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
A nearly-complete, ever-changing listing of candidates in southern Alberta who support PR can be found here.
Now that nominations are complete and Elections Canada have confirmed the candidate lists in each electoral district, there will be little change. Check back for updates – most recently Friday 2015 10 05.
The following post was prepared and posted on his campaign web site by Marlo Raynolds, Liberal candidate for the Banff-Airdrie Electoral District. The original blog post (reposted with Marlo’s permission) is here
People want their vote to count and their voice heard.
With Canadians thrown into an early summer election, people are starting to have conversations at the dinner table about their voting options. Many of those conversations are about peoples’ desire to have a Parliament that actually reflects the way all Canadians voted, not one that reflects a single party winning only a minority of votes but getting the majority of seats and all the power.
People want their vote to count and their voice heard.
The outcome of electoral reform, if it takes the form of proportional representation, or PR, would significantly change the face of Parliament by more accurately reflecting how we vote. In Alberta, for instance, a form of PR in the last federal election would have given the Conservatives 19 seats instead of the 27 they achieved under the existing “first-past-the-post” system. The NDP would have won five seats instead of one, the Liberals would have gained three seats instead of none, and the Greens one instead of none.
Recent redistribution of electoral ridings mean that the next federal election will increase the number of Alberta MPs to 34 from 28.
It is time to restore and modernize our democracy, for which many Canadians have fought.
This is why the Liberal Party is committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system. As part of a national engagement process, we will ensure that electoral reform measures – such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting – are fully and fairly studied and considered. This will be carried out by a special all-party parliamentary committee, which will bring recommendations that will allow Parliament to take action before the next federal election. Within 18 months of forming government, we will bring forward legislation to enact electoral reform.
My personal view is we need to evolve our electoral system to be inline with the vast majority of democracies around the world – one which results in the proportion of votes cast for each party to result in a similar proportion of power and seats in the House of Commons.
But we need to design a voting system that works for Canada. A system that Canadians understand and is recognized to be fair. This will take work.
If elected as the Member of Parliament for Banff-Airdrie, I will start by hosting a series of facilitated dialogues across the riding to develop our local view on how to ensure we restore trust in our democratic process and decision making in Ottawa.
The idea of PR, and how it could affect Canadians, is complex. But it’s an important and timely issue. The more we understand it, the better the consultation process – and recommendations – will be. And the better you’ll feel about voting.
It’s time for Real Change in electoral reform and the Liberal Party – working with Canadians – will get it done quickly, openly and fairly.
I encourage everyone to start their research both with Fair Vote Canada and the Liberal Party’s position. And of course, I am very interested in directly receiving your feedback, just email me or give me a call.
Please take a look at the new pages under ‘Get Involved’, which outline the position of the various candidates and parties (where known) on proportional representation.
Liberal Party of Canada moves one step closer to Proportional Representation by committing to END Canada’s Winner-Take-All voting system!
“Fair Vote Canada is delighted the Liberal Party (of Canada) is joining us in making 2015 The Last Unfair Election. We congratulate Justin Trudeau for starting today’s announcement with the words Make Every Vote Count,” says Doug Bailie, President of Fair Vote Canada (FVC).
Today over half of all voters are unable to elect a representative who reflects their views. A new electoral system should not only end First-Past-The-Post but firmly commit to moving away from all winner-take-all voting systems. Fair Vote Canada supports Justin Trudeau’s statement that “promoting partisan interests at the cost of public trust” must stop. Absolutely, we should aim for the best system for Canadians and not compromise our values by favouring partisan solutions.
Kelly Carmichael, FVC’s Executive Director reminds us, “Federal election results exaggerate regional divisions, under-represent Canadian diversity and treat voters unequally. We are confident that when Liberals examine the vast store of research with the best interests of Canadians in mind, they will conclude that a system which includes an element of proportionality is the only way to go. We trust that the timeline laid out by the Liberal party will provide ample time to study and implement the best system for Canadians.”
A fair system makes first choices count, provides better governance thorough consensus, supports more women in politics, builds stronger economies, implements better climate policy and puts Canadians in the driver’s seat. Building an electoral system that entrenches good governance and puts citizens first by eliminating winner-take-all politics is a healthy step forward.
Fair Vote Canada is a grassroots organization representing over 57,000 Canadians calling for equal and effective votes for all citizens through the use of proportional representation.
Congratulations to the Alberta New Democrats on ‘winning’ the 2015 Alberta general election. Everyone put in a tremendous effort, led by new NDP Leader Rachel Notley and a Notley Crûe of candidates, volunteers and eventually voters who turfed the 44 year Progressive Conservative dynasty. Another ‘orange crush’. Democracy is great, when it works.
What Alberta voted for is not what Alberta got because of the archaic First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system we continue to use. While the television reporters and pundits were wondering at the magnitude of the NDP ‘win’, others were looking behind the numbers on the screen.
There are about 2.5 million ‘electors’ in Alberta and about 58% turned out to vote, according to Elections Alberta which also says 1,162,877 votes were cast. My Vote Should Count says 797,564 votes did not help to elect anybody. That’s 797,564 / 1,162,877 (53.82%) wasted or ‘unrepresented’ votes. So if just over half the electorate voted, and less than half of those votes served to elect someone – was democracy served? Since the NDP obtained 41% of the popular vote, did they really ‘win’ the election?
Because of inherent bias in our FPTP system (which was designed for two-candidate elections), the results are a grossly distorted ‘false majority’ (as were the 2012 provincial general election, the 2011 federal general election, and most others before that).
The MLAs we voted for if we had province-wide proportional representation [PR] would have been:
NDP: 36, PC: 24, WRP: 21, ALP: 4, Alberta Party: 2 seats.
What we got was:
NDP: 53, PC: 10, WRP: 21, ALP: 1, Alberta Party: 1 seat.
That assumes that everyone would have voted under PR the way they did under FPTP, which is unlikely. Under PR there would probably have been a larger turnout of the electorate since more votes would have helped to elect someone.
FPTP leads to strategic voting which further distorts the results of an election: ‘I have to vote for A (who has a better chance of winning) so as to defeat B (who I don’t like and don’t want to win) when I would prefer to vote for C (whose policies I really agree with and want to see implemented)’. How many voted like that on May 5, to ‘punish’ the party or candidate that ‘misbehaved’ in the eyes of a voter? Would a different result have come about if no-one ‘had to’ vote strategically? That is the biggest advantage of PR. A voter can be confident that the candidate, or at least the party they represent, will be elected to the legislature in proportion to the popular vote so everyone’s voice is heard to some extent.
Now is the time to change the voting system, to Make Every Vote Count and ensure that 2015 is the last unfair election. The New Democratic Party has made proportional representation its policy, both federally and provincially, so here again is an opportunity for the NDP to show that Alberta is a progressive place and become the first jurisdiction in Canada to introduce PR – and catch up to most of the modern democracies in the rest of the world. In a poll conducted for LeadNow and Fair Vote Canada in 2013, 70% of Canadians were reported to be in favour of PR. All the many commissions conducted over recent years have recommended PR as the new, right way to go. It hasn’t been adopted because politicians in power have obfuscated and rejected change; the system that got them into power is just fine for them! We mustn’t let the NDP adopt that position. Now is the time to initiate this change in Alberta. There are four years ahead of us to assess and design a system which would be used in 2019.
The Calgary Herald called for letters advising the (at that time unknown) Premier what should be task #1after the election. My letter said:
• Imagine a legislature which reflected the members that Albertans voted for and wanted to see there!
• Imagine not having to vote strategically to ensure someone you didn’t want was elected, to be sure someone you really didn’t want was defeated.
• Imagine an electoral system where every vote counted to electing a legislature member.
• Imagine a legislature where the membership reflected the popular vote.
• Imagine a legislature where debate was collegial, not adversarial, in the best interest of all Albertans.
• Imagine, and work for, a proportional representation electoral system;
• Make 2015 the last unfair election.
It is up to Albertans to make sure their MLAs know our priorities and pressure them now to introduce this up to date electoral system.
We have had so many new supporters sign up in the last few months, that we’re offering this webinar again!
Are you new to Fair Vote Canada and want to help us Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election? Join us for a live presentation and conversation about the Make Every Vote Count 2015 campaign!
Sunday May 10, 7:30 PM EST
We have an historic opportunity to achieve proportional representation in Canada. Learn:
- important background about why we need PR in Canada
- how you can get involved to help Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election!
This webinar will include a presentation and a chance for participants to ask questions of the presenters.
Joining us as part of the webinar will be:
Professor Dennis Pilon, Canadian Electoral Reform Expert, Member of FVC’s Advisory Board, Author of “The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada’s Electoral System” and “Wrestling with Democracy”
Anita Nickerson, Action Coordinator, Fair Vote Canada
Please share this email with anyone interested in learning more about PR and Fair Vote Canada’s campaign to Make 2015 the Last Unfair Election!
Volunteers Needed: Tell Canadians Why You Care About Proportional Representation
We’re looking to develop a series of Facebook posters of Canadians sharing why proportional representation is important to them. We need Canadians to understand that making votes count isn’t a dry, mathematical issue – that the desire for proportional representation comes from deeply held, shared values – that it comes from the heart. If you have a short quote and a picture we could use on Facebook about why achieving PR matters to you, please let me know.
On a similar note, do you have direct experience with proportional representation from another country?
Are you a Canadian who has lived and voted in a country that successfully uses proportional representation, such as Sweden, Norway, Scotland, New Zealand, Germany etc? Would you be willing to tell fellow Canadians a bit about that experience, compared to voting with first-past-the-post in Canada, and why you think we should choose a more proportional system? We’re looking for a few people who would be willing to provide us with a photo and quote for a social media poster and a summary of your experience which would go on a new page on our website. It’s not so much the mechanics of PR in another country that are most important, as every country has their own system design, but how proportional representation makes democracy more meaningful for voters, and politics different.
If you can help. please get in touch with anita(dot)nickerson(at)fairvote.ca
Sincerely, Anita Nickerson FVC Action Coordinator