Avi Nofech
"democracy and free trade are the only way to peace"

First Past the Post

The picture: How First Past the Post got rid of small parties in Ontario, 2018.

Which system is fair: proportional or FPP?

The angry Liberals say:

“Ontario’s voting system took only 40.5 percent of the votes to manufacture a majority for Doug Ford’s PCs as voters were cheated by First-past-the-post”

Here an explanation is needed: PC are the Progressive Conservatives, NDP are the New Democratic Party (public sector enthusiasts) and Greens are the environmentalists.

But they don’t say what Canada got as the result of FPP, First Past the Post.

Canada got stable governments that can govern. They got members of parliament who keep offices in the ridings where they were elected, so that people can come there with their complaints and requests, and get help from the Member of Parliament they voted for.

(Ridings are electoral districts that elect one Member of Parliament each)

Most importantly, winners in Canadian elections do not have to bargain with anyone. They are free to form a government and do what they promised to the voters they will do.

Winner takes all

The First Past the Post system, given enough time, results in a small number of large parties.

In Canada the survivors are the Progressive Conservatives, then the Liberals, and the socialistic New Democrats also get a chance to govern in some of the provinces sometimes.

Canada has free market economy thanks to the free market reforms by the winning Conservatives. This is why lower income Canadians can shop comfortably at Walmart or the Real Canadian Superstore, which even have their own banks there, and live the life that in the past was reserved only for the upper middle class.

The workings of the First Past the Post system are explained in the Wikipedia article.

In order to have clearly marked ridings (electoral districts), a country must have clearly marked borders

This remark would sound bizarre in any country except Israel. All other countries have clearly marked borders. If they are not respected, this can only mean war (Ukraine is an example).

Israel would have to have clear official borders to have a voting system with districts electing one Member of Knesset each.

But then clear official borders are a necessary condition for peaceful life.

An extreme example of a country that did not have official clear borders was the defunct Third Reich. Their borders were where their front line was. They even had the names in German ready for all the places they conquered for a while or thought they might conquer.

They said they would stop once they reached the Urals mountains but who knows maybe then they would have decided to go on until they link up with victorious Imperial Japan.

Luckily reality put an end to their violent fantasy.

This is also of some interest to Israel because there are people in Israel (luckily not many) who have names in Hebrew ready for faraway geographic locations in the Middle East.

The First Past the Post system results in quiet life

The nerve-wracking drama of all night negotiations is not good for your health. Getting a full night’s sleep would work better.

The same is for shocks of uncertainty, not knowing what is going to happen, and the never ending quarrels.

It is better for one’s mental health when you can fight your election campaign once in four years and then relax for the next four years and do something else: like concentrating on your job, or having some fun, or whatever.

About the Author
I was a lecturer in mathematics in Israel and in Canada and now teach part time at Grant MacEwan University and work on a project in mathematical physics. As for hobbies, it is skiing. I can do the black diamond and my ambition is to do the double black diamond.