Tuesday, January 17, 2006

HARPER COULD SET RECORD FOR PHONIEST MAJORITY IN CANADIAN HISTORY

According to poll results and seat projections released yesterday, Stephen Harper may be close to setting a new Canadian record for the phoniest majority government ever.

The current record is held by Jean Chrétien, who captured a majority of seats in 1997 with only 38.5 per cent of the popular vote.

According to the January 13-15 Ipsos Reid survey, the Conservatives have 38 per cent support but, thanks to distorted results created by the first-past-the-post system, are poised to win 152 seats, just a few shy of majority control of Parliament.

“This is ludicrous,” said Wayne Smith, President of Fair Vote Canada, a national citizens’ campaign for voting reform. “Here we are – a major western democracy in the early 21st century – wondering whether a party that six in ten voters do NOT support will gain absolute control of our Parliament and political agenda for the next four or five years.”

The following shows the projected seats from the Ipsos Reid survey, compared with the number of seats each party would get if every vote had an equal effect on electing MPs.

Conservatives (38%): 152 seats projected – when 117 seats are deserved

Liberals (26%): 66 seats projected – when 80 seats are deserved

NDP (19%): 31 seats projected – when 59 seats are deserved

Bloc (12%): 59 seats projected – when 37 seats are deserved

Greens 5%): 0 seats projected – when 15 seats are deserved

“As the chart illustrates, we will soon have yet another badly skewed and unrepresentative Parliament,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada.

Gordon pointed out that Canada’s dysfunctional voting system generally creates phony majority governments, which is why most major democracies scrapped first-past-the-post voting between 50 and 100 years ago.

“Since World War One, Canada has had only had four legitimate majority governments that were elected by a majority of voters” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “Every other majority government was created by our antiquated voting system, not the voters.”

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