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Canadian election hangover

Looking to a proportional cure

The Canadian government seemingly violated its own law to call an election, which likely cost more than $250 million, and resulted in, essentially, the same governing structure as the end of the previous parliamentary session. And, once again, this election featured the strange sight of a party dedicated to separating the country having the third largest number of seats, despite only earning 10 per cent of the national popular vote.

Out of curiosity, I thought I’d see how things would have broken down were seats awarded purely by the popular vote received (not that I’d recommend such a system, there are more accurate proportional representation models available):

Comparison of simple plurality results and a pure popular vote seat differences in the 2008 Canadian election
Party Actual seats Actual popular vote Seats based on pop vote Difference
Totals do not add up to the full 304 seats available due to rounding and/or “other” part votes. Results based on those reported on Election Canada on the morning of October 15, 2008.
Conservative 143 37.6% 114 -30
Liberal 76 26.2% 80 +4
Bloc Québécois 50 10% 30 -20
NDP 37 18.2% 55 +18
Green 0 6.8% 21 +21

The result is still a Conservative minority, but a more balanced opposition — and one that, in theory could form a coalition government were it needed, thereby lessening the need for yet another election in a couple of years. A more proportional system might even prevent new voter participation lows being set with each new election

Just sayin’