Support Proportional Representation: Make Your Vote Count

Support Proportional Representation: Make Your Vote Count
URGENT ALERT: Act now to support proportional representation—and oppose ranked ballots at the provincial level!Dear Gus,

An Ontario election is just 15 months away. Doug Ford’s 40% “majority” has rammed through multiple bills over the voices of the opposition. 

The ball is rolling to put proportional representation front and centre in Ontario, but we must act now to steer this ship in the right direction!

In 2018, the Ontario Liberal Party received 20% of the vote but was almost wiped out with first-past-the-post. They are now doing an Ontario-wide survey to help decide their next election platform—and electoral reform is on the agenda. Their survey is not just for Liberal supporters. It’s open to everyone!

A grassroots group has been working tirelessly for months to advocate for a Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform to be included in the survey. Gus, that’s what I was hoping today’s email to you would be about.

Instead, the Ontario Liberals delivered a disheartening surprise:

Their survey pits proportional representation against a winner-take-all ranked ballot! We need you to weigh in now, indicating that you strongly support proportional representation and strongly oppose a winner-take-all ranked ballot for Ontario provincial elections.
Strongly support proportional representation!We probably don’t have to tell you why proportional representation (PR) is urgently needed in Ontario!
PR ends false majorities and delivers FAIR results. 30% of the vote gets 30% of the seats.PR makes almost every vote count, so you can elect an MPP aligned with your values!PR promotes collaborative government, instead of single party elected dictatorships and wild policy swings.PR been proven for decades to deliver better results on almost every measure you can think of, from health to the environment.Strongly oppose winner-take-all-ranked ballots!Winner-take-all ranked ballots at the provincial level can result in a bitterly-entrenched, ultra-adversarial two-party system ― it’s a phony reform.

It’s the same bait and switch Justin Trudeau tried to pull at the federal level.

Federally, after five months of intensive consultation and input from experts, the conclusion was clear: 

Only 4% of the experts supported winner-take-all ranked ballots.

88% supported proportional representation.Winner-take-all ranked ballots were shown to be the only system that could deliver results that were even more disproportional than first-past-the-post. 

Over 90 countries—including 80% of OECD countries—use proportional systems.

Only TWO countries in the world use winner-take-all ranked ballots at the federal level: Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The results of winner-take-all ranked ballots in Australia provide a stark lesson for Canada:Winner-take-all ranked ballots have created an entrenched, adversarial two-party-block system in Australia. We don’t want a two-party system like we see in the United States. Canada has had more than two parties since 1921!Winner-take-all ranked ballots have slammed the door on voters for smaller parties. The Australian Green Party has never won more than one seat, even though it earned 11.8% of the vote in 2010 and 10.5% of the vote in 2019.In Australia, strategic voting campaigns aren’t eliminated — they’re institutionalized. Parties push “How to Vote” cards, displayed at polling stations, telling voters how to mark their preferences. The BBC bluntly describes these cards as “a method of tactical voting decided by party leaders.”Australia has become a poster child for the kind of “policy lurch” that winner-take-all systems produce. Their policy lurch on climate, for example, has landed them at almost the bottom of the world’s rankings on the 2020 Climate Performance Index.Winner-take-all voting in Australia has produced right-wing governments in 32 of the last 50 years (64%). Three of those governments were wrong-winner outcomes, resulting in the opposite of voters’ intent (when the right-wing parties formed government despite winning less of the popular vote than the left-wing parties).We must do better in Ontario. Please take the Ontario Liberal survey now:
It’s very important to mention that high quality, proportional systems can use a ranked ballot, too! In fact, all of the proportional models considered by the federal electoral reform process could have included a ranked ballot in their design.

Unfortunately, the Ontario Liberals are referring strictly to a winner-take-all implementation of ranked ballots in this survey. The proper name for it is Alternative Vote.

Electoral reform is too important to be left in the hands of politicians and party politics. Fixing our democracy should be led by the citizens it exists to serve.

We don’t want to see politicians deciding the future of our democracy behind closed doors.

We don’t want to see anyone trying to use electoral reform as an opportunity to deliver political gains for their party. 

Fair Vote Canada is calling for a Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform!

A Citizen’s Assembly is independent and non-partisan. It’s truly inclusive and evidence-based. It’s a process that all Ontarians, voters of all parties, can get behind— a process we can trust! 

In addition to rating the choices, we urge you to make a comment in the survey, too, so comments for proportional representation or a Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform are always at the top of the comments! Please, be constructive, positive and respectful. Let’s be an example of the kind of politics we want to see.

It’s time to ditch winner-take-all voting. To restore trust in our democracy. To make every vote count. 

Please help steer this conversation in the right direction by taking the Ontario Liberal survey now.


Anita Nickerson
Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada
Fair Vote Canada
88 North Drive
Kitchener, ON N2M 1K8