Fair Vote Canada
March 31, 2004
"Make this the last unfair election"
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
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.
For further information, contact: Larry Gordon