Why we still have a ‘first past the post’ system in Canada

During the 2015 election the Liberals ran on a promise to change the electoral system from a first past the post to a proportional representation system.

Did you ever ask yourself why the Liberals abandoned that promise so quickly?  The 2019 election results provide the answer.

I’m certain the Liberals did a lot of result modeling and quickly realized that the proportional representation system did not favour the Liberal Party.

The table below show how the political parties would have fared in the 2019 election under such a system.


Party % of popular vote First past the post Proportional representation
Liberal 33.06 157 112
Conservative 34.4 121 116
Bloc 7.7 32 26
NDP 15.9 24 53
Greens 6.5 3 22


Both the Conservatives and the Bloc would have ‘lost’ a few seats under a proportional representation system but the big losers would have been the Liberals who would have seen their number of seats reduce from 157 to 112, a loss of 45 seats.

The big winners would have been the NDP (gain of 29 seats) and the Greens (gain of 19 seats).

Whether you like the idea of proportional representation or not it would certainly change the political landscape in Canada.

3 comments on “Why we still have a ‘first past the post’ system in Canada

  1. Sel + Chris Burrows says:

    Liberals promised then didn’t act. Conservatives oppose proportional representation. Small parties support it because their votes are not fully recognized under the present system. You present the situation very clearly. Thanks


  2. Cliff Jeffers says:

    Interesting. Seems First Past the Post would almost certainly mean minority center-left leaning governments in Canada for the foreseable future. The only question would be how left the policies would be. Will of the people.


  3. Sharon says:

    Seems to me the big winners under proportional representation would be Canadian citizens, who would get a government that better reflects our will.


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