A painting of me

Vote! Do it Now!

   28 June 2004, early evening

Today is election day in Canada. There are 5 national parties running in this election today, the Liberals, the Conservatives, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Québécois, and the new kid on the block, the Green Party. This is the first time the Green party has got a person to run in every single riding in Canada.

The system we have in Canada is a First Past the Post system, which is common to colonies of the United Kingdom. The flaw in a system such as this is that popular support doesn’t always translate into seats in the House of Commons. (This would be the case if you have numerous ridings where the results will be close.) Of course, the problem with a simple proportional system in a country such as Canada is that it would most likely lead to minority governments. Generally no party ever gets more then 50% of the popular support. The US on the other hand, with its two party system, is a ripe candidate for some form of proportional representation of votes.

This election may be interesting because there is no forced media blackout, results will be reported as they are tallied. So for the first time, people in British Columbia will know the results in all of Atlantic Canada, a few hours before their polls close. Mind you, with the internet, this was possible last election as well. I am curious to see if people in British Columbia will vote differently given this extra information.

I voted for the NDP, who will probably have no chance of winning in my riding. I just want them to at least have some reasonable numbers for popular support. I suggest you vote for the party you think will do the best job. I’m not a fan of voting strategically, it seems to go against to the whole idea of voting and democracy. In my riding Derek Lee is going to win. I’m calling it now, a few hours before the election results are out. This is the first time my vote isn’t totally wasted, since the popular support each party gets will get translated into funding for their campaigns in the next election.

Update 9:30 PM: I’ll post little things on my mind through out the night I think—well at least this one time. Average voter turn out in Canada has historically been 74% (with a standard deviation of 5.7) [source]. Turn out has been down for the past three elections, since 1988. I am wondering if the fact that this election is predicted to be so tight will bring out the voters.

Update 10:16 PM: The NDP are showing good numbers so far, and their share of the popular vote has risen a fair amount. It’s still quite early, the results of many polls have yet to be shown. I wouldn’t mind a coalition government with the Liberals and the NDP. We might get something a little more left leaning out of our government than we have seen in quite some time.

Update 11:42 PM: Thank you Jesus! It looks like the NDP and the Liberals will form a coalition government. I just heard Layton and Broadbent give their respective victory speeches. I can’t stress how happy I am to see this situation. I only hope that the Liberals and the NDP can successfully work together. The Liberals under Martin are a lot further from the left then one would expect a liberal party to be.

Update 2:20 AM: I may have spoke to soon, but I sincerely hope I haven’t. Apparently the NDP and Liberal numbers have dropped to the point where they may not be able to get a majority of the votes in the house.

Update 3:18 AM: Well, the official numbers are in. The final standing is:

Party Seats % of Votes
Lib 135 36.71%
Con 99 29.61%
BQ 54 12.40%
NDP 19 15.69%
NA 1 0.13%
OTH 0 5.47%

This means that the Liberals and the NDP only have 154 seats if they vote together. So, the Liberals will have to work closely with the Bloc as well if they hope to stay in power for any period of time. Apparently the average life span of a minority government in Canada is on the order of 18 months. I expect another election soon.

In my riding, the numbers were also pretty much what I expected them to be:

Candidate Party Votes % of Votes
Derek Lee LIB 22114 57.32%
Raymond Cho IND 6905 17.9%
Tony Backhurst CON 5326 13.81%
Fauzia Khan NDP 3557 9.22%
Kathryn Holloway GRN 676 1.75%

Derek Lee managed to get 57% of the vote in my riding. That wasn’t much of a surprise. I just find it hard to believe 18% of the people who live around me were stupid enough to vote for Raymond Cho.

You can look up the numbers for your riding at a few web sites. I was using Election Canada’s web site at first, though CBC also provides the same set of information and seemed to be updating it stats much later into the night.



  1. When I stopped watching TV 10 minutes ago, the Liberals were at 134 and the NDP were at 24, which would be just enough for the two to have a majority together. (As there are 308 seats, you need 155 to win a vote in Parliament).

  2. The numbers are much closer now, at 12:45. The Liberals are at 135 but the NDP have dropped down to 21. A much tighter margin for a majority coalition government.

  3. Ram,

    Whats the name of the cinema’s at finch and mccowan?

  4. Woodside Cinema.

  5. Have you heard anything about the Green Party? They were sounding very optimistic, but I haven’t seen anything in the newspaper about them. I vaguely recall hearing on the news that got enough votes to get federal funding though…

  6. The green party got 4% of the national vote, so that means they secure some funding for the next election.

  7. Uh, I’m in the airport in Singapore right now. Turns out I can’t send any gmail with their version of IE. Anyway, I’m here.

  8. Hey. Back from Montreal now. I’m guessing you’re somewhere in India. Do you have proper net access?

  9. Doing research for a term paper on electoral systems (google: ‘BC, wasted votes’), I found myself here; I then promptly spent half an hour perusing your wonderful page and writing. Your camera and picture taking skills most definitely put me to shame. Thanks for helping to further my procrastination.

  10. Sometimes I wonder if I should turn commenting off on old posts. But random stuff like this makes it worth while to keep them open. Glad you like the site. It has been a big waste of time for me too.

  11. As it is known, First Past The Post is a “plurality” voting system: the candidate with the highest number of votes in any environment is elected. I have to write my term paper about this system and I see your article will help me a lot, thank you!

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