Legislative Power Analyses

In this section, I present several analyses developed in collaboration with Antony Hodgson, President of Fair Voting BC, aimed at better understanding in a quantitative and descriptive manner how effectively votes cast by voters are converted into representation in Parliament. We assess this overall issue of representational effectiveness, and the resulting degree of legislative power, from several different perspectives, and also apply the analyses to several examples of countries that use proportional voting systems to illustrate differences in the performance of different systems.

The four analyses we conducted are the following:

Parity in Legislative Power

The Parity in Legislative Power project proposes a “Legislative Power Share” for each voter. Ideally, the LPS should be close to equal for each voter. In practise, Canada is far from this ideal while a number of comparator countries which use various forms of proportional representation (Norway, New Zealand, Ireland) are much closer.

Parity Across Time

The Parity Across Time project compares, across time in each riding, the parties or ideologies voters vote for to the amount of time MPs of that party or ideology actually hold office. Fairness would indicate that if Liberals, for example, earn 40% of the vote across a period of 40 years, then Liberal MPs should hold office roughly 40% of that time.

The data shows that our electoral system is not fair in this way.

Representation Metric

The Representation Metric simply charts, through time, the percentage of Canadians that are represented by the person they voted for.

Effective Votes

Effective Votes charts the percentage of votes that were effective in helping to elect a member of the Government, a member of the Opposition, or another MP.