Should Canada change to Proportional Representation?

The Government of Canada is currently selected using a first-past-the-post system.  Both first-past-the-post and proportional representation are method for democratically electing representatives to act as a collective government for the people.  This article will discuss the differences between first past the post and proportional representation.

This article reviews the question on a federal level for Canada.  The information may be applicable to Canadian provinces or other nations.


Canada should keep the current first-past-the-post system

Canada should change to Proportional Representation


The first-past-the-post system is what is currently used in Canada.  The country is divided into ridings and each political party can select one representative to run in the election in that riding.  Within a riding, the representative with the most votes is selected.  On the federal level, the party with the most elected representatives forms the ruling party.


In a proportional representation system, voters vote for parties instead of individuals.  Each party then receives a number of seats equal to the proportion of the votes that they received nationally.

Voter Apathy

There is no connection between voter apathy and the election system.

Voter Apathy

First-Past-The-Post systems lead to voter apathy because votes only count if they make the difference between winning and losing in a particular riding.  A person who would like to vote for a party that (s)he knows will not will realizes that their vote does not count and therefore stops participating in the electoral process.  Also, an individual may choose not to vote because they are certain that the party they support will win, and that additional vote does not make a difference.

Minority Governments

First-Past-The-Post systems are more likely to create majority governments.  Majority governments are more stable and are able to get more done.  Changing to proportional representation would result in (almost) always having a minority government which would weaken Canada as a whole.

Minority Governments

Many countries with proportional representation form coalition governments in order to account for the fact that no party has a majority.  Political parties themselves are coalitions of people with differing opinions.

Regional Representation

The First-Past-The-Post system allows for regional representation of individuals.  Each individual knows who their representative is and is able to address them directly.  FPTP ensures that no region goes without representation.

Regional Representation

Regional representation is often not as important as ideological representation.  With a proportional representation system, you may not always have someone local, but you would instead be represented by someone who shared your political viewpoint.



There are other methods for selecting representatives, such as alternative voting. Alternative voting is a method where individuals rank their options.  This voting method is regional like first-past-the-post, but differs in that voters who selected the lowest ranking candidate get their votes redistributed to their second choice, and this process repeats until a candidate receives 50% of the vote in that region.  This eliminates problems with strategic voting and the gradual reduction of democracies to two-party systems.


Canadian Electoral Reform

Should Canada change the electoral system based on calls for more representational governance?



Canada should change to a proportional representation system


Canada should keep the current first-past-the-post system


The government should bring in an independent body to review various electoral systems


1 Votes left

jVoteSystem developed and designed by



1. Fair Vote Canada:

2. Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained: CGPGrey:

3. Gove’s last-ditch defence of first-past-the-post:


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