Trudy Beaulne Remembered

Trudy Beaulne

Trudy Beaulne Introduces the Panelists at the panel discussion Is the Fair Elections Act Fair?

Last Friday, Trudy Beaulne, director of the Social Development Council of Waterloo Region, passed away.

The Board of Directors of Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter would like to express our condolences to Trudy’s family and all those who will feel her loss.

Trudy was a woman of strength, intelligence and compassion. Her work to strengthen our communities and improve the lives of individuals was an enormous gift to Waterloo Region. Trudy used her gifts to benefit others; her impact and legacy will remain with all whose lives she touched. Trudy will be remembered and greatly missed.

Sincerely,
Sharon Sommerville
for FairVote Canada – Waterloo Region

Trudy Beaulne obituary | The Record

“Is the Fair Elections Act Fair?” pictures by Bob Jonkman are licensed Creative Commons LicenseCC-BY.

Season’s Greetings From Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter

All I Want For Christmas Is Proportional Representation Hello FairVoting Friends,

The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter would like to wish you and yours all the very best of the festive season.

And, to invite you to celebrate the season together at our festive pot luck on Wednesday, December 27th 2017 at 7pm. The get together is at 34 Aberdeen Road in Kitchener. Map

Safe & happy holidays to all!,

Sharon
for FVC-WR

All I Want For Christmas Is PR postcard by Laurel L. Russwurm is used under a CC 0 (Public Domain)Creative Commons — CC0 1.0 Universal (Public Domain dedication) license.

Reminder: Discussion Night, 7pm on Wed, 29 Nov 2017 at Bread and Roses

Group discussion Hi all: Just a quick reminder of tonight’s Discussion Night:

What: Fair Vote Waterloo November 2017 Discussion Night
When: Wednesday, 29 November 2017 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Meeting Room, Bread & Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener, Ontario Map 1

Topics:

1 February 2018

The first of February marks the anniversary of the Liberals’ broken promise on Electoral Reform. What should we do to remind them that this is unacceptable? Another rally? A march from one MP’s office to another? Let’s make some plans!

BC Referendum

The BC provincial government will be holding a referendum on proportional representation in 2018, and it is not without opposition. BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone pulls out the usual argument of “We’ll be having perpetual coalition governments like we have right now, where you have the tail wagging the dog” — If the Liberals had been open to a collaborative government with the Greens then they could have been the whole dog!

Electoral reform an attack on democracy, Stone says — Alberni Valley News

We can discuss how we can provide support for the BC referendum. Fair Vote Canada has just launched a campaign, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter and soon on Instagram:

Facebook: Fair Vote Canada-BC

Twitter: @fvc_BC

Holiday Get-Together

The regular Discussion Night (last Wednesday of the month) falls on 27 December 2017 next month. Since that’s right in the middle of the holidays, perhaps we should have a Holiday Get-Together instead! Save the date, plans for a social night are in the works!

Parking:

If you’re driving to tonight’s Discussion Night at Bread And Roses, place a note on the dashboard of your vehicle:

Meeting in Community Room re Apt 107 from 7-9pm

and park in the north lot, on the other side of the Morrison-Reist building Map 2

See you Wednesday!

–Bob.

Our Meeting With Raj Saini

Fair Vote WRC visits RajHello Fairvoting Friends,

On Friday afternoon, a group of nine of us meet with Raj Saini, Liberal MP for Kitchener Centre. Nine folks pretty much fills Raj’s office! We presented Raj with this summer’s petition which asked that his party keep their campaign promise and enact legislation to change our electoral system in time for 2019. There were well over 500 signatures on the petition.

Our message was strong, clear, passionate and respectful. Each of us had time to speak directly to Raj about why they care about electoral reform. Those comments were very powerful.

People spoke about the inevitability of electoral reform as our own experience and recent polls (In late October Insights West found that 67% of Canadians want the Liberal government to keep its promise on electoral reform; in early October Angus Reid found the same) & the evidence that supports change. One of us emphasized that this is a legacy issue as Prime Minister Trudeau’s father before him established by patriating our Constitution and raised the question of what side of history do you and your party want to be on? One of us asked him, “I know, that you know that PR is the way to go to establish a fair electoral system, what happen?” One of us asked, what can we do to help you support PR?. One wanted to finally, after 40 years of voting, to be represented by someone they voted for.

We addressed Trudeau’s statement that the decision to renege on the promise of electoral reform was his to make and he made it because they weren’t going to be able to institute Alternative Vote (June 2017, Iqaluit, Nunavut). We raised the anti-democratic nature of that statement. Raj spoke about the threat of a referendum being the justification for not moving forward with electoral reform. We knew that because the Liberals were unwilling to negotiate with the NDP & Greens to bring about the ERRE recommendations, the NDP & Greens brokered a deal with the Conservatives. To bring in a majority report from the ERRE committee, the price was a referendum.

Raj promised to present our petition to the House and speak with the Minister of Democratic Institutions about our concerns. We thank Raj for taking those actions and for the respectful conversation we had on Friday.

There is interest in putting a group together to speak with the Hon. Bardish Chagger, Liberal MP for Waterloo. If anyone is interested in going to meet with Minister Chagger, please let me know and we will arrange a meeting. You can reach me at:

sharonsommerville@gmail.com

A sincere thank you to the eight fair voting supporters who attended Friday’s meeting. Everyone’s passion, honesty and determination is inspiring.

With thanks to all our supporters for your continued support as we work toward building a better Canada.

Best wishes,
Sharon
for FVC-WR

Reminding Raj Saini about Electoral Reform

Fair Vote WRC visits Raj

Friday’s Petition Crew

To encourage the Liberals to keep their promise to reform our electoral system,on Friday afternoon (November 10th, 2017) we delivered our 500+ signature Fair Vote petition to Kitchener Centre MP Raj Saini.  We had a brief opportunity to meet with Mr. Saini to explain our frustrations with his government’s failure to deliver on their oft repeated Electoral Reform Promise.

Mr Saini told us the only reason he voted against accepting the ERRE report was the inclusion of a referendum.  (Of course, had the Liberals on the ERRE Committee had been willing to work across party lines with the Greens and NDP there would have been no need for the inclusion of a referendum in the report.)  He did, however, promise to submit the Petition to the House of Commons.

In case you’ve forgotten, this is what Mr. Saini had to say about electoral reform before he was elected MP.

Watch the UK PR Petition Parliamentary Debate online

Canada’s E-616 petition garnered more than 130,000 signatures.  More than any other Parliamentary e-Petition in Canadian history.  There was some thought that this would lead to an actual Parliamentary Debate on the Electoral Reform process promised by the Trudeau Government.

When a Parliamentary e-petition in the UK exceeds 100,000 signatures. it triggers an actual Parliamentary Debate.  Recently an Electoral Reform Petition resulted in just such a debate.

To make votes matter, adopt Proportional Representation for UK General Elections

Proportional Representation for WestminsterThe vast majority wants PR. Our FPTP voting system makes Parliament unrepresentative. One party got 37% of the vote and 51% of seats, while 3 parties got 24% of the vote but share 1.5% of seats. FPTP violates the democratic principle of majority rule and causes problems like costly policy reversals.

The UK has never had a say on PR. As David Cameron himself said, the AV Referendum was on a system that is often less proportional than FPTP, so the rejection of AV could not possibly be a rejection of PR. In fact, so few voters wanted either system on offer that the turnout was just 42%.

There are tried and tested PR systems that keep the constituency link. They would make every vote matter equally, rather than allowing a minority of swing voters in a few marginal seats to pick the government.
UK Parliament e-petition 168657

This petition ran for 6 months and achieved 103,495 signatures.  The debate was quite interesting, and if you’re interested in taking a look, it is still online. (although I am not sure for how long).  For now at least you can see it here http://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c52f8c49-55ac-44c8-bf23-b1705afadaf8 or download the mp3 to watch later.

But even if the video is no longer online, you’ll still be able to read it in Hansard here:
https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-10-30/debates/9D7C1DE6-0EA9-45D2-AD7E-D0EEB3ECCB92/ProportionalRepresentation
[Of course you won’t get to see the Minister squirm in the text version.]

UK Parliamentary Debate


Both the PR for Westminster and the UK Parliament PR Debate miniposters are Public Domain images..

Joint meeting of @FairvoteWRC and KW Council of Canadians @KWCofC

Group discussionHi Fair Voters: This month, the regular date for the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night falls on the same day as the KW Council of Canadians meeting. But rather than making you choose one or the other, we’re holding a joint meeting!

There is considerable overlap in the membership of our groups, and one of the Council of Canadians’ campaigns is Electoral Reform. This joint meeting is one way that we can offer support to CoC.


Council of Canadians | Acting for social justice | Conseil des Canadiens | Agir pour la justice socialeThis is also an opportunity for FairvoteWRC members who haven’t heard about Council of Canadians, and might like to join that organization. And, of course, it’s an introduction to FairvoteWRC for CoC members who would like to get involved with FairvoteWRC in a focused campaign solely on electoral reform.

What: Joint meeting of @FairvoteWRC and KW Council of Canadians @KWCofC
When: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Meeting Room, Bread & Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener, Ontario Map 1

Parking: If you’re driving, place a note on the dashboard of your vehicle:

Meeting in Community Room re Apt 107 from 7-9pm

and park in the north lot, on the other side of the Morrison-Reist building Map 2

There’s no fixed agenda for this meeting, but the following are points for discussion:

There will be a town hall meeting sponsored by the Waterloo Regional Labour Council on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 6:30 pm and St. David’s Catholic Secondary School, 4 High St, Waterloo featuring Kitchener- Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife, Ontario Health Coalition Executive Director Natalie Mehra, and other local politicians. We urge all who can get there to attend.

Several of us attended the CoC Guelph meeting on 18 October at which Maude Barlow and Gus Van Harten spoke eloquently about the dangers of NAFTA and its implications for water rights. This provided a number of ideas we can talk about regarding further advocacy and actions.

  • Van Harten urged everyone present to write to Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at chrystia.freeland@international.gc.ca and ask her with due respect to get Canada out of ISDS

Philippe Charbonneau (Political Team Admin Assistant in Ottawa) asks if chapters would be interested in screening a new documentary on the cooperative enterprise model called A Silent Transformation that features Maude Barlow. There would be a small fee. If there is sufficient interest, we will ask for further details.

The Liberal government has not kept the campaign promise to restore protection to the 99% of lakes and rivers removed from the schedule of protected waters under the Harper government. CoC chapters are urged to call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Transport Minister Marc Garneau for protection of a local lake or river. For further details see No waters left behind – nominate a lake or river worthy of protection and Groups across Canada urge Trudeau government to protect 100% of lakes and rivers.

Friday, 10 November 2017 at 3:30pm, FairvoteWRC will present a petition in support of proportional representation to MP Raj Saini at his Constituency Office (Suite 202 – 209 Frederick Street, Kitchener. Electoral reform is one of the areas in which CoC and FairvoteWRC overlap, and the more we can coordinate our efforts, the more likely we are to succeed. All are invited to attend.

The FairvoteWRC Outreach subcommittee is reaching out to faith-based communities to build awareness of and allies on the issue of proportional representation (PR) in the community. Their goals are to

  • create awareness of FairvoteWRC
  • offer an opportunity to further educate about the issue
  • invite endorsement of our work with an invitation to engage or join with us in the future

On 1 February 2017 the mandate letter for the Hon. Kristina Gould, Minister of Democratic Institutions was released, marking the first official announcement that the Liberals would be breaking their promise that “2015 will be the last election under First Past The Post”. FairvoteWRC intends to hold an event (protest, rally, public information meeting) to remind people, and especially the Liberals, that we have not forgotten the promise, and that we’ll be holding the Liberals to account.

Every year FairvoteWRC tries to hold several public information events during the winter months. We could bring in a speaker, show a movie, or hold a seminar to explain the mechanics of proportional representation. Sometimes these events are held as part of Discussion Nights; sometimes they’re held separately. The Kitchener Public Library has been a suitable venue in the past.

See you on Wednesday!

–Bob Jonkman,
FairvoteWRC Co-chair

Letter to the Editor: Reply to Paul Wells interview with David Johnston

The recent Macleans of Sept 18 had an interview of David Johnston by Paul Wells.

Based on that interview I sent the following letter to Macleans’ editors.

I have heard nothing from them and suspect they will ignore this letter.

I know it’s not easy to get letters accepted, especially if the editors have a bias against the ideas presented.

However, our discussion group emphasized we must keep doing everything possible to keep ER and the government’s broken promise out there in the media and in front of the public and the MPs.

While some strategies may wait until closer to the election, letters to the media can be ongoing and frequent at every opportunity.

If possible, social media connections could be useful as well.

Dave Arthur

In Paul Wells’ conversation with David Johnston in the September 18 issue of Macleans, Johnston states that, if you wanted to name countries around the world that seem to have government that pretty well satisfies the needs of the vast majority of people and has a degree of trust, you’d probably have on that list: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada. He asks what’s common to those? They’re all constitutional monarchies with vigorous parliamentary democracies. So, according to Johnston, something has been working well for us.

Johnston also states that in the Edelman Trust survey, for the first time in eight years, Canada is a “distrustor nation.” More than 50 per cent of our population don’t trust their public institutions. So we’re now in the middle of the pack on that. We used to be in the top third.

I point out that all eight countries, with the exception of Canada, have stronger representative democracies than Canada with the use of proportional representation PR. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, and New Zealand have fully proportional democracies. Australia uses a proportional system for their senate and ranked ballot for the house of representatives. Although the United Kingdom uses first-past-the-post for the house of commons, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland use proportional systems for their own parliaments created in 1998. These countries join 90% of all EU and OECD countries that use proportional representation.

Trudeau promised that 2015 would be the last federal election using first-past-the-post. He set up a special committee on electoral reform that received testimony and written submissions from thousands of Canadians and held town hall meetings across Canada. The vast majority of those supported proportional representation. They did not support Trudeau’s preference for a ranked or preferential ballot, another winner-take-all system that would have clearly benefited the Liberal Party. As a result, Trudeau broke his promise and dropped electoral reform saying there was no consensus.

I join the many Canadians whose trust in our flawed and unfair electoral system has been further diminished by our prime minister’s broken promise. His promise to base policy on evidence does not warrant trust. Evidence from other countries shows that PR countries have better representation for all citizens, more cooperation and consensus, better long range planning, less partisan politics, fewer distorted results, and better government in general.

Dave Arthur

Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch File Joint Ethics Complaint against Prime Minister

For Immediate Release
Oct. 12, 2017

OTTAWA — Yesterday, Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch jointly released a letter that was sent to federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, filing a complaint and requesting investigations and public rulings concerning Prime Minister Trudeau’s dishonest and improper actions concerning electoral reform.  

Set out in the letter to Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, is the evidence that makes it reasonable to conclude that Prime Minister Trudeau’s statements and actions violate rules in the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons (the “MPs Code“) and in the Conflict of Interest Act.

In the lead-up to the 2015 election and beyond, Prime Minister Trudeau promised unequivocally to end the first-past-the-post voting system and replace it with a system that would “Make Every Vote Count.”

The promise to change the voting system was repeated more than 2,000 times and was a key plank in the Liberal election platform.

For five months, the MPs on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) heard overwhelming evidence and heartfelt pleas from Canadians to change the voting system to one that would reflect proportional representation.

Thousands took their time to participate in good faith.

After hearing months of testimony from academics, experts and citizens, the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) submitted a majority report that reflected the recommendations of experts invited to testify. The ERRE heard 180 experts in total and of these, 107 expressed themselves on the choice between keeping our current system  or adopting a proportional system. Fully 88% of these expert witnesses called for a proportional system, according to a detailed compilation undertaken by Fair Vote Canada.

http://www.fairvote.ca/strong-mandate/

and

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1m25MnHAKVJ_3KxLx3_JbK7JD5M5GL4WZaHcsw3lsUxM/edit#gid=0

This consultative process was the fifteenth of its kind in Canada. Every one of these recommended to make the system fairer and more representative by moving to a proportional voting system, including the federal process initiated by the Prime Minister.

Yet, our Prime Minister ignored all of the evidence and decided arbitrarily that “all forms of proportional representation would be bad for Canada.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-electoral-reform-wherry-analysis-1.4179928

This abrupt reversal of the promise made on electoral reform, and the complete rewriting of the facts show a lack of integrity. It suggests that Mr. Trudeau made his promise of electoral reform solely to attract voters in the first place and never intended to honour this promise. This becomes even clearer considering that both his election promise and the original mandate letter for the Minister of Democratic Institutions explicitly referred to proportional representation as an option, yet the Prime Minister now states he always thought proportional representation would be bad for Canada (see below).

Fair Vote Canada’s Executive Director, Kelly Carmichael states “Canadians need to feel confident that those we elect are honest and act with integrity and put the needs and desire of the citizens of this country before their partisan self-interest. In fact, in the Speech from the Throne, Prime Minister Trudeau appeared to agree with this sentiment as he he continued to laud his plan to unequivocally end first-past-the-post voting system when he stated “The trust Canadians have in public institutions — including Parliament — has, at times, been compromised.”

“If the Ethics Commissioner fails to investigate our complaint or finds Prime Minister Trudeau didn’t violate any rules with his dishonest statements and actions, it will show clearly that the rules need to be changed to prohibit politicians from blatantly misleading Canadian voters with false election promises and claims in-between elections,” said Duff a Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch

Both Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch want to see honesty and integrity in politics and both work to strengthen our democracy through better policy. The broken promise on electoral reform is a stellar example of why we feel it necessary to request investigations and public rulings concerning Prime Minister Trudeau’s actions on electoral reform. The policies are in place to protect citizens against dishonesty but they are only effective if  implemented and we hope Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson will use the tools at her disposal to restore integrity to Canadian politics.

-30-

BACKGROUND:

(The full request and evidence to Mary Dawson can be found here:

http://www.fairvote.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/2017_10_Request_MaryDawson.pdf)

  1. Background

As the code clearly states, the purposes of the MPs Code as set out in section 1 are to:

(a) maintain and enhance public confidence and trust in the integrity of Members as well as the respect and confidence that society places in the House of Commons as an institution;

(b) demonstrate to the public that Members are held to standards that place the public interest ahead of their private interests and to provide a transparent system by which the public may judge this to be the case;

(c) provide for greater certainty and guidance for Members in how to reconcile their private interests with their public duties and functions; and

(d) foster consensus among Members by establishing common standards and by providing the means by which questions relating to proper conduct may be answered by an independent, non-partisan adviser.

https://www.ourcommons.ca/About/StandingOrders/appa1-e.htm

  1. Request for ruling that Prime Minister Trudeau violated rules in the MPs Code

The MPs Code states:

  1. Given that service in Parliament is a public trust, the House of Commons recognizes and declares that Members are expected:

(a) to serve the public interest and represent constituents to the best of their abilities;

(b) to fulfill their public duties with honesty and uphold the highest standards so as to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interests, and maintain and enhance public confidence and trust in the integrity of each Member and in the House of Commons;

  1. Request for ruling that Prime Minister Trudeau violated s. 8 of MPs Code, and ss. 4 and 6 of Conflict of Interest Act

The MPs Code also states in section 8:

“When performing parliamentary duties and functions, a Member shall not act in any way to further his or her private interests or those of a member of the Member’s family, or to improperly further another person’s or entity’s private interests.”

The Conflict of Interest Act (the “Act“), which applies to Prime Minister Trudeau, contains similar rules in sections 4 and 6:

Conflict of interest

4 For the purposes of this Act, a public office holder is in a conflict of interest when he or she exercises an official power, duty or function that provides an opportunity to further his or her private interests or those of his or her relatives or friends or to improperly further another person’s private interests.

Decision-making

6 (1) No public office holder shall make a decision or participate in making a decision related to the exercise of an official power, duty or function if the public office holder knows or reasonably should know that, in the making of the decision, he or she would be in a conflict of interest.

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-36.65/page-2.html#h-4

Sincerely yours in the pursuit of honesty and integrity in politics,

Fair Vote Canada and Democracy Watch File Joint Ethics Complaint against Prime Minister | Fair Vote Canada

A Liberal, A Conservative And A Green

Hello FairVoting Friends,

At the end of September, FVC-WR attended the Cambridge International Festival. We would like to thank Bryan May, Liberal MP for Cambridge for visiting our information table and having a straight forward 25 minute conversation with us about the politics of PR. We appreciated Bryan’s time and his willingness share his perspective on the process of electoral reform. Although we see things differently, our thanks to Bryan for continuing the conversation on electoral reform.

Elizabeth May and Michael Chong will speak in Guelph next Tuesday evening, October the 10th on reforming Canada’s democracy. “Turning Parliament Inside Out: Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy” is an opportunity to hear Ms. May speak about electoral reform and Mr. Chong address parliamentary reform. It should be an interesting evening!

Additional details about the evening are below.

Best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sharon for FVC-WR

Fair Vote Guelph presents

Turning Parliament Inside Out

based on the book edited by Michael Chong, Scott Simms, and Kennedy Stewart

Practical Ideas for Reforming Canada’s Democracy

featuring

Michael Chong
Michael Chong
on Parliamentary Reform
Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May
on Electoral Reform



Tuesday, October 10, 2017 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Harcourt United Church, 87 Dean Avenue, Guelph

Liberal and NDP representatives from the local riding associations have been invited to reflect on the main presentations

This event is free and accessible (through the back door to the church around the corner from the parking lot). All welcome. Audience participation encouraged. Donations accepted.