Electoral system: for a simple reform
The reasons for reforming Quebec’s electoral system are very serious. The single-member voting system we use does not reflect the real support of political parties in the population. In 2018, the CAQ obtained 59% of the deputies with only 37.4% of the popular votes, while the PQ and QS with 17% and 16% of the votes each obtained 8% of the deputies. This is a well-known defect of this voting system.
This voting system creates inequalities among voters, where many citizens have no representatives. In 2018, 54.5% of voters voted for candidates who were defeated, and all MPs were elected by 45.5% of valid votes. Some of the 37.4% of votes obtained by the CAQ went to candidates who were beaten, and the majority government was actually elected by 28.9% of voters.
This is what a reform should correct. The CAQ and three other parties have committed to implement a “mixed compensatory proportional vote with regional lists”. Minister LeBel announced plans to create a mixed system with 80 single-member constituencies and 45 compensatory seats. This project is the subject of criticism that is not all justified.
The 45 deputies elected on a compensatory basis are sometimes described as “unelected”. In a mixed system, not all MPs are elected in the same way, but all are elected, some by the first vote of the electorate in the single-member constituencies, and some by the second vote of the electors.
There is also the prospect that our parliamentary regime will be destabilized by “radical or extremist groups” that could gain access to the National Assembly. This criticism is justified only when it is applied in constituencies where a large number of deputies are elected. But one can also make a “moderate proportional representation”, applied in constituencies where are elected between 3 and 5 deputies.
To have an elected representative in a 5-seat constituency, a party must obtain about 16% of the votes, and in a 3-seat constituency it must reach about 25%.