What happened late 2014 and what will happen in 2015
Canadian Electoral Alliance, along with 38 community groups and university & college clubs and organizations, are planning a town hall in March 2015, . We are inviting all party leaders in the House of Common for a pre-election town hall on climate change.
Stay tuned for more information!
On Dec 3, 2014, 276 MPs were at the opposite House time.
NDP Democratic Reform Critic Craig Scott introduced motion for Proportional Representation to the House of Commons
Responding to Dec 3, 2014 motion by Craig Scott on Proportional Representation, Canadian Electoral Alliance wrote letters to the MPs who voted.
Canadian Electoral Alliance's active member David Gamble wrote to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau who voted NAY on the motion.
David Gamble: I was exceedingly disappointed to see that you voted NO on this issue. The proportional representation plan would democratise this country further for the future of our children. You are probably only too aware of the majority government that had less that 40% of the popular vote that is in control, lamentably, today. Why?
Trudeau's office relied: ...Mr. Trudeau believes that it is important to take an evidence-based approach to electoral reform rather than an ideological one, and that all available options are considered. Further, he does not support proportional representation, as he very deeply believes that every Member of Parliament must represent actual Canadians and Canadian communities, not just the political party that appointed them to the House of Commons. He also believes that it is important to take an evidence-based approach to electoral reform rather than an ideological one, and that all available options are considered.... <CEA: see letters we wrote to other MPs below about more on Mixed Member Proportional, a form of Proportional Representation.>
Letter to Thomas Muclair, NDP leader
We wish to thank you for giving scarce opposition House time to Craig Scott's motion on Proportional Representation on December 3, 2014.
We were pleased to see the excellent remarks made in support of this motion and such a good turn out of NDP members who voted for it. Read the letter
Letter to Conservative MP Michael Chong who voted against the motion
First we wish to thank you for being present for the debate on the motion on Proportional Representation put forward by Craig Scott on December 3, 2014.
We are however disappointed in your vote against the Motion, given your strong commitment to electoral reform.
As pointed out by Mr. Scott, the system he is recommending is the one put forward by the Law Commission of Canada, whereby local constituency MPs would be elected exactly as they are now. Every voter would continue to have a local directly accountable MP.
It is the regional MPs that would create the balance of members in the House of Common - about one-third. This would ensure that the popular vote is adequately represented. Everyone would get to vote twice - once for the MP of choice and once for the Party of choice.... Read the letter
Letter to NDP MPs who voted for the motion
...We thank all NDP members who showed their support by turning up to vote for the motion. That 16 Liberals voted for it is gratifying, as the Liberal Party has not yet endorsed MMP.
We would encourage New Democrats to do what they can in their own ridings to promote understanding of the need for this reform. The objections made by opponents, Liberal and Conservative, are all easily answered.
The report of the Law Commission of Canada, Voting Counts, goes a long way to answering them, and subsequent experience in European democracies can also be used. Read the letter
Letter to Liberal MPs who voted for the motion
We commend you for your support for the motion on Proportional Representation (PR) debated on December 3 2014, introduced by Craig Scott. We are supporters of PR, and particularly favour the MMP, Mixed Member Proportional, system recommended by the (Liberal appointed) Law Commission of Canada in its 2004 report, Voting Counts. We also think that this system is the one most likely to win adequate support in the public. It is widely used in European democracies and in elections for the European Parliament.
We are naturally disappointed that your leader, and many Liberal members, voted with the Conservatives against the motion. It was good to see that Liberals were free to vote as they wished.
We would encourage you to do whatever you can to promote understanding of PR, in your own ridings and in the House. We think that the objections raised can all be answered and we look forward to working with MPs to advance this needed reform. Read the letter
Response from Carolyn Bennett, Liberal MP who voted for the motion
“At our most recent biennial convention in Montreal in 2014, a resolution was passed by the membership that called for an all-party study involving expert assistance and citizen participation to report to Parliament on electoral reforms. This will include, but is not limited to, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation.
We are committed to a full and robust review of our electoral system so that it delivers the government that Canadians deserve. I have long been an advocate of shifting our electoral system to a form of proportional representation.
The Liberal Party had a free vote on the recent proportional representation motion put forward by the NDP and I personally voted in favour of it. Many who voted against the bill expressed concern that it was too prescriptive in mandating the adoption of mixed-member proportional representation, rather than establishing a framework to engage Canadians about the most appropriate alternative electoral system among the many options available. “ Read her full response
Letter to Liberal MPs who voted against the motion
...However, we must tell you that we are disappointed that you voted against the motion. No Liberal MP, or Conservative, for that matter, raised a good objection. Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) is the system we favour, but there is flexibility within it. Party lists can give the voter the option to choose, reject or re-order names on the list. There is no necessity for a "party boss" approach.
Of course there has to be more consultation. But we remind members that there has been consultation for years, since the Law Commission of Canada started its work more than 10 years ago.
True, several provinces have rejected PR in referenda, but this is hardly a reason to reject it now. Currently there is a Conservative majority government with less than 40% of the popular vote, and which governs as if it had 90%. The BC referenda that rejected electoral change was not for MMP. Recent experience in many European countries shows good results from MMP. More women are elected, also minorities, turn out improves, and more people feel satisfied with our democratic institutions. Political alienation is rampant now, especially among young people. Making every vote count equally would do much to counter this alienation.
We ask you to keep an open mind and give a serious look at PR, and MMP in particular. Read the letter
Letter to Conservative MPs who voted against the motion
We are disappointed that not one Conservative voted in favour of the motion on proportional representation (PR) (introduced by Craig Scott) on December 3 2014. There are many Conservatives (not in the House) who support PR--some are active in FairVote Canada.
Conservatives currently profit from first-past-the-post, but have been penalized by it in the past, and may well again be so. After the Kim Campbell election, there were only two left, a drastic under-representation according to popular vote.
More to the point, first-past-the-post routinely produces skewed results--the under-representation of some parties in some regions, to the advantage (for a time) of one. Voter apathy is one unfortunate result: why bother, when my vote does not count? With PR, every vote counts, with an equal weight. In a House of Commons elected with Mixed Member Proportional each party would have the proportion of MPs they deserve from voter choice.
The objections to the proposal raised by Pierre Pollievre were weak and irrelevant. Indeed, he spent most of his time discussing such matters as voter ID and how MPs vote in the House! His contention that with PR voters will not have thieir own MP to go to is factually wrong. Under the MMP system proposed every voter will have a regular, constituency MP; the list would allocate (say) one third of MPS regionally.
These MPs ensure that the total number in the House per party reflects their support in the electorate. A look at Voting Counts, 2004, produced by the Law Commission of Canada, would show this clearly.
We urge Conservative MPs to give thought to this important democratic reform, and to put improving our democratic system ahead of (immediate) party interest. Read the letter
The case for proportional representation: Your move, Mr. Trudeau
Linda McQuaig, one of our speakers at the May 2014 town hall, explained Canadians want electoral reform and Proportional Representation.
" The most widely-supported version of PR for Canada — called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) — is used in Germany, Scotland and New Zealand, and has the advantage of combining local representation with a seat count in the legislature based on the popular vote. MMP was recommended by the Law Commission of Canada in a 2004 report on Canadian electoral reform. It has the support of nonpartisan groups like Fair Vote Canada and the Canadian Electoral Alliance.
A minority government is distinctly possible — and opposition parties undoubtedly would work together to ensure the end of the Harper government. That could involve some kind of deal between them, a deal which should require the implementation of proportional representation in order to ensure a permanent guarantee of greater democracy.”
ACTION: Write Trudea a letter and tell him Canadians want proportional representation!
Democracy at risk: what you can do to help: Hepburn
Bob Hepburn explained what you can do - and we make it easy for you to take some actions.
“First, you can write, email and telephone Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, as well as your MP…. Don’t give up, though. Politicians will change direction if enough people write to them..” CEA suggests: You just read the letters Canadian Electoral Alliance wrote to them. Now you can write your own.
“Second, join a non-profit community group engaged in a public issue and can provide a chance to share your views with elected officials or public servants.” CEA suggests: Join us and share your views. Subscribe now
“Third, spend $10 and join a political party. As a member, you can try to influence candidates and the political agenda at the local or national level.”
“Fourth, talk about political issues with your family and friends.”
“Fifth, sign up with pro-democracy efforts and petitions that are being launched across Canada.” CEA suggests: Canadian Electoral Alliance has an Open Letter to Three Party Leaders on electoral reform and party cooperation. Read and SIGN HERE
A copy of the this letter was sent to the three leaders twice.
50 people signed by attendees in our Jan 2014 workshop
80 people signed online and on hard copies from March 2014 to December 2014
Once we accumulate more signatures, we will send it to the leaders again!
“In addition,.. encourage non-voters to turn out for the coming election.”
Canadian Electoral Alliance is a volunteer group. The organization sprang from informal discussions after the last federal election resulted in a Harper Conservative majority with less than 40% of the popular vote. The “60% majority” now sees cherished institutions wrecked, environmental measures long in place eliminated, money spent on prison building (although the crime rate is falling), among them.
Our members include members of three political parties along with many with no party affiliation. People of any political persuasion are welcome. The goal is basic electoral reform, to make every vote count, to revitalize Canadian democracy.