Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press Even though they obtained practically 60% of the votes in 2022, the Liberal Party, Québec Solidaire, the Parti Québécois and the Conservative Party of Quebec only obtained 28 % of seats in the National Assembly. According to Professor Marc André Bodet, who teaches at Laval University, there are several ways “to reduce the distortion” of voting in Quebec. For example, he mentions the addition of constituencies.
Considered a panacea by many, the mixed proportional voting system with regional compensation is no longer unanimously supported. Gathered in a conference on Monday, several experts questioned this electoral model, which the Coalition Avenir Québec supported before 2022.
“I apologize, but my observation is a complete failure. And the chances of success of subsequent reforms are low, very low,” argued Professor André Blais during a panel organized as part of the study day “The reform of the voting system: assessment of a Quebec experience », at the University of Montreal.
“I think that proportional representation is over for at least a decade,” continued this expert in electoral participation and behavior, who teaches at the Department of political science from the University.
Mr. Blais was thus issuing a warning to the main supporters of reform of the voting system – such as the New Democratic Movement (MDN) – who have for several years favored this electoral model to the detriment, for example, of a preferential ballot. According to him, the reforms aborted in recent years are damaging proportional representation, without forgetting that it is “complicated”. “Reformists need to think of other options. »
In 2018, British Columbia rejected by referendum a reform which was to change its voting system from the good old first past the post formula to mixed proportional. Then, in 2021, even before submitting this option to a referendum, the government of François Legault gave up on a possible overhaul.
During the electoral campaign, in 2022, the CAQ leader famously asserted that Such a change was of “no interest to the population, apart from a few intellectuals.” A hypothesis partly supported by the figures, according to another expert who participated in Monday's conference, Professor Jean-François Daoust.
By compiling polling data, he found that satisfaction with the democratic system in Quebec remained “extraordinarily stable” from 2007 to 2022.
“Every time we are spoken to of discontent, of democratic dissatisfaction as being the main reason for electoral reform, I think that people who put forward this argument need to do more to be convincing”, raised this assistant professor of the 'School of Applied Politics at the University of Sherbrooke.
“François Legault basically said: people are not going to fight on Montreal buses, no one is interested,” he added. It’s hard not to prove [him] more right than wrong. »
“I will not be satisfied with that argument,” retorted the president of the MDN, Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, on Monday. When I was elected president of the National Assembly in 1996, there was an article which placed the level of confidence of elected officials at 4%. There is a problem of trust that has existed for a very long time. »
That’s without counting the “distortion” of the vote, he replied. Even though they obtained practically 60% of the votes in 2022, the Liberal Party, Quebec Solidaire, the Parti Québécois and the Conservative Party of Quebec only obtained 28% of the seats in the National Assembly.
< p>“There are parties that have more MPs than they should have based on the popular vote. There are parties that have fewer deputies than they should have. Then, there are parties which do not have deputies even though they should have had them,” summarized Mr. Charbonneau on Monday.
According to Professor Marc André Bodet, who teaches at Laval University, there are several ways “to reduce the distortion” of voting in Quebec. He mentions, for example, the addition of constituencies to the National Assembly.
“It’s the simplest way,” he argued on Monday. Quebec does not have enough seats for its population. We often compare ourselves to Ontario, but it is because Ontario does not have enough seats in relation to its population. We could easily add 60, 70 seats and not be out of the norm. »
André Blais recognizes that reformists are right to call for an end to the status quo. “It’s unfair [right now]. That’s an easy argument to understand, one that people accept. »
According to him, however, the time has come to think of other solutions. “The simplest of all would be two MPs in small constituencies. We would have very moderate proportionality and coalition governments,” he said.
The preferential ballot could also be used, according to the expert. “Several large American municipalities use it. It’s interesting, because it’s very much linked there to the perception of polarization. It is believed that people may vote as a second option for a more centrist candidate. »
A preferential vote allows voters to select several candidates, placed in order of preference. It is often this system which is used during races for the leadership of political parties.
In comparison, the mixed proportional mode proposed in particular by the MDN aims to create two categories of elected officials: “constituency » and “regional”. The “constituency deputy” would be elected in the traditional way, while the “regional deputy” would be appointed according to the result obtained by his political party in the administrative region where he is running for office.
Its objective The main objective is to reduce the gap between the percentage of votes obtained and the number of seats allocated to each party. Québec solidaire also tabled a new bill in October to reform the voting system by establishing mixed proportional representation.
On the National Assembly website, a petition calling for a type of voting mixed proportional recently reached the milestone of 20,000 signatures.