History and Political Science - Critical Summary In the chapter under examination the following dilemma is set: can a Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) Electoral System be in Canada’s Interest? In general, a MMP Electoral System would help to control unfairness, as resulted from the country’s existing Electoral System; Reference is made, for example, to the Elections of 2001 where the winning party ‘won nearly all of the seats with just the 58% of the votes’ (Charlton and Baker 232)…
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In other words, Canada’s existing electoral system sets an issue of injustice giving the majority of seats to parties that do not represent the will of the voters. The particular view seems fully justified, having in mind that the actual role of elections is to reflect the citizens’ view in regard to the practices of their government; in addition, through the elections citizens can promote their claims for the replacement of persons who have the responsibility for critical governmental decisions. At the next level, it is made clear that the MMP system is often preferred because of its ability to set a balance between the traditional and modern electoral systems (Charlton and Baker 233); this means that the particular system does not lead to radical, and unexpected, changes on a country’s electoral system. The specific characteristic of the MMP system is quite important, guaranteeing the lack of political and social turbulences in the countries that it is first established. Two different views are analyzed. According to the first view, supported by Hiemstra and Jansen, democracy ensures that the government of a state, where democracy applies, represents the majority of people (Charlton & Baker 234). This means, according to the above researchers, that ‘each vote counts’ (Charlton & Baker 234); also, this means that the structure of the House of Commons is aligned with the will of the majority of voters; in the context of Canada’s existing electoral system, there is no such issue (Charlton & Baker 234). The representatives of parties in House of Commons have not, necessarily, attracted the majority of votes. Moreover, it is noted that the MMP system is used in most countries internationally; there would be no reason for Canada to be excluded. Another important disadvantage of the plurality system, the Canada’s existing electoral system, is the limitation of oppositions in a country’s parliamentary body; in this way, the accountability of the government for its decisions can become unfeasible (Charlton & Baker 236). In general, the plurality system is considered as threatening the democracy (Charlton & Baker 236) and for this reason its replacement by MMP is suggested. There is also the opposite view, supported by N. Wiseman (University of Toronto); according to N. Wiseman, who is a professor of political science, the plurality system guarantees democracy; in fact, it is noted that Canada, due to its current electoral system, is considered as ‘part of an elite group of states that are full democracies’ (Charlton & Baker 248). At the next level, Wiseman notes that the change of Canada’s existing electoral system has been already discussed; it is noted that in 1920s the specific issue was brought before the Parliament for discussion; after a thorough examination of the potential advantages and disadvantages of a PR system, it was held that the country’s electoral system should remain the same (Charlton & Baker 248). Also, reference is made to Canada’s cultural characteristics; it is explained that specific parts of the population, as for example, aboriginals are not expected to participate in elections if these are organized at national level (Charlton & Baker 253). This means that many people in Canada who are loyal to their traditions
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