A new political party is being formed that focuses on electoral reform, cementing the Waterloo region as a stronghold for this issue, writes Luisa D’Amato


Does this election leave you both angry and apathetic?

This is what many of us feel when we contemplate the trap of sticking our noses and voting – not for the candidate who really inspires us, but for the one who represents the party that is most likely to stop the election. band that we really don’t like.

A more elegant name for this situation is “strategic voting”.

And Peter House wants to stop him.

In a YouTube video earlier this month, House said he would run in the Waterloo constituency and found a new political party, the Electoral Reform Party of Canada.

“We like to think of ourselves as having a democracy superior to the Americans, with half a dozen different parties,” House said.

But this diversity of parties does not mean much. With our “first past the post” electoral system, in which the candidate with the most votes wins, it is indeed a two-way, two-party race. If your preferred candidate did not win, your vote is not taken into account.

This is how a winning political party can get 39% of the vote, 51% of the seats and 100% of the power in the House of Commons.

This is also how the New Democratic Party obtained 16% of the vote in the 2019 federal election, but only obtained 7% of the seats.

There were only 24 New Democratic Party MPs elected in 2019. If the seats had been distributed by share of the vote, the party would have received 54 MPs.

All of this is extremely undemocratic.

Here’s how House’s new political party would change the climate:

  • A proportional ballot, as is already the case in the vast majority of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, which would make every vote count;
  • MPs would be required to hold monthly public meetings, face to face with their constituents;
  • All MPs would be required to blog, broadcast or write a column in a weekly newspaper, communicating with voters about what they are doing;
  • MPs’ salaries would be linked to quarterly voter approval ratings. “What’s the point, anyway, if your constituents don’t approve of you?” said House.

When he made the announcement, House was still looking for some of the 250 signatures he needed to formalize his party. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll run as an independent candidate anyway.

House said he voted Liberal in 2015 because he was drawn to two promises made by party leader Justin Trudeau. One of them, promising the legalization of marijuana, was retained by Trudeau. The other promise, that 2015 would be the last time an election was held under first past the post rules, shattered Trudeau. And a lot of people have never forgiven him.

If formed, House’s new political party would cement the Waterloo region as the stronghold of the electoral reform movement in Canada. There is a strong popular presence here, and Anita Nickerson, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada, lives in Kitchener.

This organization is using this election campaign to hang thousands of notices on people’s front doors to remind people how unfair our current electoral system is and how it needs to be changed, said Jennifer Ross of Fair Vote Waterloo Region .

“This is not about left-right politics,” House said. “This is strictly the responsibility of the government and the electoral system at the heart of our democracy.”

If we get that part right then we can be confident in the outcome, whatever it is.

Luisa D’Amato is a Waterloo Region columnist for The Record. Contact her by email: [email protected]

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