Election analysis: Better voter representation system needed

By Duff Conacher on June 10, 2011

The $2 per-vote annual subsidy for parties is the most democratic part of the federal political finance system, because it is based on the fundamental democratic principle of one-person, one-vote. While it should be changed to make it more democratic it will be very undemocratic to cut it to zero as the Conservatives propose.

In contrast, our flawed voting system election has the undemocratic effect of giving a higher percentage of MPs in the House of Commons to some parties than they deserve in terms of the percentage of voter support they receive.  This does take tax dollars from some voters and gives them to parties they don't support.

For example, the Conservatives received 24 MPs more than they deserved in the recent election (they received 39.6 percent of the vote, but 54 percent of the MPs).  Each of those MPs receives $440,000 annually in salary and for their offices, so the Conservatives will receive a large, undemocratic subsidy of $10.5 million every year until the next election (the largest such subsidy of any party -- the NDP was the only other party that received a higher percentage of MPs than votes).

A fair, democratic move would be to cut the per-vote subsidy to any party that receives more MPs than it deserves, while keeping it for parties that receive fewer MPs than they deserve (or, even better, reform the voting system so that parties receive the exact number of MPs they deserve based on their voter support percentage).

The subsidy should also be cut in half for regional parties that do not operate nationally, such as the Bloc Quebecois, simply because they have lower operating costs than parties with riding associations across the country.



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