Under this system, voting remains unchanged. But within Provinces and Territories, each party is allowed a percentage of existing seats equal to their percentage of the vote total in the Province or Territory. The seats are filled by the most popular candidates within a given party according to the votes cast for them, and mostly in the riding in which they ran. Accountability is improved over first past the post and representation is direct, no new MPs are required, and no one is appointed from party-hack lists—but proportional representation is achieved.
For example, the popular vote split for parties in NS in the 2011 election was
CPC / LPC / NDP / GPC / Other = 36.7 / 28.9 / 30.3 / 3.9 / 0.1
Under SMDPR, the share of the 11 seats in NS would then have been
CPC / LPC / NDP / GPC / Other = 4.04 / 3.18 / 3.33 / 0.43 / 0.01
With this result the seats would have been divided
CPC / LPC / NDP / GPC / Other = 4 / 3 / 3 / 1/ 0
The eleventh seat would have gone to the GPC, based on it having the largest fractional result.
The actual seats would have been distributed based on highest popular vote, as follows
- Peter MacKay (21,593) Central Nova
- Scott Armstrong (21,041) Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley
- Gregg Kerr (20,204) West Nova
- Gerald Keddy (17,948) South Shore St. Margret’s
- Rodger Cuzner (16,478) Cape Breton—Canso
- Geoff Regan (16,230) Halifax West
- Scott Brisson (15,887) Kings—Hants
- Megan Leslie (23,746) Halifax
- Peter Stoffer (22,483) Sackville—Eastern Shore
- Robert Chisholm (15,678) Dartmouth Cole Harbour
- Jason Blanch (2,109) Sydney—Victoria
Only Jason Blanch would have represented a riding in which he did not run in this instance. There were no instances in NS of two candidate from the same riding being elected; in ON however, there would have been 18 such ridings. The riding Jason Blanch would have represented split evenly between the LPC and CPC
LPC / CPC / NDP / GPC = 14,788 / 14,023 / 7,049 / 1,191
Over all, seats in Parliament would have split approximately
CPC / LPC / NDP / BQ / GPC = 123 / 59 / 95 / 19 / 12
This would have resulted in a coalition or minority government—as is appropriate when the country doesn't agree on which party should govern.
The reason proportional representation is desirable is that it leads to consensus government, a form of democracy that has been shown—in reference to a couple of dozen indexes such as GDP deflator, budgetary deficit, GINI index, voter turnout, etc.—to be absolutely better at managing the democracy and almost certainly better able to manage the economy (Arend Lijphart). Consensus is also a more stable form of government, requiring fewer elections than our current first past the post majoritarian system in Canada. Even Italy and Israel, the poster cases for unstable government, have had respectively four and three fewer elections than Canada since WW II, at a cost to us of over a billion dollars.
As to accountability, the cornerstone of accountability is that someone who does not perform well should be removed. But with a plurality system, depending on the number of candidates running and strategic voting, the incumbent may be elected on as little as 20 percent of the vote. A system in which the will of 80 percent of the electorate is denied cannot be called accountable. For this reason, SMDPR is more accountable than first past the post.
SMDPR would be easier to explain than many forms of PR because there are no new ridings or MPs necessary, no amalgamation of ridings necessary, and no change to how a person votes. But there would be no value for strategic voting, and gaming a majority out of a minority position would be a thing of the past.
In other words, we would have addressed a big part of the democratic deficit in Canada.