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Montreal chapter holds public forum on proportional representation

Daniel Green, William Gagnon

The Council of Canadians Montreal chapter held a public forum on proportional representation on January 11.

The featured speakers were Daniel Green and William Gagnon.

Chapter activist Abdul Pirani tells us, “The Liberal party made a promise to have electoral reform come the next federal elections in 2019 so that every vote counts. However, after over a year, it is still work in progress.  Mr. Green gave a visual presentation with Lego and convinced people that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.”

Pirani notes, “In this photo, three scenarios can be seen from right to left with the Liberals in red:

  • The first scenario on the right gives the situation at present, first-past-the-post, the winner takes all in which 39.5% of votes gave the Liberals 184 se​a​ts with a 54% majority and 100% power.

  • With the second scenario in the middle, we see that the result obtained ​using the proportional representation giving the Liberals 134 seats which is 39%, not a majority and necessitating a coalition with other parties like the NDP, Green and Bloc to build a majority.

  • The third scenario is the ranked ballot system, also called the preferential vote, which would give an overwhelming majority of 66% and 224 seats to the Liberals.”

And Pirani comments, “The Liberals admit bias to a ranked ballot system. They may like it, but certainly not Canadians. Proportional representation easily seems to be the most sensible system suitable for Canada. Eighty-one other countries already use some kind of proportional representation. Our electoral system can be changed through a simple majority in the House of Commons, requiring no constitutional amendment. Our political leaders, people and the media need to mobilise to bring about the much needed change in our electoral system.”

Over the past fifteen months, twenty-eight chapters have presented to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, attended consultations with the former minister of democratic institutions Maryam Monsef, attended town hall meetings with their MP, had meetings with their MP, organized their own public events, handed out leaflets, published articles in local newspapers, held workshops, and worked closely with Fair Vote Canada to express their support for proportional representation.

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