The Liberal Party promised that 2015 would be the last election conducted using the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. Electoral reform is an important opportunity for Canadians to reimagine how we interact with our democratic institutions. Fundamentally, electoral systems are about the role of citizens in shaping parliaments and how democratic institutions reflect our collective desires. But electoral systems do more than just this. Electoral systems are sociopolitical tools that influence the policies that affect Canadians’ lives.
Given the enormous power that electoral systems hold over political and policy outcomes it is important to think about electoral reform as more than something that affects political parties and elections. How electoral reform may influence the health and well-being of Canadians is also an important consideration.
This think piece bridges the connections between electoral systems, political trust, social capital and health to demonstrate why and how changing our electoral system may have health impacts. By taking a health-based approach to electoral reform we can choose an electoral system that reduces social exclusion and builds social capital and health.