Oh no not again – Prince Edward Island election exposes FPTP flaws

By Richard Wood

The general election for the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island has yielded yet another unrepresentative election. The province, like the rest of Canada, uses First Past the Post to elect Members of the Legislative Assembly. The case for Proportional Representation has raised its head yet again.

What happened last time? The 2019 election

Back in 2019, Dennis King’s Progressive Conservatives ousted the governing Liberal Party winning 13 of 27 seats (just one short of a majority) on a mere 36.7% of the vote.

The Greens, with only a limited presence at Canada’s federal level secured 30.6% of the vote, significantly up on their previous total. They took eight seats, only coincidently a seat share (29.6%) close to their vote share.

The Liberals took just six seats (22.2%) on 29.4% of the vote.

Overall, the election was moderately disproportional, largely shown by the inflated seat share won by King’s Progressive Conservatives.

READ MORE: Quebec’s 2022 election – First Past the Post strikes again

And this time? The 2023 election results

The next election wasn’t due until October 2023 but King called an early election for Monday 3 April 2023.

In terms of fair representation, the results were worse than the previous vote.

The Progressive Conservatives gained seats, taking 55.9% of the vote and an overwhelming majority of seats (22 of 27 – 81.5% of those in the chamber). True, they won an overall majority of the vote but their seat share is an excessive overrepresentation.

The only other parties elected were the Liberals and the Greens. However, while the Liberals became the second largest part (with just 3 seats to the Greens’ 2), they won fewer votes than the Greens overall.

The Liberals won 17.2% of seats to the Greens 21.6%.

Overall, Canada’s latest provincial election was highly unrepresentative due to First Past the Post. Time and time again this system of voting undermines the link between seats and votes.

It’s up to those in Canada to make the case for Proportional Representation but this latest election demonstrates the need for fair votes in all democracies such as the UK and highlights the unfairness of the distorting nature of the status-quo.

READ MORE: Canada’s 2021 election – the striking failures of First Past the Post exposed

Image via Pixabay

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