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Fairer elections without changing the electoral system

As the only major electoral reform organization who also proposed what to do to make elections fairer if the outcome of the process was no change to the electoral system, 123 Canada didn’t view a change to the electoral systems as an all or nothing proposition. Our alternative proposal has something for everyone, whether their preference is preferential, proportional, or FPTP.

Changing the electoral system is no longer a government priority. The government feared that if the proposal was for proportional representation, the debate would be divisive, sucking all the political oxygen in Parliament, for an end result that Canadians don’t want and that would result in more extremists in Parliament.

123 Canada’s alternative plan is based on the fact that in the absence of preferential voting, Canadian voters are forced to use strategic voting to avoid being represented by someone that the majority doesn’t want. Strategic voting is an imperfect and error-prone tool. It depends on accurate riding-level polling data, and this data is seldom made available to voters. Our proposal is a set of measures to make this crucial information more available, and to have more effective penalties for those who mislead voters about this information.


With accurate data, not only would strategic voting that helps ensure that the winner has majority support be easier, but it would also be possible for those who believe in proportional representation to encourage the voters who agree with them to vote strategically to make election results more proportional. It is the only known compromise where every side wins.

Some of the details are available in 123 Canada’s brief to the Electoral Reform committee.

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