This is part of a two-part series on Canadian electoral reform since 2011. Part 2 can be found here.

In his campaign, Justin Trudeau and the Canadian Liberals have repeatedly promised that the 2015 election would be the last to use the First-Past-the-Post system. Once elected, the Liberal government formed a parliamentary committee to determine a new form of voting. A split soon developed – with the Liberals favoring an Alternative Vote system (AV), and the rest of the opposition mostly favoring the Proportional Representation system (PR). This February, Trudeau’s government abandoned the campaign promise. Was this switch in priorities motivated by the desire for electoral gains?

In the first part of this series, we will be examining the stance of parties prior to the 2015 election:

2011-Comparison

For scenarios for the 2015 election, please see Part 2.

Party Change in PR Change in AV Position
Liberals +25 seats +23 seats Supported either AV or PR
NDP -8 seats -2 seats Supported PR
Conservatives -43 seats -19 seats Supported No Reform (without referendum)
Greens +11 seats no change Supported PR
Bloc +15 seats -3 seats No Stance

The only party that seemed to be going against its electoral interests would be the NDP, who supported PR despite benefiting from it in the 2011 election. However, it is extremely important to note that the NDP has been losing out from the FPTP system for many years prior to 2011, with that election being an aberration in the trend, meaning that it’s support of PR still made electoral sense to a certain degree. Analysis of previous elections can confirm this.

Therefore, it seems that most parties advocated for, whether or not on purpose or by accident, their electoral gain.

Part 2

Appendix

A more detailed record of the Alternative Vote, with riding-by-riding results, can be found below:

Assumptions

Note: most assumptions were based off this listing of second-choice polls.

  • Voters of Other, minor parties would support the Bloc, Conservatives and Greens in roughly equal measure.
  • Most Liberal Voters (60%) would gravitate to the Conservatives second (Red Tories), and 40% would move to the NDP, followed by the Greens.
  • Within Quebec, the second choice of half of Liberal Voters would be the NDP, and the third choice would be the Bloc.
  • Conservatives would mostly gravitate towards the Liberals second (65%), but a sizable minority would support the NDP second.
  • NDP Voters would be almost equally divided between those supporting the Greens second and the Liberals third, and those supporting the Liberals second and the Greens third. A minority of mostly rural voters would select the Conservatives second (25%).
  • In Quebec, slightly over half of the NDP would have the Bloc as their second choice.
  • Bloc Voters would select the major parties in almost equal measure for second choice.
  • Green Voters would select Liberals or the NDP second, with a minority (20% ) supporting the Conservatives.