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St. John’s chapter co-sponsors public forum on provincial electoral reform, May 10

The Council of Canadians St. John’s chapter is supporting an upcoming public forum on electoral reform in Newfoundland and Labrador.

A media release today highlights, “On Wednesday May 10, 2017, Democracy Alert, in association with the Council of Canadians and the Social Justice Cooperative, will be hosting a public forum on electoral reform. We believe that the time is right to consider a referendum attached to the next provincial election on the following two questions: Should our province change to a proportional representation system for electing our Members of the House of Assembly? Should we lower the voting age?”

That media release adds, “The evening’s format will include brief presentations on the rationale for changing our electoral system, the precise nature of the referendum questions and the obstacles to overcome. This will be followed by round table discussions across all issues. We invite the media, community groups and interested individuals to join us for a discussion on why Newfoundland and Labrador needs electoral reform.”

Proportional representation

In the November 2015 provincial election, the Liberals won 31 seats in the House of Assembly, the Conservatives won 7 seats, and the NDP won 2 seats. Arguably, under proportional representation, the Liberals might have won 23 seats (still a majority government), the Conservatives 12 seats, and the NDP 5 seats.

Lowering the voting age

National Post columnist Ishmael N. Daro has commented, “Most 16-year-olds in Canada can get their drivers’ licenses, work in all but the most dangerous industries, be tried as adults for especially severe crimes, file income taxes and, in most provinces, even drop out of school if they wish. These are weighty decisions and responsibilities we’ve deemed them mature enough to handle, but when it comes to taking part in the democratic life of the country, those same teenagers are left on the sidelines as spectators.”

He adds, “By lowering its voting age [to 16 years of age in June 2015], Scotland joins a small but growing club of nations that includes Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Canada should consider a membership.”

The 50th Newfoundland and Labrador general election is tentatively scheduled to take place on October 8, 2019.

For more information on the upcoming public forum, please see this Facebook event page.