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

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