Part B- Essay
Single Member Plurality versus Proportional Representation
The single member plurality system, more specifically the first past the post system (FPTP), is an electoral process most commonly used in Canadian for both federal and provincial elections. Throughout the years it has been the preferred method of national elections. However, there have been political debates as to whether Canada should undergo electoral reform. Many argue that the current SMP system does not accurately represent the interests of the citizens, and therefore should be reformed to an alternate voting method. There are both strengths and weaknesses associated with this particular system, however many believe that Canada is in great need of a electoral system that can accurately represent the concerns of all, supporting voter equality. In comparison, an alternate electoral system, known as proportional representation, will be analyzed. This system is very popular in a number of democratic nations, and is argued to be the preferable system to SMP in regards to Canadian elections. Thus, this paper will determine if the current electoral process is best for Canada by comparing and analyzing both single member plurality and proportional representation electoral systems. This following essay will discuss the benefits of the single member plurality in Canadian elections and also address its impacts on government, politics, and the national party system. Following the examination of the SMP system, a similar analysis of proportional representation (PR) and its effect in Canadian politics will also be provided to determine which electoral process is most advantageous for Canada. Thus, this paper will argue that proportional representation is potentially preferable to single member plurality.
To begin, a thorough description of both SMP and the proportional representation systems will be provided to gain a greater understanding of what each system entails. Canada is divided into a number of districts in which candidates from the various political parties run for election. Single member plurality is a voting method in which a running candidate in each riding needs more votes than their opposing candidates in order to win the election and represent the district (Pilon 2010, pg 35). This is often referred to as winner-takes-all, where the candidate with the majority of the votes wins the election. Canada is comprised of just over 300 districts, which directly reflects the number of seats in parliament. The winning candidate of each riding becomes a Member of Parliament (MP). The political party with the most MP’s elected eventually becomes the party in power and forms the government, in which the leader of the winning party becomes the Prime Minister. This type of electoral system represents the peoples interests based on geography and regionally concentrated groups. Therefore, the SMP system is beneficial to concentrated geographical voters rather than dispersed...