Monday, April 18, 2011

Since it will be an issue everyone talks about on May 3rd.....

This is the April newsletter of Fair Vote Canada.   I am 100% certain the issue of electoral reform will be a big issue on May 3rd when the results of the election are known.


April 2011
For the latest news on voting system reform, visit www.fairvote.ca.

We’ve got a federal election!
FVC Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, June 10-11
Nominations open for annual election of FVC National Council 
We’ve got a federal election!
The writ has dropped, and we are in the midst of a federal election campaign, our fourth one in eight years. We will be voting on Monday, May 2.
From now until then, our "dry, technical, boring" issue is newsworthy and relevant in the eyes of the media and the public. This is our moment to step forward and speak out for a better democracy in Canada!
Already, I am happy to report, new memberships, donations, and signatures on the Declaration of Voters' Rights are pouring in. The Declaration has just hit 10,000 signatures, during the election campaign!
Here's what we need to do:
  • Distribute flyers.
  • Talk to our friends, our neighbours, our co-workers, the people on the bus, anybody who will listen.
  • Go to the all-candidates' meetings. Ask a question, such as, "This is for all the candidates—do you think it's acceptable that we have a voting system under which most of us are 'represented' in Parliament by people we voted against?" or "Do you think it's acceptable that we have a voting system under which a single political party that gets 40% of the votes can win a 'majority' government and have unaccountable power for four years?"
  • Write a letter to the editor.
  • Call a talk show.
  • Saturate the Web with posts and comments on Web sites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and news pages.
  • Let people know about Fair Vote Canada, and encourage them to sign the Declaration, make a donation, become a member, and volunteer.
  • The most devastating thing politicians say to me when I talk to them about changing the voting system is, "I'm not hearing this on the doorstep." So let's make this the "Take It To The Doorstep" campaign! When the candidates show up at your house, tell them we need a new voting system, and hand them a flyer.

And let's put flyers in mailboxes! It's OK during an election campaign. You can hit a few hundred houses in an evening, a few thousand over the course of the campaign. And find a few other people to do it with you.
The most cost-effective way for us to distribute material is for you to download material from the Resources page of our Web site, http://www.fairvote.ca/en/resources, get copies printed yourself and hand them out.
Get in touch with your local chapter and let them know you are ready to volunteer. Contact info is available on our Web site: http://www.fairvote.ca/en/chapters-and-caucuses
It looks like there is a very high level of dissatisfaction out there with the hyper-partisan nature of politics these days. Unprecedented amounts of negative advertising, deliberately designed to promote apathy and cynicism, are drawing attention in the media. We know that all this is fostered by the winner-take-all nature of our current voting system, and we need to make sure every voter and every newspaper columnist and editor gets that message too.
Proportional voting promotes diversity and rewards cooperation. It requires sharing power, and fosters a more consensual type of government and a more civilized style of politics.
Promoting civil civic discourse is what we are all about. We are passionate, but always polite. We get our message across, but we listen more than we speak.
Oh, and "coalition" is not a dirty word. Coalition government is the normal way of doing things in most developed countries!
Start by reviewing some of the introductory material on our Web site. It's always helpful to know what you're talking about. But keep it simple! Give people a simple message (We need a new voting system.) and save the details for answering questions. Don't waste time and energy debating the merits of this or that hypothetical system.

First we need to establish the basics:
  • Our current voting system is broken—winner-take-all means a few winners and lots of losers.
  • Elections are about choosing our representatives, and we are ALL entitled to representation.
  • It doesn't have to be this way—proportional voting makes every vote count.
  • Here's a slogan for you: "If we want politics to be different, we need a vote that makes a difference." Say that to every human being you speak to for the next month, and use it as the answer to every question, including the ones about the weather. (Yes, we can learn something from politicians!) Say it to the dog, too, it's good practice.
  • Give me feedback at Office@FairVote.Ca! Tell me what you are hearing on the street, what's going well and what's not. That’s how we learn together and build a team with spirit and momentum.
  • Make a special donation
An election is a time for increased activity, and it’s also a time for increased expense. Now is the moment when your extra donation can really make a difference!
You can make a special election campaign donation online, or mail a cheque to our new Toronto office:
Fair Vote Canada
3 Macdonell Avenue #302
Toronto ON M6R 2A3

FVC Annual General Meeting in Ottawa, June 10-11
HOLD THAT DATE! The Fair Vote Canada Annual General Meeting will take place on Saturday, June 11, 2011 in Ottawa. There will be a social evening on Friday, June 10. Online registration details will be available as soon as the venue is confirmed.

Nominations open for annual election of FVC National Council
Nominations are now open for election to the National Council of Fair Vote Canada.
The 15-person National Council is the board of directors of Fair Vote Canada. The Council conducts business, holds discussions, and makes decisions by e-mail and periodic conference calls. One in-person meeting is usually held each year in conjunction with the AGM.
Five members will be elected this year to a three-year term.
Individual council members often serve on committees, work groups and/or work with local chapters.
Members in good standing who would like to contribute their leadership expertise, experience and volunteer time to help build the FVC campaign are encouraged to consider candidacy.
Any member who joined by March 31, 2011 and is in good standing (i.e., annual dues have been paid) is eligible to vote and stand for election. If you wish to confirm your membership status, contact us at 416-410-4034 or office@fairvote.ca.
Candidates are self-nominated by notifying the FVC office and submitting a candidate’s statement in electronic format (strict 300 word maximum). Those candidates wishing their statements to be in both official languages must provide the translation (300 word maximum on each version).
Your notice of intention to run and your candidate statement must be received no later than April 30, 2011, at office@fairvote.ca.
Candidate statements will be posted on the Fair Vote Canada website at www.fairvote.ca and mailed on request ONLY to those members who do not have email.
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