Monday, April 2, 2007

Proportional Representation for Quebec?

A group of prominent Quebecers from across the political spectrum is calling for proportional representation in the wake of last week's election.

La liste est déjà impressionnante. Parmi les signataires de l'appel figurent Claude Béland, ancien patron du Mouvement Desjardins, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, ancien ministre péquiste et président de l'Assemblée nationale, les ex-ministres Louise Beaudoin et Liza Frulla, Luck Mervil, les adéquistes Marie Grégoire et Jean Allaire, Laure Waridel, etc.

Proportional representation was never really on the radar in Quebec given the nature of the two-party system. The PQ was least likely to benefit from a change in voting system, and the Liberals were not severely disadvantaged by the first-past-the-post system. However, last week's vote has changed all of that. The new political situation has offered some new political options for Quebec's federalist parties, who could use this opening to do some serious damage to Quebec's sovereignist movement by ditching the first-past-the-post system which tends to over-reward the PQ. Federalist parties aren't stupid... they know the PQ setback is only temporary, but a change in the electoral system could leave the PQ permanently hobbled in its quest for independence. Given the strategic reality, we may see proportional representation in Quebec before we see it in Ontario and British Columbia.

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