Albertans enjoy the priceless gift of democracy: we are governed by people we choose through elections. But the truth is that our electoral system is unfair and adoption of proportional representation would cure a big problem.
Albertans indeed all Canadians are very fortunate in that we are guaranteed the equal benefit and protection of the law by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is embedded in our Constitution.
But this admirable principle is breached time after time in elections where many voters are left unrepresented or under-represented in the Legislature.
Consider the 2012 provincial election results in Alberta. The winning PCs received 44% of the vote but 70% of the seats (61 of 87). Wildrose earned 35% of the votes but only 20% of the seats. The Liberals and NDs each earned 10% of the votes but only 5% of the seats.
These unfair results are not the exception under our electoral system, they are the rule.
The solution is adoption of Proportional Representation, a system of voting used around the world and – particularly important – it is the system used in the countries many consider the world’s best governed such as all of northern Europe.
So watch Tuesday’s election results very closely. Perhaps the various parties will get a fair share of the 87 seats in the Legislature, that is, one that accurately reflects their popular vote. But if this happens, it is only by accident. Our system facilitates unfairness. It certainly does not guarantee fairness, but it should.
After the election Albertans of all political stripes should insist the new government start the process of reforming our electoral system. Our aging democracy is decrepit and needs urgent renovation – Proportional Representation is part of the solution.
For further information on Proportional Representation, Fair Vote Canada is an excellent source. See http://campaign2015.fairvote.ca/
Janet Keeping can be reached at:
(403) 383 – 1356 (cell/text)