Notes

Some things that have jumped out at me, after looking over recent elections and some historical data.


Minority Rules

How often does a majority government in Canada have over 50% of the popular vote? Not that often. In the two charts below, the bottom bars indicate a party's popular vote. The darker, top bars show the overrepresentation that pushed most of them into majority territory.

(M) Majority  (m) Minority  (mM) Minority Majority

Current Provincial Governments

Nine provinces currently have a majority government, but seven of them received less than half the popular vote.

mM bc
M ab
M sk
mM mb
mM on
mM qc
mM nb
m pe
mM ns
mM nl
  • CAQ
  • UC / PC
  • Liberal
  • NDP
  • Saskatchewan Party

Federal (Minority) Majorities

Only one of the last ten majorities had over 50% of voters' support. And just barely. And it was 38 years ago.

mM 1968
mM 1974
mM 1980
M 1984
mM 1988
mM 1993
mM 1997
mM 2000
mM 2011
mM 2015
  • Conservative / PC
  • Liberal

Regional Sweeps

The fewer seats a province has, the easier it becomes for a party to take them all. True, there's only so many ways to divide up a limited number of seats, but why should less than 60% or 50% support result in 100% control? Two examples below, from the 2021 federal election.

Saskatchewan

Popular Vote

59%
8 seats

Representation

100%
14 seats

The Conservative Party had a clear majority of support, but 41% of votes received no representation.

Prince Edward Island

Popular Vote

46.3%
2 seats

Representation

100%
4 seats

With less than half the support of voters, the Liberals won all seats.


(Im)Balance of Power

In a first-past-the-post system, the ratio of popular support between parties can become severely distorted in the final representation.

Federal Election 2021

QC Popular Vote

3X
the votes

Within Quebec, the Liberals (3.4X) and Bloc (3.2X) each had over three times the support of the NDP.

QC Representation

30X
the seats

That support was magnified ten fold in the results, as the Liberals received 35 seats and the Bloc 32, compared to the NDP's one seat.


Ontario Election 2022

Popular Vote

Identical
support

The Liberals (23.9%) and NDP (23.7%) received virtually identical support.

Representation

Very Different
representation

The NDP got almost 4X as many seats (31) as the Liberals (8).


Party Pains & Gains

Federal Elections 2000-2021

A chart for each party, showing their over/under representation relative to their support in the popular vote (charts limited to parties/years in which a party received at least 5% of the popular vote).

For example, in 2021, the Liberals got 160 seats, which is 50 more than the roughly 110 seats their popular vote would have given them (50/110 = 45.5% gain). In the same election, the NDP got 25 seats, 35 less than the 60 their share of the popular vote represents (35/60 = 58.3% loss).

Conservatives

Year Seats
2021 4.4% +5
2019 4.3% +5
2015 -8.3% -9
2011 36.1% +44
2008 23.3% +27
2006 10.7% +12
2004 8.8% +8
 

Liberals

Year Seats
2021 45.5% +50
2019 40.2% +45
2015 37.3% +50
2011 -41.4% -24
2008 -4.9% -4
2006 10.8% +10
2004 19.5% +22
2000 39.8% +49
 

NDP

Year Seats
2021 -58.3% -35
2019 -55.6% -30
2015 -34.3% -23
2011 9.6% +9
2008 -33.9% -19
2006 -46.3% -25
2004 -60.4% -29
2000 -50% -13
 

Bloc QC

Year Seats
2021 23.1% +6
2019 23.1% +6
2011 -77.8% -14
2008 58.1% +18
2006 59.4% +19
2004 42.1% +16
2000 18.8% +6
 

Green

Year Seats
2015 -86.4% -19
2008 -100% -21
 

Canadian Alliance

Year Seats
2000 -14.3% -11
 

Progressive Conservatives

Year Seats
2000 -67.6% -25