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

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

The Vote Has Been Counted And The Question Is What Do Liberals Stand For?

Dear FairVoting Supporters,

On Wednesday, 31 May 2017, the House of Commons voted 159 to 146 against adopting the recommendations of the Electoral Reform Committee. Two Liberal MPs voted for the motion: Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) and Sean Casey (Charlottetown). Our thanks to MPs Erskine-Smith and Casey for keeping the promise they campaigned on and standing up for what they believe in.

Our local Liberal MPs did not support the motion. We have heard a variety of reasons: couldn’t support an NDP motion, couldn’t support a referendum and no national consensus on change or a voting system.

We elected the Liberal Party to offer leadership on electoral reform. For electoral reform, leadership means making the case for change. Instead of leading, the LPC hid behind a bogus consultation process and claimed there was no consensus.

Strengthening Canada’s democracy through establishing a fair and equitable electoral system is non-partisan issue because democracy is a non-partisan issue.

There are a number of ways to deal with a referendum if there is the will to do so but if you are looking for a backdoor, you will find one.

The movement toward a fair voting system for Canada isn’t over, it isn’t even close.

More Canadians than ever understand the need for electoral reform. We will keep working until Canada has an electoral system that serves Canadians not just the two largest political parties. This issue is alive and will be an election issue in 2019.

Tonight Liberal MPs across the country should be asking themselves what they actually stand for; as Anita Nickerson’s outstanding letter in yesterday’s Record said: if you don’t represent your campaign promises and you don’t represent the evidence and you don’t represent the wishes of your constituents, what do you represent?

See the full letter here:

Government should keep its promise | TheRecord.com (Mirror)

So many thanks to everyone who phoned their MPs, who put in hours canvassing, who visited your MP or wrote letters to the Record and their MP. What an amazing effort and a great campaign! Thank you all!

FVC-WR will be at the tri-Pride Festival this Saturday from noon to 8 pm in Victoria Park. It is always a great day and the weather promises to be sunny and warm. Please come and see us there!

Onward!

Sharon for FVC-WR


You can get these announcements by e-mail by subscribing to the Fair Vote Waterloo Announcements mailing list or the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion mailing list.

Fair Vote Canada releases poll that confirms Canadians want Proportional Reprentation

Good Evening FairVoting Friends,

Last week FairVote Canada released the results of a poll done by Strategic Communications between April 22 – May 9th, 2017. 15,806 people were surveyed in 20 Liberal ridings and the results confirm that there is a consensus in support of proportion representation.

Closer to home, results from Kitchener Centre are clear: 82% of respondents support proportional representation and 75% of respondents want Raj Saini to advocate for PR in Parliament.

This is the report from Strategic Communications: Fair Vote Canada National Survey IVR Report (.PDF, 1.1 MBytes)

Can you help spread the word that Kitchener Centre wants electoral reform? Two posters that can be used on social media are below.

On 31 May 2017, Parliament will discuss and vote on an NDP motion to adopt the recommendations of the electoral reform committee to move to a moderate form of PR. Stay tuned for information about a campaign to tell Liberal MPs to keep their promise on electoral reform and vote in favour of the NDP motion.

With thanks,
Sharon
FVC-WR

Constituents in Kitchener Centre support proportional representation | In a proportional system, every possible vote will count toward electing someone from the party you support. Under our current first-past-the-post system, if you vote for a candidate that does not win, your vote will not elect a representative. Are you in favour of a system that would make every possible vote count toward representation? | Yes=82%, No=18% of decided constituents | Tell Raj Saini to vote YES to PR

Constituents in Kitchener Centre want MP Raj Saini to stand up for PR | Do you want your Member of Parliament, Raj Saini, to advocate in the House of Commons that the Liberal government keep its promise, and change our system to proportional representation in time for the next election? | Yes=75%, No=25% of decided constituents | There is a consensus | Tell Raj Saini to vote YES to PR

PM Trudeau in Waterloo Region on Tuesday morning, 25 April 2017

Sharon Sommerville and Byron Weber Becker hold sign "Proportional Representation for a better democracy"

Sharon Sommerville and Byron Weber Becker

Good Morning FairVoting Friends,

PM Trudeau is in Waterloo Region today. Two of us, Evan Rosamond and I took our large PR = Better Governance sign and rallied at two of his pit stops to remind the PM of his broken campaign promise.

We became friendly with the PM’s RCMP security detail as we were all standing around a lot which gave us the opportunity to do a PR 101 with one of the security people.

At the first stop, the PM exited the building, waved and went directly into his vehicle. We managed to yell: “Prime Minister, what happened?” before he got into his vehicle.

At the second stop, it was a longer walk between the car and the entrance. Because the area was open, although we were kept about 20 ft from the PM, he could not have missed our sign, especially since he just saw it. When he entered the building we yelled: “Prime Minister, what about your promise?” When he exited, there was a group of about 15 or so young people looking for selfies and autographs. The PM waded into the group to pose for selfies and sign autographs. To get to his car he had to walk toward us, at which point we yelled: “Any time for policy?” Apparently not, as he waved at us and said, “Thanks for coming out”.

If the chance ever presents itself, impromptu events are worthwhile.

One thing we learned today: security details want to see your hands, no hands in pockets please.

Onward!
Sharon


You can get these announcements by e-mail by subscribing to the Fair Vote Waterloo Announcements mailing list or the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion mailing list.

Press Release: Liberals Choose Self Interest Over Fairness

Press release sent to local media in Waterloo Region on 2 February 2017

NewsFOR 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.

Sharon Sommerville
Co-Chair,
FairVote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter http://fairvotewrc.ca

email: sharonsommerville@gmail.com
phone: +1–519–208–7929
or: +1–519–721–9661

Do you have 3 minutes for a more democratic Canada?

Proportional Representation - Don't settle for lessHello Everyone,

For those of us seeking meaningful electoral reform today’s first anniversary of the Liberal’s historic federal electoral win has been dampened by an interview in this morning’s Le Devoir with Prime Minister Trudeau. Basically, the Prime Minister said well, maybe just a little change for now.

Here is an article on the interview and subsequent debate during question period in Parliament today in iPolitics:

Trudeau taking heat for walking back electoral reform

For those of you that speak French, here is the link to the Le Devoir article:

Trudeau ne garantit plus une réforme électorale majeure

Do you have 3 minutes? Phone or email your MP to let them know that we expect them to keep their election promise to make every vote count! We can’t let them walk away from this election promise, this is our historic opportunity to create a stronger democracy and public policy that serves all Canadians.

Here are the phone numbers and email addresses of our Waterloo Region Liberal MPs.

A simple message is all that is needed but if 50 or 75 or 100 of us call or email, the message will be loud and clear: we expect you to keep the promise that 2015 will be the last election under First Past The Post.

Let’s make sure we get the change we voted for, call or email your MP.

Thank you!

Best regards,

Sharon

for FVC-WR


You can get these announcements by e-mail by subscribing to the Fair Vote Waterloo Announcements mailing list or the Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion mailing list.

dont settle by Laurel L. Russwurm is used under a CC BYCreative Commons — Attribution 2.0 Generic — CC BY 2.0 license.

Steve Dyck and Ken MacKay on Guelph Politicast with Adam A. Donaldson

On 24 June 2016 Adam A. Donaldson, the Guelph Politico, interviewed Steve Dyck and Ken MacKay of Fair Vote Guelph.

elxnreform.mp3 (53 MBytes, 46m17s)

From GUELPH POLITICAST #41 – Fair Vote Guelph on Electoral Reform | Guelph Politicast:

You might have heard a lot of discussion in the news about electoral reform, but what is it, what are we reforming, and what are we reforming it into? All good questions that also have the virtue of not being easy ones to answer as well. This is the podcast that, at least initially, aimed to answer those questions, but if you’re not sure where to begin on electoral reform, then this is as good a place as any to start.

[…]

The following Q and A session is between myself and Steve Dyck and Ken McKay, two of the organizers of Fair Vote Guelph. Electoral reform’s been on my radar for a while, and it’s a topic that has a lot of traction in Guelph, which has had many people working hard on the issue since the robocall incident in 2011. The general feeling being that a less partisan Parliament – less dependent on winning a few bell-weather seats to achieve majority government status by tapping out at 39 per cent national support – would mean less illegal shenanigans to encourage people not to vote. Oh yes, and it will also help to create a more democratic country that better reflects its citizens and bring Canada in line with other western democracies that already use some form or proportional representation.

A Response from our Government to the petition presented by Marwan Tabbara

The Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter has received a response to the petitions delivered to Kitchener South–Hespeler MP Marwan Tabbara. Signed by Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions (the Hon. Maryam Monsef), the letter gives assurances that the 2015 federal election will be the last one run with the first-past-the-post voting system, and that winner-take-all systems are outdated. We hope this means that only Proportional Representation systems will be under consideration, and not winner-take-all systems such as Alternative Vote (also known as Instant Runoff Voting, Preferential Ballot, and often incorrectly called Ranked Ballot).

Our thanks go to everyone who signed the petition, and the Members of Parliament who have presented those petitions to parliament. Special thanks go to Mr. Tabbara for forwarding the Government’s response.

Electoral Reform is an urgent issue; the Liberal Government should soon be announcing the Parliamentary Committee to investigate alternate voting systems (and other aspects of electoral reform). Download FVCPetitiontoHouseofCommons_2.pdf (PDF, 144 kBytes), sign it with nine of your best friends, then mail it to your Member of Parliament. Remember, letters to MPs do not require any postage! Or you can come to a Fair Vote Waterloo Discussion Night where we’ll have petitions available, along with other information on Fair Voting.

You can download the letter received by Fair Vote Waterloo as 20160204 Electoral system petition no. 421-00058 Government response (PDF file, 59 kBytes). The text of the letter is reproduced here:

Response to Petition

Prepare in English and French marking ‘Original Text’ or ‘Translation’


Petition No.: 421–00058

By: Mr. Tabbara (Kitchener South-Hespeler)

Date: February 4, 2016

Print Name of Signatory: Mark Holland


Response by the Minister of Democratic Institutions

 

 

Signature

Minister or Parliamentary Secretary


Subject

Electoral System


Original Text


Reply

The Government thanks the petitioners for their views on this important matter.

The petitioners are contributing to a public discourse that is vitally important to shaping the future of our electoral system. To maintain public confidence, the Government understands that Canadians expect greater inclusion, transparency, meaningful engagement and modernization from their democratic institutions.

To that end, the Government is committed to ensuring that 2015 was the last election under the first-past-the-post system. The winner-take-all system is outdated. As many advanced democracies around the world have concluded, other systems are better for ensuring that every vote counts. The government wants to restore integrity and fairness to the electoral system and ensure that this cornerstone of our democracy serves Canadians. This change must be built on our collective values of fairness, inclusiveness, gender equality, openness and mutual respect.

The Government will be working to establish a parliamentary committee that will be tasked to consult Canadians from coast to coast to coast and to thoroughly review a variety of reform options to bring our voting system into the 21st Century. Once the committee is formed, further information will be available concerning its consultation plans and the opportunities for Canadians to participate in the process.

The Government invites the petitioners, like all Canadians, to get involved and have their say as part of this exciting challenge and opportunity to strengthen our electoral system.

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20160204 Electoral system petition no. 421-00058 Government response-3_1
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Fair Vote Waterloo in the Media

EnvelopesThings are heating up for Electoral Reform in the media. January is barely half over, and already we’re counting more media mentions than we had in all of 2015! (Note: I discovered some other articles from 2015 after publishing this post, so that’s not quite true any more)

The Liberal party promised that this past federal election would be the last to be held under First-Past-The-Post. We’re going to hold them to that, so be sure to visit your Members of Parliament to tell them your views. Also, keep writing those letters to the editor!

2016
19 Jan Bob Jonkman One clear option for electoral reform Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
16 Jan Marion Markham Make elections more democratic Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
14 Jan Adam A. Donaldson Fair Vote Waterloo Hits the Ground Running on Electoral Reform Guelph Politico  
14 Jan Jon Bathmaker Pick a system that works Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
14 Jan Barry Kay It’s time to change how Canadians vote Guelph Mercury (Mirror)
13 Jan Donald A. Fraser Letter to the editor: Explain electoral reform clearly to voters Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
11 Jan Byron Weber Becker Letter to the editor: Electoral reform requires leadership Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
6 Jan Bob Jonkman Wednesday January 6th 2016 12pm (start at 20m45s) 570News: The Eric Drozd Show  
6 Jan Sharon Sommerville Canadians have voted for electoral reform Waterloo Region Record (Mirror)
6 Jan John Milloy Electoral reform: What is the problem we are trying to solve? National Newswatch  

For more media coverage by, for, or about Fair Vote Waterloo and electoral Reform see the Media page, easily clickable from the menu bar at the top of this page.