Dr. Lawrence LeDuc is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Toronto. His research interests are in the areas of political participation, electoral reform and direct democracy.
In his affidavit, he adds to the contributions of Profs. John Carey and Karen Bird that we’ve previously described by providing more detail about Canada’s experience with First Past the Post with respect both to the distribution of parliamentary seats and to the representation of various kinds of Canadian voters (particularly women, minorities, and those with particular political ideologies). In addition, he describes how our current voting system affects voter participation, as well as Canada’s previous history of using proportional voting systems and previous voting reform efforts.
FPTP Fails to Represent Many Individual Voters
MPs often claim that they represent all their constituents, not just the ones that voted for them. This is nonsense, and Prof. LeDuc helpfully explains why:
“While all Members of Parliament in Canada are expected to provide constituents with certain basic services such as assistance with citizenship issues or help in applying for government programs, FPTP at the individual level fails to provide any political representation at the constituency level to all those who voted for any candidate other than that of the winning party in their constituency. It thus generates millions of votes that do not translate into legislative seats (which some refer to as “wasted votes”), a characteristic of FPTP systems that has long been a central focus of the criticism of this system in the academic literature.” “These voters therefore have significantly reduced voices in government compared to voters who voted for an elected MP.”
In other words, elected MPs confuse constituency service (which they provide to all constituents) with legislative representation (which, since they can only vote one way, only serves those voters who voted for them and is denied to those who did not). This “bug” (not “feature”!) of FPTP will be fundamental to our argument that FPTP violates our Charter right to effective representation.
Stay tuned for more about Prof. LeDuc’s other key pieces of evidence.
Jesse Hitchcock, Springtide & Antony Hodgson, Fair Voting BC
Stay tuned to this blog for updates on electoral reform and the Charter Challenge for Fair Voting.
Sign up for email updates from the Charter Challenge for Fair Voting here:
By subscribing to this list you consent to being contacted by both Springtide and Fair Voting BC.