Fair Vote Canada reveals that proportional representation is not only about FAIRNESS but also about SOUND ECONOMIC POLICY
What does making every vote count have to do with economic stability, fiscal responsibility, and prosperity? In addition to delivering fair, representative election results, the research shows that proportional representation outperforms winner-take-all systems on measures of democracy, quality of life, income equality, environmental performance, and economic growth.
Fair Vote Canada reveals that proportional representation is not only about FAIRNESS but also about WOMEN'S EQUALITY
In his landmark study – Patterns of Democracy – Lijphart compared 36 democracies over 29 years, and found that in countries using proportional systems elected women to parliament 8% more than majoritarian (fptp) systems. He has stated that “the representation of women in parliaments and cabinets is an important measure of the quality of democratic representation in their own right, and it can also serve as an indirect proxy of how well minorities are represented generally.”
Fair Vote Canada reveals that proportional representation is not only about FAIRNESS but also about fighting CLIMATE CHANGE
A strong majority of Canadians want to see federal government action on climate change. But thanks to our winner-take-all voting system, just 39% of the vote yields a “false majority” government which fails to reflect our priorities, and a divisive and adversarial political culture.
Meanwhile, countries with proportional systems:
- are responsible for a shrinking share of world carbon emissions (Darcy Cohen, 2010)
- more quickly ratified the Kyoto protocol (Darcy Cohen, 2010)
- score six points higher on Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index, designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The index measures ten policy areas, including environmental health, air quality, resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture and climate change. (Arend Lijphart, 2012)
Fair Vote Canada reveals that proportional representation is not only about FAIRNESS but also about greater INCOME EQUALITY
Income inequality in Canada is growing at an alarming rate. The gap between the richest 1% of Canadians and the rest is at its highest level since the 1920′s. The richest 20% are the only group to have increased their share of the national income – the shares of middle or low income earners in Canada have been stagnant or declined. Canada ranks poorly compared to many other OECD countries, and in the past two decades income inequality has grown faster here in than in any other OECD country except the United States.
Research is clear: proportional representation is strongly correlated with lower levels of income inequality. In fact, researchers have found that as proportionality in an electoral system increases, income inequality decreases. Winner-take-all systems have been found to have the opposite effect. In short, when our votes count, people have more power.
As stated by Hugh Segal,
First past the post [and its bastards such as Alternate Vote] alters, dilutes, frustrates and often negates how people actually voted. economic policy based even in part on this distortion cannot but be distorted itself. Proportional representation is the only way to set this right.
In Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) systems like they have in Scotland, Wales, Germany, and New Zealand, voters vote for their individual local representatives the way we do, but also cast a separate second vote to elect “top-up” regional MPs. In the “open list” version recommended by the Law Commission of Canada, the top regional vote-getters from underrepresented parties fill top-up seats until those parties’ share of seats reflects their share of the popular vote.