National Post (Latest Edition)
Voting benefits questioned
Re: The case that could prove Canadian elections were unconstitutional all along, Colby Cosh, Sept. 25 (Online)
I am skeptical of Colby Cosh’s argument that Canada’s non- proportional voting system benefits Indigenous peoples. His logic is that seats in the House of Commons “are disproportionately allocated to remote parts of Canada,” and some of these areas “have a lot of Indigenous folk.”
First, it is questionable that Canadians in remote areas have more voting power than Canadians in metropolitan areas. Our current system causes parties to prioritize voters in ridings with tight election races. These ridings are often clustered around major urban centres. Adopting a proportional voting system would make parties respond to voters in all ridings.
Second, more than half of Indigenous people in Canada live in metropolitan areas, not remote areas, according to Statscan. When the courts assess whether the current voting system is constitutional, they will have to consider the Charter rights of all Canadians. This includes Indigenous people in all parts of the country.
Third, the role our non- proportional voting system has always played is to limit the diversity of views that get represented in Parliament. Whatever our reasons for continuing this practice, we should not tell ourselves it is for the benefit of Indigenous communities. Rhys Goldstein, Toronto