#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.

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