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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

First Past the Post? Progress Report on Electoral Reform Initiatives in Canadian Provinces

Policy Matters by Henry Milner

In this paper, Henry Milner looks at the progress of electoral reform in Canada. He examines the system of mixed-member proportional representation (MMP), recently implemented by New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales. He also explores the various ways in which changes to Canada's electoral system could affect the democratic state of affairs. Some of the factors Milner considers include voter turnout and competitiveness within the system. Milner considers how New Zealand and Scotland have adjusted to electoral changes, and finds both experienced a successful transition to the mixed-member proportional system. Milner also looks at lessons that Canada could learn based on the New Zealand and Scotland experiences.

Milner considers the progress of New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island on the electoral reform front. He reserves his most detailed analysis for Quebec, because the province - in his view - has shown the most progress and interest in the idea of electoral reform (despite the fact that, at the time of his writing, BC was largely seen as leading the way on this front). In this context, Milner considers the options being weighed by the various provinces.

Milner finds a number of faults in the Quebec proposal, notably that (in his view) electoral reform would make fair representation for smaller parties and women more difficult. Accordingly, he brings forward suggestions that might resolve some of the concerns he raises.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Henry Milner;
Publisher: Institute for Research on Public Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Elections & Voting
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Elections & Voting / 2004
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Electoral Reform
Policy Articles / Citizen Engagement / Electoral Reform / 2004

Keywords / Tags:

Canada; electoral reform; Mixed-member proportional representation; First past the post; representation; voter turnout; competitiveness; female representation; hyper polarization; enfeebled opposition; losers win. ;