I love it. When Harper won the election with 40% of the popular vote, supporters of the losing parties said that 60% of the people did not support Harper so why did he have a majority and therefore 100% of the power. Now this week, the Liberals win two provincial elections and the NDP the other and the conservative National Post is asking the same question.
When STV was proposed during the last provincial election, I supported it, not necessarily because it was the perfect system, but because electoral reform is needed. STV failed because it was too confusing but there is a very simple method to make sure that a party in a majority situation has the support of at least 50% of the ridings. It does not guarantee that they will have 50% of the national or provincial vote but that doesn’t matter.
We have a parliamentary system and we vote for representatives for each of the ridings. The country or the province are not one big riding. We do not directly vote for the Prime Minister or the party. We vote for representatives.
A simple preferential ballot where we list in order the candidates we can support will ensure that the person who represents the riding does have at 50% support in that riding.
Just because 60% of the the people did not vote for a Conservative candidate does not mean that all of them are opposed to the Conservative candidate. I am guessing that many Liberal supporters would have had the Conservative candidate as their second choice. I am guessing that nearly all of the Christian Heritage supporters would have had the Conservative candidate as their second choice.
I am not sure how many ridings would have been different had we used a preferential ballot. Many riding were won by candidates who got over 50% of the vote anyway. But I am guessing that a few would have changed hands. Whether that would have made a majority a minority is impossible to tell. As long as we know that are representatives are supported by 50% of the voters then we really have nothing to complain about.
But until we have that system we will continue to have doubts about the validity of governments and that is not healthy.