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..