Opinion-Policy Nexus

There's an old saying in Canada that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

According to Prime Minister Trudeau and many others, however, our electoral system is broken.

The fact that a political party can win 100 per cent of the power with less than 50 per cent of the vote is a huge problem for those who worry about the tyranny of majority governments and wasted votes.

But does this mean our electoral system is broken and needs to be replaced?

The answer is no.

Advocates for electoral reform always make the same mistake, which is to criticize our electoral system without taking into account its purpose and function within the broader political system.

It is true that our electoral system produces highly disproportionate results and as a consequence, frequent majority governments who can easily push their agendas through the House of Commons. But these results and consequences actually make sense and are desirable if we consider how they fit within the broader logic of the Canadian political system.

In practice, majority governments are hardly ever able to implement their agenda unchallenged or unchanged. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, Canada has at least four primary mechanisms for keeping majority governments in check.

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Posted

Monday, January 18, 2016 - 10:54