Friday, June 12, 2015

Alternate Future, Proportional Representation.

Another addition in my Alternate History (AH) series; an alternate future.

This story is set sometime after the 2031 seat redistribution I went over earlier.

There are two small changes however.

First, note that in that post, Quebec ends up with 2 seats more than the math would give them. Also, the provinces of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, would also, each, end up with 2 more seats than the pure math - without the Grandfather clause - would give them.
Saskatchewan and New Brunswick would each end up with 3 additional seats.

Manitoba, however, is growing. The pure math would give them 14 seats, as would the Grandfather clause; the clause that says no provinces can lose seats below 1974 levels.

I could see Manitoba kicking up a fuss under these circumstances, and frankly, they'd be right to. They would be the only "small" province without additional MPs. So; in this story, I'm giving them 2 extra members, to bring them up to 16. This brings our new total up to 397.

I'm also going to double the number of seats in the territories. There are a few reasons to do this. First, it allows for a better proportional result. Secondly, it allows me to simply apply the 3 new seats to all the territories and use a "fill up" method; this means the party vote split in the north will matter, as finishing a very competitive third in all 3 territories will not mean 0 seats. Lastly, because it brings up our total to exactly 400, and 400 is a number I happen to like for a lower house. Fortunately, in my fantasy stories I get to make these sort of decisions!

And so we have Canada.

Lets say it is 2034 and it's election time.

Ontario has 152 MPs to elect.
Quebec has 84
BC has 54
Alberta has 42
Manitoba has 16
Saskatchewan has 14
Nova Scotia 11
New Brunswick 10
Newfoundland and Labrador 7
Prince Edward Island 4
Northwest Territories 1
Nunavut 1
Yukon 1
And the northern fill-up seats, 3

Competing in this election are 6 political parties.

The Conservatives
The Liberals
The New Democrats

These are the "big 3" parties

The Greens
A strong nation-wide party

The Parti Quebecois
The federal wing of the PQ, born out of the BQ, a left separatist party.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec
Federal wing of the CAQ, a right of centre nationalist party

I've produced the results of such an election in a table:

You can see in this world there are a few changes.

With Proportional Representation, the Greens are far more popular. They would take around 12% of the nationwide vote.

In addition, the constant coalitions was the driving force behind the CAQ in this story taking so many seats.

The Bloc can never sit in a coalition, but wants to speak for Quebec. With PR it is quite possible for a Quebec party to be in such a coalition.

This gives us many coalition opportunities. The Liberals could form a coalition with either the NDP or Tories. They could also go with both the Greens and CAQ. Meanwhile the Tories and NDP could sit with one another if they brought the CAQ along, or the Greens.

In the end, when you have more parties, not less, PR tends to work for the better. In a 6 party Canada, we could rely on PR to produce governments and coalitions that last the full term.


  1. I recently have been looking at Proportional representation from a different point of view. While you suggested adding seats (and most PR systems do) I have suggested we instead strengthen (or weaken) individual MP votes in Parliament based on what party they were elected for.
    I've outlined my idea here:
    I think the system has interesting possibilities. It takes what is good in FPTP (simplicity, tendency towards majority government) and adds what is good about PR (fairness, power based on popular vote).


    1. I never suggested adding any seats for PR in this post.

    2. "So; in this story, I'm giving them 2 extra members, to bring them up to 16. This brings our new total up to 397."
      "I'm also going to double the number of seats in the territories."

      -You can see how I might be confused?

    3. If you understood this to be something only relevant to PR and not FPTP, then yes.