Nov 012022

The recent October 3 election in Quebec is a reminder of the importance of reforming the current voting system. In recent years, rarely has the distortion between the popular vote and the seats obtained, induced by the first-past-the-post system, been so obvious.

With 41% of the vote, the CAQ won 72% of the seats, while the Liberal Party, the fourth party in the popular vote (behind Québec solidaire and the Parti québécois), was the official opposition. Similarly, Éric Duhaime’s Conservative Party failed to win any seats despite the support of 13% of voters. 

In this context, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Canada, meeting in plenary on October 15 and 16, recognizes that this distortion is not unique to this particular election, but inherent in the current system. We therefore reiterate our call for the implementation of the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) voting system so that every vote counts.

Promised many times by the federal Liberals in 2015, even by the CAQ in 2018, this important democratic reform has never been implemented. Under the pretext that “no one is interested”, as François Legault stated the day after his election, or because of a supposed lack of consensus on the matter, the various political parties do an about-face once they are elected to power through the first-past-the-post system.

Yet low voter turnout in various elections and most public consultations on the subject indicate clear support for voting reform and a preference for mixed member proportional representation. 

The truth is quite different. In a context of heightened international competition, the monopolies are looking for the best way to lock in the democratic levers to ensure political stability in their favour. Therefore, allowing a form of representation that is more in keeping with the popular will is an anathema, especially when it risks conceding a seat to the Communists. The distortion caused by the current voting system is political rather than statistical. 

As Communists, we believe that democracy is more important than governance. Elections are not shareholders’ meetings, but a privileged moment for the debate of ideas. This is precisely what the ruling class seeks to avoid, and the current voting system serves precisely this class interest.

Central Committee, Communist Party of Canada

October 16, 2022