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New poll shows majority of Quebecers support reform of voting system

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New poll shows majority of Quebecers support reform of voting system
A new Leger Marketing poll indicates more than half of Quebecers support electoral reform. As Global's Amanda Jelowicki reports, 53 per cent of those surveyed say they support reforming the voting system – Oct 13, 2022

A new Leger Marketing poll indicates more than half of Quebecers support electoral reform.

Fifty-three per cent of those surveyed say they support reforming the voting system.

Twenty-seven per cent say they don’t want reform, and 20 per cent said they don’t know or refused to answer.

Of those who responded yes:

  • 30 per cent were CAQ voters
  • 75 per cent were Quebec Solidaire voters
  • 73 per cent were Parti Québécois voters
  • 60 per cent were Liberal voters
  • 79 per cent were Conservative voters

The poll comes in the wake of a crushing victory in last week’s provincial election by Premier François Legault. He won 41 per cent of the popular vote, but took just over 70 per cent of the seats, or 90, in the 125-seat national assembly.

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The four main opposition parties all won roughly 15 per cent of the popular vote, but the Liberals ended up with 21 seats, Quebec Solidaire with 11, the PQ with just three seats, and the Conservative Party didn’t win any.

“You could not have a better example of how our system works badly,” said Prof. Henry Milner, a chair in electoral studies in the department of political science at the Université de Montréal. Milner has also been involved in the Mouvement Démocratie Nouvelle, a group calling for electoral reform, for the last 15 years. They’ve launched a petition demanding electoral reform.

Milner cautions such an extreme result in the last election may disenfranchise people.

“If nothing changes, I think that is what we should be worried about, that young people will give up on electoral democracy, that your vote does not count,” he said.

What a new system would look like is up for debate. Some experts say systems using proportional representation can pose problems. Some point to some European governments that are often minority, coalition administrations that sometimes prove unworkable.

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“There is no perfect electoral system, if there were one we would have adopted it by now,” said Daniel Weinstock, a professor in the faculty of law at McGill University. “So we really have to think hard before we dump ours in favour of another one, which we may find had just as many problems.”

Analysts also note there is little incentive for the ruling parties to change a system that benefits them.

“As long as François Legault is in a majority government, I think you can kiss goodbye to electoral reform in Quebec,” said Daniel Beland, the chair of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

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