Monday, November 4, 2013

If we had ranked ballot, Reform party wouldn't rule the country

Ranked ballot voting is a modest kind of electoral reform that accomplishes a lot. It changes the ballot letting voters rank candidates by number instead of marking one with an X.

It makes MPs earn their seats with a majority, which is how all parties elect their leaders.

2004 Conservative merger

If we had PV ranked ballot in 2004, right-leaning parties wouldn't have needed to merge. Back then, FPP vote splitting gave the Liberals a big unearned advantage (which the Conservatives now enjoy.)

Take the 1997 election. The Liberals won a majority with 38.5% of the vote when the combined conservative vote was 38.2%.

Australia uses PV and actually has four conservative parties that form an “Anyone But Labor” voting coalition. There's no worry about vote splitting there: PV distributes right-leaning votes among right-leaning parties.

In Canada, it would distribute center-left votes among center-left parties. People could vote “Anyone But Conservative.”

2011 Election

In 2011, Harper won 54% of the seats on 40% of the vote giving him 100% of the power. This is because vote splitting allowed him to win dozens of center-left ridings.

If we had PV ranked ballot, he would've got 46% of the seats. That would've let the NDP and Liberals form the government with 50% of the vote and 53% of the seats. Much more reflective of the will of voters.

Conservative future

In 2004, the conservative parties didn't really merge. The Reformers swallowed up Canada's historic conservative party. Now the united conservative party is ruled by extremists and many moderates are forced to vote Liberal.

If we implement ranked ballot voting in 2015 — as Justin Trudeau proposes — Red Tories will be able to get their party back. Even better, Canadian conservatives will likely vote for the moderate conservative party over the extreme one. This will relegate the Reformers back to the lunatic fringe where they belong.


If we don't fix our voting system in 2015, the Conservatives will soon be back in power for another decade. Only someone like Jason Kenney will be destroying the country instead of Harper.

Some believe PR is the better kind of voting reform. But Canadians rejected it by over 60% in provincial referendums. Now is not the time. We must fix our existing system with the ranked ballot first.

If we don't, the Reform party will become Canada's natural governing party and change our country beyond recognition — as promised.


  1. Unless a political party actively supports proportional representation at all levels of government, I won't support it. If no party gives active support for proportional representation, then I won't vote. If Stephen Harper and his Conservatives get in again, so be it.

    1. I think it's better to be practical instead of ideological. The ranked ballot is not perfect, but it's a huge improvement over what we have now. If we fix our existing system with ranked ballot voting, we can still work on bringing PR to Canada.

      The future of our country and our children is at stake. Being spiteful will not accomplish anything.


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