Catherine Fife, MPP for Waterloo will be speaking. Catherine is a long time supporter of Proportional Representation and Fair Vote Canada’s work. We are excited that she will be joining us and are looking forward to her comments.
Jonathan Cassells has agreed to speak! Jonathan is the Kitchener resident who initiated the Petition to the Government of Canada on electoral reform. The petition hit 102,306 signatures this evening which will trigger a debate in the House of Commons. Brilliant citizen advocacy.
The heart of the rally is the open mic. Everyone who wants to share what electoral reform means to them or what they think of the Liberals broken promise will have a chance to speak until the rally’s end at 2:30 pm.
Join us tomorrow at 1:00 pm at Kitchener City Hall to share your story about electoral reform and send a message to our Prime Minister that we expect him to keep his promise to make every vote count.
Waterloo Region Record
By Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman
We would like to thank The Record for responding to the need to engage Canadians in the discussion about electoral reform by devoting a considerable amount of space to the issue this past year. We would also like to comment on the Feb. 3 editorial, “A Welcome Flip Flop On Voting Reform.” (Mirror)
The editorial states that electoral reform was an important plank in the platform which brought the Liberals to power. Electoral reform was also an important platform for the NDP and the Green party. Fully 63 per cent of Canadians who voted, voted for a party that supports electoral reform. Many Canadians are ready to move to a fairer electoral system precisely because our current system does not serve the majority of Canadians.
Harper’s 2011 majority and Trudeau’s 2015 majority share one thing in common; both majorities were achieved with less than 25 per cent of the eligible vote. In any representative democracy that is unacceptable. What it also means is that in 2015, nine million Canadians cast a vote which didn’t elect anyone, and so they have no effective representation. As a result of this, we disagree with your editorial’s statement that this week’s decision serves Canada well. It does not serve those nine million Canadians that don’t have effective representation in Parliament but it does serve those Canadians that benefit by the status quo; economic and political elites. We can certainly count Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberals in the latter group.
It is the case that Canada is number six (we tied Ireland for sixth place) on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 Democracy Index. What your editorial failed to say was that 17 of the 20 nations on the Full Democracy list use some form of proportional representation (PR). This includes the top 15 spots: Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Australia (Australia uses Alternative Vote to elect its Lower House and Proportional Representation to elect its Upper House), Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and Malta. The other two PR holdouts are the U.K. at number 16 and Mauritius at number 18. Clearly, proportional representation is a stable and effective way to elect legislators.
A made-in-Canada solution to our electoral inequality could and should ensure that MPs are directly elected by the voters they represent. Your editorial suggested that this would not be the case. Accountability would be built into a Canadian proportional system. To suggest otherwise muddies the waters of what PR offers.
Your editorial states that there is no widespread desire for change in this country. This is also a misrepresentation. Despite its flaws, the mydemocracy.ca survey overwhelmingly shows that Canadians want parties to share power in government. This is how legislatures elected by proportional representation work.
The failure of the Liberal government to lead on this important policy initiative resulted in the failure of the process and a lost opportunity to usher in an electoral system based on fairness and equality. Fairness and equality is the bedrock of any democracy and the reason that Fair Vote Canada will continue to work to ensure that electoral reform is an election issue in 2019. Every voter deserves effective representation in Parliament.
Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman are co-chairs of Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region.
If you’re in or near Waterloo Region, Ontario, please print and distribute as many posters as possible on public property where allowed Be sure to get permission before posting on private property, in retail stores, on community bulletin boards etc.
Help Make This Event A Success!
Plan to attend if you can, and bring as many friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, your kid’s teachers … anyone you know! This isn’t about politicians , it is really about us… we deserve to have our votes count. It’s only fair!
Give your inner child free reign to create your very own sign!
If you’ve got kids, get them involved ~ make it a family art project. Use Bristol Board or just ordinary cardboard.
Keep it Simple : One Idea per sign (although you can have another on the back of a double sided sign)
Black and white, primary colours
Big easy to read letters
Not everyone feels they are artistic, so if you’re feeling inspired, if you make extras, no doubt there will be folks happy to carry them.
If you are looking for inspiration, you might get some ideas from the graphics in my PR For Canada or ERRE Flickr Albums.
Sign the Petition
Whether or not you can make it out on Saturday, you can sign the record breaking (85552 signatures as of writing) House of Commons e-616 ePetition here. You don’t need to set up an account to sign, but you will need to confirm in email before it counts. As I understand it this one was started by a Waterloo gent.
There is still time for the Canadian Government to adopt electoral reform in time for 2019.
That’s would still be the BEST possible outcome for Canadians.
And it just *might* happen if we make enough noise now.
(If not, we can get to work on making sure the next government does.)
At our Strategy Meeting: Next Steps held Monday, 5 February 2017 we decided to hold a meeting to come up with some tactics for the continuing campaign to get Electoral Reform.
When are you available for a Campaign Tactics Meeting? Select the dates for which you’re available, or if none of these suit you, add a date and time for which you are available. Oh, let us know if you may be able to host this meeting. We’re looking for a location with a large working surface (Cafeteria tables? Ping Pong club? Quilting table?)
Simple plurality decides which date – most votes wins!
Do you remember what happened when parents sent their children stern letters to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series? Those letters were called “howlers”, they were delivered by owl, dropped on the dining table in front of the student, smoking and screeching.
Yesterday Justin Trudeau reneged on a key campaign promise to deliver electoral reform. In doing so, he betrayed the good will and hope that so many Canadians placed in him and the Liberal Party of Canada. Now it is time to let Prime Minister Trudeau know that not delivering on your promise of fair representation for all Canadians will have real consequences. Send the Prime Minister and local Liberal MPs a howler.
If you haven’t had time yet, I encourage you to send Waterloo Regional Liberals and Justin Trudeau a great “howler” via phone or email. And, a howler doesn’t have to be long, it can be as short and blunt message as you wish.
Press release sent to local media in Waterloo Region on 2 February 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Despite promising Canadians a democracy that is more fair and stronger, yesterday’s announcement by Minister Gould and additional comments by the Prime Minister gave us an unblemished example of political opportunism.
In addition to the disappointment and anger that millions of Canadians feel about reneging on the promise of meaningful electoral reform, this is a lost opportunity to ensure that the basic democratic principle that every citizen is equal under the law extends to include representation in Parliament.
Instead of joining the ranks of great prime ministers for such achievements as introducing universal health care, CPP or abolishing capital punishment, Trudeau will be remembered for turning his back on democracy. “I am not going to do something that is wrong for Canadians just to tick a box on an electoral promise.” It may well be that Canadians remember his broken promise the next time they are ticking a box on an electoral ballot.
Despite yesterday’s announcement, it is not too late for the Liberals to honour their promise to make 2015 the last election to use First Past The Post. We respectfully ask the Justin Trudeau to keep his promise and deliver the electoral fairness that Canadians voted for in October 2015.
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