This post is part of a two part series on Canadian Electoral Reform since 2011. Part 1 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 second part of this series, we will be examining the stance of parties after the 2015 election:

2015-Comparison.png

Party Change in PR Change in AV Position
Liberals -50 seats +15 seats Supported AV
NDP +23 seats +12 seats Supported PR
Conservatives +10 seats -24 seats Only with a referendum
Greens +11 seats no change Supported PR
Bloc +6 seats -3 seats Supported PR (only with referendum)

In this case, it appears that all parties seem to be looking out for their own interests: the Liberals appeared extremely opposed to the PR system advocated by the electoral reform committee, potentially due the fact that it could lose out by a large amount. The NDP supports PR, in line with its position in the past and potentially seeing that it would gain from this change. The Conservatives would only support reform with a referendum – it has either gained greatly or lost out slightly in the current system, historically. The Greens and the Bloc support PR as well – they only served to gain from the system.

Indeed, as with previously, the result is the same: parties are mostly supporting the options that would benefit their electoral success the most, either by coincidence or on purpose.

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 the assumptions made in Part 1. There were some minor changes, however.

Changed

  • Most Liberal Voters (55%) would gravitate to the NDP second, and 45% would move to the Conservatives (Red Tories). This is because more Liberal Voters were form NDP voters who voted strategically with the Liberals against the Conservatives.
  • Slightly less conservatives would gravitate towards the Liberals second (65%), but a sizable minority would support the NDP second. The Conservatives lost a lot of urban support, and we hypothesize that the balence of those voting Liberal second and those voting NDP second would have shifted slightly to the NDP as a result.

Stayed Same

  • Voters of Other, minor parties would support the Bloc, Conservatives and Greens in roughly equal measure.
  • Within Quebec, the second choice of half of Liberal Voters would be the NDP, and the third choice would be the Bloc.
  • 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.

All-in-all, these changes would have made the NDP slightly better off and the Liberals slightly worse off. For a graphic of the 2015 election conducted under 2011 assumptions:

2015-Comparison