Montreal, October 1, 2019 – Last week, after the CAQ government introduced its fine-tuned Bill 39, “An Act to Establish a New Voting System”, the Mouvement Démocratie Nouvelle (MDN) spotted what looks like an attempt to favour established parties, especially the dominant party. In article 156, the bill provides that the parties that win the most local constituencies under the current system, will be given the advantage when allocating regional seats. This is a flagrant violation of the spirit of proportional representation.
“In other words,” said MDN President Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, “the more a party wins local seats, the more likely it is to gain compensatory seats on the regional basis. Regional compensatory seats were supposed to correct distortions between the votes cast and the seats obtained. However, Article 156 of the bill bestows nothing less than a bonus upon the winner. In a mixed compensatory system intended to increase proportionality, this is most unusual. As a matter of fact, Quebec would be the world’s first adopter of such a system. Without amendment, this bill may call itself a mixed voting system, but in reality it will first compensate … the winners. Such an arrangement is totally unacceptable.”
MDN stands ready to help CAQ improve its bill. “In the coming weeks”, added Vice- President Françoise David, “we shall publicly identify the main irritants in the bill. We shall also mobilize our network of partners to ensure that all stakeholders in favour of a meaningful voting system stand united for reform. The government still has time to amend its bill to ensure greater proportionality and consistency with the basic principles of proportional representation. In the end, with the help of the other parties that signed the cross-party agreement, we shall ensure that every voice counts.
In passing, the President and Vice-President of MDN reminded everyone that the first principle of proportional representation, which had been jointly adopted by the CAQ, the PQ, QS and the DMP, stipulates that the new voting system is supposed to “reflect as closely as possible the popular vote of all Quebecers”. Additionally, the second recital of Bill 39 stated that “the voting system should more accurately reflect society’s variety of opinion and the relative weight of ideas”.
Le Journal de Montréal | Charles Lecavalier | September 30
La CAQ a caché une «prime au vainqueur» dans son projet de loi sur le scrutin (article in french “The CAQ has hidden a “winner’s bonus” in its draft bill on the voting system”)