Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fari Vote Canada fall 2011 newsletter

 Fair Vote Canada Newsletter
November, 2011

In this issue

  • Provincial and territorial elections yield distorted results
  • Fair Vote Canada donates $10,000 to support charter challenge against current voting system
  • Meetings with MPs
  • Tom Kent, 1922 – 2011 

Provincial and territorial elections yield distorted results

During the brief period from October 3 until October 11, provincial and territorial elections were held in Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Yukon, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. Saskatchewan held its provincial election on November 7. All these elections were held under the first-past-the-post system, and all yielded horribly distorted results, as usual.

Fair Vote Canada issued the following media releases:

(The absence of formal political parties in NWT makes the outcome harder to analyse in terms of proportionality, but the results are just as distorted.)

So many media releases in such a short time, all saying essentially the same thing—that the outcome of the election doesn’t match the way we voted—attracted some attention, and we got good coverage, both on the radio and in the following print media:

Fair Vote Canada donates $10,000 to support charter challenge against current voting system

Since 2004, a group called L’Association pour le revendication des droits démocratique (ARDD) has been pursuing a case in the Quebec courts asking them to declare the current voting system unconstitutional because it does not satisfy the guarantees in the Canadian Chart of Rights and Freedoms promising all Canadians the right to effective representation and freedom from discrimination.

FVC has intervenor status in this case, and so does Elizabeth May, leader of the Green party of Canada. A request has now been made to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking them to hear an appeal of this case.

On November 15, Fair Vote Canada took part in a joint press conference at the National Press Gallery to announce that we would continue to support the ARDD’s charter challenge as intervenors, and we announced that we would match the first $10,000 in donations to support this case.
 FVC donates $10,000 to charter challenge
Read more:

Meetings with MPs

Before the opening of the current session of Parliament, Fair Vote Canada sent letters to all MPs requesting a meeting. Since then, we have visited 28 Members of Parliament, including Conservatives, Liberals, and New Democrats, in their constituency offices, in their Ottawa offices, and in the Opposition Lobby. (That’s why they call it lobbying!)

We have made sure they were aware of our organization and the need for a new voting system, tried to determine where they stand on the fair voting reform, and offered ourselves and our organization as resources to help them find out more about the issue and support it. We asked all of them to sign the Declaration of Voters’ Rights, and some of them have done so.

All of them gave us a good hearing and were interested in learning more. In many cases, our fifteen-minute interview stretched to an hour or more, and some of the MPs asked for follow-up information.

Most MPs, whatever their political stripe, understand that there are problems with our current system, but they vary in their estimation of whether we can bring about change. The most devastating thing we hear from politicians is, “I’m not hearing this on the doorstep.”

So let’s make some noise! Call your MP, write them a letter, or better yet, go see your MP in their constituency office. They will be happy to see you.

Be an activist for a better democracy! Call your MP today and make an appointment to visit them in their constituency office. Contact us at office@FairVote.Ca, and we’ll send you some materials and help you plan your talking points.

Fair Vote Canada mourns the death of Tom Kent, journalist, civil servant, and champion of electoral reform.
Tom Kent was a senior civil servant under Prime Minister Lester Pearson, and chief architect of many of the social programs that Canadians today consider central to our national identity, such as Medicare and the Canada Pension Plan. He remained an influential liberal advisor into the Trudeau years.
He was a distinguished journalist, having been an editorial writer for The Guardian and The Economist in his native Britain before he came to Canada in 1954 to become editor of the Winnipeg Free Press. Later, he was founding editor of Policy Options magazine.
He was also a strong supporter of proportional representation, and served for many years on the National Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada.
In an article in the Globe and Mail in 2007, he wrote, “It is pure romanticism to believe that we can go back to the good old days when politics was the normal business of two grand old parties. And since we can't, the current electoral system is indefensible."
Tom was an important ally and early mentor of Fair Vote Canada He will be missed.

 Tom Kent
Left to right, David Chernushenko, Tom Kent, Ed Broadbent, Scott Reid, and Wayne Smith, at an FVC press conference in 2005

No comments: