The Electoral And Party Systems Essay

926 Words Nov 26th, 2016 4 Pages
The electoral and party systems have important implications in the Canadian political system, but their impact runs deeper than simply forming a new parliament every time an election takes place. The relationship the systems share has political and social impacts. Author Alan C. Cairns discusses the functions of the two systems and the effects they have on the electorate in his article “The Electoral System and the Party System in Canada, 1921-1965*.”

The electoral system used in Canada is Single Member Plurality (SMP,) which is designed in such a way that the outcome of any election is explicit. The tendency to examine the system by comparing it to proportional representation is common, but Cairns find that there are better means to do so. The lens of analysis he uses is the Canadian party system, which is influenced in many ways by SMP and thus amplifies political divides nationally.

Typically, in an election (and for the purposes of this analysis,) the party that amasses the most seats in the House of Commons forms the government, while the party that gains the second most seats makes up the official opposition. SMP aims to create stable government and opposition, but the data Cairns presents finds that in most cases, the electoral system fails to do this. The allocation of seats creates greatly distorts party representation in parliament. The first issue lies in the system’s tendency to award the winning party a higher percentage of seats than votes received, yet…

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