% of the vote
Candidate B – 33% of the Vote
Candidate C – 33% of the Vote
Candidate A wins and 66% of voters are not very happy with the selection. Or this example.
PQ – 31.96%
Liberal – 31.2%
CAQ – 27.06%
Other – 7.92%
PQ wins and then removes the Canadian flag from the Quebec Legislature.
Here is a link to the election results in Quebec. Look at each of the ridings where the winner had less than 50% of the vote. Now imagine that instead we were voting with a two-round system. This is used in many places around the world and it is something that Canada should be using as well. There are some slight variations that can be used but here is the system I endorse.
Two rounds of voting. In round one everyone votes for their favourite candidate, similar to the system we have now. All votes are counted. If there is a candidate with more than 50% of the votes, they win. If not, the top two names are placed on a second ballot and everyone votes again. Winner of the second ballot is elected.
Now you might be thinking that we could get this all done in just a single round of voting if everyone just ranked the candidates on the original ballot. This leads to the problem of voters ranking the candidate least likely to beat their favourite as number two so that if there is a second round hopefully it is against an easily defeated rival. (Sorry Australia)
Two round voting would certainly be more expensive; the 2011 federal election cost $291 million so we can assume that with a two rounds the total cost should be less than double. I would be happy if the government spent money on this change because it would likely result in a government that better represents the will of the people.