The number of voters who actually voted for candidates that end up as MPs on the Government benches can be amazingly small.
The following chart shows, for each of the federal elections since Confederation, the percentage of voters who voted for a winning MP of the party that formed government. For example, in the most recent (2019) election, the Liberals earned 6,018,728 votes (33.1% of all votes) and formed a minority Government. However, only 3,793,819 of the votes cast for a Liberal candidate were for a candidate who won. That’s only 20.9% of all the votes cast.
The colour of the bar is reflective of the ideology of the party forming government: liberal is red and conservative is blue.
The first chart shows the effective votes for the party winning the most seats. The following is just like it except that it shows, in a lighter shade, the ineffective votes for that same party. Ineffective votes are votes cast for a candidate from that party where the candidate does not win.
The following chart is the same as the first chart except that it adds the effective votes for the MPs belonging to the Opposition. Orange colours represent labour-oriented parties (NDP); lavender colours represent populist parties (Reform); light-blue for Quebec-based parties (the Bloc).
This graph shows, in the third stacked bar, the votes for all other winning MPs as a percentage of the total vote.
Finally, this graph adds the ineffective votes for the various parties. That is, those votes that did not help elect an MP.
Each bar has six regions. From top to bottom: