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Electoral System Reform with Pat McGrail, Fair Vote Peel

  • The Franklin House

    263 Queen St S., Mississauga, ON (map)

    43.579872 -79.710907

  • Earlier this month Prime Minister Trudeau announced that his government would renege on its election promise that the last election would be the last using "First Past The Post" voting system. He said that the consultations discerned no consensus on a preferred alternative.

    We have Pat McGrail of Fair Vote Peel to explain proportional voting systems and discuss where we go from here.

    The following is edited from text provided by Pat

    About Fair Vote:

    Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is a grassroots, multi-partisan, citizen-run organization for electoral reform. FVC is supported by over 65,000 Canadians, 35 prominent advisors, 40 regional teams and chapters, and over 500 Canadian academics. Recently, FVC helped found the “Every Voter Counts Alliance,” which represents millions of Canadians and independent organizations who care deeply about this issue and are calling for equal and effective votes. 

    Specifically, FVC promotes proportional representation (PR) at all levels of government and has developed a number of videos explaining how different PR systems work.

    About Pat McGrail:

    Pat is a retired CA who volunteered at FVC a few years ago and now leads the Peel Region Action Team.  To her major societal issues (e.g. environment, income inequality, tax evasion) were unlikely to be addressed satisfactorily with the corrosive, polarized type of politics that had developed under winner-take-all FPTP.  

    Resources (provided by Fair Vote)

    FVC’s President Real Lavergne and Executive Director Kelly Carmichael’s presentation to Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) (17:56) on October 20th described the need for electoral reform and the various options available.

    • FVC’s recent submission to ERRE provides a wealth of information about electoral reform and specific proportional voting systems – including Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), Single Transferable Vote (STV) and the newly-developed Rural-Urban Proportional (RU-PR) system.  RU-PR builds on former Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley’s idea to meld the best of other proportional systems to custom-fit Canada with a system that delivers excellent proportionality while minimizing adjustments to electoral district boundaries and the number of MPs.

    • After his presentation to ERRE, academic Byron Weber Becker was asked to develop MMP, STV and RU-PR models based upon certain criteria.  For the technically-minded, Becker’s report may be found here.  Modelling is here.

    • ERRE’s subsequent Report to Parliament, Strengthening Democracy in Canada: Principles, Process and Public Engagement for Electoral Reform, reflects the overwhelming support for proportional representation of dozens of experts and other witnesses.  This PR support echoed the previous 13 Canadian studies on electoral reform. 

    • Unfortunately, like the many previous attempts to implement proportional representation, electoral reform again is in danger of being sidelined by partisan politics.  Previous attempts to derail electoral reform have led to the well-established myths about proportional voting systems.

    However, citizen support for electoral reform is growing as evidenced by attendance at yesterday’s National Day of Action on Electoral Reform and signatures (currently 112,000) to parliamentary petition #e-616 which remains open until March 2nd.

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