The Vote: National 2015

Rahman Mohamed

Everyone has heard it: every vote counts.  It’s a known fact: not everyone votes.  According to statistics from Elections Canada there’s never been a full voter turnout in Canada.

imageIn 1867, Canada’s first election, the Progressive Conservatives won a majority in the first House of Commons.  John A. McDonald (worth $10 today) became the first Prime Minister of Canada.  Voter turnout: 73.1%

That’s still been one of Canada’s highest.  With a peak at 79%, 1958-1963, it’s continued to drop.  2011 had a turnout of 61.1%, 20 points higher than a low of 44.6% in 1898.

Canada’s 2015 Federal Election has been like no other.  Since August 2, the start of the election, it’s been the longest in recent history, lasting 75 days (August 2-October 16) with 3 more days until polling day on August 19.

Although there were debates hosted by Maclean’s and the Globe and Mail, there hasn’t been a debate with all party leaders broadcast across Canada as in the past.  Campaigning has also taken a turn.  Traditional broadcast and radio ads are still here but social media has played a greater role than ever before.  With Facebook and Twitter, federal parties and leaders have more ways of campaigning than ever before.  It’s also come back to bite them.

The Toronto Star has reported on a range of candidates across Canada and all parties that have been forced to step out of the race because of posts and Tweets that have come to light.  One of the first and now one of the most famous, “Pee Gate”, video of Jerry Bance, Conservative candidate, caught by CBC’s The Marketplace.  It has become it’s on hashtag (#PeeGate).

Official election day is on October 19.  But Election Canada has already reported a surpassing turnout for advanced polls.  15 October CBC reported that BC and Ontario led the country in an increase in turnout for advanced polls.  Elections Canada reported a 71% increase in turnout for advanced polls (3.6 million) compared to 2011 turnout (2.1 million)24.2 million voters were on the list for 2011; the final number of ballots cast was 14.8 million, 61.1%.

Today Canada’s uses the First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) election system.  This means that whichever candidates obtains the most votes, regardless of whether or not it is 50%+1, the candidate is elected as the Electoral District’s MP (Member of Parliament).

In 2011 Conservative Jason Kenney of Calgary South-East, Alberta obtained the most votes (41,425), 73.89% of the votes with a 57.1% voter turnout.  On the other hand, Conservative Lisa Raitt was elected by Halton, Ontario only secured 47.5% of votes (32,986) with a 60.5% voter turnout.

Although Thomas Mulcair, NDP leader and candidate for Outremont, Quebec secured the most votes (14,348) it was only 39.53% of the popular vote with a turnout of 56.6% of the electorate.  Stephen Harper was the only national party leader to secure 50%+1 with 72.96% (38,548) with a turnout of 58.4%.  Justin Trudeau of Papineau, Quebec had the highest turnout among federal leaders (61.8%) while securing 41.47% of the popular vote.  Verchères–Les Patriotes, Quebec had the largest turnout in 2011 (71.9%) while elected MP Luc Malo of Bloc Québecois only secured 50.85% of votes (27,602).

The question now: how many Canadians will come out to vote for an MP on Monday?