Fair Vote Canada conference

2010-05-27

in Canada, Law, Ottawa, Politics

In Canada, our First Past the Post voting system strongly favours the most popular parties and those (like the Bloc) that have concentrated regional appeal. Parties with a good chunk of popular support, but for which it is not concentrated in particular ridings, are excluded from Parliament.

Many proposals have been brought forward to address that issue. For those interested in the topic and living in Ottawa, this Saturday’s Fair Vote Canada 2010 Annual Meeting and Conference may be of interest. It is happening on campus at the University of Ottawa, between 8:30am and 5:00pm. Registration is $35, or $10 for students.

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. May 28, 2010 at 11:31 am

How politics works in Australia

SIR – Your leader on the new government in Britain (“Britain’s accidental revolution”, May 15th) presupposed that coalitions in Westminster-type parliamentary systems are inherently unstable. Yet strong coalition governments are the norm in Australia. Its fully preferential-voting system can both satisfy the needs of the Liberals and allay Conservative concerns. It robustly absorbs tensions arising from coalition partners competing against each other in three-cornered electoral contests and eliminates the risk of “wasted votes” on third-placed minority parties.

Under Australia’s system every elector gets not only a first-preference vote, but also the opportunity to rank all other candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets at least 50% plus one of the first-preference votes, the second-preference votes of those voting for the least popular candidate are then distributed and so on, until finally a candidate with over 50% of the vote emerges.

Coalition partners are thereby free to compete electorally against one another but not risk defeat by a non-coalition candidate, providing they preference each other.

Kim Jacobs
Sydney

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