The NDP want voting reform.

In a letter to Justin Trudeau last week, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal new democrats, laid out his plan for the minority government. It seems to be the best time to try to manipulate the liberals into changing the way Canadians vote. All the liberals have to do is go along with a change to proportional voting and it would likely change Canadian parliaments for all time.

Singh uses the argument in his letter that our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system produces parliaments that do not reflect Canadian voters’ wishes. What he also should have mentioned is that alternative methods of voting can deny the winning political party the ability to enact some of its election promises.

And who wants to go to political rallies in an election where politicians say they will try to do this, or try to do that—if only one or more of the other parties allows them to make the change.

What Singh and his NDP caucus want is proportional representation in voting. This might give the NDP as many as 20 per cent of the seats of the members of parliament. That would mean, under proportional representation, almost 70 seats. What it would probably also mean is that we might never again have a majority government.

With FPTP voting, our conservative and liberal parties have been what are called ‘big tent’ parties. That means that they accommodate a broad range of voters wishes though maybe not all of them. What would happen over time with proportional voting is that these large parties would tend to split into smaller voting blocks. The negotiations and compromises people made before the election under FPTP will now have to be negotiated after the election. You not only get more parties but they spend much of their time arguing about which party gets this or that promise delivered to the voters.

In Mr. Singh’s letter, he tells the prime minister that 80 per cent of Canadians want this change. That might surprise Justin Trudeau but I hardly think Canadians would want to make such a change if they stopped and thought about it.

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