Good Government - Electoral and Parliamentary Reforms
We need to revitalize our democratic institutions in order to encourage citizen participation and better reflect the diversity of local communities. The Green Party has always advocated for practical democratic reforms to our electoral systems in order to improve the transparency, accountability and representativeness of our elected representatives.
Electoral reform in Canada is long overdue. Unsurprisingly, a 2017 poll of 800+ citizens of University-Rosedale found that 72% would prefer a system in which every vote counts. Most people are tired of voting strategically for the least-worst option on the ballot, and we want to encourage citizens to cast votes that align with their personal preferences as well as their consciences. Advocating for a system of proportional representation has always been a staple of the Green Party’s platform, and we believe that this is the best way to empower citizens and end voter apathy. Proportional representation awards seats to parties relative to the percentage of votes that they receive. This will end “false majorities” where parties receive less than 50% of the popular vote but end up with a big majority of seats and 100% of the decision-making power.
It’s no coincidence that countries with proportional representation have higher rates of voter turnout during elections and a greater proportion of women and minorities in their parliaments. Through consultations and an all-party committee, we will establish the most appropriate version of proportional representation for Canada. We will also set a timeframe to legislate this improved electoral system within the first year of the next parliament.
We strongly believe in people-powered change. This is why we will re-open the Elections Act and remove the requirement for federal party leaders to sign-off on candidate nominations. Democratizing the nomination process will end the concentration of power within parties and allow for individual candidates to better represent the interests of their constituents. Re-opening the Elections Act will also allow us to strengthen the voting rights and abilities of marginalized populations, including First Nations, youth, and Canadians living abroad. We will also hold a national referendum to reform the Senate by replacing the current system of senator appointment with an elected Senate.
There are many ways to make parliament a more collaborative and respectful institution. One way is to prevent MPs from the same party all sitting together. With members from different parties sitting together, there will be much less heckling and name-calling.