Discussion Night at 7pm on Wed, 27 Feb 2019

Group discussion Hi everyone: February is a short month, so the last Wednesday of the month has arrived well before I’m ready for it. But our Discussion Night is on!


What: Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night
When: Wednesday, 27 February 2019 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm iCal
Where: Community Room, Bread and Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener Map

Last month we had a combination Executive and Strategy meeting. If you weren’t able to be there you can read the meeting notes.

And what to discuss? For those of you into Social Media, you may have seen some discussion on Electoral Reform vs. Proportional Representation. While the mandate for Fair Vote Canada is strictly to advocate for proportional representation, there are many other aspects to our electoral system that could stand improvement, eg. term limits, abolishing whipped votes, or reducing the power of the PMO.

As always, if you’re driving please park in the north lot (Map), and place a note in your window:

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

See you on Wednesday!
–Bob.

Jason Kenney on Proportional Representation

“Does he have any regard at all for the fact that Canada is now the only multiparty advanced democracy in the world that has a system of voting designed in and for 16th century England when candidates really were non-partisan candidates elected for the purpose of representation?”
Jason Kenney, Alliance MP for Calgary Southeast, AB
February 20th, 2001 / 4:15 p.m.

The other night at the annual Fair Vote Waterloo Holiday Get-Together, there was some speculation about the upcoming Alberta election in which Jason Kenney seeks to reclaim the Alberta Government for his new incarnation of that province’s provincial Conservatives. I was surprised to discover not everyone was aware of Mr Kenney’s strong support of Proportional Representation back in 2001.  [Read Jason Kenney’s whole statement here.]

Proportional Representation is not and has never been a partisan issue.  It only becomes so when a party championing PR gets elected to disproportional power in a winner-take-all political system.  When that happens, the party starts to rethink the wisdom of adopting electoral reform to a voting system that will limit their future power to what they can earn in votes.

At the time Mr Kenney demonstrated his considerable understanding of Canada’s need for Proportional Representation in the Parliamentary debate referenced above, he was an elected Member of Parliament from a regional Alberta party that didn’t (and wasn’t likely to) achieve winner-take-all false majority power any time soon with First Past The Post.

Mr Kenney was initially elected as a federal Reform Party of Canada candidate. Until the Reform Party morphed into a the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance. That’s where he was when he spoke in that 2001 debate. But although the Alliance was able to gain regional traction and win disproportional power in Alberta in a First Past The Post System (much as the Bloc Québécois could in Québéc) he understood that before his party could hope to form government, Canada would need Proportional Representation.

Naturally, the Liberals who held phony majority power under PM Chrétien at the time did not like the idea of Proportional Representation, which would prevent future false majority power by limiting their power in government to what they could actually earn in votes.  Jason Kenney was not alone, in this, there was a lot of support for PR within the Canadian Alliance, up to and including Stephen Harper.  But the parties enjoying disproportional power are never very likely to make voting fair.

The Canadian Alliance had the power of regional concentration without much hope of forming government, while the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada could barely win any seats yet owned the name of one of Canada’s alternating governing parties, so the two merged into the Conservative Party of Canada.  Naturally with its own false majority, suddenly electoral reform was no longer something this new/old party wanted any party of.

During the Harper Government’s decade in power, Canada’s federal Liberals slipped to third place for the first time in history.  So Justin Trudeau ran on a platform of Electoral Reform, but Mr Trudeau’s appetite for electoral reform evaporated with his own false majority.  The BC Referendum was lost by the BC NDP who are convinced they’ll be re-elected, this time with a false majority of their own.

This may sound like bad news, and indeed it is in the short term, but the reality is that more and more Canadians are learning what Proportional Representation is, and just as important, why we need it. And because of this, Proportional Representation just isn’t going away.

Defenders of the Status Quo have been able to stave off Proportional Representation for so very long is because most of us have little experience or understanding of anything but winner-take-all politics.   The fact that 90+ countries use some form of PR is a blessing because there is so much information about how Proportional Representation works.  But it’s also a curse, because detractors can cherry pick the elements or examples of the application  of PR that will make it look the worst.  Because Canadians have so little or no understanding or experience of PR, when they spread misinformation most of us don’t even know they’re talking nonsense.  The moment any province adopts PR, we will see for ourselves that the sky doesn’t fall, and suddenly it will become much harder to sell us misinformation.

The issue is very much alive in Quebec and PEI, (soon to hold another Proportional Representation Referendum)  and Ontario’s Premier Ford is reminding Ontarians why a fair voting system is so important.

Not long ago the UK’s electoral reform referendum failed to even offer Proportional Representation as a choice. When it failed, the powers that be claimed this meant citizens were happy with the way things worked.  And the next referendum gave them BRexit.  Except the people didn’t think so.  Which is why Proportional Representation is back on the table there, too.   And why there is a new John Cleese Proportional Representation video.  Enjoy.

Regards,
Laurel L. Russwurm

Holiday Greetings from @FairvoteWRC

Star sculptures suspended from the ceiling in the Kitchener City Hall Rotunda

Stars at Kitchener City Hall

Hello FairVoting Friends,

On behalf of the board of directors of the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter, I would like to take this time to wish you and the ones you love all the very best for the holiday season and a very Happy New Year.

Best wishes,
Sharon Sommerville
for FVC-WR

Results from the BC referendum on electoral reform

Fair Vote Canada BCHello FairVoting Friends,

The results from BC’s referendum were announced this afternoon. Sadly, the outcome is not what we were hoping for; below is a link to a CBC report on the results. Changing our electoral system is long & vital process. Fair Vote Canada will continue to work toward instituting a more fair and equitable electoral system which ensures that every vote cast influences the election results.

CBC News: B.C. votes to keep first-past-the-post electoral system

B.C. votes to keep first-past-the-post electoral system

For the third time, British Columbians have voted to keep the first-past-the-post system for provincial elections.

‘I think electoral reform is finished,’ says deputy premier Carole James

CBC News

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 12:05 PM PT

B.C.’s deputy premier Carole James says the people have spoken and the issue of electoral reform is finished.

For the third time, British Columbians have voted to keep the first-past-the-post system for provincial elections.

Elections BC announced the results Thursday, saying 61.3 per cent of ballots had been cast in favour of the status quo, while proportional representation got 38.7 per cent.

(More…)

Wishing you all the very best of the season,

Sharon Sommerville
for FVC-WR

Holiday Get-Together for 2018

All I Want For Christmas Is Proportional Representation Happy Upcoming Holidays, everyone! Instead of holding our regular Discussion Night on the last Wednesday of the month (which is Boxing Day), we’re going to hold a Holiday Get-Together on Thursday, 27 December 2018!

Cathy and John Scott have kindly volunteered to host. We’ll gather at their home at 6:30pm. If you can, please bring a potluck dish to share: appetizer, savoury snack, substantial entree, dessert, or even that potluck staple, potato salad. Let us know on the Discussion List what you’re bringing so we can avoid duplicates. And when you come, please label your dish if it contains wheat, nuts, eggs, dairy, meat, &c.

What: Fair Vote Waterloo Holiday Get-Together for 2018
When: Thursday, 27 December 2018 from 6:30pm to late at night
Where: Cathy and John Scott’s home
Location: 213 Sheldon Avenue North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Hope to see you there!

–Bob Jonkman
Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair and Holiday Organizer

@FairvoteWRC this week

Hello Everyone,

Just in case you missed Dave Arthur’s excellent letter about PR published in Wednesday’s Record, here is the online link:

The Record logoElectoral system undemocratic | The Record

On Wednesday afternoon, Bob Jonkman and I gave a presentation to about 40 Laurier students about activism and electoral reform. The students were interested and raised many good questions. Our thanks to Professor Andrea Perrella for the invitation to address his students. We appreciate all opportunities to speak with community groups; if you have connections to community groups that would like a presentation on any aspect of electoral reform, please let us know.


Our monthly meeting is next People with speech bubblesWednesday, 28 November 2018 at 7:00pm in the community room at the Bread & Roses Housing Co-op, 307 Queen Street South (corner of Courtland) in Kitchener. It should be a very interesting evening as Evan Rosamond will present a synopsis of David Van Reybrouck’s Against Elections: The Case for Democracy. Van Reybrouck makes a compelling argument to end elections in favour of selecting legislators as we choose jury members; randomly from the voters list. We are anticipating an engaging discussion!

Hope to see you soon,

Sharon Sommerville
for FVC-WR

What: FairvoteWRC Discussion Night
When: Wednesday, 28 November 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Room, Bread and Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchene Map 1

If you’re driving to Bread And Roses, please park in the north parking lot Map 2 and place a note on the dashboard of your vehicle:

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

Reminder: Discussion Night on Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Discussion Night Hi everyone: Just a quick reminder of the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night tomorrow (Wednesday):

What: FairvoteWRC Discussion Night: Weighted First-Past-The-Post
When: Wednesday, 31 October 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Room, Bread and Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchene Map 1

Larry Kryski will be presenting his solution for proportional representation, a weighted vote in parliament.

Since it’s Hallowe’en some people will be delayed from giving candy to the little monsters, so Larry’s presentation will start sometime after 7:30pm

In the meantime, there are lots of other things worthy of discussion:

  • We just had a municipal election, where ranked ballots became a thing. What can Fair Vote Waterloo do to encourage the adoption of ranked ballots in multi-member wards to achieve proportional representation?
  • Some people from Fair Vote Waterloo spent some time canvassing door-to-door. What were the results? We’ll get a quick report from the participants.
  • Acronyms: Based on a thread in the Discussion mailing list, we’ve been using many acronyms like PR, ER, RB, MMP and so forth. The jargon is obscuring our message. I’ve compiled a short list, but let’s work on creating a more comprehensive glossary of terms that we can post on the Resources page of our website.

    STV – Single Transferable Vote
    MMP – Mixed Member Proportional
    DMP – Dual Member Proportional
    RUP – Rural-Urban Proportional
    AV – Alternative Vote
    IRV – Instant Runoff Voting (same thing as AV)
    PB – Preferential Ballot (same thing as AV)
    FPTP – First Past The Post
    SMP – Single Member Plurality (fancy words for FPTP)
    RB – Ranked Ballot (used by STV, AV, IRV, PB)
    PR – Proportional Representation
    ProRep – Proportional Representation
    ER – Electoral Reform

    MP – Member of Parliament
    MPP – Member of Provincial Parliament

    AMA – Ask Me Anything (online interview on Reddit)

  • How can we help the BC Electoral Reform referendum? Hints on the Fair Vote Canada PR4BC website.

Anything else?

If you’re driving to Bread And Roses, please park in the north parking lot Map 2 and place a note on the dashboard of your vehicle:

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

See you there!


Bob Jonkman,
Co-Chair, Fair Vote Waterloo
Phone: +1–519–635–9413
E-mail: bjonkman@sobac.com

FairvoteWRC Contact Info:
Phone: +1–519–279–2990
E-mail: info@fairvotewrc.ca

Upcoming Events: Perspectives on Peace, and FairvoteWRC Discussion Night

Hi everyone:

Perspectives on Peace logo
Register: Perspectives On Peace — Where’s the Peace and Justice? Canada’s New Foreign and Defence Policies
The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter will have an information table at “Perspectives On Peace”, a symposium put on by KWPeace, an umbrella organization of Peace and Social Justice organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding area. FairvoteWRC is a member organization.

Please join the Peace and Social Justice groups of KWPeace for a midday meal and conversation about Peace, Nonviolence, Social Justice and Climate Change. Our guest speaker is Tamara Lorincz who is completing her PhD in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. Tamara will talk about the climate and environmental impacts of Canada’s new foreign and defence policies.

Lunch will be provided by Kitchener Food Not Bombs, which picks up donated food from grocery stores, cooks fresh vegan meals, and serves these meals to the community for free every Saturday in front of Kitchener City Hall.

This event is free with donations gratefully accepted to cover costs! Lunch will be served between noon and 2:00pm; Tamara will speak at 12:30pm.

Member organizations of KW Peace will be on site with information about the good work that they do in our community. FairvoteWRC will have an information table, and we can use some help to staff the table and let people know how Fair Vote promotes peace (hint: proportional representation elects governments that are more responsive to what people want)

What: Perspectives On Peace: Where’s The Peace and Justice? Canada’s New Foreign and Defence Policies
When: Saturday, 27 October 2018 from noon to 2:00pm
Where: The Rotunda, Kitchener City Hall
Location: 200 King Street West, Kitchener, Ontario Map 1
Registration: http://kwpeace.ca/eventsmanager/register-perspectives-on-peace-wheres-the-peace-justice-canadas-new-foreign-and-defence-policies/


For this month’s Discussion Night, Larry Kryski has proposed a minor adjustment to our current First Past The Post voting system that results in Proportional Representation for votes taken in Parliament! How? By weighting the vote of each member by the number of votes received.

What are the advantages? What are the drawbacks? You can read Larry Kryski’s paper Creating a Proportional Representation Electoral System That Works.

Join us for an evening of discussion at the Bread and Roses Community Room at 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener Map 1. Everyone is welcome! You don’t have to be a Fair Vote member to come to Discussion Nights.

If you drive, please park in the north parking lot and place a note on the dashboard of your vehicle:

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

What: FairvoteWRC Discussion Night: Weighted First-Past-The-Post
When: Wednesday, 31 October 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Room, Bread and Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener Map 2

See you there!

–Bob.


Bob Jonkman,
Co-Chair, Fair Vote Waterloo
Phone: +1-519-635-9413
E-mail: bjonkman@sobac.com

FairvoteWRC Contact Info:
Phone: +1–519–279–2990
E-mail: info@fairvotewrc.ca

Has the electoral reform egg cracked?

Rank any number of options in your order of preference | Joe Smith | 1 John Citizen | 3 Jane Doe | Fred Rubble | 2 Mary Hill

Preferential or Ranked Ballot

Good Morning FairVoting Friends,

Last night was a historic evening on three fronts! London, used a ranked ballot to elect its municipal government. A totally amazing moment. Cambridge and Kingston both returned wins (yes, wins!) on their municipal referendum questions to use ranked ballots for future municipal elections.

Using ranked ballot to elect municipal politicians is a small & important step in the right direction. While ranked ballot by itself isn’t a form of Proportional Representation, voters will understand that electoral reform isn’t a crazy, radical idea. If ranked ballot is applied to voting for four city councillors, it would become a form of Single Transferable Vote which is a form of Proportional Representation.

Congratulations to all the activists for their hard work and voters who believed that better is possible: way to go!

All the best,
Sharon
for FVC-WR

Discussion Night on Referenda with @YesCambridge on Wed, 26 Sept 2018

Yes! Cambridge | Campaign for Ranked Ballots This coming Wednesday we’re holding our Discussion Night at the Blackwing Coffee Bar in Cambridge, one of several places in Canada that’s holding a referendum on Electoral Reform. We’ll meet up with the team from the Yes! Cambridge campaign. Who knows, there may be some people that you recognize!

We’ll discuss what the members of Fair Vote Waterloo can do to help the referendum campaigns in Cambridge, Kingston, and British Columbia happening now, and in PEI with their provincial election in October 2019.

What: FairvoteWRC Discussion Night: Referenda
When: Wednesday, 26 September 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Blackwing Coffee Bar
Location: 135 George Street North, Cambridge, Ontario Map 1


Next month we’re back in Kitchener at Bread & Roses for an explanation of a Proportional Representation system that uses the existing First-Past-The-Post voting system, keeps the existing electoral boundaries, and doesn’t require any more (or fewer) Members of Parliament.

Larry Kryski will suggest an interesting enhancement that adjusts the relative power of an MP based on the number of votes received by that party. His paper on the proposal, Creating a Proportional Representation Electoral System That Works was submitted to the ERRE consultation.

What: FairvoteWRC Discussion Night: Weighted First-Past-The-Post
When: Wednesday, 31 October 2018 from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Where: Community Room, Bread and Roses Co-op
Location: 307 Queen Street South, Kitchener Map 2


Bob Jonkman,
Co-Chair, Fair Vote Waterloo
Phone: +1-519-635-9413
E-mail: bjonkman@sobac.com

FairvoteWRC Contact Info:
Phone: +1–519–279–2990
E-mail: info@fairvotewrc.ca