Congratulations #BCgreens ~ largest Green Caucus in Canadian History!

photo © by Laura Colpitts https://twitter.com/SprntgStilettos

Congratulations to the BC Greens!  Not only has party leader Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Andrew Weaver been re-elected, he will now be joined by new MLAs, Sonia Furstenau in Cowichan Valley and and Adam Olsen in Saanich North and the Islands.  Although Green candidates have broken through in legislatures here and there, this historic election is the first to have elected a Provincial Green Caucus.  Just as in the USA and UK, Canada’s unfair First Past The Post electoral system makes it exceptionally difficult for small party and independent candidates to get elected.   And even when they are, Canadian legislatures have added another artificial barrier: a political party can be duly registered, and run candidates and even manage to win seats in the legislature, but the legislature has imposed a threshold before an elected party is entitled to receive additional perks.  In BC the threshold is 4 seats, so our new Green caucus is one seat shy of official party status.

Although the dust hasn’t quite settled yet, neither the BC Liberals or BC NDP won a majority in the election.  If this is still the case after recounts and absentee ballots have been incorporated into the tally, the BC Greens will hold the balance of power.  Leader Andrew Weaver has expressed a willingness to work with whoever necessary to make government work, but his two non-negotiable points are legislation to get big money out of politics, and Proportional Representation.  Lets keep our fingers crossed for that excellent BC outcome!

Since much of the rest of the world’s democracies use Proportional Representation, this is not the case elsewhere.  Just now Australia has 9 Green Senators in their STV Proportional Representation Senate, but only recently elected their very first MP to their winner-take-all  House of Representatives.  New Zealand has fourteen MPs ~ and they only adopted MMP after a 1993 Referendum.  There are currently 50 sitting Green Members of the European Parliament.   Although the discriminatory barriers against small parties and independent candidates in winner-take-all systems like ours stack the deck against Greens in Canada and the UK (and the USA), we are way behind the wave of Green Candidates being elected at all levels of government in the 90+ countries that already use Proportional Representation.

It took some doing, but our current Party Leader Elizabeth May broke through to become Canada’s first elected Green MP.   She was followed at the provincial level by Andrew Weaver in BC, Peter Bevan-Baker in PEI, and David Coon in New Brunswick. Now it’s time to meet the BC Greens:

Adam Olsen, Saanich North and the Islands

Sonia Furstenau, Cowichan Valley

Andrew Weaver, Oak Bay-Gordon Head

Check out our Green World to find out more about Greens elected in Canada and abroad.


Image Credit:
the excellent photo of BC’s new Green Caucus is  © by Laura Colpitts is used with permission

 

#KeepYourPromise Tour: Debate or Discourse?

We Greens know better than anyone just why we need electoral reform.  But we also know how important it is to work across party lines.  And this is one of those times.

This is the last full week for the five By-elections.

Perhaps the strongest message Canadians can send the Trudeau Government ~ especially the many Canadian Liberals waiting for the promised electoral reform ~ would be to keep the Liberal By-election candidates in contested ridings from going to Ottawa.

While such tactical voting wouldn’t topple the Liberal majority, when the dust settles Mr. Trudeau and his Caucus would know just how serious Canadians ~ including the Liberals who gave them their majority ~ are about Proportional Representation.

Unfortunately we do know how hard it is to make our wishes known at the ballot box with our inequitable winner-take-all system, so we can’t count on achieving that goal.  Which is why we need to help keep the pressure up any way we can.

That’s why Waterloo Region Greens are encouraged to come out to the Kitchener Public Library to catch the Waterloo Region visit of Elizabeth May’s #ERRE colleague Nathan Cullen.  The ERRE Committee’s NDP Co-Chair is crossing Canada to visit Liberal ridings to demonstrate how much support there actually is for electoral reform with his #KeepYourPromise Tour.

For this Waterloo Region event, Mr. Cullen has invited Kitchener—Centre Liberal MP Raj Saini to join him for discussion or debate.  We know Mr. Saini did an excellent job explaining the virtues of Proportional Representation (and outlining the process the Liberal Party would undertake to make it happen) at the #KitCen Electoral Reform debate held by Fair Vote Waterloo during the election.  Perhaps Mr. Saini can explain what went wrong, or why the Liberal Party failed to support the Electoral Reform promise as he assured us he would, or even why he’s changed his tune now that his party has its own phony majority.  Will MP Raj Saini be brave enough to face his constituents on this?

What we all need to remember is the reason Mr. Trudeau made his
Last First Past The Post promise (and repeated it in the Throne Speech, then launched the Electoral Reform Consultation) in the first place was because there is a lot of Liberal support for Proportional Representation.  Back in December of 2015, the majority of sitting LPC MPs voted with the NDP to adopt Proportional Representation.  Enough for Stéphane Dion to design his own Proportional system.  And, as Bardish Chagger told Waterloo voters during her Electoral Reform Debate in Waterloo, there was overwhelming support for the electoral reform policy resolution that Mr. Trudeau’s electoral reform promise was based on.  So please, bring along your Liberal friends too!

“There’s one last vote on electoral reform in Parliament before the May deadline. After that, it could be too late to set up a new voting system in time for the next election.

This spring, MPs will vote on whether to accept the recommendations of the Canada-wide consultation tour, including that the government hold a referendum where Canadians can choose between the current voting system and a proportional one.

We just need 20 Liberal MPs to keep their promise and vote YES to electoral reform.

Nathan Cullen

Send your friends and family in other parts of Canada to the NDP website [http://keepyourpromise.ndp.ca/] to learn when the Broken Promise Tour will be coming their way!

Help convince Liberal MPs to keep their promise and vote YES to electoral reform before the May vote.

Three Ways to Help Canada win this vote!

#1 Bring your family and friends ~ no matter what their politics are ~ along to hear what Nathan Cullen has to say.

#2 Circulate the Petition and ask your family, friends and neighbours to sign on.

Go door to door, or spend an hour or two with your clipboard outside City Hall, your grocery store, Speakers Corner etc.
Get signatures at family gatherings or local activities or events (ie after church, at PTA or service club meetings, fundraising events etc.)

Petition calling on the Government of Canada to keep its promise of electoral reform.

#3 Download & mail Nathan Cullen’s Postcard

Download the “Keep Your Promise” post card

Fair Vote Waterloo will surely have their lovely #KeepYourPromise postcards for Mr. Trudeau (and for Waterloo Region Greens in Kitchener Centre, they will likely have some Raj Saini a postcards).  You can even send your own letter to your Liberal MP (better yet, say it is an open letter and send a copy to the Record!)

Fair Vote Canada’s “Keep Your Promise” postcard, and our Waterloo Region Chapter’s postcard for Kitchener Centre MP Raj Saini quoting his own words from the 2015 Election campaign.

Electoral reform is not dead, the movement is growing.
Because every vote should count.



Photo Credit: Nathan Cullen portrait by Jonathan Allard released under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License.

Reminding Liberals Rally!

First a few words about voter equality from GPO leader Mike Schreiner:

March 2nd will be a busy day.

Everyone who hasn’t should sign the e-616 Petition… it closes for signature at at 11:20 a.m. (EDT) Thursday March 2nd, 2017.

And then, later in the day, anyone in Waterloo Region who can make it out ought to come out to welcome the Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage to Waterloo Region.  The “welcoming committee” is being organized by our Fair Vote Waterloo friend, Sharon Sommerville, to remind the Liberal minister that Canadians still expect Proportional Representation by 2019.  Here’s the invite:

Reblogged from Fair Vote Waterloo

The Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage will be joining Waterloo Region Liberal MPs for a meet & greet at St. John the Evangelist Church, 23 Water Street in Kitchener.

With five Liberal MPs, including two cabinet ministers in one place at one time, we thought we should take this opportunity to remind Liberal politicians that reneging on the promise to end First Past The Post and make every vote count will have consequences.

The meet and greet starts at 6:00 pm, so we will gather at St. John the Evangelist Church (basement entrance on Duke Street) at 5:45 pm. If all the MPs arrive on time, we will rally until 6:15 pm. Bring horns, tooters, drums, signs or funny hats, whatever you like to make a point; we are here, we are disappointed and we aren’t going to forget that you broke your promise to make every vote count.

What: Reminding Liberals Rally
When: Thursday, 2 March 2017 from 5:45pm to 6:15pm
Where: St. John the Evangelist Church, Duke Street entrance
Location: 23 Water St N, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada Map

See you there?

And, the Meet & Greet with the Hon. Mélanie Joly is a public event. If you would like to attend and speak with local Liberal MPs or the Hon. Mélanie Joly about their broken electoral reform promise, please RSVP at Liberal Party of Canada » Meet and Greet with the Hon. Mélanie Joly

Facebook Event Page

I have been doing some “reminding” of my own.  I’ve just put together 2 short videos to remind Waterloo’s MP, the Hon Bardish Chagger, currently Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo of the assurances she gave voters about her commitment to Electoral Reform when she was only a candidate in the 3rd place party:

Bardish Chagger: an Electoral System based on the Principle of Fairness

and

Bardish Chagger: Four Questions

I myself can’t make it out to this, so I’m hoping you can go and maybe even give my regards to the Minister.  And maybe get a few pictures 🙂

The #WRally4PR video is online

Watch the complete February 11th Waterloo Region Rally here:

I’m planning on releasing a series of bite sized pieces from the rally as “soundbites.” The first is this powerful 5 minute clip of Liberal Sharon Sommerville’s impassioned talk about Real Betrayal:

Worth Repeating:
Parliamentary Petition e-616 is the single most important thing any of us can do for electoral reform.
https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-616

Sign The Electoral Reform Petition

You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to sign.
If you are not a Canadian citizen but are resident in Canada you can sign.
You do not have to be resident in Canada to sign.
My Australian electoral reform friends can’t sign, but Canadian citizens resident in Australia can.
You do not have to be old enough to vote to sign.
Young people who sign this now may be lucky enough to have their votes count when they are old enough.
But signing is not enough: you need is to confirm your valid email address before your signature will be added.

Our hope is to get the petition signature number as high as possible.  300,000 (about what the mydemocracy survey got) would be amazing.
I understand 240,000 would be fabulous, as that is 1% of Canadian voters.

The 123,023 signatures we have already are amazing.

This is the very first Parliamentary e-petition to top 100,000 signatures.  That is the magic number that is supposed to trigger a Parliamentary debate.
The e-411 (Islam) petition only managed 69,742 signatures, and it resulted in Mr. Mulcair’s unanimously accepted Parliamentary Motion on October 6, 2016 as well as Ms. Khalid’s Motion 103 which resulted in HoC debate.

The higher we can get this number, the better.

Read more about the petition here:

https://wrgreens.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/sign-petition-e-616/

If you can share with your social network, that would be awesome.

And Green voters should sign, because we need Proportional Representation to have any hope of properly addressing Climate Change.  The reason this issue is so important is that this is the foundation that must be laid for pretty much every issue Canadians face.  Without fair representation we might as well not have democracy at all.

If every Canadian who voted Green in 2015 signed this petition, Greens alone could generate upwards of 600,000 signatures.

 

 

National Day of Action for Electoral Reform

National Day of Action for Electoral Reform | Journée Nationale de Mobilisation pour la Réforme ÉlectoraleWaterloo Region joins the National Day of Action for Electoral Reform
[sponsored by Fair Vote Waterloo]

Download the poster: posterFINAL.pdf (.PDF, 4 MBytes)

TIME & LOCATION

1:00pm at Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall confirmed! Map 1

WHY?

Justin Trudeau promised that 2015 would be the last First-Past-The-Post election and that the Liberals would introduce electoral reform legislation within 18 months. He promised to Make Every Vote Count.

Justin Trudeau a promis que 2015 serait la dernière élection menée sous le mode de scrutin uninominal à un tour. Il promettait aussi de faire en sorte que Chaque Vote Compte et que le gouvernement libéral légiférerait la réforme électorale dans les premiers 18 mois de son mandat.

On Wednesday, February 1, 2017, the Liberals abandoned that pledge. We urgently need to band together and tell our parliamentarians that we expect them to be true to their word and we want ELECTORAL REFORM NOW!

Le 1 février 2017, le gouvernement libéral abandonnait cette promesse. Il est urgent que les citoyens et citoyennes se mobilisent pour dire à nos parlementaires que nous attendons d’eux qu’ils tiennent leur parole et que nous demandons LA RÉFORME ÉLECTORALE DÈS MAINTENANT!

Please join us on February 11, 2017 on Parliament Hill and across the country to show your support for Electoral Reform!

Joignez-vous à nous le 11 février sur la colline parlementaire et partout au pays pour manifester votre appui pour la réforme électorale.

If you’re on Facebook you can sign up for this event at WR Electoral Reform National Day of Action

Don’t Let Rookie Minister Bury #ProportionalRepresentation

Justin Trudeau's Liberal 2015 Campaign Promise: We will make every vote count
Shortly after the ERRE Committee submitted its report, the Honourable Maryam Monsef was relieved of her position as Minister of Democratic Institutions in a cabinet shuffle.  An even younger rookie MP was elevated to the Minister of Democratic Institutions position.

Our electoral system is foundational to our democracy. At its core, is a question of how we, as Canadians, govern ourselves.Our government believes that time was needed to consult Canadians about this complex issue.  Our view has always been clear.   Major reforms to the electoral system, changes of this magnitude, should not be made if they lack the broad support of Canadians.

Public consultations came in many forms.  Members of Parliament were encouraged to hold Town Halls, to hear the views of their constituents. My predecessor travelled throughout the country visiting every province and territory, to host similar Town Halls on behalf of the government.

An All Party Special Committee of the House of Commons worked long hours and in December produced a thorough report that documents the many complexities of electoral reform.

In recent weeks, more than 360,000 Canadians participated in mydemocracy.ca to provide their insight into our democratic values.

Now, following all of these consultations, it has become clear that Canadians have a range of views about whether to continue using the current First Past The Post system to elect MPs to the House of Commons.

We respect and thank all those who have come forward to participate in these discussions. It has informed our decision. And it has become evident that the broad support needed among
Canadians for a change of this magnitude does not exist.

[en francais]

Therefore, my mandate letter states a clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged.

Furthermore, without a clear preference or a clear question a referendum would not be in Canada’s Interest.

Changing the electoral system is not in my mandate.

We have listened to all Canadians in this debate.

To Canadians who cherish their democracy and who value the direct connection they have with their Member of Parliament.

Canadians want their Parliamentarians to work with each other and to cooperate on policy.

They want their government to be accountable.

They want their MPs to act in the interest of their constituents.

We agree.

My job is to strengthen and protect our democratic institutions and ensure they represent the values of Canadians. We are moving to accomplish that mandate.

CPAC: Karina Gould, the new Minister of Democratic Institutions, announcing government decision to break its campaign pledge to change Canada’s voting system. [begins at about 4 minute mark]

The New Minister Karina Gould Buries Proportional Representation

Can we afford not to implement electoral reform?  Long term planning doesn’t often happen in winner-take-all systems.  That’s part of why Canada is so far behind the curve in green tech, public transit, climate change, eliminating poverty etc.

Even when we do get good policy chances are good it won’t last through policy lurch.

What Can We Do?

Use the Green Party of Canada tool to send a message:
A Broken Promise to Canada

EVENTS

Sunday February 5th, 2017
GUELPH Rally for Proportional Representation
Guelph City Hall   1PM

Rally organised by Fair Vote Guelph
https://www.facebook.com/events/1852627561618419/
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 .

.



Wednesday February 8th, 2017
Call-Blitz and Tweet-Storm
* All Day *
Contact:

  • 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

Atlantic           15:00
Eastern           14:00
Central           13:00
Mountain/SK 12:00
Pacific           11:00
@JustinTrudeau and the #LPC promised that 2015 would be our last #FPTP election. #PerformOnReform
https://www.facebook.com/events/885031191552272/



We can also call or write our Waterloo Region Liberal MPs

Bryan May
Bryan.May.P9@parl.gc.ca
+1-613-996-1307 – Ottawa Office
+1-519-624-7440 – Cambridge Office

Bardish Chagger
Bardish.Chagger.P9@parl.gc.ca
+1-613-996-5928 – Ottawa  Office
+1-519-746-1573 – Waterloo Office
Raj Saini
Raj.Saini.P9@parl.gc.ca
+1-613-995-8913 – Ottawa Office
+1-519-741-2001 – Kitchener Office
Marwan Tabbara
Marwan.Tabbara.P9@parl.gc.ca
+1-613-992-1063 – Ottawa Office
+1-519-571-5509 – Kitchener Office

Justin Trudeau
Justin.Trudeau.P9@parl.gc.ca
+1-613-995-0253 – Ottawa Office
+1-514-277-6020 – Montreal Office

The Waterloo Region Record
letters@therecord.com

Raj Saini
Raj Saini
Marwan Tabbara
Marwan Tabbara
bryanmay
Bryan May
bardishchagger
Bardish Chagger

 

PEI is a Proportional Representation Beacon #CDNpoli

[reblogged from Whoa!Canada Proportional Representation SeriesPEI picks Proportional Representation]

Electoral System with Majority Support
Mixed Member Proportional Representation
# of Votes 19,418
% of Votes 52.42
Total Valid Votes 37,040
Total number of votes required to achieve threshold 18,521

Eligible Electors 102,464

Voter Turnout 36.46%

Elections Prince Edward Island Plebiscite Results

PEI picks PR (Brigitte Werner's photo dedicated to the Public Domain with CC0)

I have no doubt that good media coverage helped the process along. The PEI Guardian endorsed Dual Member Proportional, the made in Canada system proposed by Sean Graham. I was able to include Sean’s system in my Electoral System Roundup.  I was able to include Sean’s system in my Electoral System Roundup, and  I know Sean made a presentation to the federal ERRE Committee.  His system may be a real solution for the wide open spaces problem faced when looking at Federal Electoral Reform.

Unlike previous electoral reform referenda in Canada, the PEI process did a pretty good job of informing voters. If you watch the video below and those that follow, you’ll see the array of very nice explainer videos put out by Elections PEI

The tiny province of Prince Edward Island has taken the first step in leading Canada toward better democracy.  Bravo!

Community Dialogue Voting Results #ERRE

Julia and Sam were the driving force behind the WRGreens Community Dialogue at Kitchener City Hall on September 17th, 2016
Julia and Sam were the driving force behind the #WRGreens “Canada’s Voting System Is Changing” #ERRE Community Dialogue at Kitchener City Hall on September 17th, 2016

Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair Sharon Sommerville explained gave an explanation of the kinds of electoral systems on offer.
Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair Sharon Sommerville explained gave an explanation of the kinds of electoral systems on offer.

voting-results-2

Waterloo and Kitchener Centre Greens were on hand to lead small discussion groups.
Waterloo (Stacey Danckert) and Kitchener Centre Greens were on hand to lead small discussion groups to discuss electoral reform issues and make group submissions to the ERRE Committee.

voting-results-3

Bob Jonkman (Kitchener Conestoga) and David Weber (Kitchener-South Hespeler) are also long time Fair Vote members, were on handf as facilitators and expert advice.
As well as participating th discussion, group members had the opportunity to cast ballots in mock elections for the different electoral systems. Long time Fair Vote members Bob Jonkman (Kitchener Conestoga) and David Weber (Kitchener-South Hespeler) Greens were on hand with expert advice.

voting-results-4

The Kitchener CTV affiliate gave the event some nice coverage.
The Kitchener CTV affiliate gave our event some nice coverage.

voting-results-5

The conversations continued for quite some time after the event.
The conversations continued for quite some time after the event.

WRGreens visit Brantford-Brant Greens #ERRE

Greens in Brantford ~ Ken Burns, Temara Brown, Jason Shaw, Bob Jonkman ~ ERRE Community Dialogue

On Sunday, October 2nd the The Brantford-Brant Women’s, Youth and Seniors’ Liberal Clubs hosted the multi-partisan Brantford-Brant Electoral Reform Community Forum in the Odeon Building at the Laurier Brantford campus.

[Note: the CPC MP attended and spoke at the LPC event, and of course Greens were there by invitation as well.  Where was the NDP I wonder?]
Temara Brown explains electoral systems

Temara Brown described the six different electoral systems, a fairly difficult task, particularly when being challenged by unruly audience members at every turn.  But she carried it off. Temara Brown, Cambridge GPO
The event followed the usual Library of Parliament script for Community Dialogue suggested by ERRE.
Small Group Discussions
The Brantford Expositor covered the event in Forum puts spotlight on electoral reform

Bob Jonkman chats with LPC Ray Wong
Unfortunately there are some errors in the Expositor article. For instance, Michele Braniff was the 2015 GPC candidate.  As well as being a GPO Candidate, Temara Brown is the GPO’s Shadow Cabinet member for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

The article gives a capsule rundown of the 6 electoral Systems discussed, where the worst error in the article mischaracterizes the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system as “A variation of the preferential vote”.   Electoral systems are complex,  which is one of the many reasons why a referendum would be a bad idea at the best of times.

Historically, STV predates AV by a few decades, so it would be more correct to say AV is a variation of STV.  But that’s just semantics. The real problem is that STV is perhaps the best system of Proportional Representation, while AV is a winner-take-all system much like our First Past The Post.
Post Community Dialogue dialogue, with Jason Shaw (FVC) and Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge)
Even so, it was nice to see some balanced coverage of the ERRE event.  For the most part, Canada’s Main Stream Media is making no bones about it’s desire to retain the status quo.  That is perhaps the biggest reason Canadians are so woefully uninformed about electoral reform options.  Instead of informing Canadians of our options, or even actually reporting on the ERRE consultation process, the media tables at ERRE consultation events are standing empty.  So kudos to the Expositor for reporting the news!

 

Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant candidate), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kirchener-Copnestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo)
Ken Burns (Brantford-Brant), Temara Brown (WRGreens Cambridge GPO Candidate), ________, ________, Jason Shaw (Fair Vote Canada) and Bob Jonkman (WRGreens Kitchener-Conestoga and Fair Vote Waterloo Co-Chair)

In spite of the Main Stream Media obstructionism, the process marches quietly on.

And a good thing, too.

 

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