CETA Talk this Thursday, 1 May 2014 & Report from “Is the Fair Elections Act Fair?”

CETA Poster

CETA Poster

Hello FairVoting Friends,

Below is a report from last week’s panel discussion on the Fair Elections Act for those of you who weren’t able to attend. It is encouraging that the government will amend the bill. We need to see what the government’s changes are to determine the extent of the improvements. Looking forward to that!

This Thursday is our debate on CETA with Stephen Woodworth and Angelo DiCaro. International trade agreements, The Auto Pact & NAFTA have changed the Canadian landscape in the past. With more trade deals in the works we can expect more change. Our forum on Thursday will help us understand the potential risks and benefits that come with trade deals. Please join us at 7:00pm at the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke Street in Kitchener.

Kind regards,

Sharon Sommerville
for FVC -WR

Is the Fair Elections Act Fair? Communiqué

This past Wednesday, on April 23rd about seventy people gathered at W-K First United Mennonite Church to discuss the implications of The Fair Elections Act. The evening’s objective was to offer an educational opportunity to our community to learn about the nature and consequences of Bill C- 23.

The moderator of the event, Trudy Beaulne welcomed everyone and introduced the panelists: Peggy Nash, NDP MP for High Park, political scientist, Asst. Professor, Mathieu Doucet from the University of Waterloo and Sharon Sommerville, from the local chapter of FairVote Canada.

Peggy Nash opened the discussion with her comments on the bill. Ms. Nash said she is disturbed by the cynicism which so many Canadians approach politics. She stated that politicians must be held to account but cynicism doesn’t help change lives.

Ms. Nash addressed some of the needed changes to our democracy such as the FPTP electoral system, the need for more women parliamentarians & the attempted undermining of our electoral system via robocalls. Ms. Nash was very concerned about the elimination of vouching as she has constituents for whom losing vouching will have a very negative impact. Ms. Nash stressed the need to have a national debate on democratic reform. The debate would include national hearings to determine what Canadians think is important to keep and ideas on what changes to our electoral system should look like.

Assistant Prof. Doucet stated that Bill C-23 targets vulnerable Canadians and is therefore unfair but that we shouldn’t assume malice. He emphasized that proving who you are and where you live is easy for the middle-class but isn’t easy for everyone. The people most affected by Bill C-23 are disproportionally poor, young, aboriginal or seniors and to maintain a fair voting system it must be kept easy and accessible. According to Asst. Prof. Doucet Bill C-23 stacks the deck using strict voting laws that will impact those least likely to vote Conservative. In the end, the rules must apply equally to everyone.

Sharon Sommerville addressed voter ID cards, vouching and the politicizing of the voting process by introducing political appointed poll captains and their assistants. She looked at the numbers of people who would be removed from the voting process and suggested that that in close races those numbers could make a difference to the outcome. Ms. Sommerville suggested that as citizens we need to continue to push the government to withdrawn Bill C–23 and that new electoral reform legislation should be based on consultations with Elections Canada and Canadians to improve not undermine our democracy.

Pictures from “Is the Fair Elections Act Fair?” Panel Discussion

Sharon Sommerville, Peggy Nash, Mathieu Doucet, Trudy Beaulne

Panelists and Moderator, L-R: Sharon Sommerville, Peggy Nash, Mathieu Doucet, Trudy Beaulne

On Wednesday, 23 April the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo partnered with the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter, Poverty Free KW, WR Labour Council, TransitionKW, Homelessness Awareness Week, Canadian Federation of University Women KW to present a panel discussion “Is the Fair Elections Act Fair?.”

Peggy Nash Mathieu Doucet Sharon Sommerville

The panelists deliver their opening remarks

Panelists and audience

Panelists and audience

Peggy Nash, Mathieu Doucet, Sharon Sommerville

Panelists L-R: Peggy Nash, Mathieu Doucet, Sharon Sommerville

Maria Frana, Sharon Sommerville, Gillian Veitch, Len Carter, Trudy Beaulne

Event Organizers L-R: Maria Frana, Sharon Sommerville, Gillian Veitch, Len Carter, Trudy Beaulne

Peggy Nash Peggy Nash Peggy Nash

Peggy Nash

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

BREAKING NEWS: Elections Canada tables robocalls report

Good Morning Everyone,

So many thanks to everyone who attended last night’s panel discussion on The Fair Elections Act. A written synopsis and a video of the evening is in progress & we will get that to you as soon as it’s available.

One of the questions that came up at the meeting was when is Elections Canada’s report on the 2011 robocall scandal expected? By coincidence the report is out this morning. Below is an article from iPolitics which might be of interest to those of you following the scandal.

Our debate on the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with Stephen Woodworth & Angelo DiCaro is coming up on May 1st. It will be an excellent opportunity to examine and debate this critical issue. Please spread the word about the event.

Wishing you well,

Sharon Sommerville
for FVC – WR

From: iPolitics
Date: Thu, Apr 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM
Subject: BREAKING NEWS: Elections Canada tables robocalls report

Elections Canada has completed its robocalls investigation, concluding that it can find “no reasonable grounds” for finding that the law was broken in the May 2011 federal general election.

The report says the investigation “touches only briefly on robocalls in the electoral district of Guelph, which are the subject of a separate investigation.”

“Investigators found no evidence of a link between calls from the Conservative Party seeking support and reported calls to electors misdirecting them,” says the report.

Read the full story at Robocalls probe finds “no reasonable grounds” for charges.

Thu, Apr 24, 2014

Copyright (C) 2014 iPolitics Inc. All rights reserved.

Is The Fair Elections Act Fair? Panel Discussion is Wednesday

Good Morning Everyone,

A reminder of our panel discussion this Wednesday at 7pm on the Fair Elections Act. Peggy Nash, MP, High Park, Mathieu Doucet, from UW and I will speak at W-K United Mennonite Church, 15 George St. in Waterloo. There will be an opportunity to take action on Bill C-23 at the event as well. There has been great push back across the country to the FEA & it is important that we continue to let the Harper government know this blatant attack on our democracy isn’t acceptable & must be withdrawn. Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget that on May 1st Stephen Woodworth & Angelo DiCaro will be addressing the risks & benefits of CETA at the Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, 120 Duke Street in Kitchener.

And, just in case anyone would like to hear Prime Minister Harper speak, he will be addressing the Chamber of Commerce this Saturday at 12:30 at Bingemans. Tickets are available through the Chamber.

See you Wednesday night!

Kind regards,
Sharon
for FVC -WR

Fair Vote Guelph Town Hall Meeting — Pictures

Inside Saint James the Apostle Church in Guelph

Inside Saint James the Apostle Church in Guelph

Brian Tanguay and Michael Chong

Panelists Brian Tanguay and Michael Chong

On Sunday, 6 April 2014 the Fair Vote Guelph chapter hosted a panel discussion at Saint James the Apostle church in Guelph, Ontario with panelists Michael Chong, Federal Member of Parliament for the Wellington-Halton Hills electoral district, and professor Brian Tanguay of Wilfrid Laurier University and Executive Board member for Fair Vote Waterloo.

Michael Chong talked about his private member’s bill, the Reform Act, then Brian Tanguay spoke on proportional representation.


Brian Tanguay, Michael Chong and Susan Watson

Brian Tanguay and Michael Chong with moderator Susan Watson


The media was well represented with both radio and television

Norah Chaloner, John Dennis, Ken MacKay, David Gundrum, Kevin Bowman, Derek Alton

The organizers — L-R: Norah Chaloner, John Dennis (of the Social Justice Committee at St. James), Ken MacKay, David Gundrum, Kevin Bowman, and Derek Alton.

On Thursday, 3 April 2014 Fair Vote Guelph members Ken MacKay and Steve Dyck, and moderator Susan Watson were interviewed on CFRU’s Beyond The Ballot Box: Democracy Under Threat

Fair Vote Guelph Town Hall pictures by Bob Jonkman are licensed Creative Commons LicenseCC-BY.

Is Fair Elections Act Fair? — Panel Discussion Wednesday, 23 April 2014, 7:00 pm

From the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo web site.

Despite widespread opposition, the process moves onwards with the Bill C-23 called the “Fair Elections Act”. End of March, it passed second reading in the House of Commons by a vote of 149 to 131 – with all opposition parties and independent MPs voting against it. If passed into the Fair Elections Act, it would: eliminate vouching, disallowing voter ID cards as valid identification of residence, change regulations surrounding campaign financing, limit the ability of Canada’s chief electoral officer to speak publicly, and more.

April 23rd at 7 p.m. at W-K United Mennonite Church in Waterloo, we are hosting “Is Fair Elections Act Fair?” Awareness Panel to talk about the impact of the proposed changes for low-income people, seniors and youth, Aboriginal population, people with disabilities, homeless.

W-K United Mennonite Church
15 George Street, Waterloo ON N2J 1K6 (Map)

7 – 8 pm Welcome & Panel presentations (iCal)

Peggy Nash, MP Parkdale-High Park
Prof. Mathieu Doucet, University of Waterloo
Sharon Sommerville, Fair Vote Canada WR chapter

8 – 9 pm Questions to the panel and discussion

For more information and to RSVP, contact maria@waterlooregion.org.

Organized by the Social Planning Council KW, Poverty Free KW, FairVote WR, WR Labour Council, TransitionKW, Homelessness Awareness Week, Canadian Federation of University Women KW.

"Is Fair Elections Act Fair?" poster

Is Fair Elections Act Fair?


“Is Fair Elections Act Fair?” poster advertising the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo panel discussion on 23 April 2014.

Original .PDF file: Panel_April23_2014.pdf, 555.28 kBytes.