Thursday September 8, 6-7:45 PM: Electoral Reform Town Hall with Kent Hehr
As part of the government consultation on electoral reform, MPs have been invited to hold town halls. This is our chance to show up and speak up for proportional representation! What the MPs hear from constituents at the town halls – how much support there is for proportional representation – will be reported back to the all-party committee. Please show up if you can and invite others.
Opponents of reform are organizing and attending these events. We need to be there to speak up for a vote that counts.
When: Thursday September 8th, 6:00-7:45 PM
When: Knox United Church – Theatre, 506 – 4th Street SW, Calgary
If you are able to attend the town hall please let me (Anita) know so I can touch base with you afterwards. Please let us know how the town hall goes by sending a summary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are are constituent and not able to attend: Please email Kent at KENT.HEHR@PARL.GC.CA or call his constituency office at 403.244.1880. Identify yourself as a constituent who is unable to attend the town hall but would like to let him know you support proportional representation and ask that your feedback be included in his report. (If you are not a constituent it is still great to attend the town hall).
At town halls and consultations, we are focusing on communicating our core values:
– Proportional Representation: 30% of the vote should equal 30% of the seats
- Voter Equality: every voter should be able to elect an MP who reflects his/her values
- Diversity: Our Parliament should reflect our diversity, including the political diversity within each region
- Collaboration: proportional representation means parties working together, and policies supported by parties representing a majority of voters
Thanks so much for your help at this important time.
Fair Vote Canada Action Coordinator
2) PR Systems in Fair Vote Canada’s submission: PR-STV (see also STV+), MMP and MMP with ranked ballot and Rural-Urban Proportional Representation. (links to printable pamphlets here: STV, MMP, Rural-Urban PR)
3) Evidence for Proportional Representation – a good summary of the research on PR.
4) Make Every Vote Count – a printable one page handout for events
5) Myth/Fact Sheet – a two page handout addressing common myths
Save the date and make sure to be there!
When: Tuesday 14 June, 7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Where: Tuxedo Community Association 202 29 Avenue NE Calgary.
What: Discussion on Climate and Proportional Representation in Canada.
- Bruce Hyer, Deputy Green Party of Canada Leader and newly elected Fair Vote Canada Council member ;
- Janet Keeping, Alberta Green Party Leader;
- Mark Hambridge, Fair Vote Calgary.
Why: The Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform has been announced with a mandate to report to Parliament this fall. The format of the Committee has been amended to reflect the popular vote in the 42nd General Election. Now is the time to learn more about PR and to tell the Committee what you want to see in our future electoral system.
The CBC have announced that the Liberal Party has agreed to NDP Nathan Cullen’s suggested format of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform – details here.
The committee will now reflect the popular vote of the last general election, rather than the false majority House of Commons seat allocation. ‘One small step for democracy – one giant leap for Canadians’.
An Open Letter to All Parties and House Leaders,
Canadians have given you a mandate. Sixty-three percent (63%) of us voted in favour to change the electoral system to one that is more fair, equal and democratic – a system that will make every vote count so that the will of the electorate is reflected in the House of Commons.
You have the task of improving democracy in a very undemocratic system. Seventeen million (17,000,000) Canadians cast ballots on October 19th and 4.6 million voters elected MPs who now hold a false majority. Millions of Canadians – more than two million each for the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats – have no representation in Ottawa. It is incumbent upon you to show us that you understand the problem, you are willing to fix it, and you are prepared to provide the leadership required to get the job done.
As a multi-partisan organization, we know that true Democracy – where all citizens enjoy equal rights and the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly through their chosen representatives – is not easy. It’s difficult to set aside partisan stripes, listen carefully to the people, cooperate, compromise and build consensus. It’s even more difficult in an unfair system where some parties have been awarded more than their fair share and some have been denied their due support. Equal representation in the legislature should be the right of every citizen in a free and democratic society. Democracy is not easy but it delivers better results and respects all voices.
That is why it is so important, during what appears to be a growing impasse that can damage the integrity of the electoral reform process, to embrace the spirit of democracy. Canadians are watching. The world is watching.
We are very concerned that the reforms are already in trouble before you have even started. You are all very aware of the fact that if you are honestly considering all options, you need to stick to a tight timeline. Since Canada’s new House of Commons first met December 3, almost six months have passed. This has raised concerns by the media and civil society groups as well as MPs in the House about the credibility of the process.
We ask you to remove your partisan hats and govern on behalf of all Canadians. Embrace the true spirit of democracy and realize that Canada cannot be truly ‘back’ until all voices are at the table.
House Leaders, we are calling on you to sit down and negotiate a date to get the Electoral Reform Special Committee motion on the floor in time to have a robust debate and move the motion forward before the House leaves for summer break.
Failure to get the Committee off the ground in order to address our democratic deficit will reflect poorly on all Parliamentarians. Failing to do the hard work will be considered by the electorate as an attack on our collective desire to create an electoral system that treats all voters, and their representatives, equally.
This is no time for finger pointing and pot shots.
In a speech in Halifax, our Prime Minister stated “We need to show, once again, that the Liberal party is not afraid to challenge the status quo, even if it means breaking with our own traditions.”
We are asking all of you to do just that. Please put your partisan differences aside, get down to the work the voters have asked you to do and show the world that Canada is serious about evolving into a modern democracy that respects and provides voice to all voters. We know you can do it. We look forward to cheering you on.
Fair Vote Canada
Une lettre ouverte à tous les partis et leaders parlementaires,
Les Canadiens vous ont donné un mandat. Soixante-trois pourcent (63%) d’entre nous ont voté en faveur d’un changement du système électoral pour un système qui est plus juste, équitable et démocratique – un système qui fera en sorte que chaque vote compte, qui fera en sorte que la volonté de l’électorat sera reflétée à la Chambre des communes.
Vous avez la tâche d’améliorer la démocratie dans un système qui ne l’est pas. Dix-sept millions (17 000 000) de Canadiens ont exprimé leur voix le 19 octobre dernier et 4,6 millions d’électeurs ont élu des députés qui ont maintenant une fausse majorité. Des millions de Canadiens – plus de deux millions chacun pour les libéraux, les conservateurs et les néo-démocrates – n’ont pas de représentation à Ottawa. C’est maintenant votre responsabilité de nous démontrer que vous comprenez le problème, que vous êtes déterminés à le régler et que vous être prêts à avoir le leadership nécessaire pour obtenir les résultats souhaités.
En tant qu’organisation multipartite, nous savons que la vraie démocratie – celle où tous les citoyens profitent de droits égaux et où le pouvoir appartient au peuple et est exercé directement par le peuple au travers de leurs représentants élus – n’est pas facile. Il est difficile de mettre de côté les allégeances, d’écouter réellement les citoyens, de coopérer, de faire des compromis et d’obtenir un consensus. C’est encore plus difficile dans le cadre d’un système injuste où certains partis ont reçu plus que leur juste part et d’autres n’ont pas l’appui auquel ils ont droit. Une représentation équitable au sein de la législature devrait être un droit inaliénable de tout citoyen dans une société libre et démocratique. La démocratie n’est pas facile, mais elle engendre de meilleurs résultats et respecte toutes les voix.
C’est pourquoi il est très important, en cette période où le processus de la réforme ressemble de plus en plus à une impasse qui pourrait en abîmer l’intégrité, de s’immerger dans l’esprit de la démocratie. Les Canadiens regardent. Le monde regarde.
Nous sommes très inquiets que cette réforme soit déjà boiteuse alors qu’elle n’est même pas commencée. Vous savez tous très bien que si vous voulez considérer sérieusement toutes les options, vous devrez vous en tenir à un échéancier serré. Depuis la première rencontre de la Chambre des communes le 3 décembre, près de 6 mois ont passé. Ceci a soulevé des inquiétudes chez les médias, les groupes de la société civile et quelques députés concernant la crédibilité du processus.
Nous vous demandons de retirer vos chapeaux partisans et de gouverner au nom de tous les Canadiens. Embrassez l’esprit de la démocratie et réalisez que le Canada ne sera pas « de retour » tant que toutes les voix ne seront pas entendues à la table.
Leaders parlementaires, nous vous demandons de vous asseoir et de négocier une échéance pour déposer la motion du Comité spécial sur la réforme électorale à temps pour pouvoir avoir un débat rigoureux et faire avancer la motion avant que la Chambre n’ajourne pour l’été.
Si le lancement du Comité qui doit affronter notre déficit démocratique devait être un échec, cela exposerait tous les parlementaires sous un très mauvais jour. Une incapacité à faire ce travail sera considérée par l’électorat comme une attaque envers notre désir collectif de créer un système électoral qui traite tous les électeurs – et leurs représentants – de manière juste.
Il n’y a pas de temps à perdre en recherche de coupable et attaques partisanes mesquines.
Lors d’un discours à Halifax, notre Premier ministre a dit : « Nous devons montrer, une fois de plus, que le parti libéral n’a pas peur de mettre au défi le statu quo, même si cela signifie être en rupture avec nos propres traditions. »
C’est exactement cela que nous vous demandons de faire. S’il-vous-plaît, mettez votre partisannerie de côté, mettez-vous au travail tel que vous le demandent les électeurs et montrez au monde que le Canada est sérieux dans son intention de mettre en place une démocratie moderne qui respecte et donne une voix à tous les électeurs. Nous savons que vous pouvez le faire. Nous avons hâte de vous applaudir.
Représentation équitable au Canada
All-Candidate Meetings at which Fair Vote Calgary will be present:
• Calgary Signal Hill, Monday 28 September, at Rosscarrock Community Association, 4411 10 Avenue SW Calgary. Set up from 6.00 p.m., doors open at 6.30 pm., meeting from 7.00 p.m. Organised by Rosscarrock Community Association.
• Calgary Skyview, Tuesday 29 September, at Castleridge Falconridge Community Association, 95 Falshire Drive NE Calgary. Set up at 6.00 p.m., Meet and Greet from 6.30 p.m., Program 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. Organised by Calgary Leadership Forum.
• Calgary Shepard, Wednesday 30 September, at Jayman Theastre, 3132 118 Avenue SE, Calgary. Set up at 6.00 p.m., Meet and Greet from 6.30 p.m., Program 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. Organised by Calgary Leadership Forum.
Calgary Confederation, Sunday 4 October, at St. Thomas United Church, 100 Hawkwood Blvd. NW, Calgary. Set up at 2.00, doors open ~2.30. meeting from 3.00 to 5.00 p.m. Organised by Just Vote Calgary.
Conversation with your local candidates – Become more informed – then decide. 6.00 – 8.00 p.m., September 30, 2015. Marlborough Park Community Association, 6021 Madigan Drive SE Calgary. 5.30 p.m. Light supper available. Your Vote – Your Voice. Download the poster from conversation with candidates (2)
From Kelly Carmichael, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada:
“As we get closer to the election this group (those opposed to PR, or change, or the status quo – MH) will become more and more important.
We know many partisans will fight back in order to keep power. Some will stretch the truth, others will wield complete misinformation.
Yesterday, Ryan Campbell and I (Kelly) tried to dispel a few of the myths around ‘too much power in the parties’ but there will be more”.
That’s the headline in DeSmog Canada’s latest on-line edition. You can read the article here.
Emma Gilchrist, author of the article and now Executive Director of DeSmog Canada, is a former Calgarian. Emma initiated the Herald’s Green Guide several years ago.
I have received calls and emails asking how would the result have been different under proportional representation? In my earlier post below ‘New Democrats Must Fix the Voting System’ I offered a very simple version of what might have been, just converting the Elections Alberta Interim Results into seats. Wilf Day has written a much deeper analysis and sophisticated projection in his blog.
It is clear that proportional representation would end the false majorities we have been experiencing in many recent federal and provincial elections. Instead of the FPTP ‘winner’ being able to ride roughshod over the opposition and push through whatever policy or legislation it wanted in a ‘winner takes all’ result, debate in the legislature or parliament would have to change. The legislature becomes a debating and negotiating chamber. Policies and legislation reflect what all Albertans want. If every vote were a free vote (I can dream!) the end of each debate would be reached in a consensus or group decision. Democracy wins.
Rob Lewis – a 34 year old junior high science teacher, hasn’t voted for many years. The CBC Eyeopener is asking people to persuade Rob to vote — here is Fair Vote Calgary’s effort.
Rob – your vote is important, even if it doesn’t serve to elect someone. What?
By NOT even going to vote, you are signalling that you accept the present state of affairs, which you clearly don’t. Your comments about not finding someone suitable to vote FOR are fine, but you can more effectively register a protest by going to the poll, registering to vote, and declining to accept a ballot.
Some people choose to spoil their ballot. This doesn’t tell anyone anything – you might have made a mistake in marking the paper, or you might have written ‘None of the Above’, or marked the ballot in a preferential order. None of that will be recorded – just that the ballot was spoiled and discarded.
Under the present First-Past-The-Post system only the votes for the candidate who gets the most are counted toward electing someone. In a four-candidate electoral district, that could be as low as 30% of the vote. That means 70% of the votes cast did not elect anyone – they are ‘wasted’. No wonder even those of us who DO vote are dissatisfied with the present system; there IS a better way!
Proportional representation works to make every vote count toward electing someone; the way the ballots are designed and the way the votes are counted makes all the difference. The goal is to ensure that the representation in the legislature or Parliament reflects the provincial or national popular vote. Get 39% of the vote – get 39% of the seats; not 60% of the seats (and 100% of the power!) This is not unique to the present federal government – in 2012, in Alberta, the PCs got 44% of the vote, 61 of 87 (70%) seats in the legislature, so 100% of the power.
So, Rob, carefully evaluate the parties’ policies and support — that is, get out on Tuesday (or in an advance poll) — and vote for a candidate who will support the introduction of proportional representation, regardless of political colour or stripe. You can find out a lot more on Fair Vote Calgary’s web site here and here. In Alberta, we need a simple majority, 44 of 87 MLAs (50.6%), to support proportional representation, and then you will have helped make 2015 the last unfair election.
Leader, Fair Vote Calgary – a Fair Vote Canada Action Team
Make Every Vote Count! Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election!
Dear Alberta Liberal Party Calgary Area Candidate:
I tried to write to you individually but regrettably your web sites do not provide email addresses so I am compelled to address you openly, in the same manner as I have emailed individually all other Calgary area candidates of all political parties.
Please excuse the impersonal addressing . . .
I’m writing on behalf of Fair Vote Calgary to seek your signature to the Declaration of Voters’ Rights — Politician’s Pledge, which in short says that you will work toward getting proportional representation (PR) introduced in Alberta. The Pledge is attached; I ask you to print, sign, scan and return the document to me (or mail it back to me at the address below). Please keep a copy to display in your campaign headquarters. I have created a page on the Fair Vote Calgary web site on which I will publish the names of candidates who are in favour of PR and who have signed the Pledge.
I am in the process of contacting all Calgary area candidates from all parties for this information. The goal is to tell all Calgary area voters which candidates are in favour of PR so their voting intentions are informed. From the Alberta Liberal party’s web site, the policy seems not to be in favour of PR since it states under Better Democracy: “Change Alberta’s electoral system to instant-runoff (preferential) voting.” This of course is not proportional representation – it is in fact a more severe form of the present undemocratic form of First-Past-the-Post, where 50% plus one would see a candidate elected, leaving 50% minus one who would not be represented at all.
PR seeks to ‘Make Every Vote Count’ and Fair Vote Calgary’s intention is to ‘Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election’. Under PR, almost every vote would help to elect a candidate, and the resulting legislature would reflect the popular vote rather than the distortions which now result from FPTP (and would be aggravated by Instant Run-off or preferential voting, unless the preferential system incorporated a measure to achieve PR).
PR is used in advanced democracies world-wide; only a few countries still use our present outdated First-Past-the-Post majoritarian-plurality system. In a national poll conducted for Fair Vote Canada and LeadNow by Environics in 2013, 70% of Canadians strongly or somewhat supported the adoption of PR. 77% of Liberals strongly or somewhat supported the adoption of PR. If the 2012 general election had been conducted under PR, by my calculation the legislature would have “ … had nine MLAs from each of the Liberal and New Democratic Parties and one Alberta Party MLA. Most interesting of all, there could have been 30 Wildrose and 38 Progressive Conservative MLAs …” (before the by-elections and floor-crossings last fall; from my personal blog at http://hambridge.com/index.php/conservative-alberta-elections-and-fair-voting/).
There is much more information in the documents also attached ‘Why PR – Review of Evidence’ and ‘Fair Vote Canada FAQ’. I also ask you to consider the questions on Qs for Candidates and add your brief thoughts or questions. If you return them, we will do our best to address them for you before the election.
Leader, Fair Vote Calgary – a Fair Vote Canada Action Team
Make Every Vote Count! Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election!
1003-4555 Varsity Lane NW Calgary, AB T3A 2V6
Phone +1 403 239 5516
The Fair Vote Canada – Edmonton Chapter has provided resources designed for teachers to use in their junior- and senior-high classrooms. These resources are intended for use across the Province. Here you will find two PowerPoint presentations that illustrate the differences between our current First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system and a number of other electoral systems which use proportional representation. The first slideshow contrasts FPTP with Mixed-Member Proportional Representation, while the second slideshow demonstrates how the Single Transferable Vote system could work. There are also guides to assist teachers in using these slideshows in their classroom.
These materials are new as of 2015 02 23. Comments and feedback would be appreciated, especially suggestions for improvement; please email email@example.com
Click on the Resources tab and scroll down to Educational Resources for Teachers and Schools to access the individual items.
Fair Vote Calgary is pleased to co-operate with the Edmonton Chapter of Fair Vote Canada in presenting these materials.