e-616 petition to federal government demands electoral reform

The Council of Canadians Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter and local Fair Vote Canada activists rallied in front of the federal Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef's riding office on December 12 to demand proportional representation.

An e-petition has been launched calling on the Government of Canada to support electoral reform.

The rationale for the petition highlights:

  • Electoral reform was a cornerstone of the current government's electoral campaign;
  • Canadians have waited patiently for the government to give a clear proposal as to how electoral reform will work;
  • No progress towards electoral reform has been publicly apparent during the year since the government first sat in session; and
  • Recent public information indicates the government may be backing off campaign promises to ensure electoral reform.

The petition - e-616 - calls on the federal government to:

  • Immediately, declare its on-going commitment to ensuring the 2015 election be the last Federal Canadian election under the First Past The Post system.
  • In the coming weeks, clearly outline one or more proposals for how Canadian elections could operate once electoral reform is complete.
  • In the coming weeks, outline a firm timeline for public consultation regarding the proposals mentioned above, detailing the proposed timeline until introduction before the House of Commons.
  • In the coming months, outline a proposed timeline for the introduction of an electoral reform bill before the House of Commons, detailing the proposed timeline until passage into law.

In March 2013, the Council of Canadians endorsed MP Kennedy Stewart's private members bill M-428, the motion that allows electronic petitions to be introduced into Parliament. That motion was passed by the House of Commons in January 2014. The guide for e-petitions notes, "An e-petition will remain open for signatures for 120 days. To receive final certification, an e-petition must receive a minimum of 500 valid signatures during this period. If an e-petition has not garnered the minimum number of signatures by then, it will proceed no further, but will remain visible online."

The guide also notes, "The Standing Orders (the rules governing the House of Commons) require the government to respond within 45 calendar days to every petition presented in the House of Commons. You, the supporters, the signatories, and the sponsor will be notified by e-mail when the response is tabled in the House. A copy will also be found on the e petition website along with the original petition."

The petition on electoral reform - sponsored by MP Nathan Cullen - is open for signature until March 2, 2017 at 11:20 am EDT.

To sign the petition, please click here. It only needs 93 more signatures to reach the 500 signature threshold!

In addition, the federal government is seeking public input on electoral reform through an interactive survey at MyDemocracy.ca. That survey has been widely criticized as vague in that people are not asked to respond to specific electoral systems or descriptions of those systems. To help you complete the survey in a way that favours proportional representation, Unifor has condensed an analysis provided by Fair Vote Canada. When you fill out the online form, please use this summary to help you back the widespread demand for proportional representation. The deadline for that survey is December 30, 2016.

Over the past year, twenty-eight Council of Canadians chapters have been mobilizing to demand that the next federal election be held using a proportional representation voting system.

The next federal election is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019.