Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Bloc Bonus, and other chronic bonuses

In 2008 it took 86,203 federalist voters to elect one Quebec MP, but only 28,163 Bloc voters. Bloc Québecois voters cast 38.1% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved 28 of the 74 MPs won by parties. But they got 49, a bonus of 75%.

Back in 1993 the Bloc Québecois formed the Official Opposition despite getting fewer votes than either Reform or the Progressive Conservatives.

In 1993 Bloc voters cast 49.3% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved to elect 36 MPs of Québec’s 74 seats won by parties. But they elected 54, a bonus of 50%.

And they did it again, and again, and again, and again, and again.

Over six elections they got an average bonus of 53%. (Details below)

Why do conservatives accept this?

Why do some Conservatives accept such an undemocratic voting system? A system that cheats Québec federalist voters? A system that also cheats Toronto Conservative voters, who deserved to elect six MPs in the last election but have elected no one since 1993?

Is it because their party has been run from Alberta?

The Alberta conservative bonus

In 2008 it took 449,013 non-Conservative voters to elect one Alberta MP, but only 30,450 Conservative voters. Conservative Party voters cast 64.7% of the votes in Alberta, and deserved to elect 18 of Alberta’s 28 MPs. But they elected 27, a bonus of 50%.

In 1993 Reform Party voters cast 52.3% of the votes in Alberta, so they deserved to elect 14 of Alberta’s 26 MPs. But they elected 22, a bonus of 57%.

In fact, over six elections Alberta conservative voters got a bonus of an average of 57%, even a bit worse than the Bloc’s 53% bonus in Quebec. (Details below.) Meanwhile, in six elections Toronto's Conservative voters have elected no one: 244,732 of them in 2008.

Why do Liberals accept this?

So why do some Liberals accept such an undemocratic voting system? A system that cheats Québec federalist voters? A system that also cheats Liberal voters in the West and in Ontario outside the GTA?

Is it because the party has been run from Toronto?

The Toronto Liberal bonus.

In 2008 it took only 21,887 Toronto Liberal voters to elect an MP, but it took 252,090 non-Liberal voters to elect one MP. Toronto Liberals keep getting a big bonus of their own, again for the last six elections in a row. (See this post.)

These numbers assume voters voted as they did in 2008. In fact, if voters knew every vote would count, more would have voted, and some would have voted differently. We would have had different candidates - more women, and more diversity of all kinds.

Are Canadians slow learners?

In a country of solitudes, where parties are comfortably entrenched in their strongholds, will nothing change?

When will Conservative activists outside their Party’s strongholds, and Liberal activists outside their Party’s strongholds, be more vocal? They must be thinking “what are we, chopped liver? These regional bonuses are bad for Canada. And the Bloc’s bonus keeps paralyzing Parliament.” When will they say it in public?

Imagine that 1.5 million fraudulent votes had been stuffed in Canada's ballot boxes.

Details of the Bloc Bonuses:

In 1997 Bloc voters cast 37.9% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved 28 of Québec’s 75 MPs. But they got 44, a bonus of 57%.

In 2000 they cast 39.9% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved 30 MPs. But they got 38, a bonus of 27%.

In 2004 they cast 48.9% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved 37 MPs. But they got 54, a bonus of 46%.

In 2006 they cast 42.1% of the votes in Québec, so they deserved 31 of the 74 MPs won by parties. But they got 51, a bonus of 65%.

Details of the Alberta bonuses:

In 1997 Reform Party voters cast 54.6% of the votes in Alberta, and again they deserved to elect 14 of Alberta’s 26 MPs. But they elected 24, a bonus of 71%.

In 2000 Canadian Alliance voters cast 58.9% of the votes in Alberta, and deserved to elect 15 of Alberta’s 26 MPs. But they elected 23, a bonus of 53%.

In 2004 Conservative Party voters cast 61.7% of the votes in Alberta, and deserved to elect 17 of Alberta’s 28 MPs. But they elected 26, a bonus of 53%.

In 2006 Conservative Party voters cast 65.0% of the votes in Alberta, and deserved to elect 18 of Alberta’s 28 MPs. But they elected all 28, a bonus of 56%.

Open list

As noted in previous posts, I prefer a mixed member proportional system with regional "top-up" MPs elected personally under the "open list" model. You would have two votes, and more choice. "Open list" means that voters can vote for whoever they like out of the regional candidates nominated by the party's regional nomination process. The party would win enough regional "top-up" seats to compensate for the disproportional local results that cause these chronic bonuses. Those regional seats would be filled by the party's regional candidates who got the highest vote on the regional ballot. Still, 65% of MPs would be elected from local ridings as we do today. Each province and region would keep the same number of MPs it has today. This is the model recommended by the Law Commission of Canada, used in the German province of Bavaria, and recommended for Scotland by its Arbuthnott Commission.

2 comments:

Gary S said...

I suppose we will never be able to count on the Bloc to support PR. Unlike the other parties, they only run in Quebec and always get the bonus.

Wilf Day said...

Back in 2004 the Bloc, like good democrats, were still saying they supported proportional representation. Today their platform has gone silent on the topic. In 2005 they dissented from the House Committee's Report on electoral reform: "While the Bloc Québécois Members of Parliament are not in Ottawa to reform Canada’s electoral system, we accept that such reform is necessary. The Bloc Québécois supports most of the report’s recommendations, but it would have liked more time to determine how the consultation and direct participation of the public in the reform process are to be provided for." PR, but not yet.