laurel l. russwurm's political musings

Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

8 Reasons Why Elizabeth May must be in every Leadership Debate

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Elizabeth May cropped cc 4311smElizabeth May is many things.

  1. Leader of a National Party
    She is the leader of a nation wide political party. A party that fields candidates in every riding. Which means there is a possibility, no matter how slim, that she could become Prime Minister. All it would take would be enough Canadians voting to send enough Green Party Candidates to Ottawa.This is reason enough for her inclusion in every leadership debate.
  2. A conservative estimate: 1 million supporters
    The Green Party of Canada received almost a million votes in 2008. A great many people who would support a small party won’t if they think their vote won’t elect anyone, so if almost a million people were willing to vote for such a party, it is probable that a great many more did not.One of the biggest hurdles small parties face in our winner-take-all electoral system is that small parties (like Independents) find it almost impossible to get candidates elected. So it isn’t at all surprising that a great many supporters whose hopes for a Green MP were dashed would have been seduced into voting strategically in 2011.But things changed in 2011.The ineffectiveness of strategic voting was amply demonstrated by Mr. Harper’s majority government. Still, in any winner-take-all system the votes cast for any small party don’t accurately reflect its support, so there is little doubt that more Canadians would vote Green if there was a chance of electing GreenMPs.In a nation whose population is just shy of thirty seven million, Ms. May’s inclusion in the debates would still be warranted even if there are only a million or so Green supporters
  3. House of Commons
    When any country is saddled with an unfair winner-take-all electoral system, citizen’s find it a struggle to vote for any party that can’t elect a single MP. But in 2011 Elizabeth May was the first Green Party of Canada MP elected to Parliament. And since that time, Green MPs have been elected in Provincial ridings across Canada. Suddenly we’ve seen the Green Party is viable; supporting Green Party Candidates is no longer perceived to be a hopeless gesture. In fact, a Green Party member was elected to PEI’s provincial legislature where not a single NDP candidate won a seat.This suggests Green Party inclusion on the basis of party viability wouldn’t be amiss.
  4. A stellar record
    Elizabeth May’s parliamentary record has been staggering. Not only has she earned the respect of her fellow parliamentarians, she has shown Canadians the importance of a strong dissenting voiced in Ottawa. While her leadership on environmental issues has never been in doubt, Canadians have since learned she is equally passionate about many other issues, notably about necessary democratic reform to Proportional Representation as well as her relentless battle against the Canadian civil rights busting Bill C-51.This record should certainly entitle Ms. May to a seat at every debate.
  5. A Real Party
    Some people say she should be excluded because the Green Party isn’t a “real” party. After all, it has only 3 seats. But what constitutes a “real party” is decided by those who already hold the power. When Kim Campbell’s Progressive Conservatives were decimated – from a crushing majority to a mere 2 seats, the rules were changed to allow the PCs to retain Official Party status… and all the perks that went along with it. Just because they changed the rules again– expressly to further disadvantage small parties– doesn’t change the fact that this argument has been shown to be purely specious. Any party with even a half a million supporters is a real party.After all, shouldn’t half a million citizens count?
  6. The Gender Gap
    But there is more. Slightly more than half of Canada’s population is female. 50.4% of the total population to be exact. That is a larger share of the population than voted for any of Canada’s major parties in 2011. And yet the leaders of the other three major parties are all male. Any debate devoid of a female perspective would certainly fail a large segment of the population. This alone would be enough of a reason to include Ms. May.Shouldn’t Canadian women have a voice?
  7. Fairness
    And if all of those things are not enough, poll after poll show that 80% of Canadians (or more) support Elizabeth’s May’s inclusion in the debates.Not because 80% of Canadians support the Green Party, but because the vast majority of Canadians believe in fairness.
  8. Meaningful Electoral Reform
    Without Ms. May’s inclusion in every debate, who will talk about meaningful electoral reform? Who will keep Proportional Representation on the table?

Elizabeth May must be included in every leadership debate.

Anyone who supports excluding the Green Party of Canada leader from the leadership debates does so only because they are afraid their team might not win if she does.
And how fair is that?

Elizabeth May and Mike Schreiner in Guelph

Is the NDP Greener than Green?

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I’m no expert, but I have been told by NDP friends that their party policy is dramatically “greener” than Green Party policy on environment issues.  When the NDP’s Linda McQuaig spoke out,  I thought …maybe…  But as it turns out, I was wrong.  Climate scientist Andrew Weaver is an environment expert. He is also the Green Party Member of the Legislative Assembly for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in BC, so I am very pleased to be able to present his much more informed perspective on the two environmental policies in this guest post.

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Elizabeth May

“Only the Federal Green Party has been honest
about the need to keep oil sands production
at two million barrels a day. “


by Andrew Weaver

Linda McQuaig speaks the truth and rather than supporting her, the NDP party brass throw her under the bus. I am disappointed that the Liberals criticized McQuaig but expected as much from the Harper Tories.

Only the Federal Green Party has been honest about the need to keep oil sands production at two million barrels a day.

Federally, Mulcair is so twisted up in inconsistencies re: Kinder Morgan that it is stunning. He wants to wait until the NEB process is over. But that didn’t stop the NDP being against Northern Gateway before the NEB process was over. And the NEB process this time is so rigged it’s not funny. The reality is, it is entirely unsafe and completely irresponsible to be increasing our shipments of diluted bitumen threefold. Vancouver is trying to brand itself as the world’s greenest city by 2020. That can’t happen when it becomes one of the world’s great fossil fuel exporters.

And finally here is what Horgan, the BC NDP leader tells the Kids for Climate Action Group when asked if he would sign their pledge to keep BC’s 2020 targets. He called it a “shallow publicity stunt, saying the target won’t be met and he wouldn’t sign the document because it isn’t possible”. And not a single BC NDP MLA asked was willing to sign the Kids for Climate Action commitment to take steps to limit thermal coal. Why? It’s obvious. The BC NDP are more concerned about what taking such a position might look to their labour union puppet masters than they are about thinking of intergenerational equity.

The Best, Worst, and Strangest of our Government’s Plan for Climate Change

So the evidence is clear, the NDP both provincially and federally are all over the map and completely unprincipled on actions to deal with climate change.

Thomas Mulcair, federal NDP Leader

“Federally, Mulcair is so twisted up in inconsistencies re: Kinder Morgan that it is stunning.”

Rather than pretending they are something that they are not, they should be honest with people. I would actually have far more respect for them if they were.

Some will argue “Let’s give them a chance it will be better”. Frankly we only have to look at the about face of Notley’s climate campaigning once she got elected to know what we can expect. What happened to her talk about proportional representation? Sorry. It’s about trust and you have to earn that. NDP actions clearly demonstrate otherwise.


“The federal NDP attacked Stéphane Dion’s green shift which was designed to put a price on carbon
yet offered nothing of substance up in return.”





And as Ed Wiebe pointed out, what is the NDP GHG reduction plan? It doesn’t exist. The Climate Change Accountability Act was only a monitoring Act. They’ve offered absolutely nothing but have the audacity to pretend that we should “trust them”.

I remember too well when the NDP attacked Gordon Campbell’s carbon tax with their cynical “axe the tax” campaign. The federal NDP attacked Stéphane Dion’s green shift which was designed to put a price on carbon yet offered nothing of substance up in return.

To my NDP friends, take a look in the mirror and please stop kidding yourselves. The BC and Federal NDP will not put in place any substantive plan to deal with climate change. You can take that to the bank.

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves
Image Credits:
My own photos of Elizabeth May, Thomas Mulcair and Stéphane Dion are released under a Creative Commons Attribution Unported 2.0 license available via Flickr.

For more information download the pdf

A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE ALBERTA OIL SANDS: Understanding the Environmental and Human Impacxts, Export Implications and Political, Economic and Industry Influences bt Michelle Mech

42nd Canadian Election #elxn42

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X marks the ballotThe long awaited 2015 federal election has been called, so Canadians are now being treated to one of the longest Federal Elections in Canadian History.  Because of strict spending caps, the standard election period has traditionally been half as long as the one we are having now.  Since the passage of the Harper Government’s Orwellianly titled “Fair Elections Act,” any party with an absurdly large budget (like, say, the Conservative Party of Canada) has an even better chance to outspend the other parties.  Will they be able to effectively “buy” an election win in this way?  I hope not.

Right now all the parties are scrambling to put on their game faces, but I have no doubt election fever will slow down a good bit until we get closer to the election.  We have time to catch our breath.  More important, we have time to start conversations about the Canada we want to have.  About the future we want for ourselves, and for our kids.

British SuffragetteThey call it “voter apathy” but I believe that’s a misnomer: we ought to call it “Voter Disillusionment.”  Although our electoral system is not only antiquated but unfair, a great many Canadians — on the order of 40% in 2011 — have become disillusioned or have other reasons for not getting out to vote.  The fewer Canadians who vote, the weaker our representation in Parliament, as we can see from much of the legislation pushed through with little or no scrutiny by our current majority government.

Originally, our First Past The Post electoral system was designed to serve rich white men.  It was only well into the 20th century that all Canadian citizens of legal age finally achieved the right to vote, but still, the system adopted before confederation wasn’t never intended to serve all Canadians.   No one knows better than I — after 30+ years of voting in every election without ever sending a representative to Parliament — just how unfair our winner-take-all electoral system actually is.  However, this year, meaningful electoral reform to Proportional Representation is indeed on the table.  The Harper Government has a majority government– and 100% of the power — based on less than 40% of the vote.  In the last election, more eligible Canadian voters did not vote than those who voted for the Harper Government’s majority.   If all the disillusioned Canadian voters were to vote this year, things would indeed change.

Canada’s fortunes will certainly improve with a switch to a better form of representative democracy, so I encourage everyone reading this to do your best to engage any other eligible voters you know who might ordinarily not vote to go to the polls this fall.  We see enough attack ads on tv… it is time for civil discussion about politics in our real lives.  My own strong hope is that the disillusioned voters will cast their votes for candidates who support Proportional Representation, but just voting for what you want is just as important.  Please consider: it is the Canadians who don’t vote who have the least representation in Ottawa.

It may help to direct any such potential voters to the many valuable online resources (here’s a borrowed list) to help them get informed, but please try not to influence their decision.  People who don’t believe they can vote for what they want are much less likely to vote at all, so please try to encourage them to vote for the candidate they believe will best represent them in Ottawa. Canada Flag Banner





Municipal Proportional Representation

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My submission to Ontario’s municipal ranked ballot consultation

Q: What are your thoughts on using ranked ballots for Ontario municipal elections?
A: I disagree with even considering ranked ballots for municipal use unless they are used to introduce an element of proportionality to the electoral process. In order to achieve this there is a need for multi-member districts or offices so Ranked Ballots might be used in an STV (Single Transferable Vote) system.

Q: Should municipalities be able to use ranked ballots for certain offices and not others? For example, only for mayor?

A: I have never bought into the idea that instant runoff voting is somehow more democratic than any other winner-take-all system. This is why I don’t agree with any winner-take-all method to elect a mayor. Ranked ballots should only be used in multi-member races to ensure a proportional outcome (again, as in STV).

The proportionally elected municipal council could select the mayor. The idea of democracy is to make government accountable to the people, so investing a disproportionate amount of power in the office of leader seems more like re-establishing a non-hereditary monarchy via by election. That might have seemed reasonable when they signed the Magna Carta, but we ought to be able to do better than that in the 21st century.

Q: Should public consultation by a municipality be required before implementing ranked ballots or before changing from ranked ballots back to the current system?

A: Any major change to our electoral process should require both public education and consultation.

Q: What form should that consultation take?

A: Empanelling an independent citizen’s assembly to study the issue and make recommendations would be a good start. It is critical that enough time is allotted to do this work. After the recommendations are made, there should be should be public consultation meetings, ideally conducted both online and off before following up with a binding referendum requiring a simple majority. Once the new system is chosen there should be a set time or number of elections for the new system to be practiced, after which a second referendum to determine whether to keep it, try something else or return to the old way should be held.

Q: Unlike the current system, ranked ballots can involve multiple rounds of counting before all the seats to be elected have been won.

How much information would you want about election results? For example, where there have been multiple rounds of counting would you want to see the results of each round of counting or just the final results?

A: The details of all the results should be shared in the interest of open government. This can be done easily and cheaply in a digital world.

Q: Are there other ideas you wish to share on ranked ballots that you would like us to consider?

A: If ranked ballots are to be used in a non-proportional winner-take-all system, multiple rounds of counting wherein candidates are dropped from the race must require multiple votes, not instant runoff voting.
ON pr

Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

July 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm

Bill C-51 in Bullet Points

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Cardinal Richilieu on PrivacyMy friend Paul suggested:

Someone needs to publish or post a good summary for the layman, with perhaps bullet points of what Bill C-51 entails. So many websites I have gone to are filled with opinion that just rambles on ad nauseam. I am more confused than ever!

Anyone who reads this blog knows how hard this assignment will be for someone as inclined to over-explain as I.  But I’ve tried.

BILL C-51 in Bullet Points

  • Bill C-51 is overly broad, so it can be made to mean anything the authorities want it to mean.
    [Instead saying someone who bombs a government building commits a terrorist act punishable by 50 years in jail, it might say someone who commits a terrorist act can be punished by 50 years in jail. Defining endangering Canada’s economic stability is terrorism, it could be used to identify as terrorists: factory workers picketing their place of employment because their employer’s lack of safety standards endangers their lives might be sent to jail for terrorism.]
  • Bill C-51 dispenses with the need to get evidence before targeting suspects.
    [Instead of requiring evidence showing “probable cause,” law enforcement agents will be able to proceed against citizens based solely on suspicions.*]
  • Bill C-51 introduces the “constitutional breach warrant” granting permission to breach civil rights in advance.

    But now, for the first time, judges are being asked to bless in advance a violation of any or all our Charter rights, in a secret hearing, not subject to appeal, and with only the government side represented. What the government proposes now is a “constitutional breach warrant”. It is a radical, idea that contorts basic constitutional understandings and the role of the courts. It has correctly been compared to a stealth use of the notwithstanding clause, in which judges and not Parliament are being asked to do the dirty work of abrogating rights.”

  • Bill C-51 dispenses with citizen privacy by allowing indiscriminate unsupervised information sharing.
    [Instead of requiring the various law enforcement agencies to share information cooperatively (which would be good), it will allow the sharing of information stored in 17 government departments  “to any person, for any purpose”with no review for 14 of the 17 recipient departments, and no judicial review at all.  The two scariest departments that would be required to give out our personal data so recklessly?  Health and Canadian Revenue Agency.  Yay.]
  • Bill C-51 will put all Canadian citizens at risk of secret trials.
    [At present, Canada’s “Security Certificate” regime has been used only against immigrants who have not yet become citizens. Bill C-51 would extend this to all citizens through secret procedures that fly in the face of human rights. You can see what this will be like in the documentary film The secret Trial 5. The trailer on the site will give you a good idea, but it is well worth downloading the very well done important documentary.]
  • Bill C-51 will render our civil rights protections meaningless by allowing CSIS to breach law or the Charter.
    Bill C-51: What Did We Learn About The Government’s Intentions From The Clause-By-Clause goes into this in much more detail.
  • Bill C-51 expands the government’s ability to spy on Canadians without any oversight.
    [The office of the Inspector General used to provide oversight (oversight=supervision) but it was quietly dissolved as part of the Bill C-38 omnibudget leadnow dubbed the “Black Mark Budget” in 2011. The Harper Government maintains the underfunded understaffed part-timers of SIRC provide oversight, but it can’t.  SIRC provides limited review of only selected CSIS operations after the fact.
  • Bill C-51 makes the no-fly list (already an incursion in the Charter’s mobility rights) even worse.
  • Bill C-51’s vagueness threatens free speech because it allows arbitrary censorship at the whim of government.

*The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.
Rule of Law, Wikipedia

A big part of the problem is that there is no time.  But when the entire legal profession, information technology folks,  the Government’s own Privacy Commissioner (and every other Canadian Privacy Commissioner past and present), civil rights organizations at home and abroad, along side a vast array of ordinary people from all walks of life and across the breadth of the Canadian political spectrum opposes a law, it should not pass.

The Canadian Senate will vote on Bill C-51 this week, and the Senators might yet prevent it from passing. Please contact as many Senators as you can to tell them not to undermine our civil rights.

Here’s a tool that makes contacting Senators easy:

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leavesP.S.  The only way a law like Bill C-51 could have gotten this far is because our unfair outdated electoral system puts absolute power into the hands of any majority government.  Bill C-51 would not have a hope if we had Proportional Representation.  With the exception of the Conservative and Liberal Parties, every one else wants to adopt meaningful electoral reform.   So no matter what, and no matter who for, every Canadian needs to vote in the fall election. 

More Information

WWhat Is A Disruption Warrant?Professors Kent Roach and Craig Forcese are the acknowledged experts on Bill C-51. As well as testifying before both the House of Commons and Senate Committees on Bill C-51 they have studied it as exhaustively as possible and published their findings as they go in the website Canada’s Proposed Antiterrorism Act: An Assessment

Among the vast amount of material already out there, I have covered Bill C-51 as extensively as possible here in Whoa!Canada, (just read back… you might like Our Kids Deserve to Have Civil Rights, but there are a lot more, just read on) and I’ve have shared copious links and articles like “What is a Disruption Warrant” on Visual Laurel.

My Bill C-51 YouTube playlist features important snippets of things I’ve learned from ordinary people.
I’ve also assembled a playlist of other people’s Bill C-51 videos on YouTube

Privacy is an incredibly important human right, necessary for the “security of the person.” Former Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart published a list of excellent movies that dealt with the Privacy issues we increasingly face. These films demonstrate the importance of privacy matters, and why Bill C-51 must not pass.

The Lives of Others

Red Road

The Conversation

Minority Report


Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

May 31, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Posted in Canada, Civil Rights, Law

Tagged with ,

Who Voted for C-51… Is my math right?

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Thomas Mulcair in Waterloo

CORRECTION: My Numbers were Incorrect.

The premise of this article was my speculation that Bill C-51 might have been voted down at 3rd Reading in the House of Commons by the combined vote of all non-Conservative MPs (since so many Conservative MPs abstained from voting).

It has been brought to my attention (through the comments– thanks Sharon Best) that my count was indeed incorrect. Assuming I have the numbers right now, it seems that the Conservatives were 5 ahead on MPs.

Bill C-51 is being fast tracked by the Harper Government.  Although the Conservative Party only got around 30% of the vote in the 2011 election, thanks to the screwy unfair electoral system we have, the walked away with 100% of the power.

Although the NDP forms the Official Opposition, the reality is that the Harper Government can vote down every other party on brute force alone, and we have seen numerous examples of it doing just that.

Since there are no real checks or balances left to us ~ will the Senate transcend it’s rubber stamp-hood and stop Bill C-51?  We won’t know until next week.  In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to start keeping track.  I don’t know about you, but I will certainly never trust any politician who voted for Bill C-51.  It doesn’t matter that voting against it would not have stopped it against a Conservative onslaught.

Looking at the numbers, I have to wonder.  A striking number of MPs didn’t vote at all.  Math is not my strong suit, but right now the House of Commons is down 4 seats, so there are 304 seats in total.  But looking at the number, you can see just how smug the Harper Government was… a whopping 13 Conservatives didn’y bother to vote.  In fact, there were a mere 146 Conservative votes cast that day.  Which means Bill C-51 could have been voted down.

I understand young Justin Trudeau has done nothing but put his foot in it on this one.  His decision to support Bill C-51 and the hollowness if his various justifications have led to a goodly amount of dismay out here in the world where citizens are worried about the masive loss of civil liberties coming our way.

But instead of reconsidering his position, Mr. T  dug in his heels and presumably ordered his MPs to follow his lead in supporting the wworst legislation Canada has ever seen.  Trudeau’s refusal to back track in the face of facts is reminiscent of Mr. Hudak going down with his own ship in the last Ontario election.   Maybe Mr. Trudeau is worried he might be accused of shilly-shallying if he changed his mind.  Or looking weak, or foolish, or whatever.

But the fact remains, the one thing Mr. Trudeau might have done to rehabilitate himself and his party’s chances would have been to quietly consolidate opposition to the terrifying legislation.  If he has worked to ensure every single non-conservative MP voted against Bill C-51 he would have taken advantage of Mr. Harper’s hubris (the man himself didn’t even bother to show up and vote for his own Secret Police Bill) and voted Bill C-51 down.

Justin Trudeau lost out on a classic opportunity to get the egg off his face by getting Bill C-51 thrown out.  If he keeps this up, he will be lucky if his party manages to hang on to fourth place status come October.

My numbers come from Open Parliament’s Vote #395 on May 6th, 2015

YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                         ABSTENTIONS
                                                          Louis Plamondon                  Claude Patry

YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                         ABSTENTIONS
Diane Ablonczy                                                                             Chris Alexander
Mark Adler                                                                                    Keith Ashfield
Leona Aglukkaq                                                                            John Baird
Dan Albas                                                                                      Joyce Bateman
Harold Albrecht                                                                            Patrick Brown
Mike Allen                                                                                     Rod Bruinooge
Stella Ambler                                                                                 Rick Dykstra
Rona Ambrose                                                                              Stephen Harper
Rob Anders                                                                                  Joe Oliver
David Anderson                                                                           Devinder Shory
Andrew Scheer
Scott Armstrong
Jay Aspin
John Barlow
Leon Benoit
Candice Bergen
Maxime Bernier
James Bezan
Steven Blaney
Kelly Block
Ray Boughen
Peter Braid
Garry Breitkreuz
Lois Brown
Gord Brown
Brad Butt
Paul Calandra
Blaine Calkins
Ron Cannan
John Carmichael
Colin Carrie
Corneliu Chisu
Michael Chong
Rob Clarke
Tony Clement
Joan Crockatt
Joe Daniel
Patricia Davidson
Bob Dechert
Barry Devolin
Earl Dreeshen
John Duncan
Jim Eglinski
Ted Falk
Julian Fantino
Ed Fast
Kerry-Lynne Findlay
Diane Finley
Steven Fletcher
Royal Galipeau
Cheryl Gallant
Parm Gill
Shelly Glover
Robert Goguen
Peter Goldring
Gary Goodyear
Bal Gosal
Jacques Gourde
Nina Grewal
Dick Harris
Laurie Hawn
Bryan Hayes
Russ Hiebert
Jim Hillyer
Randy Hoback
Ed Holder
Roxanne James
Randy Kamp
Gerald Keddy
Jason Kenney
Peter Kent
Greg Kerr
Ed Komarnicki
Daryl Kramp
Mike Lake
Guy Lauzon
Denis Lebel
Ryan Leef
Kellie Leitch
Pierre Lemieux
Chungsen Leung
Wladyslaw Lizon
Ben Lobb
Tom Lukiwski
James Lunney
Peter MacKay
Dave MacKenzie
Larry Maguire
Colin Mayes
Phil McColeman
Cathy McLeod
Costas Menegakis
Larry Miller
James Moore
Rob Moore
Rob Nicholson
Rick Norlock
Deepak Obhrai
Gordon O’Connor
Tilly O’Neill-Gordon
Ted Opitz
Erin O’Toole
Christian Paradis
LaVar Payne
Pat Perkins
Pierre Poilievre
Joe Preston
Lisa Raitt
James Rajotte
Scott Reid
Michelle Rempel
Blake Richards
Greg Rickford
Andrew Saxton
Gary Schellenberger
Kyle Seeback
Bev Shipley
Joy Smith
Robert Sopuck
Kevin Sorenson
Bruce Stanton
Brian Storseth
Mark Strahl
David Sweet
David Tilson
Lawrence Toet
Bradley Trost
Bernard Trottier
Susan Truppe
Tim Uppal
Bernard Valcourt
Dave Van Kesteren
Peter Van Loan
Maurice Vellacott
Mike Wallace
Mark Warawa
Chris Warkentin
Jeff Watson
John Weston
Rodney Weston
David Wilks
John Williamson
Alice Wong
Stephen Woodworth
Lynne Yelich
Wai Young
Terence Young
David Yurdiga
Bob Zimmer

Forces et Démocratie
YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                         ABSTENTIONS
.                                                         Jean-François Larose          Jean-François Fortin

YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                         ABSTENTIONS 
.                                                         Bruce Hyer

.                                                          Elizabeth May

YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                       ABSTENTIONS
Scott Andrews                                  Massimo Pacetti                André Bellavance
Sana Hassainia
Maria Mourani
Manon Perreault
Brent Rathgeber

Liberal Party of Canada
YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                   ABSTENTIONS
Eve Adams                                                                               Gerry Byrne
Mauril Béanger                                                                        Arnold Chan
Carolyn Bennett                                                                       Lise St-Denis
Scott Brison
Sean Casey
Irwin Cotler
Rodger Cuzner
Stéphane Dion
Emmanuel Dubourg
Kirsty Duncan
Wayne Easter
Mark Eyking
Judy Foote
Chrystia Freeland
Hedy Fry
Marc Garneau
Ralph Goodale
Ted Hsu
Yvonne Jones
Kevin Lamoureux
Dominic LeBlanc
Lawrence MacAulay
John McCallum
David McGuinty
John McKay
Joyce Murray
Geoff Regan
Francis Scarpaleggia
Judy Sgro
Scott Simms
Justin Trudeau
Frank Valeriote
Adam Vaughan

YES VOTES                                    NO VOTES                         ABSTENTIONS
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Written by Laurel L. Russwurm

May 30, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Canada

Tagged with

Voters can use Talking Points too

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Harold Albrecht, my MP

Harold Albrecht

When a candidate (or her canvasser) shows up at your door, or when you get an opportunity to chat at the local Canada Day celebration, or maybe at a Fund Raiser, or on social media, or at the debates, isn’t it high time we start letting them know what is really important to us?  This is supposed to be a democracy, right?  That means they are supposed to be working for us.

But instead of actually conversing with us, very often candidates or elected representative use well rehearsed “talking points,” which are really just a prearranged script provided by the party to inform us of their party line.  Isn’t it hight time we turned the tables?

If my MP were to appear at my door, I might ask Harold, “Why are you sending your advertisements monthly when we both know you are only allowed to mail out 4 a year?”

The trick is to take a few minutes and think of what you want to ask before you actually see them.  Or maybe wait until you are inspired by their political ads.  Write your concerns down in point form and you’ll have your own set of “talking points.”

You might want to ask, “What do you think about outlawing political ads and giving Elections Canada the teeth to enforce it?”

The single most important issue for me is meaningful electoral reform.  I think the growing list of unsolved problems facing us are largely unsolved because there is no incentive to actually solve our problems under a winner-take-all system.  And I don’t think any party should have 100% of the power unless 100% of the population voted for it.  If even 51% voted for them, that still means 49% didn’t.  In 2011 14,720,580 Canadians voted. But the reality is that a mere 6,201 votes in 14 hotly contested electoral districts gave the Harper Government a majority.  So my own talking points are all about PR.

The thing to remember is that you don’t have to be a Proportional Representation expert to ask:

  • Should elections be about a few swing voters in a few swing ridings leaving most voters unrepresented or ignored?
  • Do you think a party gets 39% of the vote should get 39% of the seats?
  • Do you think some votes should be worth more than others, while some are worth nothing at all?
  • What will you do to make every vote will count, and count equally?
Fair Vote booth at the Kitchener Multicultural Festival

Fair Vote Canada’s Bob Jonkman and Sharon Sommerville discuss Proportional Representation at the Kitchener Multicultural Festival.

I want 2015 to be the last unfair election.  Don’t you?

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(Maybe we should all be writing to CBC to encourage them to air the Danish political series “Borgen” a political series like “House of Cards” set in a nation that successfully uses Proportional Representation.   But then, we should also be writing to tell them to air the “The Secret Trial 5” too.)

Image Credit:

Photos by me released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License 




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