Quebec’s 2022 election reveals error of not scrapping first past the post

Author:
Thea Ridley-Castle, Research and Policy Officer

Posted on the 5th October 2022

Back in 2018 we reported on the excitement in Quebec which was set for a move from First Past the Post (FPTP) to proportional representation, following a commitment from the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, to the same method of mixed member proportional representation (MMP) as in Germany, New Zealand and the UKs devolved parliament in Wales and Scotland.

Campaigners for electoral reform in Quebec highlighted the following benefits to a move away from FPTP:

  • MMP is fairer as every vote carries an equal weight.
  • MMP could allow for smaller parties, with sizeable voting shares, to translate these votes into seats in the National Assembly.
  • MMP could increase the influence of minority communities. e.g., Under the current system, the votes of English-speaking and Allophone communities are concentrated in a small number of ridings, giving them less weight in the overall results.

In May 2018, the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), the Parti Québécois, Québec Solidaire and the Green Party of Québec signed an electoral reform pact pledging to implement Mixed Member Proportional (or the Additional Member System as it is known in the UK) representation, if elected.

Except for the Liberals, all main parties promised to scrap First Past the Post.

And the day after the election, Premier-designate François Legault of the CAQ pledged to reform the voting system and committed to tabling a bill within a year. With 71% of voters backing a party that signed the pledge to bring in electoral reform, the plan was not conditional on a referendum.

After much debate and the introduction of electoral reform legislation to parliament, François Legault, stated any change to the voting system would now be put to a referendum in 2022 – however, this has not materialised and his party, Coalition Avenir Québec, have dropped plans to change the current system.

The 2022 general election was held on the 3rd of October using FPTP. Unsurprisingly, this election culminated in another set of unbalanced and inequitable vote/seat share outcomes for the people of Quebec.

Party Votes Seats
Coalition Avenir Québec 1,685,509 (40.98%) 90 (72%)
Liberal 591,066 (14.37%) 21 (17%)
Québec solidaire 634,525 (15.43%) 11 (9%)
Parti Québécois 600,691 (14.61%) 3 (2%)
Conservative 530,768 (12.91%) 0 (0%)
Other 70,141 (1.70%) 0 (0%)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Quebec_general_election

The incumbent party, Coalition Avenir Québec took 41% of the votes which translated into 72% of the seats (90/125), leaving only 35 seats for the remaining 59% of the votes. Québec Solidaire and Parti Québécois each gained 15% of the votes which translated to 11 seats (9%) and 3 seats (2%) respectively, whilst The Liberal Party gained 14% of the votes but succeeded in holding 21 seats (17%) in Parliament.

The party with the majority of the seats didn’t get the majority of the vote. The party that came 4th in the vote came second in seats and a party that won 12% of the vote won no seats at all.

The make-up of parliament shouldn’t depend on the fluke outcomes of an antiquated electoral system. Every country with first past the post has campaigners working to remove it – hopefully, this warped result will provide fire and momentum to power the campaign for proportional representation in Québec.

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