Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Stanley Park Community Centre - Maryam Monsef's National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour

Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions“For the past month I’ve been traveling across Canada hearing from Canadians directly on the values and expectations they feel should be reflected in Canada’s electoral system.

At every stop, it is clear; Canadians expect greater inclusion, transparency, engagement and modernization from their public institutions.”

— The Hon. Maryam Monsef,
Minister of Democratic Institutions ~ Ottawa, ON, Sept. 15, 2016

Hundreds of Waterloo Region residents crowded into the Stanley Park Community Centre on Wednesday night for a chance to participate in the Federal Electoral Reform Consultation with the the Honourable Maryam Monsef, the Minister of Democratic Institutions.  Ms. Monsef shared the stage with local LPC Mps, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Bryan May, Marwan Tabbara and Kitchener Centre host, Raj Saini,  But the evening’s main course was the small group dialogues where participants considered issues and shared their views.  Each group came up with a series of conclusions, all of which were duly passed along for consideration in Ottawa.  The Record‘s Luisa D’amato reports:

As I felt the unmistakable sense of optimism that comes when a powerful person asks your opinion, it occurred to me that we might have got it wrong all this time.

We’ve asked young people to vote, and shook our heads when they didn’t. “Don’t complain if you don’t vote,” we said.

Yet the rules by which we held the elections seemed designed to silence their choices.

D’Amato: It’s heartwarming to see a packed room for electoral reform discussion

Julia and SamJulia and Sam (Kitchener Centre Greens) are passionate about meaningful electoral reform.  The shape of their future depends on it.  They’re the driving force behind our Canada’s Voting System Is Changing event at Kitchener City Hall tomorrow.

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing poster ~ click to download larger size

The main goal of tomorrow’s event is to provide public information about our options.

Every MP in Canada has been asked to consult with their constituents about what they would like to see in terms of electoral reform.  Although our evening with Ms. Monsef was excellent, it would have been nice to see 4 Liberal Town Halls.  Knowing how long it took me to get my head around electoral reform, more events might make it easier for many citizens.

Sadly Kitchener-Conestoga residents don’t get any Town Hall at all.  Our Conservative MP Harold Albrecht has declined to conduct a consultation.  Fair Vote Waterloo will be putting on 3 more Library Information nights at Elmira Library, New Hamburg and the Ayr Public Libraries.

Earlier in the year the Waterloo NDP put on an information event with Fair Vote Waterloo, but now it’s our turn.

Proportional Representation is not a partisan issue; it is simply a way to better represent citizens in Parliament.  This isn’t about parties, but about what is best for all of us, the voters.  That’s why each of these events have worked hard to put partisanship aside in order to both inform and converse with the public.

the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region, Wednesday Night.
The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions speaks to a packed house in Waterloo Region. September  14th, 2016

So many other countries have adopted meaningful electoral reform that there’s a lot of information out there. And yet, Canadians have heard almost nothing about the alternatives before us.

That’s why Fair Vote Waterloo co-chair Sharon Sommerville will give an introductory talk about Proportional Representation. Then we’ll break into small group discussions, much like Maryam Monsef’s National Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour the other night.   We have decided to have two kinds of groups; one to help those of us just beginning to learn about Proportional Representation, and another for those who have an idea of what kind of reform they would like to see.  The latter will be able to discuss the issue as a group in order to make a group submission we can forward on to the ERRE Committee.

Even if you have a pretty good handle on Electoral Reform, we look forward to seeing you in Carl Zehr Square.  It is always a lot more fun to work on a submission together, and it is amazing how much discussion can help clarify the things we’re fuzzy on.  The more Canadians participate in this electoral reform process, the better the outcome will be.

This is a perfect opportunity to help your friends and neighbors get the facts about electoral reform.  We hope to see you there!

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing: Community Dialogue
Saturday September 17th, 2016
3:00pm – 4:30pm

Carl Zehr Square, in front of Kitchener City Hall
200 King St W, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada map

RSVP on the Facebook Event:
Community Dialogue: Proportional Representation

Bob Jonkman & Maryam Monsef
After the consultation, Ms. Monsef was available & approachable

Celebrate Democracy Week in Waterloo Region

Monsef Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ print version
Waterloo Region Monsef Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour poster ~ print ~ Click for more sizes ~

If Waterloo Region had a GPC Member of Parliament, we could look forward to having our own Green Electoral Reform Town Hall.  Instead, Waterloo Region has 4 Liberal MPs and 1 Conservative MP.  All 5 Waterloo Region MPs managed to attend the Climate Change Town Hall.  Unfortunately we won’t see the same for Electoral Reform.

All 5 Waterloo Region MPs attended the Climate Change Town Hall
All 5 Waterloo Region MPs attended the Climate Change Town Hall

ERRE Committee in TorontoAlthough the ERRE Special Committee on Electoral Reform is conducting a Canada wide tour, apparently it will only effect a single stop in the most populous province in the land.  And that won’t be in Northern Ontario, but rather in the most populous city, Toronto, leaving the rest of the province out of the loop.   The Minister of Democratic Institutions is trying to augment the Committee’s limited itinerary with a complimentary tour of her own, which will visit many more spots.

Every MP in Parliament has been is tasked with hosting a Town Hall to consult with their constituents about electoral reform.  Unfortunately, Kitchener-Conestoga MP has chosen to mail out a form letter questionaire (read: advertisement) encouraging citizens who have no idea of the alternatives to rally around a referendum (the CPC strategy intended to derail our long overdue electoral reform).

As I understand it, instead of 4 Liberal Town Hall consultations in Waterloo Region, the 4 LPC MPs will join the Honourable Maryam Monsef in one big Town Hall event on Wednesday Night.

This will be our only official ERRE Event, so though the event is being put on by Liberal MPs for a Liberal Government, everyone who can attend should attend to support Proportional Representation in the only opportunity we’ll have for face to face Government engagement on this most important reform.

Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour
Wednesday, 14 September 14th, 2016
7:00pm — 9:00pm
at the Stanley Park Community Centre
505 Franklin Street North, Kitchener  (~ MAP~)
Please RSVP online or call +1-519-741-2001

This is a must attend event for electoral reform supporters.

There are plenty of reasons for the Green Party to support Proportional Representation, the chief being that the disproportional power the winner-take-all party gets comes at the expense of smaller parties like the GPC. There are things we can do to help Canada along the path to truly representative government:

You might find the electoral reform series I’m writing to help demystify Proportional Representation useful.  If you don’t have time for the whole thing, probably the most useful articles are:

Share the graphics to help spread the word!

Do you know anyone who needs their own poster in other parts of Canada?

Share the DIY posters below: all they have to do is fill in the event details!

Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ Waterloo Region online
WRegion Monsef Tour ~ online version ~ Click for more sizes ~
DIY Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ online version
DIY Monsef Tour ~ online version ~ Click for more sizes ~
Do It Yourself Federal Electoral Reform Community Dialogue Tour ~ print version
DIY Monsef Tour ~ print version ~ Click for more sizes ~

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Print & Share our WRGreens

Canada’s Voting System Is Changing

Community Dialogue Poster too!

Can you imagine a better way to celebrate Democracy Week?

Canada's Voting System Is Changing poster
Canada’s Voting System Is Changing
~ click for larger size ~ Print & post WRGreens Community Dialogue
FVC Electoral Reform Info Sessions poster
You can also print and post posters for the Waterloo Region Library Fair Vote Events ~ click for large size ~