HALIFAX – Recognizing its restricted mandate and the limitations of the ‘First Past the Post’ electoral system, the province’s Electoral Boundaries Commission today recommended that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly launch a public consultative process on the current voting system, and improvements to it.
“Today, the province’s Electoral Boundaries Commission recognized that under our current voting system it could not satisfy both the need to give Nova Scotians an equal vote and adequately represent Nova Scotia’s linguistic and cultural minorities,” said Andy Blair, President of Fair Vote Nova Scotia. “This is a central problem with ‘First Past the Post’ and is one reason Nova Scotians deserve a real public investigation into improving their democracy.”
“Though it is not part of the Commission’s mandate to study electoral reform or to recommend changes to the current electoral system, there were a number of submissions on this topic in the public consultation process” noted 7 of the 8-member Commission on page 21 of their final report. “Reforming the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system was suggested as a means of improving Nova Scotia’s representative democracy, by more accurately translating voter preferences into seats in the legislature. The distortions introduced by the current system […] with no allowance made for popular vote totals, can be a disincentive to political participation.”
“It’s not enough to simply have a Commission play with riding boundaries when so many Nova Scotians are effectively disenfranchised,” added Blair. “Our African Nova Scotian, Acadian, and Aboriginal communities are under-represented, and likely to be even more so after these riding changes. They are not alone: shamefully, women make up only 23 percent of MLAs in the House of Assembly. And as many as half of all elector’s votes are wasted - they don’t go towards electing any representative for those voters. It’s time for a citizen-driven process that will examine options to make our dysfunctional voting system fairer.”
“There appear to be significant democratic benefits to be gained from incorporating some measure of proportional representation into the current FPTP electoral system” wrote the Commission, which recommended:
“that the Nova Scotia Legislature initiate a process involving both extensive critical examination and public consultation on the current electoral system as well as possible alternatives to it.”
Fair Vote Nova Scotia is part of Fair Vote Canada, Canada’s national multi-partisan citizens’ movement promoting fair voting reform at all levels of government.
For more information, please contact:
“Towards Fair & Effective Representation” - Nova Scotia Electoral Boundaries Commission Report, Sep. 25, 2012: