The Solution
The Family of Man, Calgary

The Family of Man, Calgary

The Solution: Fair Voting

Today more than 80 countries use fair voting systems (often called “proportional representation” or PR).

Fair voting systems have many variations but the core principle is the same: to get as close as possible to treating every voter equally – or in other words, to create a truly representative democracy.

When each vote has equal value, election results are proportional. A party that receives 40% of the votes will receive close to 40% of the seats in the legislature, not 60% or more. A party which receives 20% of the votes will win close to 20% of the seats, not 10% or none at all.


What are the benefits of fair voting?

  • All voters have a reason to vote, regardless of their political beliefs or place of residence.
  • Liberals in Conservative regions, Conservatives in Liberal regions, and supporters of smaller parties everywhere will be able to cast effective votes.
  • Because voters are treated equally, Parliaments are truly representative of the people.
  • Currently some parties in Parliament have far more seats and power than their popular vote warrants, while others have too few seats or none at all.

Majority governments represent a genuine majority.

Canadians are usually ruled by so-called ‘majority’ governments that the majority of voters voted against. Countries with fair voting systems typically have stable and responsive coalition governments – stable because the parties know they will never have complete control of government and have to work constructively with partners.

FireShot Pro Screen Capture #029 - Women in parliaments 1

Fair voting systems tend to produce parliaments with more women and visible minorities.

  • Because parties have to nominate lists of candidates to compete in each region, they quickly learn that candidate lists reflecting the diversity of the population usually attract more votes.
  • All geographic regions usually have representation both in the government and opposition benches.
  • Because every voter is equal, regions generally elect candidates from all parties, unlike our current system where one party often dominates each region.
  • For more details on the practical benefits of fair voting, see Fair Vote Canada’s eight-page summary of the landmark study “Patterns of Democracy”, by Dr. Arend Lijphart. The summary can be downloaded from the Resources page.

(Source: Fair Vote Canada web site. Revised 2016 04 13)