Monday, January 23, 2006

Today's magic number in Canada is 155. For a party to form a majority government after today's Canadian election they will need to win 155 of the Canadian House of Commons' 308 seats.

If you're a non-Canadian passing through here's how our voting system works: The current Canadian system is what is commonly refered to as a "first past the post" system. In other words the winner of a riding is the candidate with the most votes. We don't use any form of proportional representation or preference based voting. Given that its common for three or more candidates to be running in any one riding that means few members of Parliament are elected with a majority of votes in their riding, and even in a majority government situation the government party usually did not win with a majority of votes, but a plurality of votes, that is the most votes of any one party. We have a dual house system, but the upper house, the Senate, does not have its members elected, but appointed. There have been more and more calls in recent years for an elected Senate and a change to another form of voting system such as some form of proportional representation, but neither has come close to being implimented yet.

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