Electoral reform: 40 per cent isn’t a majority

In a democracy, decisions should reflect the wishes of a majority of voters. Unfortunately, the way we elect governments in Canada means that rarely happens. The National Union has a discussion paper that looks at better ways to hold elections.

Ottawa (3 Oct. 2016) — Under our current electoral system, parties win most of the seats with less than half the vote. In fact, in the last 2 federal elections, the winning party got over half of the seats with less than 40 percent of the votes.

A party that wins a majority of seats can do whatever it like for 4 or 5 years – as Stephen Harper’s government showed. When 6 out of 10 people voted for other parties, that’s not right.

Proportional voting systems results reflect what the majority want

With proportional voting systems, the number of seats that political parties get reflects the number of votes they get. That means a party won’t get over half of the seats in Parliament or a provincial legislature unless it gets over half the votes. Without artificial majorities, parties are forced to work together to find solutions that a real majority of Canadians will accept.   

Make sure your views are heard

A House of Commons Committee is holding hearings across Canada on whether the way we hold elections should be changed. The list of hearings can be found here (click here). 

Until midnight on October 7, people can also submit a written brief or answer the questionnaire (click here).  

NUPGE paper shows fairer ways to hold elections

There are fairer alternatives to the way we currently hold elections. A NUPGE paper on electoral reform (click here for a copy) shows how it could work.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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