Nova Scotia should look at voting system following PEI, federal government actions

November 4, 2016

For immediate release.

HALIFAX – As residents of Prince Edward Island vote in a plebiscite changing their voting system, the Nova Scotia NDP Caucus is introducing legislation that would create a citizens’ commission to look at the voting system here in Nova Scotia.

“Nova Scotia’s first-past-the-post voting system is an outdated approach to democracy.  Most democracies around the world use some form of proportional representation to ensure a greater diversity of views are represented,” said Gary Burrill, Leader of the Nova Scotia NDP. “In order for our democratic system to work, people must have confidence that their vote truly does count. A citizens’ commission would be able to investigate this issue.”

The commission would be required to consider alternatives to the existing voting system, such as proportional representation, mixed-member proportional representation, single transferable vote, and multiple member districts.  The commission would be made up of ordinary citizens and experts in democratic reform, would hold a series of public consultations around the province, and report to the Legislature within a year.

Currently, residents of PEI are voting in a non-binding plebiscite on democratic reform.  The ten-day voting period ends on Monday, November 7. Islanders are being asked to rank which system of voting they prefer. This is the second major effort in PEI to change the system of voting.  Similar plebiscites have been held in British Columbia and Ontario.  The federal government has also indicated that the next federal election would use a new voting system.

“There is a growing sense of dissatisfaction with our political system,” said Burrill. “Nova Scotia should follow the leadership of other jurisdictions in considering how to modernize the elections process.”


For more information, contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.