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.
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.
1:00pm at Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall confirmed!Map 1
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.
The Peace and Social Justice organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo came together for a symposium and workshop on creating a positive change in our local community. The event began with Keynote Speaker Dr. Simon Dalby, CIGI chair, whose work focuses climate change, political ecology, geopolitics, global security, environmental change, militarization, and the spatial dimensions of governance. Then after the speaker we will have sharing by local groups about their goals and projects, and collaborative visioning for the future of our community.
As you know, peace and social justice issues are values important to the Green Party. Stacey Danckert (Waterloo GPO) spoke for the WRGreens.
A hearty vegan local seasonal meal was provided.
This event is put on by KW Peace, a collective of peace and social justice groups passionate about working together and finding ways to encourage collaboration in our community. Please visit our website at http://kwpeace.ca/, where we also have an event calendar that advertises events related to peace and social justice. This event is part of IDOPAN – International Days of Peace and Nonviolence.
The Committee will also be travelling throughout Canada to meet with Canadians during the consultation period. All MPs are encouraged to hold Town Hall meetings with citizens in their respective ridings. I’ve heard the ERRE Committee will be making a Consultation stop once in Waterloo Region in the third week in August, but as yet nothing official. But should be 5 Electoral Reform Town Halls scheduled in the WRGreens Electoral Districts:
Everyone should contact their local MPs constituency office for details of these events. Because the time line is so tight, it is important these be scheduled very soon.
We have begun planning a #WRAwesome #PR4PR event to help raise awareness and answer questions about Proportional Representation for people in Waterloo Region.
If your MP is not making any move to hold a town hall, or if you are concerned that your MP may not support Proportional Representation, please visit our Push for Proportional Representation Action page. If you are outside Waterloo Region, please feel free to use our ideas.
In order for this to happen, we need to be sure that the Special Committee on Electoral Reform hears us, and that the Government knows Canadians really want this change. And not just the government: MPs from every political party need to hear us. This is why the Green Party has an excellent array of tools you can use to help encourage the adoption of Proportional Representation!
One of reasons New Zealand was able to replace its First Past The Post system with Mixed Member Proportional Representation was that their main stream media properly informed voters. That is not happening here. Instead, one of our biggest obstacles is that our mainstream media doesn’t really want this change because it benefits from the status quo. This is why it is so important that we understand the issue so we can help others understand it.
And because we don’t have fair representation in Parliament, we will need to be as loud as we can, both online and off.
There are also tips for using social media effectively, and graphics you can use. Since I’ve been learning and writing about the importance of Proportional Representation I’ve been creating graphics you can use as well.
There are plenty of things we can do to pitch in, check them out at the GPC Toolbox
The Green Party has long supported meaningful electoral reform to Proportional Representation, and I’ll do my best to explain why here.
Any Proportional system Canada might adopt will be a huge improvement to our democratic process. This is because it will produce a Parliament that truly represents Canadians. As our Fair Vote friends are fond of saying, 39% of the votes will achieve 39% of the power.
Around the world, nobody switches to a First Past The Post system because it is not only antiquated, it doesn’t work very well. In fact, more than 85% of OECD countries use Proportional Representation, and some progressive countries have been using PR for well over a century.
But it is really hard to replace a First Past The Post electoral system, because the politicians who benefit disproportionately are generally not inclined to adopt a fairer system, because it will limit their own power to what they earn in votes. It is a credit to Mr. Trudeau’s government that they are going through the promised reform even after winning a majority government.
Canada’s current electoral system results in disproportional representation. This is breathtakingly apparent when you look at the back to back “majority” governments we’ve had. The thing that hits the eye with these two election result graphs is the almost identical consecutive wins achieved by different parties. The 2011 Conservatives won a phony majority with 39% of the vote, just as the 2015 Liberals won a phony majority with 39% of the vote. This is a winner take all system, so that’s the only part of the graph that matters.
But looking at the details, you can see a clear picture of the unfairness in the system.
In 2011 the Bloc Québécois won 4 seats with 6% of the vote. In 2015 the Bloc Québécois won 10 seats with only 4.7% of the vote.
I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get my mind around the idea that fewer votes can more than double a party’s seats in Parliament.
In these two elections, the Green Party outcome was consistent, winning 1 seat with approximately 3 percent of the vote.
While the Green Party’s 3-4% of the vote only won a single seat in Parliament, the Bloc’s 6% and 4.76% won four and ten seats respectively. Such crazy math in the “easy to understand” First Past The Post is one of the reasons Canadians are likely to say “I don’t understand politics.”
There is a reason for the disparity between the two small parties. While both parties suffer from the inequity in our Winner-Take-All system, the Green Party’s support is spread out across Canada but Bloc voters are concentrated in the same geographic region. With more Bloc voters in a riding, the party has a much better chance to win seats. Even so, the Bloc still gets less than half as many seats as their votes warrant.
With our single member plurality electoral system, the party that wins a majority of seats wins a disproportional amount of power. This gives the candidate (and party) with the most votes the win.
Not just any win, THE win.
For a candidate, that means s/he is the only representative — and the only voice — for the electoral district where s/he was elected. For a political party, that means a majority of seats, even though that party failed to win a majority of the votes cast. And whenever anyone talks about electoral reform, that’s pretty much what everyone looks at: how our system works for political parties.
Too often forgotten in discussions of electoral reform is how our system works — or doesn’t — for the Canadian people.
Politics isn’t a job creation program for politicians, it is supposed to provide citizens with representation in Parliament so our laws and policy reflects what citizens want and need.
Our representatives are elected in single member electoral districts: that means each district elects only a single Member of Parliament who is expected to represent everyone in the electoral district. That’s what Canadians are used to, and I (like most of us, I suspect) have long thought this is how it has to be because this is how it’s always been. And yet lately I’ve been learning Canada has used a variety of different voting methods in different parts of Canada over the years.
Although our MP can help us all equally if we bring them an administrative problem that requires cutting through bureaucratic red tape, or sometimes find a compromise on a contentious issue that will satisfy most citizens, when it comes to policy, none of us can realistically expect an MP who campaigns in favour of one issue to fight against it after they have been elected.
As you can imagine, it isn’t often we’ll hear any sitting MP talking about this problem in public; so it was pretty impressive to hear former Guelph MP, Frank Valeriote admit this publicly during his last term of office.
What ordinary people expect from democracy — what we are told to expect — is that our MP will represent us. But the reality is that one person can’t possibly represent the opposing views of a hundred thousand constituents.
This is why multi-member districts — larger electoral districts which elect multiple MPs — are a great idea. When more than one MP is elected in a district, more than one view from the district can be represented in Parliament. And after all, isn’t that the point of democracy?
Electoral Reform for Greens
Small parties almost always favour Proportional Representation because small parties and independent candidates are the most disadvantaged by winner-take-all systems. The graph shows us just how badly the Green Party of Canada fared in 2015. We all know that it was even worse in 2008 when almost a million votes failed to elect any Green candidates at all. From the outside it looks as though the Green Party is doing badly… worse, in fact, than 2008. Although I haven’t done a scientific study, or even conducted a public opinion poll, I don’t believe that for a minute.
Green supporters don’t often stop thinking green thoughts or wanting a sustainable future or believing green policy. But in the face of an electoral system that makes it nearly impossible to get candidates elected, intelligent people very often switch to other parties in desperation. Although we are all very much aware of the bigger parties appropriating Green policies, we don’t often realize this is often because Green supporters bring them along.
This is not just a Canadian problem; this is a feature of the First Past the Post electoral system. If we look across the pond we can see the UK has the same problems with FPTP as we do. In some ways even worse, as it took four million votes to elect a single UKIP MP in their most recent election.
Politics is not simply a numbers game. Even though most Canadians haven’t really understood why our political system fails to work the way we think it should (by providing us with representation), most of us have known the system is badly broken for a very long time. And since the system has not been working for us, so many Canadians have fallen under the spell of strategic voting in vain hopes of gaming the system to make it work for us.
I can’t tell you how many times during the campaign that people told Bob how much they wanted to vote for him but felt they couldn’t. One of the very worst things about all this strategic voting is that because so many Canadians are not voting for who/what they want, the reality is there is no way to tell what most Canadians actually do want. It’s kind of like not having accurate census data: in the absence of fact, the government is free to do whatever it likes. Especially when a single party holds a majority. It is worse still when it’s a phony majority, as most of ours are. Since 1945 there have only been 2 majority governments a majority of Canadians voted for, and before that, only 4 Canadian “majority” governments in Canada were actually elected by more than 50% of the vote. And defenders of the status quo try to paint coalition government as undemocratic!
Proportional Representation for Canada will mean larger electoral districts which have more than a single MP, and they will almost always result in coalition governments. Far from being undemocratic, majority coalition governments are elected by an actual majority of voters!
Some people think the political parties advocating for electoral reform to Proportional Representation are doing it because it will give them an advantage. This is simply not true. Proportional Representation would most certainly improve the lot of the smaller parties, but not by giving them an unfair advantage, but by removing the unfair advantage the winning party gets under our winner-take-all system. Proportional Representation is intended to ensure the votes each candidate and/or party earns is reflected in the power they get in Parliament.
Small parties suffer systemic discrimination in the Canadian system. Even with sitting MPs, the Green Party of Canada and the Bloc Québécois parties are not treated equally. The argument in support of this discrimination is that neither party has enough seats in the House of Commons to be counted as an official party.
But political parties are required to jump through bureaucratic government hoops to get registered by the government before any candidate is allowed to compete in an election under the party banner. Federal Registration is how a political party gets on the ballot and becomes a real party. Why isn’t a “Registered Party” an “Official Party”?
Where did this crazy idea that a party with a sitting MP is not a real party until X number of candidates have been elected come from? If there was ever any doubt about the fact “X” is a purely arbitrary construct designed to privilege the two largest parties, it was dispelled in the aftermath of the 1993 Canadian election when the Progressive Conservative Party was reduced to two seats. At that point an exception was made to allow the Progressive Conservative Party to retain the special perks of “official party” status even though it had only 2 seats. In spite of the fact the Canadian electorate had unambiguously indicated that party should no longer be so entitled.
So while the Progressive Conservative Party whose governance angered an overwhelming number of Canadians was allowed to retain its privilege, a Green Party with 2 sitting MPs was not an “Official Party,” any more than the Bloc Québécois is today with 10 sitting MPs.
But Official Party status delivers financial perks. It isn’t enough that our Winner-Take-All system gives the winning party an unfair advantage in seats, the “official parties” get extra funding for party leaders, party whips, cabinet positions, parliamentary secretaries etc. All paid for by taxpayers, including Green taxpayers — while our party is denied the funds intended to aid a party in representing its constituents. Elizabeth May is not only an Independent candidate doing a phenomenal job for her constituents in , she represents the interests of more than 600,000 voters — including those of us waaaaaay over here in Waterloo Region.
If the number of votes needed to elect a Member of Parliament was consistent, if 38,000 votes translated into one MP, as it did on average for the Liberals, the Green Party would have earned enough votes to elect 16 MPs in 2015. Which ought to be more than enough to achieve official party status even in our Winner-Take-All world. But the system we have in place is not about fairness for Canadians, it’s about keeping the real power in the hands of the two most powerful parties.
The idea that any candidate who wins an election and goes to Ottawa to sit as a Member of Parliament should be denied the same rights and respect as any other MP is not only ludicrous, it is undemocratic.
The problem is not so much that the candidate or the party is discriminated against, although that certainly isn’t fair. The real trouble is that the citizens who elected these MPs are discriminated against. Our winner-take-all system has allowed the deck to be stacked against small parties and independent candidates, but worst of all, against citizens. Seems to me all Canadian voters ought to be entitled to representation. Even in our terribly unrepresentative representative democracy, all votes should be effective because all voters should be equal.
Proportional Representation will benefit the Green Party
If the votes cast in past elections are anything to go by, Green voters are likely to benefit most from Proportional Representation. Some might suggest this is unfair, but the opposite is true. The disproportional election results we get now give the winning party an advantage it hasn’t earned at the expense of the other parties. As the Green Party is the most disadvantaged by our disproportional Winner-Take-All system, getting the seats in Parliament it deserves might look like a windfall, but the truth is the Green Party will only get the seats it has earned in votes, making it better able to represent its constituents in Parliament..
The way Green voters benefit is by actually getting the representation in Parliament we voted for.
For more information, my Whoa!Canada series is intended to demystify Proportional Representation. This is the series so far:
“To make sure that every vote counts, the Government will undertake consultations on electoral reform, and will take action to ensure that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.”
– Justin Trudeau, Speech from the Throne
December 4, 2015
What’s wrong with our current voting system?
“While proponents [of the current system] often speak of the system as having the virtue of local representation, in fact representation is restricted to those who happen to vote for the winning party. Again, we think of this as normal—one alternative, known as proportional representation, is often derided as having been designed for “losers”—when a moment’s thought should reveal how arbitrary it is. Why should only the “winners” be represented in a democracy? The point of an election, surely, is to represent the people—all the people, not just some of them.”
– Andrew Coyne
The Walrus, October 2015
Why is proportional representation the best solution?
“In countries where it has been introduced, it tends to reduce partisanship by promoting more collegial cross-party law-making. It helps to increase voter turnout, because people no longer see their votes as “wasted.” It ensures that representation from a region is not dominated by monolithic blocks of MPs from a single party…which completely distorts the diversity of perspectives of those populations. And it boosts the representation of women and of marginalized groups in Parliament…”
– Craig Scott
Maclean’s Magazine, December 2014
…and you’re sure the current system is broken?
YES!!! “In contrast to many other systems, the Canadian provides very few checks and balances on a prime minister with a majority. The unelected Senate is a wet noodle; the government backbenchers are yes-men; the cabinet members are appointed by the top dog. With a couple of exceptions, none would dare stand up to such a domineering leader and controlling staff.”
– Jeffrey Simpson
The Globe and Mail, 2015
…and you’re sure PR is the way to go?
YES!!! “Countries that count votes, not seats, tend to enact policies that are less homophobic and less racist. They have lower incarceration rates and are less interested in “law and order” approaches to crime. They wage war less often and get out of wars in which they do engage faster. They spy on their citizens less. They protect the environment better, embrace renewable energy faster and have more success reducing CO2 emissions. Forbes recently gave all five top spots for “Best places to do business 2015” to PR countries…”
– Patricia Lane
Prime Minister Trudeau promised that 2015 would be the last first-past-the-post election in Canadian history, and that every vote would count in our next election. This is our one chance to fix Canadian democracy for good — add your name in support of proportional representation.