Fair Vote Waterloo 2016 Summer Festival schedule, AGM date, and some news

Hi everybody! Summer Festival season starts on Sunday, and the start of June means it’s time for the Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter Annual General Meeting.

Old man with newspapers

News

But first, some news: You may have heard that the All-party Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform will now be composed of five Liberal members, three Conservatives, two NDP, and one each for the Green Party and Bloc Quebecois, with all seats having voting status and an equal voice. This follows (roughly) the votes received by each party, and not the seats they hold in the House. Finally, some Proportional Representation!

Some news agencies have reported this as Liberals give up or Liberals back down — but that’s not the case at all. It was achieved through the cooperation of ALL parties, who created legislation for the benefit of all Canadians. This is something we can expect to see more of with a proportionally represented parliament.

Kady O’Malley has written the most informative, least inflammatory article I’ve read on this: Liberals back NDP electoral reform committee, give up majority control | Ottawa Citizen

Annual General Meeting

Meeting

Meeting

Every year in the spring we hold an Annual General Meeting of the Fair Vote Waterloo Region Chapter to elect our Executive Board, receive our Financial Report, and discuss happenings in the Fair Vote community.

To help find the best date for the most people please fill out the online poll, or contact me directly at bjonkman@sobac.com or +1–519–635–9413 and let me know your preference. Proposed dates are from Wednesday 22 June 2016 to Tuesday 28 June, with the meeting to be held from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.

Note that Monday, 27 June 2016 would normally be our Discussion Night, but we can double up and hold our AGM at the same time. And there are only evening dates (8:00pm to 10:00pm) for the weekend of 25-26 June 2016, because several of the Executive will be staffing the information booth at the Multicultural Festival. Speaking of festivals…

Summer Festival Season

Election Simulation: Providing Instructions

Festivals

Every summer there are a number of open air celebrations where Fair Vote Waterloo has an information booth to give curious passers-by information on electoral reform and proportional representation. There is usually a LOT of interest, and sometimes some lively discussion. People can see some sample ballots for different voting systems, vote in a simulated election, and pick up the Fair Vote Canada tabloid and a “Your Vote Should Count” button. Come join us!

No, really, I mean it. Come join us and help staff the booth for a couple of hours. Even if you’ve never staffed a booth before, come listen to what the public has to say about Electoral Reform. You’ll be paired up with an experienced booth volunteer, and have a table full of information at your fingertips. Bring your sun hat and a water bottle!

And if your church, service club or neighbourhood is holding an event where people might like some information, we’ll be happy to set up a table, talk to people, and eat your potato salad.

If you’re interested in helping out, send me an e-mail at bjonkman@sobac.com or call me at +1–519–635–9413.

Here are the events for 2016 so far:

Event Date
tri-Pride Festival Sunday, 5 June, 1:00pm – 5:00pm
Open Streets Waterloo Sunday, 12 June, Noon – 5:00pm
Multicultural Festival Saturday & Sunday, 25-26 June, Noon – 8:00pm
Kultrun Saturday & Sunday, 9-10 July, Noon – 8:00pm
Nonviolence Festival Day In The Park Saturday, 9 July, Noon – 5:00pm
Open Streets Waterloo Sunday, 24 July, Noon – 5:00pm
LINK Picnic Festival Saturday & Sunday, 3-4 September, Noon – 5:00pm
Open Streets Waterloo Sunday, 21 August, Noon – 5:00pm
Open Streets Waterloo Sunday, 18 September, Noon – 5:00pm

You can see the entire Fair Vote Waterloo events calendar at http://fairvotewrc.ca/calendar/

See you at the festivals!

–Bob Jonkman,
Co-Chair, Fair Vote Canada, Waterloo Region Chapter

An Open Letter to All Parties and House Leaders

On February 29th, FVC Waterloo members Matt Foster, Sharon Sommerville, Shannon Adshade and Bob Jonkman met with with Cambridge MP Bryan May

On Monday February 29th, FVC Waterloo members Matt Foster, Sharon Sommerville, Shannon Adshade and Bob Jonkman met with with Cambridge MP Bryan May

Fair Vote Waterloo lends our voices to the Open Letter Fair Vote Canada sent to All Parties and House Leaders:

Canadians have given you a mandate. Sixty-three percent (63%) of us voted in favour to change the electoral system to one that is more fair, equal and democratic – a system that will make every vote count so that the will of the electorate is reflected in the House of Commons.

You have the task of improving democracy in a very undemocratic system. Seventeen million (17,000,000) Canadians cast ballots on October 19th and 4.6 million voters elected MPs who now hold a false majority. Millions of Canadians – more than two million each for the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats – have no representation in Ottawa. It is incumbent upon you to show us that you understand the problem, you are willing to fix it, and you are prepared to provide the leadership required to get the job done.

As a multi-partisan organization, we know that true Democracy – where all citizens enjoy equal rights and the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly through their chosen representatives – is not easy. It’s difficult to set aside partisan stripes, listen carefully to the people, cooperate, compromise and build consensus. It’s even more difficult in an unfair system where some parties have been awarded more than their fair share and some have been denied their due support. Equal representation in the legislature should be the right of every citizen in a free and democratic society. Democracy is not easy but it delivers better results and respects all voices.

That is why it is so important, during what appears to be a growing impasse that can damage the integrity of the electoral reform process, to embrace the spirit of democracy. Canadians are watching. The world is watching.

We are very concerned that the reforms are already in trouble before you have even started. You are all very aware of the fact that if you are honestly considering all options, you need to stick to a tight timeline. Since Canada’s new House of Commons first met December 3, almost six months have passed. This has raised concerns by the media and civil society groups as well as MPs in the House about the credibility of the process.

We ask you to remove your partisan hats and govern on behalf of all Canadians. Embrace the true spirit of democracy and realize that Canada cannot be truly ‘back’ until all voices are at the table.

House Leaders, we are calling on you to sit down and negotiate a date to get the Electoral Reform Special Committee motion on the floor in time to have a robust debate and move the motion forward before the House leaves for summer break.

Failure to get the Committee off the ground in order to address our democratic deficit will reflect poorly on all Parliamentarians. Failing to do the hard work will be considered by the electorate as an attack on our collective desire to create an electoral system that treats all voters, and their representatives, equally.

This is no time for finger pointing and pot shots.

In a speech in Halifax, our Prime Minister stated “We need to show, once again, that the Liberal party is not afraid to challenge the status quo, even if it means breaking with our own traditions.”

We are asking all of you to do just that. Please put your partisan differences aside, get down to the work the voters have asked you to do and show the world that Canada is serious about evolving into a modern democracy that respects and provides voice to all voters. We know you can do it. We look forward to cheering you on.

Sincerely,
Fair Vote Canada
www.fairvote.ca

On Wednesday, January 20th, 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Waterloo MP, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, (Minister for Small Business and Tourism) to discuss Proportional Representation

On Wednesday, January 20th, 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Waterloo MP, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, (Minister for Small Business and Tourism) to discuss Proportional Representation

Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Kitchener-Centre MP Raj Saini to Proportional Representation on Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Kitchener-Centre MP Raj Saini to discuss Proportional Representation on Wednesday, 13 January 2016

On Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht to discuss Proportional Representation

On Tuesday, January 19th, 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chairs Sharon Sommerville and Bob Jonkman met with Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht to discuss Proportional Representation

On Friday, 15 January 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chair Sharon Sommerville visited Marwan Tabbara, MP for Kitchener-South Hespeler to discuss Proportional Representation

On Friday, 15 January 2016, Fair Vote WRC co-chair Sharon Sommerville visited Marwan Tabbara, MP for Kitchener-South Hespeler to discuss Proportional Representation