#ERRE Submission by Patricia McGrail

canadians-have-their-say

Submission to the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform,
October 7, 2016 
By Patricia McGrail

SUMMARY

During the 2015 election, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau told Canadians that FPTP was broken and that the Liberal Party would “Make Every Vote Count.” This pledge echoed a promise made in 1921 by PM Mackenzie King, a proposal made by PM Pierre Trudeau in 1981 and numerous studies undertaken since then.

Canadians believed Mr. Trudeau and have been lining up, by the hundreds, at microphones all over the country to say that they want proportional representation. The Electoral Reform Parliamentary Committee (“ERRE”), as it currently operates, is the best of what the Liberals have offered us to date.

ERRE demonstrates how Canadians expect their Parliament to operate. We also appreciate Minister Monsef’s consultations and the over 150 electoral reform town halls that have been held to date.

Canadians are daring to hope that the promise of ERRE will be realized to bring all Canadians together in a new era of revitalized democracy and collaboration for our common good. To that end, here are my expectations:

  • Canada must have a well-designed proportional system to provide all citizens with equal and effective votes. Canadians deserve a Parliament that looks like them and is accountable to them. No winner-take-all voting system (FPTP, Alternative Vote, or Two-Round) can provide this.
  •  It is the role of our Parliament to ensure that Canadians can enjoy this civic right in time for the next federal election in 2019.
  •  If further public consultation is required, a citizens’ assembly may be the best vehicle. However, since there have already been 13 Canadians studies on this issue, all recommending an element of proportionality, further consultations and discussions should focus only on the particular proportional voting system that suits Canada best. It appears that either MMP or STV, or some variation thereof, would be best suited for Canada.
  • I do not support either mandatory voting or online voting. Both are insignificant to what is needed now and serve as red herrings to derail proportional representation.
  • Sufficient resources must be provided to ensure that Canadians understand how to use their new voting system now, and in the future.
  • I do not support referenda, in general. However, it may be prudent to have citizens approve continued use of the new proportional system after it has been in place for at least three elections.
  • The Guiding Principles of the Electoral Reform Committee are fulfilled by Proportional Representation. In brief:
    o 1. Effectiveness and legitimacy,
    o 2. Voter engagement,
    o 3. Accessibility and inclusiveness,
    o 4. Integrity, and
    o 5. Local representation.

Background

Although I have voted at every election my entire life and followed political issues in the news, I stepped into a MP’s office for the first time about 3 years ago to discuss electoral reform. Once retired, I had time to contemplate the full extent of the divergence between our governance and the needs and aspirations of Canadians – and the possible reasons for it.

I visited Parliament for the first time and attended a meeting of the Government Operations and Estimates Committee. I heard newly-installed Auditor General, Michael Ferguson, explain that he had no way to confirm that what had been spent by the government had been approved by Parliament. Budgets and accounting records were prepared on a different basis with no means of reconciliation. The subsequent discussion around the table made it clear that our then-government saw no problem with this grave failing of accountability to Canadians. Reports of dysfunctional Parliamentary committees clearly had substance.

My former Conservative MP was planning a Democratic Reform Town Hall to discuss Michael Chong’s Reform Bill. He shared his dismay with the way Parliamentary committees operated saying that he had been scolded by his colleagues for some insignificant support to an opposition member. My MP was very receptive to including Professor Dennis Pilon in his planned town hall to discuss Proportional Representation (PR). It was a very successful event with over 100 attendees. After Dr. Pilon’s presentation, my MP told me he hoped to include PR in his next private members’ bill. And so began my interest in electoral reform.

I have since become acquainted with all eleven current MPs in Mississauga and Brampton, co-hosted a few electoral reform town-halls and a Community Dialogue. I have viewed or listened to 39 ERRE hearings and live-tweeted most of them. I am not an “elite” or “special interest.” I am simply a citizen who became thoroughly disillusioned with our governance and had time to do something about it. I have voted for all parties at one time or another and now shun party partisanship.

I was a single parent and now have grandchildren. I became a Chartered Accountant and entered public accounting when it was rare for women to do so. Being a tax specialist kept me closer to home. I learned to appreciate collaboration, cooperation and focusing on what is important – attributes that have served most Canadians very well.

Making Votes Count

In the last election, 51% of all votes cast elected no-one. Boards of Directors answer only to those who hold enough shares to out-vote everyone else. Not sure why we expect governments to be accountable to most Canadians who elect no-one.

Locking votes up in silos so that they elect no-one is a masterful way of effectively disenfranchising many. Subject to manipulation by gerrymandering and robocalls, single-member ridings are a great vehicle for “dividing and conquering” citizens. It is not fanciful to say that many votes don’t “count” under winner-take-all voting systems. It is simply arithmetic.

No voting system ensures that everyone casts a successful vote for a candidate or party, nor should it. But proportional voting systems ensure that a much higher proportion of citizenry elects a representative or party of their own choosing. We can do much better. We are greatly diminished by not doing so.

Democracy is about representation for all. I cannot remember casting anything, other than a strategic vote to keep the most threatening candidate out, unless I was in a “safe” riding and my vote did not count anyway. I certainly do not feel represented if my MP consistently votes for policies that I oppose and do not meet my own needs and aspirations.

Changing the Culture of Government

I know something about the culture of large institutions from working in Big Four accounting firms and servicing multinationals. Institutions become permeated with their own unique culture. In my experience, both leadership and the foundational objectives of an institution shape culture.

Small changes can reverberate to change the culture of an organization. But the institutional memory of large organizations, based on how things have been done before, can make change slow, even with the most determined leadership. Lasting change, real change happens at the foundation – where incentives and motivations are created.

How MPs are elected greatly impacts how they behave once in Parliament. The voting system is the foundation that provides the incentives and motivations for certain behaviours. Winner-take-over voting systems require lock-step military precision to corner the handful of swing voters who will determine whether a party wins the golden ring – a majority government that gives them 100% control. Hence, we get strict party discipline and an overbearing PMO.

It is trite, but true, that absolute power breeds corruption. Canadians know this well. How often have we booted out one corrupt government, only to do so again, and again. Proportional voting systems change the incentives for candidates and parties. Candidates and parties can present more creative platforms because they are not all seeking votes from the same swing riders. They can seek their own constituencies and know that they will get seats according to the strength of their support.

Multi-party coalitions and minority governments require the collaboration of other parties in order to pass legislation in behalf of a true majority of citizens. On the whole, PR governments are just as, or more stable, than winner-take-all governments with less policy lurch. PR governments have greater continuity and can better solve the problems that need long-term planning.

Can we undertake reforms that will improve the operation of Parliament without proportional
representation? In my opinion, any lasting, significant improvement requires a well-designed
proportional voting system. We certainly need many other Parliamentary and party reforms. I see PR as the foundation and catalyst for those needed reforms.

As for expecting real reform under a winner-take-all voting system, can a leopard change its spots?  The whole premise of winner-take-all voting systems is an affront to fairness and equality in our modern age.

As a society, we are leaving many serious challenges for our children to deal with. We also need to leave them a solid foundation and the ability to govern for their greater good.

Alternative Vote (winner-take-all ranked ballots)

Westminster parliamentary systems are susceptible to one-party rule due to their poor separation of executive from legislature. Single-party majorities are an easy target for global forces that threaten to supplant our sovereign governments. A primary motivation for seeking proportional representation is the elimination of single-party majority governments.

Alternative Vote (AV) generally results in more single-party majority governments. Even with both mandatory voting and AV, Australia has false majority governments, with six wrong winners since 1940.

AV does not even guarantee a majority winner in individual ridings when optional preferences are used. Many exhausted ballots leave too few votes to transfer to achieve a majority winner.

AV offers little benefit for voters but often empowers major parties at the expense of smaller parties. After almost a century of AV, Australia is a duopoly. It’s powerful, elected proportional Senate is needed to moderate the AV majorities in the House of Representatives. Gridlock often results.

Proportional representation is needed where government policy is generated – in the lower house.

Fragmentation and “Extremist” Parties

Fear has become a tool employed in elections because it is effective under winner-take-all voting systems. I live in a community where, as a Caucasian, I am a minority. My community is peaceful but I am keenly aware that there is a delicate balance that is easily disturbed. Islamophobic material posted online during recent elections was shocking. Winner-take-all elections fuel the “us versus them” mentality.

FPTP has meant that Canada seldom has a government that is represented in every region. Geographic concentration gives some parties too many seats while denying representation to many others. National concerns such as climate change remain unaddressed while provinces bicker. Regional resentments build up and are acted out in counterproductive ways. FPTP allowed a separatist party to become the Official Opposition when it did not even have a majority of the popular vote in Quebec.

Given this, it is frankly preposterous to say that a proportional voting system will exacerbate extremism. What is often called “extremism” is merely another legitimate point of view. Parties that acquire sufficient popular support, that exceeds a minimum threshold, deserve expression. More diverse views may be expressed under PR but, in order, to have any impact, they must find common ground with the majority. The tail does not wag the dog.

Extremism, to the extent it exists, is more easily moderated when expressed, than subverted. PR does not promote extremism, although it may make it more visible. We will deal with it appropriately. Fear-mongers should not be allowed to dictate our voting system.

Much of this fear-mongering comes from a privileged minority that has a vested interest in maintaining a winner-take-all voting system. We cannot call ourselves a democracy if the few rule the many.

Political Will and CynicismErre Submissions

Due to its natural wealth, Canada has prospered despite a winner-take-all voting system. But that prosperity is increasingly distributed inequitably. Climate change threatens all. There are tough choices to be made by future generations. Civil unrest will grow if citizens are denied the representative and accountable governance provided by effective proportional representation.

For decades, political actors have denied many Canadians full participation in their governance throug  myth-making and obfuscations. Frankly, a government that truly believes in evidence-based decision-making has no choice but to deliver a proportional voting system based upon the evidence presented in least 39 ERRE hearings, numerous town halls and the 13 previous Canadian studies. The Liberal government has a historic opportunity to give Canadians what they have been denied so long.

Focus and leadership is needed now to get the job done.

ilmstrip-parliament

 

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#ERRE Submission by Laurel L. Russwurm

back to #ERRE submission Deadline TONIGHT!

Canadians Deserve Better -Proportional Representation - on Canadian Flag backgroundThis is the twenty-third article in the Whoa!Canada: Proportional Representation Series

After more than thirty years of casting votes that have never elected an MP, I am a Canadian who can’t wait for our First Past The Post electoral system to be replaced with some form of Proportional Representation.

Summary:

• First Past The Post is not working

• Single MP ridings are virtual monopolies that fail to represent too many voters

• Don’t replace it with another winner-take-all system like Alternative Vote

• I want Proportional Representation for more representative Representative Democracy

• I want Proportional Representation so we can vote for what we want and maybe get it

• My preferred type of proportional system is Single Transferable Vote

• Any form of Proportional Representation will be an improvement

• Lower the voting age to 16

• Mandatory voting with rewards not punishments

• Voting Holiday

• No voting machines

• No online voting

• No referendum

• Permanent constituency offices

Note: In discussion of possible Proportional Electoral Systems I have completely ignored List PR because I have accepted the notions that

(a) it wouldn’t work very well within Canadian Geography, and

(b) Canadians tend to value our local representation.

I have completely ignored Fair Vote Canada’s Rural-Urban system because

(a) I don’t believe it will function as promised,

(b) local representation for rural voters will continue to be an effective monoply, and

(c) I think it would manufacture an unnecessary polarizing divide between rural and urban communities.



Submission

The problem is that we are voting in an inherently unfair electoral system, a system that was adopted because it was unfair.

Effectiveness and legitimacy

I have no confidence at all that our First Past The Post system will ever translate my vote intention into representation in Parliament because it never has.

The Alternative Vote system would be even worse, because it would raise the bar and make it even more difficult to elect women and minorities than it is now. Such winner-take-all systems almost always leave a majority of voters under represented in multiparty politics.

How effective can votes be in any winner-take-all system when some votes are worth more than others, but most votes don’t count at all?

How legitimate is a system where more voters didn’t vote than voted for a “majority” government?

Representative Democracy is supposed to allow voters to secure representation in Parliament. When only 39% of the votes cast elect a “majority” government, far too many voters are left unrepresented.

Systems that produce Proportional Representation seek to represent as many voters as possible. For this reason, only a proportional system will provide voter equality, effectiveness and legitimacy.

Engagement

After decades of voting without electing anyone, I was starting to think the whole thing might be futile, and there was a time not so long ago that I was considering giving it up as a lost cause. The discovery that more than 90 other countries use Proportional Representation systems (some for more than a century!) was a real eye opener. But I know how close I came to disengaging.

My son tells me his friends don’t care at all about voting. And I’ve talked to young people willing to carry signs and demonstrate for issues they are passionate about, but don’t vote because they believe it’s futile. And I can’t say I blame them.

Adopting Proportional Representation would go a long way to remove the feeling of futility so many Canadians have. Proportional Representation will give candidates in small parties a fair chance to get elected. Once running for office stops being an exercise in futility, I have no doubt we will see even more good potential candidates (particularly women) willing to throw their hats in the ring.

Any form of Proportional Representation would certainly foster greater civility and collaboration in politics because cross party co-operation would become necessary to get things done in the more consensus style of government that will result.

The very best way to increase voter turnout would be to lower the voting age to 16. If our young people establish the habit of voting early, they are more likely to keep it up.

Mandatory Voting

I used to disagree with the idea of mandatory voting because the very idea of compelling people to vote has an undemocratic feel, but lately I’ve been wondering if it might not be such a bad idea after all.

Many people don’t vote because they don’t feel qualified, informed or even entitled to vote. If voting was mandatory, those eligible voters would understand they are expected to vote, and I am inclined to think most would do their best to make an informed choice.

Others don’t vote because they don’t like the choices. And if voting becomes mandatory, it would be essential to institute a “none of the above” choice with teeth (if a majority choose it, a new election must ensue.

The part I don’t like is the idea of punishing voters who choose not to vote with a fine. I would be happier providing a nominal reward. Just as most Canadians are willing to conform to privacy law without any teeth, it many not even be necessary to have a fine or a reward, simply passing a Parliamentary motion that voting is mandatory would encourage many non-voters to vote.

I also like the idea of making voting day a statutory holiday. Maybe the mandatory voting reward could be a “get out of work free” card that voters get in exchange for voting.

Accessibility and Inclusiveness

People keep telling me that our First Past the Post electoral system is simple.

Mechanics of Voting

If we look at the mechanics of voting from the user perspective, First Past The Post is easy to use because marking a single “x” is simple.

But the same is true in the Dual Member Proportional (DMP) system being offered in the upcoming PEI referendum: it needs only a single “x”.

Mixed Member Proportional is only a little more complicated; voters must mark two “x”es.

Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Alternative Vote (AV) are considered the most difficult to use. Instead of a simple “x,” voters need to rank their preferences. Now I am inclined to think the way to gauge voting difficulty would be to look at how many ballots are spoiled. And since there are fewer spoiled ballots in Ireland with STV than here in Canada with our “simple” FPTP ballots, I can’t imagine it is all that difficult.

All of this suggests the mechanics of how voters will mark ballots are not much of an issue. But how we mark the ballot isn’t the only measure of difficulty.

Quality of Representation

In Canada there are an awful lot of people like me who know we have a Representative Democracy but couldn’t quite understand why we never actually got the representative we asked for. There are also too many voters who feel obliged to work the odds so they can vote strategically in hopes of gaming the system that doesn’t otherwise work for them. Perhaps the worst part of this is that “strategic voting” invariably involves being told how to vote.

I’ve heard people suggest Alternative Vote would do away with strategic voting, but the evidence from Australia, the only country in the world that has used that winner-take-all system for any length of time, is that strategic voting has become institutionalized, with political parties distributing “how to vote” cards.

The best thing about Proportional Representation is that voters can vote for the candidate that will best represent them — with a reasonable expectation of getting representation they want. When most voters stand a reasonable chance of electing an MP who will represent them in Parliament, our democracy will truly be representative.

Integrity

This is my assessment of the electoral systems elements Any electoral system can be implemented, Integrity: that the proposed measure can be implemented while safeguarding public trust in the election process, by ensuring reliable and verifiable results obtained through an effective and objective process that is secure and preserves vote secrecy for individual Canadians;

This is my assessment of the elements of the potential electoral systems that might be implemented would impact on the public’s trust in the election process.

First Past The Post

• What you see is not what you get: % votes ≠ % seats

• Single member ridings result in a monopoly government voice, often leaving a majority of voters without representation in Parliament.

Alternative Vote

• “Majorities” manufactured out of 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc preferences

•.Increased voter inequality: first preference ≠ third preference

• Votes for any but the top parties are futile

• Has been known to install 3rd place plurality candidates in office

• Single member ridings result in a monopoly government voice, often leaving a majority of voters without representation in Parliament.

Single Transferable Vote

• Proportionality is achieved naturally with no fiddly math.

• Most voters secure representation

• Multi-member ridings allow different local opinions to be heard and represented in Parliament

Mixed member Proportional

• Fiddly Math

• Parties have an edge over Independents

• Most voters secure representation

• Local MPs

• Multi-member ridings allow different opinions to be heard and represented in Parliament

• The role of the top-up MPs seem to cause confusion in the Multi-member regional ridings

DMP

• Simple one “x” ballot

• Fiddly Math required to achieve moderate proportionality

• Independents have an edge

• More voters secure representation

• Multi-member ridings allow different opinions to be heard and represented in Parliament

Voting Machines

I’m digitally literate enough to know the only ballots I will trust are paper ballots.

Digital technology might be employed in the process of counting paper ballots; but I would only trust such machines that run on open source (and verifiable) software.

Online Voting

I categorically oppose online voting. My most important reason is that convenience can possibly counteract the loss of the Secret Ballot.

Even if it was possible to devise a secure system, (so far, not) it would again need to use open source software to be verifiable.

But a very serious integrity issue can arise when votes are cast in private, because there is no way to prevent voter coercion, or sold votes.

Perhaps most interesting is that the young people I’ve spoken with don’t like the idea.

I can’t imagine how the ERRE Committee could even consider such a thing without talking to system security experts.

Local Representation

Proportional Representation ensures accountability because votes that count require much more respect than those that don’t. I believe local representation is important. What I disagree with is the idea that the only way to achieve this is by keeping electoral districts geographically small.

The first geographic riding I voted in was geographically massive, and over the decades I’ve been voting, ridings have been subdivided into smaller and smaller chunks. This leads me to believe the geographic size of the ridings served by Canada’s earliest Parliament would have tended to be quite large too.

Today’s Members of Parliament could serve enormous ridings much more easily than any could have in 1867. I don’t believe there were constituency offices in those day, because the work MPs did was pretty much confined to Ottawa as transportation was by horse or train, and written communication travelled by postal mail. Both transportation and communication technology has improved dramatically since then.

With planes, trains and automobiles, today’s MPs can travel far and wide to meet with constituents. They can converse with far flung constituents through email and social media to help them understand local conditions. But with only a single MP per riding, it means only one view of local needs can be properly advanced at the national level.

By combining several already large sparsely settled ridings with similar characteristics into really large electoral districts, the same amount of representation would be available, but bring more points of view to the table. People who live in large rural ridings understand the realities of scale. Applying the idea if “local representation” to a larger area would have the net result of providing better local representation for more citizens.

Constituency Offices

Since MP constituency offices are paid for by the Federal Government, wouldn’t it be a lovely idea to establish permanent offices for each riding? I think it would be of benefit to new MPs, who wouldn’t need to spend the early months of their service scrambling to find a place to rent, and it would offer continuity to riding residents.

THE PROCESS

It has been suggested that there is something democratically wrong with a consultation process that fails to engage the entire population.

The fact is that most Canadians have no idea a consultation is under way.

That isn’t at all unusual, it’s normal. Canadian Consultations always attract a self-selected group of participants who have opinions to express. We tell them what we want, what we think, how we feel, and the Committee puts it all together and presents its findings to Parliament. Isn’t that how the Parliamentary consultation process is meant to work?

I must say one of the most surprising things I’ve learned in my own voyage of discovery is that Canadians have been clamouring for electoral reform since before Confederation, and waves of discontent have followed ever since. Even when championed by Canadians like Sir Sandford Fleming who offered a prize of 1,000 1892 dollars to anyone who devised an antidote to FPTP.

Is it any wonder Canadians as a whole are uninformed about electoral alternatives? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as most of us have little or no experience or exposure to anything but First Past The Post.

Even though serious concerns about democratic deficits inherent in FPTP have been repeatedly raised federally and provincially with increasing frequency in recent decades, not a single change has occurred.

The extraordinary absence of our main stream news media from ERRE proceedings across Canada is not unexpected from an industry that has clearly signalled its attachment to the status quo.

Canadians know something is wrong with our system, even if most of us don’t know how to fix it.

Decreasing citizen engagement reflected in low voter turnout was is a sign something wasn’t working.

Strategic voting become a reasonable mainstream option for voters, to the point where so many voters find it imperative not to vote for the candidate who will best represent them. In a situation like this, voter intention can hardly be gleaned from how voters vote.

The urgent need to modernize our voting system could not have become any more clear than it did when four of the five parties that won seats in the 2016 election campaigned for some form of electoral reform. That was extraordinary.

It concerns me that some of the expert witnesses have suggested Canada needs more time to learn about electoral reform before we can proceed with actually making change.

Choosing another electoral system is a complex subject, which is why the citizen’s assemblies in BC and Ontario had 6 months or a year to study the alternatives before making their recommendations. It isn’t surprising most Canadians lack the time or inclination to becoming electoral reform experts, or to even to participate in the Consultation process. But it isn’t our jobit’s yours as our elected representatives. We elect you to help make policy choices on our behalf.

But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Study after study has recommended variations of Single Transferable Vote or Mixed Member Proportional Representation.

One of the worst consequences of the winner-take-all electoral system we stuggle with is the four year electoral cycle. As a consequence, anything that can’t be accomplished in four years just doesn’t get done. Adopting any form of Proportional Representation would help change that with more stable long standing governance built on a much wider base of support.

Electoral System

The only way to make every vote count is with Proportional Representation.

Ranked ballots are wonderful when used in a Proportional Representation system like Single Transferable Vote. No doubt that’s why almost 58% of BC voters voted to adopt BC-STV in their first electoral reform referendum. STV is my own favourite proportional system, in part because big parties don’t get an advantage over small parties and independent candidates, and partly because voters needn’t worry about the math because the proportionality comes naturally.

But although STV is my personal favourite, I will be pleased to see Canada adopt any form of Proportional Representation. Even those I like least would provide an enormous improvement over the level of representation we have now.

Conclusion

Canadians have been waiting for meaningful electoral reform for 150 years.

Please don’t let us down.

 

back to #ERRE submission Deadline TONIGHT!

Proportional Representation Series So Far:

• Proportional Representation for Canada
• What’s so bad about First Past The Post
• Democracy Primer
• Working for Democracy
• The Popular Vote
• Why Don’t We Have PR Already?
• Stability
• Why No Referendum?
• Electoral System Roundup
• When Canadians Learn about PR with CGP Grey
• Entitlement
• Proportional Representation vs. Alternative Vote
• #ERRÉ #Q Committee
• #ERRÉ #Q Meetings & Transcripts
• Take The Poll ~ #ERRÉ #Q
Proportionality #ERRÉ #Q 
• The Poll’s The Thing 
• DIY Electoral Reform Info Sessions
• What WE Can Do for ERRÉ
• #ERRÉ today and Gone Tomorrow (…er, Friday)
• Redistricting Roulette 
• #ERRÉ submission Deadline TONIGHT!
#ERRÉ Submission by Laurel L. Russwurm
• The Promise: “We will make every vote count” #ERRÉ
FVC: Consultations Provide Strong Mandate for Proportional Representation #ERRÉ
PEI picks Proportional Representation
There is only one way to make every vote count #ERRÉ
Canada is Ready 4 Proportional Representation
Sign the Petition e-616
#ProportionalRepresentation Spin Cycle ~ #ERRÉ
• International Women’s Day 2017 ~ #IWD
• An Open Letter to ERRÉ Committee Liberals

and don’t forget to check out the PR4Canada Resources page!

 

#ERRE submission Deadline TONIGHT!

back to Redistricting Roulette

Canadians Deserve Better -Proportional Representation - on Canadian Flag backgroundThis is the twenty-second article in the Whoa!Canada: Proportional Representation Series

Submissions to the ERRE Consultation *must* be in before midnight tonight.

Participate in electoral reform consultations

Even if I didn’t have a lot to say, I’ve had a look at the questionaire, and I don’t like it much because the instructions about the electoral system questions are unclear. (If you “disagree” with the correct discription of an electoral system, does it mean you don’t approve of that system or does it mean you don’t want that system?)  The worst part is that people can’t just skip those; everything on every page must be answered in order to submit.  Not good.

A “brief” may sound daunting, what it really is is a way for Canadians to tell them what we think.  It can be a scholarly essay if you like, or it can just be a single line that says you want Proportional Representation.  I can tell you just saying “I want Canada to adopt Proportional Representation” will be incredibly  important; they will be crunching numbers.  If 90% of the submissions say they want PR, we might just get it.

If you wish to say a little bit more, the actual election promise was,

We will convene an all-party Parliamentary committee to review a wide variety of reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting.

— We will make every vote count

You can also offer opinions on other things, like lowering the voting age to increase voter engagement, restoring the per vote subsidy and limiting election spending.

The committee mandate is to find out what Canadians want, starting with the five principles:

  1. Effectiveness and legitimacy
  2. Engagement
  3. Accessibility and inclusiveness
  4. Integrity
  5. Local representation

We don’t need to choose a specific electoral system; in fact, the best possible outcome would be for the committee to recommend a type of Proportional Representation, Mixed Member Proportional or Single Transferable Vote, and then direct Elections Canada to convene a panel of experts to work out details to best conform to the mandate.

You can check out my PR4Canada resources page (listed in the sidebar):
https://whoacanada.wordpress.com/pr-4-canada-resources/
or
Fair Vote Waterloo’s
http://www.fairvotewrc.ca/resources/
for more information.

This is our chance to be heard.  Speak up!

back to Redistricting Roulette

Proportional Representation Series So Far:

• Proportional Representation for Canada
• What’s so bad about First Past The Post
• Democracy Primer
• Working for Democracy
• The Popular Vote
• Why Don’t We Have PR Already?
• Stability
• Why No Referendum?
• Electoral System Roundup
• When Canadians Learn about PR with CGP Grey
• Entitlement
• Proportional Representation vs. Alternative Vote
• #ERRÉ #Q Committee
• #ERRÉ #Q Meetings & Transcripts
• Take The Poll ~ #ERRÉ #Q
Proportionality #ERRÉ #Q 
• The Poll’s The Thing 
• DIY Electoral Reform Info Sessions
• What WE Can Do for ERRÉ
• #ERRÉ today and Gone Tomorrow (…er, Friday)
• Redistricting Roulette 
• #ERRÉ submission Deadline TONIGHT!
#ERRÉ Submission by Laurel L. Russwurm
• The Promise: “We will make every vote count” #ERRÉ
FVC: Consultations Provide Strong Mandate for Proportional Representation #ERRÉ
PEI picks Proportional Representation
There is only one way to make every vote count #ERRÉ
Canada is Ready 4 Proportional Representation
Sign the Petition e-616
#ProportionalRepresentation Spin Cycle ~ #ERRÉ
• International Women’s Day 2017 ~ #IWD
• An Open Letter to ERRÉ Committee Liberals

and don’t forget to check out the PR4Canada Resources page!