A reform that has become necessary

A reform that has become necessary

DAY

A Léger/Le Journal poll published yesterday asked THE question. Do you want the current voting system to be reformed or not? A clear majority of Quebecers (53%) answered yes, I want it, including 30% of CAQ voters.  

On the widening gap between the percentage of votes won by each party and its number of seats in the National Assembly, the poll asked whether “this situation is a problem according to you”.

For 61% of respondents, the answer is yes, including 38% of CAQ voters. It's starting to get crowded. The major distortions resulting from the October 3 elections are worrying many Quebecers. 

During the campaign, despite committing to it in 2018, François Legault refused to reform the voting system to make it more representative of the popular will.  

According to the Prime Minister, the subject “does not interest the population, apart from a few intellectuals”. However, unless Quebec is the only society in the world to have 53% intellectuals, the subject interests a lot of people.

In his defense, Mr. Legault is not the first head of government to have reneged on his promise to change the voting system. Before him, there was René Lévesque, Jean Charest, Justin Trudeau, etc.

Absurdistan

François Legault is nevertheless the first of the lot to be witnessed the worst distortion to date in Quebec between the popular vote and the number of seats won by each party.

Faced with four opposition parties, he is also the first to enter fully into a new era of multiparty politics. What the current voting system, tailor-made for bipartisanship, is unable to represent fairly when there are several parties.

As proof, with 41% of the vote, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ ) won 72% of the seats in the National Assembly (90 out of 125). With 14.6% of the votes, the deputation of the Parti Québécois (PQ) was downright down to three elected members.

With similar support (14.4%), the Quebec Liberal Party won 21 seats, or 7 times more than the PQ. While Québec solidaire (QS), at 15.43%, had to settle for 11 seats.

The icing on the cake: with 13% of the votes, the Conservatives got zero seats. Welcome to Absurdistan. 

The key to concern

The key to 53% support for voting system reform – and of the 61% for whom the status quo is a problem – is found in these absurd results. With the Prime Minister closing the door to any change, the danger is that the subject will end up being forgotten. 

To calm things down, Mr. Legault is also counting on a few accommodations which, if the Liberal leader agrees, could allocate the PQ and QS better budgets and more speaking time in the Blue Room.

This would already be better than the status quo, but this “solution” would only be a poultice. The real sore would remain untreated. 

Another danger is that in the 2026 elections, Quebecers will wake up faced with the same problem. Which, upstream, could cause voter turnout to fall even further.

As the multi-party system becomes embedded in the background, if the voting system is not reformed, this hot potato may indeed come back to haunt the next governments.

On a fixed date, like a mischievous old ghost, she will come to remind us of the price to pay for having done nothing.

< p>A reform that has become necessary