"Make this the last unfair election"
Published March 31st 2004 in Fair Vote Canada
The Law Commission of Canada's electoral reform report, to be tabled in the House of Commons tomorrow, is a wake-up call for the nation, according to Fair Vote Canada (FVC), a national citizens' organization for voting reform.  The report recommends scrapping the current voting system and adopting a new system that adds an element of proportional representation.

"This could not be more timely," stated Larry Gordon, executive director of Fair Vote Canada.  "Canadians are about to be called to the polls.  What better time to take a hard look at the damage being done by the current voting system?  What better time to begin discussing a new voting system for Canada - one that gets us closer to the ideal of making every citizen's vote count?"

While commending the Commission for its leadership and recommendation for a mixed member proportional system, Fair Vote Canada believes that voting system reform cannot be left solely in the hands of Parliament or the government.

"Allowing those elected under the current voting system to control the discussion and decision-making on alternatives would create a very obvious conflict of interest," stated Gordon.  "That's exactly why many substantive democratic reforms that would enjoy widespread public support never see the light of day."   Fair Vote Canada recommends that:

  • all federal political parties support a public deliberation and decision-making process in which citizens are able to consider several approaches to developing a more proportional, or fair, voting system;
  • the primary objective be to identify the best made-in-Canada approach that gets us as close as possible to the ideal of making every citizen's vote count;
  • citizens themselves identify the best alternative system from a shortlist of possibilities, either by using a referendum to narrow the options (similar to that used in New Zealand), or a citizens' assembly
  • process (similar to that being used in British Columbia), or some other process to be developed; and
  • once the best made-in-Canada alternative is determined, that Canadians  choose between the current system and the alternative in a binding national referendum.

During the upcoming election, Fair Vote Canada will mount a public campaign calling on all political parties to support a reform process that will make this the last unfair election.