01 December 2007

Proportional representation?

Writing for the Financial Post, Lawrence Solomon appears to be confused: Tories deny Ontario democracy. He begins with this:

Canada needs electoral reform to bring in proportional representation. It is unconscionable that in a modern democracy such as ours, vast swathes of the electorate should be effectively disenfranchised by a voting system that is essentially corrupt, disproportionately weighted to favour some segments of the electorate to the misfortune of others.

So far so good. Or at least it seems so on the surface. He properly draws attention to a federal bill that would shortchange Ontario voters by eroding the principle of one-person one-vote. But towards the end of his piece he unexpectedly derides any measure that would actually do something to enfranchise "vast swathes of the electorate" and to keep millions of votes from being wasted at election time, namely, some form of proportional representation!

No, Mr. Solomon, Fair Vote Canada has not "appropriated" this term for its own purposes. Proportional representation is a well-known term and accurately describes the several electoral systems used in most of the world's constitutional democracies. What you are addressing is representation by population, or rep-by-pop, which is a related issue but certainly not the same thing.

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