The benefits of proportional representation

Jul 08, 2014 Shannon Adshade, co-chair,Fair Vote Canada — Waterloo Region Cambridge

Proportional representation's shortfalls — June 25

Peter Woolstencroft's letter perpetuates the ongoing distortion of proportional representation. I would like to offer clarification.

Woolstencroft states that some elected officials would be chosen by their parties rather than voters in electoral districts. Candidates have always been chosen by party members at nomination meetings of riding associations.

Coalition governments are not unstable. Ninety per cent of European Union and Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries use proportional representation and are healthy, stable democracies.

There is nothing new with parties that "dump some commitments." To suggest that they do not denies our political reality. A legislature or parliament using proportional representation will be more inclusive and will require more co-operation. In majority governments, opposition values are often ignored.

There is no evidence to support the notion that a legislature elected using proportional representation is less able to respond to pressing issues. To suggest political parties would focus on self-interest misrepresents the experience of 80 countries that use this system.

Many would argue the opposite is true. Under proportional representation, parties are more likely to make decisions based on the good of the country and its citizens, rather than trying to score cheap political gains. Unfortunately, this is the norm with our present system. There are higher levels of satisfaction among citizens of countries using proportional representation. It produces more balanced legislatures using principles of co-operation and consensus.

An electoral system in which 38 per cent of the federal and provincial popular vote results in 58 per cent of the seats (federal) and 54 per cent of the seats (provincial), with each wielding 100 per cent of the power, cannot be called democratic.

Legislatures elected using proportional representation have proven to provide stable and strong democracies that represent the voters' wishes.

It is time to "dump" the status quo and join the majority of the stable western democracies of the 21st century.