Council of Canadians chapters are advocating for proportional representation at consultations now underway on electoral reform.
During the last federal election, the Liberals promised, “We will make every vote count. We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system. We will convene an all-party Parliamentary committee to review a wide variety of reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting. This committee will deliver its recommendations to Parliament. Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform.”
Following that election, our Guelph, Nelson, Penticton, London, Peel and Peterborough chapters met with their newly-elected MPs to express their support for proportional representation.
Now various processes are underway including a cross-country tour with the federal minister of democratic institutions Maryam Monsef, and the opportunity to submit a brief, complete an online consultation, and request to appear before the multi-party House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform.
We are engaging in the following ways:
August 29 – the Yellowknife chapter was at Monsef’s consultation
September 6 – the Peterborough chapter participated in Monsef’s afternoon public forum
September 8 – Calgary chapter at MP Kent Hehr’s town hall on voting and the environment
September 11 – the Regina & Quill Plains (Wynyard) chapters will be at Monsef’s consultation in Regina
September 12 – organizer Brigette DePape will be at Monsef’s consultation in Winnipeg
September 13 – the Thunder Bay chapter will be at Monsef’s consultation
September 15 – the Brandon-Westman chapter will hold its own town hall meeting on electoral reform
September 16 – the Montreal chapter will be at Monsef’s consultation
September 18 – the Comox Valley chapter will host a public discussion on electoral reform
September 19 – the Prince Albert chapter will be at the Special Committee on Electoral Reform consultation in Regina
The schedule for Monsef’s cross-country consultation tour can be found here.
While the Liberal election pledge presented the choices as “ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting”, media reports have indicated the choices up for discussion at the Monsef consultations are “mixed electoral, proportional representation and plurality or majority systems.”
Our ally Fair Vote Canada is working on a fact sheet to help navigate this and we will share that widely when it becomes available.
The deadline to request to appear, to submit a brief, and to complete the online consultation for the Special Committee on Electoral Reform is October 7. More on that here. That special committee will report to the House of Commons on December 1. The deadline for the Liberals to introduce legislation on electoral reform is May 2017. And the next federal election will take place on October 21, 2019.
The Council of Canadians has long-endorsed proportional representation and is critical of the current first-past-the-post system.