Hearings Process: The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission recently held hearings around BC. The primary purpose of these hearings is to receive feedback on the EBC’s proposed riding boundaries, but Fair Voting BC appeared in order to make the case that the primary difficulties with the boundary-setting process arise from the way our voting system works.
Voter Equality Requires Proportional Representation: The EBC is supposed to be respecting the principle of voter equality, but they focus on a very limited definition of equality – ensuring that each electoral district is roughly equivalent in population. They do not pay any attention to the fact that fewer than half the voters end up with an MP they have voted for, which means that over half of voters are denied any representation of their choosing in the House of Commons. Any of a number of forms of proportional representation could easily boost this to well over 90% of voters.
True ‘Rep by Pop’ Would Simplify Boundary-Setting: We also discussed the idea that the EBC is also constrained by the assumption that ‘One MP = One Vote’ and suggested that if we take seriously the idea that ‘One Voter = One Vote’ in the House of Commons, then we could be much more tolerant of variations in riding populations where it makes sense to allow them to vary. For example, if population in a region has risen by 10% since the last boundary-setting process, we could keep the boundaries in place and simply give the MP 10% more voting weight in the House of Commons. We refer to this as true ‘rep by pop’ (representation by population).
Nova Scotia EBC Made Voting System Recommendations: We were encouraged to see that the Nova Scotia provincial EBC very recently incorporated very similar recommendations in their report to government (click to download PDF). You can also click here to download our submission to the EBC.