Political Scientists from 34 Canadian universities call for national referendum on electoral reform.
Published January 22nd 2003 in Fair Vote Canada

One-hundred and three political scientists from 34 Canadian universities have joined the call for voting system reform in Canada. The list of electoral reform supporters includes four former presidents of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), the current secretary general of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) and a former IPSA secretary general. The political scientists have endorsed a petition organized by Fair Vote Canada, which states:

"The present voting system wastes millions of votes, distorts election results and denies fair representation to many Canadians. We call on the Government of Canada and all other Parliamentary parties to: 1) initiate a public consultation on instituting a more proportional voting system; and 2) provide Canadians with a referendum process to choose the best voting system."

"As citizens and experts who worry about the quality of Canadian democracy, political scientists are now raising their voices together,†said University of Toronto’s Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin, a former president of CPSA. “The re-evaluation of our voting system must become an urgent priority for Canada."

The call by Canadian political scientists comes upon the heels of other recent developments. The Law Commission of Canada is conducting a public consultation on federal voting system reform that will culminate with a recommendation to Parliament later this year. In the coming days, the BC government is expected to release recommendations from Gordon Gibson on the structure and appointment process for the BC citizens assembly on electoral reform. A citizens assembly on democratic reform will be convened in Quebec in late February to consider proportional representation and other reforms. The premiers of PEI and the Yukon have also recently announced plans to appoint electoral reform commissions.

Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for voting system reform. The campaign has been endorsed by groups as diverse as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress. The FVC National Advisory Board includes 30 prominent Canadians from various backgrounds and political perspectives, including notables such as Pierre Berton, Ed Broadbent, Hugh Segal, Claude Ryan, David Suzuki, Karen Kain, Maude Barlow, Walter Robinson, Judy Rebick, Lincoln Alexander and current and former MPs from the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, Alliance and NDP.

[note: the list of political scientists endorsing the petition is available on request]