Good time for a hard look at proportional representation

Dear Jason,

We need electoral reform in Canada. Western alienation is just about the closest thing we have in Canada to an existential crisis.

And it comes with elements of the unsavoury and unthinkable as part of its deep story.

Last month WEXIT leaders in Calgary actually spoke to “excising the parasite of Eastern Canada”.But had we had a significant element of proportional representation (PR) in the recent federal election, Alberta voters would have as many as five Liberal Members of Parliament (MPs) today; and Saskatchewan at least two Liberal MPs. Western Liberals won about 21 per cent of the votes and elected only 14 per cent of the MPs.

Conservative voters east of Ontario were equally disenfranchised… not to mention Conservatives getting 1.5 per cent more votes nationally yet 34 less seats in our House of Commons than the Liberals.In Quebec, NDP voters cast about 11 per cent of the votes but elected only one MP.

Nationally, the current voting system robbed more than half the NDP voters of fair representation; they cast 16 per cent of the vote yet elected only 7 per cent of the MPs.

What Canada doesn’t need is more regional or political polarization… the world has its fill of that toxin already. What we do need is more cooperation, goodwill, compromise, and longer-term thinking by our politicians.

Yes, PR has its detractors; citing the proliferation of smaller political parties and/or the present conundrums faced by Israel and Italy in forming stable governments.

Okay, don’t explore those troublesome PR models.Instead look at the PR successes of stable, prosperous, and exemplary quality-of-life countries like Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, et al.

Lastly, if our elected leadership can’t step beyond short-term partisan considerations to deal with these exacerbating electoral divisions (and their worrisome subtexts), I’m wondering if the time isn’t ripe for something like a Canadian Citizens’ Assembly to get that job done?

Bill Roberts