In Waterloo Region, as in most of Canada, although there is support for the Green Party, there are no elected Green MPs. This does not mean there is no support for the Greens, it just means there isn’t enough support to elect many Greens when votes cast for Green Party Candidates aren’t as powerful as votes cast for bigger parties. That’s what’s wrong with Canada’s electoral system in a nutshell:
Some votes count more than others,
but most votes don’t count at all.
In spite of the grievous unfairness of Canada’s winner-take-all electoral system, there are Green supporters all across Canada. And while the dropping vote share for Green candidates seems to suggest the party is losing support, the reverse is true. Unfortunately all too often, too many would be Green voters chose to vote strategically for a candidate they don’t actually want to elect, to prevent one they really hate from winning the seat. This isn’t just bad for the Green Party, it’s bad for all Canadians, because the parliament that results fails to reflect the intentions of most voters.
Even though we have no Green MP in Waterloo Region (or even Ontario), we held our own Community Dialogue. Ours was not a partisan event, and we did attract non-Greens, but it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that an overwhelming majority of those in attendance supported adopting some form of Proportional Representation.
One young woman in my small group dialogue told us that her 2015 vote had actually elected someone for the very first time. But instead of making her feel good, it left her feeling hollow because now she has an MP she didn’t want that she helped elect. When our votes don’t count, how can anyone count on getting the government policy we want?
A group of Liberals in the Conservative Brantford-Brant held their own multipartisan Community Dialogue Event, inviting our own Temara Brown to participate. And the sitting Conservative MP attended as well.
One good thing is that a majority of Canadian voters (that is to say, those sixty-something % of eligible voters who voted) voted for candidates and parties that supported electoral reform. Since the Liberals promised an end to First Past The Post elections, and Mr. Trudeau promised to make every vote count, we’ve had a whirl wind Parliamentary electoral reform Consultation. Thousands of Canadians have participated across Canada, and everything we hear suggests predominent support for Proportional Representation.
And now the all party ERRÉ (Electoral Reform Reforme Électorale) Special Committee on Electoral Reform has begun deliberating over everything they’ve heard, from the experts as well as public input. The problem is that comments made by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Monsef sound as though the Government is beginning get cold feet. It is, after all, hard to get a government that won majority power with a minority of votes under a First Past The Post system to adopt a system of Proportional Representation that will limit their power to what they earn in votes.
We need to encourage the ERRÉ Committee to work toward a truly fair system ~ and that can only mean some form of Proportional Representation. We can let the ERRÉ Committee what we want by writing to them ourselves. The folks at Fair Vote Canada have made this easier for us with their automated tool that will send a letter urging the committee to recommend PR.
NOTES: Although it may look like it, you do *not* have to make a donation to Fair Vote unless you wish to. After your message is sent just close the browser tab. If you choose to use the FVC tool, bear in mind doing so will give Fair Vote Canada your contact info. [Every time you give anyone your contact info online there is always a chance they will keep it so they can contact you in future. If you are concerned about these things, you can still borrow useful bits from their letter and make your own that you send directly to:
Special Committee on Electoral Reform
Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
The best part is we don’t have to send Fair Vote’s letter. You can start with it, or edit it to say whatever you like, or start completely from scratch. No matter how you choose to get it done, it certainly can’t hurt to remind the Committee and the Government that we are still watching, and, more importantly waiting to see what Canadian Proportional Representation will look like.