FPTP In Canada

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First-Past-the-Post and Political Parties in Canada Canada currently employs a first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. This system affects how different political parties fare in elections based on their regional vs. national support levels. FPTP rewards popular parties with a consistent and wide distribution of support or regionally concentrated support, while limiting the success of less popular parties with support spread out across the country. This paper attempts to prove its thesis by first examining the characteristics (including pros and cons) of the FPTP system and how it exploits regional differences in Canada. It then proceeds to analyze FPTP’s influence on past election results of Canadian political parties and the surprising…show more content…
Knowing that they benefit from a disproportional system, the BQ runs only in Quebec to concentrate their support there. Consequently, they have little support in the rest of Canada, but they still achieve a substantial number of seats in the House due to the advantage FPTP offers them (Massicotte, 2008, p. 117). Thus, francophones in Quebec are a rare case of an ethnic minority group being better represented with FPTP than with a more proportional-type system (Studlar, 2003). To illustrate, during the 1993 election, the BQ becomes the Official Opposition with 54 seats, despite only receiving 13.5% of the popular vote and being behind Reform and Progressive Conservatives in vote share (Milner, 1994) because of their consolidated strength in Quebec. So despite being a single-issue party (namely, Quebec independence), the BQ does very well come election-time due to this electoral…show more content…
As mentioned before, FPTP rendered a minority (40%) of votes into a majority (54%) of seats for the Conservatives. The Liberals and BQ, however, experienced no such perk. Prior to 2011, Liberal support had stemmed primarily from Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritime Provinces. Their popularity fell dramatically though (viewed negatively for causing another election), causing them to lose many seats in these regions. The Liberals truly felt the brunt of FPTP as their 19% vote share yielded only 11% of House seats. The BQ’s popularity also plummeted (as is natural for single-issue regional parties and the decline of Quebec separatist sentiments), and they subsequently received 6% of votes which translated into just four seats or 1% of the House (Library of Parliament, 2011). Most of the Liberals’ and BQ’s lost seats in Quebec were picked up by the NDP who experienced a surge in popularity during the election. For the NDP, a 30.6% vote share produced 103 seats (59 of those from Quebec), allowing them to become the Official Opposition for the first time in Canadian history. The Green Party also altered the scene by strategically focussing in BC and capitalizing on their strong support base there. This move succeeded as the Greens have a seat in the House for the first time ever. Conversely, the cost of decreased national support (7% in 2008 to 4%) comparatively holds little bearing since FPTP does not directly translate vote share

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