This is the twenty-eighth article in the Whoa!Canada: Proportional Representation Series
During the 2015 election, Mr. Trudeau unequivocally promised to make 2015 the last First Past The Post election. If elected,
“We will make every vote count.”
It’s no secret Fair Vote Canada has been using the catchphrase “make every vote count” to describe Proportional Representation for years. In fact, they launched their “Make Every Vote Count Campaign” in 2013. If you follow the link you’ll see the Hon. Stéphane Dion on the podium for the announcement. Another LPC cabinet minister, the Hon. Carolyn Bennett is on the Fair Vote Canada Board. Certainly my Liberals For Fair Voting friends were aware of this when I helped them make a little video we called “The Foundation” to help them sell Resolution 31 at their 2014 Policy Convention. Resolution 31 was duly adopted by the Liberal Party and in fact formed the basis of Mr. Trudeau’s electoral reform campaign promise.
Mr. Trudeau confirmed his electoral reform promise in the Throne Speech, and (although it took a little nudging) an all party Electoral Reform Parliamentary Committee was formed. Because of the tight time frame, the committee worked through the summer, taking evidence from experts in Canada and around the world. And the Committee, like Minister Monsef, travelled across Canada in a whirlwind tour.
No doubt because the ERRE Consultation was woefully underfunded, the Committee only managed a single stop in Ontario. No money was spent on advertising, and there was little advance notice, but in spite of the main stream media’s absolute failure to cover it, all the Electoral Reform events were full of citizens. A preponderance of citizens and experts supported some form of Proportional Representation. Then the ERRE Committee submitted a consensus report calling for some form of Proportional Representation and a Referendum. But the government was not wildly happy to see such an impossible outcome.
And so mydemocracy.ca was born. Do you know, the government spent more money sending postcards telling people to participate in a seriously problematic survey that inspired more parody than response than it did on the entire #ERRE Consultation? While the Honourable Ms. Gould’s talking points are intended to make us believe the postcard survey was a big success, the reality is that a return of 360,000 Canadians is a ridiculously low response rate for a country with upward of 15 million voters.
But the Liberal Party holds a majority in Parliament, and we all know a majority government can pass (or kill) any law it wants. No consensus is required, even when the “majority” is based on the votes of only 39%. That is, after all, how the system we currently use works. (Part of why it so badly needs modernization.)
The Liberal Party hasn’t managed to articulate a single good reason for a Prime Minister elected on promises of transparency and more democratic governance to squash the promised democratic process this way. Even if Prime Minister Trudeau decided he doesn’t want electoral reform, he could still have allowed the process to run its democratic course to the finish. The same power that allows the plug to be pulled prematurely now could have been used to whip the vote the way he wanted at the eleventh hour.
The only reason for breaking this promise in such an odious way that I can imagine is that the Prime Minister (and the Liberal powers that be) have noticed the growing interest, support and commitment Canadians are developing in electoral reform, in spite of everything.
I understand the PM was grilled about electoral reform at every single stop on his recent cross country tour. Were those in the Liberal power structure getting nervous that enough public backing might just get Proportional Representation legislation through Parliament and into Law?
For those Canadians who value fairness and democracy, now is not the time to give up on Electoral Reform.
With all the Liberal talk of values for electoral reform, the one value that never seemed to come up was fairness.
No system that assigns 100% of the power to a party winning 39% (or less) votes can be considered fair.
And in my experience, Canadians value fairness. My Liberals for Fair Voting friends know know very well they benefit from the proportionality inherent in our existing winner-take-all system. Yet they don’t think it’s fair that so many other Canadians get little or no democratic representation.
There is still time to draft electoral reform legislation (the ERRE Committee could surely manage it) and get it through with enough time for Elections Canada to implement a new system in 2019. Canadians don’t need to understand the electoral math to know our First Past The Post system is not working for a majority of Canadians. How can a nation that prides itself on fairness continue to cling to a winner-take-all system that’s inherently unfair?
What We Can Do?
Guelph City Hall 1PM
Rally organised by Fair Vote Guelph
MP Longfield acknowledges that recent poll results in Guelph in support of
Proportional Representation are valid.
We need visible support at the rally to show our government that we want PR.
Please come to the Rally for PR on Sunday at Guelph City Hall at to support a fair open and transparent Democratic process .
National Week of Action on Electoral Reform
Sunday February 5th, 2017
Parliament Hill Protest and Photo-Stunt
12:00 – 1:00pm
- Ottawa residents to gather on Parliament Hill for Rally
- Canvassing Materials distributed, Photo-stunt for social media presence
Wednesday February 8th, 2017
Call-Blitz and Tweet-Storm
* All Day *
- your local MP,
- the Prime Minister’s Office and
- Karina Gould
Respectfully express your opinion, tell them we’ll #seeyousaturday
Saturday February 11, 2017
NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION
Canada Wide Protest
Be LOUD ~ Be HEARD.
Cross Canada Protest Times
@JustinTrudeau and the #LPC promised that 2015 would be our last #FPTP election. #PerformOnReform
e-600 (Electoral system)
Lower the voting age to 16
The Petition is open for signature until February 8, 2017, at 12:34 p.m. (EDT)
e-613 (Electoral system)
Achieving gender balance in Parliament
The Petition is open for signature until February 16, 2017, at 11:34 a.m. (EDT)
e-616 (Electoral system)
Encouraging the Liberal Government to get ERRE back on track (Nathan Cullen)
The Petition is open for signature until March 2, 2017, at 11:20 a.m. (EDT)
e-678 (Electoral system)
Implement Mixed Member Proportional Representation (Kennedy Stewart)
The Petition is open for signature until March 24, 2017, at 9:26 a.m. (EDT)
Use the Green Party of Canada tool to send a message:
A Broken Promise to Canada
Change.org: Open Letter to Liberal MPs Re: Electoral Reform
STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY IN CANADA: PRINCIPLES, PROCESS AND PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT FOR ELECTORAL REFORM: Report of the Standing Committee on Electoral Reform
Read the ERRE Report online here, or download the PDF
Read the Liberal Electoral Reform Report from 1921:
SPECIAL COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO CONSIDER THE SUBJECT OF
Proportional Representation AND THE SUBJECT OF THE SINGLE TRANSFERABLE OR PREFERENTIAL VOTE (pdf)
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