During the 2015 federal election, the Liberal Party pledged that, if elected, they would end the “first past the post” electoral system, where whichever candidate receives the most votes wins a riding even if they have not received a majority of all votes cast. In early 2017, the Liberals reneged on their campaign promise, declaring that there was a lack of public consensus about how to reform the system. Despite the broken promise – and because of the public outcry – discussions about electoral reform will continue around the country. Challenging the idea that first past the post is obsolete, Should We Change How We Vote? urges Canadians to make sure they understand their electoral system before making drastic changes to it. The contributors to this volume assert that there is perhaps no institution more misunderstood and misrepresented than the Canadian electoral system – praised by some for ensuring broad regional representation in Ottawa, but criticized by others for allowing political parties with less than half the popular vote to assume more than half the seats in Parliament. They consider not only how the system works, but also its flaws and its advantages, and whether or not electoral reform is legitimate without a referendum. An essential guide to the crucial and ongoing debate about the country’s future, Should We Change How We Vote? asks if there are alternative reforms that would be easier to implement than a complete overhaul of the electoral system.
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