Ontarians upset with Doug Ford’s win and the poor performance of the Liberals and NDP in Thursday’s provincial election are decrying the first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system and calling for electoral reform.
Under FPTP, which is used in Ontario and the rest of Canada, the candidate who gets the plurality of the votes is declared the winner.
The 2022 Ontario election saw Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives (PCs) re-elected with 83 seats in the legislature – an even bigger majority than they won in 2018.
The NDP placed second with 31 seats – a loss of 7 from 2018 – while the Liberals came in third with eight seats – a gain of only one from the previous election. The results saw Liberal leader Steven Del Duca fail to secure his own seat, with both he and NDP leader Andrea Horwath announcing their resignations.
The Greens retained their one seat in Guelph, while independent candidate Bobbi Ann Brady was elected in the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk.
Some political experts have blamed the Liberals and NDP’s poor performance on a lack of momentum, as well as a more moderate Doug Ford, who was able to build a broad coalition of support that included unions.
Some, however, have opted to blame the electoral system itself, saying FPTP allowed Ford to win 67% of the seats in the Ontario legislature without getting 67% of the popular vote.
Multiple commentators and opponents of Ford took to Twitter to share their disdain for FPTP, as well as express a belief in the need for electoral reform.
These individuals include past and current politicians, journalists and authors.
Ottawa city councillor Shawn Menard, who had previously taken a break from Twitter due to Elon Musk buying the platform, said FPTP was “destructive” and that people “better be ready for organized resistance to this agenda.”
United Church minister and former NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo also maligned the FPTP system in a tweet, calling it “undemocratic.”
Responding to comments to Di Novo’s tweet, National Observer lead columnist Max Fawcett promoted proportional representation systems, saying they lead to higher voter turnout.
“I think it stands to reason that a system that more fully includes everyone’s vote would yield more voting,” said Fawcett.
Columnist David Moscrop also shared his thoughts on the results obtained through Ontario’s FPTP, describing the system as heartbreaking.
Meanwhile, author Brian Doucet questioned whether Ford’s win was really a “big victory,” adding that “(i)t was the electoral system that gave them a big majority.”
Some prominent organizations also criticized FPTP following Ford’s win, including the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).
The public service union claimed that Ford’s PCs “were re-elected thanks to a broken ‘first past the post’ voting system that gave them 100% of power with less than half the popular vote.”
Other commentators challenged this outcry over the electoral system, however, with some pointing out double standards.
Columnist Andrew Coyne, for example, said he didn’t recall Liberals pushing an anti-FPTP narrative after last year’s federal election, which Trudeau won.
Trudeau was re-elected in the 2021 federal election with 160 seats in the House of Commons. The victory came despite the Liberals earning only 32.62% of the vote and not winning the popular vote either.
In comparison, Ford won the popular vote with over 40% of votes – almost double the support of the NDP and Liberals.
It should also be noted that Ontarians rejected electoral reform in a 2007 referendum, with over 63% of voters choosing to maintain the FPTP system.
Both Ontario Liberal Party leader Stephen Del Duca and NDP leader Andrea Horwath had promised electoral reform if elected, a promise which Justin Trudeau made – and broke – in the 2015 federal election.