It’s time for Canada to get rid of First Past the Post. 

I could use almost any of Canada’s 43 elections to show how bad FPTP is, but the 1979 election was the worst Canadian election by far. I can’t believe that this election wasn’t enough to turn people off of first past the post.

Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservatives became Canada’s 16th Prime Minister with a minority government, having not won the popular vote. Only by collaborating with the Social Credit Party did he become the Prime Minister. 

That doesn’t sound too bad at first until you realize that Pierre Trudeau, leader of the Liberal party won 40.11% of the popular vote which resulted in 114 seats. Whereas, Joe Clark only won 35.89% which resulted in 136 seats. A 4.22% difference in popular vote and Joe still took by far the most seats.  

Joe Clark would go on to form a Government with the Social Credit party. Both parties’ combined popular vote (PV) only brought them up to 40.5% of the PV, 0.39% more than what Pierre Trudeau received.

Unfortunately, that isn’t even the worst part of the Canada 1979 election results! If you combined the Liberal and NDP vote, they would have achieved 57.99% of the PV which would have resulted in 140 seats. How did 40.5% of the PV have better results than 40.5% of the votes? 

Canada’s 1979 election should have killed FPTP. To think that the party that earned the most votes and the party that came in third could not defeat the party that came in second and fourth!

There have only been 10 governments formed where the parties involved won enough seats for a majority—50%+1 of the popular vote. Four out of these ten were minority governments. Ten out of our forty-three elections gave us false majority governments. That’s not what democracy looks like.

It’s time for Justin Trudeau to make good on his 2015 campaign promise and implement Electoral reform. The Trudeau government needs to work on setting up a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *