Fair Vote Canada
The growing chorus of voices calling for proportional
representation (PR) are finally being heard by Canada's media. Local media
coverage has significantly increased, in large part due to the initiatives of
members across the country. In just the past weeks, a number of FVC members have
been interviewed for various news stories on CBC Newsworld and CBC's The
National. On June 10, The National ran an extensive story on the growing demand
for PR, clearly outlining the case against the current voting system. FVC's
Dubious Democracy Report (see below) also received coverage in several
syndicated columns and by other media across the country.
MARTIN FINALLY GIVES NOD TO REFORM
If you want evidence that peppering politicians with questions on PR can
pay off, consider that Paul Martin recently changed his tune. Martin has
repeatedly been asked in public forums about PR, most recently at a youth forum
in St. John's on June 4. The following report is from the Toronto Star:
"Martin says he is willing to engage Canadians in a debate about electoral
reform and whether a new model should be adopted. 'I think that's essential in
terms of engaging Canadians, whether it's proportional representation, whether
it's fixed-term limits, whether it's the role of MPs", he said citing
recent studies on electoral reform in Quebec and British Columbia. We can
learn from what the provinces are doing and then we can make sure that when we
proceed there will be no mistakes."
Jack Layton continues to state that a national PR referendum will be an NDP
condition for supporting any minority government. The Bloc supports PR and the
Conservative platform states the PR will be considered along with other
democratic reforms. The Green Party strongly supports PR, as do the other
parties not in Parliament.
DUBIOUS DEMOCRACY REPORT SHOWS DARK SIDE OF CANADIAN ELECTIONS
On June 1, Fair Vote Canada released a study of federal elections from 1980 to
2000, documenting how Canada has become a dubious democracy. As noted in the
news release, "The data in this report puts a spotlight on the dirty little
secrets of Canada's electoral system. What we say at the ballot box is not what
we get. What we think and where we live determines whether our votes count. With
a system like that, it's not surprising 40% of us are not voting - it's
surprising that 60% still are."
The 15-page Dubious Democracy Report (available at www.fairvote.ca on the
publications page) provides data and commentary on wasted votes (nationally, and
by province, riding and party), distorted outcomes
(nationally and by province), phony majority governments, poor representation
for women, and declining voter turnout. The report also includes a
Letterman-style top-ten list of low points in Canadian
PEI PREMIER BINNS PROMISES REFERENDUM
PEI premier Pat Binns has promised Islanders a referendum on a new voting
system. This is the third provincial government, following British Columbia and
Ontario, to promise a voting reform referendum. In December, the premier
received a report from PEI electoral reform commissioner Norman Carruthers,
recommending a mixed-member proportional voting system for PEI. The
premier said he will set up an independent commission to study alternatives,
develop a public education process, and draft a referendum question. The
commission will have representatives from all political parties. Binns did not
set a date for the referendum, saying that Islanders first need an opportunity
to learn about and discuss the alternatives.
IT'S NOT TO LATE TO HELP!
FVC members and volunteers across the country are lending their energy and
enthusiasm to our grassroots campaign to "make this the LAST unfair
election!" It's not too late to help. The volunteer action kit and campaign
flyers can be downloaded from the publications page at www.fairvote.ca. If you
have questions or suggestions, contact us at email@example.com.