Changes to our electoral system – changes, that is, to the very core of our democracy – are not to be taken lightly. Regardless of where you lie on the political spectrum, we should be able agree on process. We should be able to agree that such changes must be taken with an open and transparent process that engages a genuine debate in Canada.
I dislike many aspects of the proposed electoral reform bill. Pouring more money into elections – asymmetrically advantaging the Conservatives – is a terrible idea. Making it harder to vote – asymmetrically advantaging the Conservatives – (Read more…)
At the Montreal convention, the Liberal Party overwhelmingly agreed to Priority Resolution 31, Restoring Trust in Canada’s Democracy. An important part of that resolution is this: AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT immediately after the next election, an all-Party process be instituted, involving expert assistance and citizen participation, to report to Parliament within 12 months with recommendations for electoral reforms including, without limitation, a preferential ballot and/or a form of proportional representation, to represent Canadians more fairly and serve Canada better. Electoral reform has a bad record of success in Canada, with several referenda for modernizing our antiquated and undemocratic (Read more…)
One of the purported panaceas for electoral disaffection, subscribed to by many, is some form of proportional representation, a subject upon which I admit to being poorly-schooled. Beyond some of the basic arguments both for and against PR, I know little. However, one of the most frequently-stated reasons for embracing it is that it would do much to remediate people’s oft-stated reason for not turning out at the polls: the belief that their vote doesn’t matter, certainly a perception that has been, I believe, promoted and exploited by the Harper regime to its advantage.
Although not considered a version of (Read more…)
“The things in it that are good could have been so much better, but the things that are bad are unforgivable in a democracy.”
Recently Green Party Leader Elizabeth May had an opportunity to speak to the Commons Committee considering Bill C23, The ‘Fair’ Elections Act. What follows are some extracts from that presentation, for a full transcript and audio of that speech please go the her MPs website.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be able to speak to Bill C-23 today. I want to pause and say that when we have these rushed processes (Read more…)
It seems that the leaders of all three poltical parties in the province of Ontario sense that voters want change. Premier Wynne, leading a minority Liberal government, was rejected by voters in the two byelections, but says change is wanted: Real Change Wynne?
After writing off the byelections as “skirmishes” that aren’t indicative of how things will go in a general election, Wynne vowed that the Liberals will do better whenever the campaign is held. “I know people are looking for change in this province,” she said. “Well I’m the change. My plan is the change. My team (Read more…)
Observing debates about electoral reform online and elsewhere, I notice one error cropping up consistently: the notion that proportional representation, like first-past-the-post, is a voting system. It isn’t, of course. It is a goal, something you try to achieve with your voting system.
They are two different things and the difference is important because one frequently encounters the argument
As is usual with so many of the Bills proposed by the Harper Regime the ‘Fair’ Elections Act has so many changes buried in the fine print that it is almost impossible for all but the most dedicated and knowledgeable researchers to really understand the implications of it all. Whilst there is little doubt that some changes were needed (in particular in view of the robocall issue) I must question that our election Act was so problematic that it needed a 247 page rewrite, and that just for the CHANGES to it!
I intended to read the whole thing as (Read more…)
The Conservative government will introduce changes to the Elections Act this week that caucus members expect to restructure the office in charge of investigating violations. “It’s the Fair Elections Act,” Poilievre said.Given the Conservatives penchant for naming bills in an Orwellian fashion we had best keep an eye on this one. I suspect it will be more of a “Government Control of Election Investigations Act”.
It has been reported that “The bill would remove the Commissioner of Canada Elections, where the investigators work, from Elections Canada and set it up as separate office” Which of course is just about (Read more…)
A few thoughts here on today’s announcement by Justin Trudeau that Liberal Senators will no longer be part of the Liberal caucus and are now to sit independently.
One of Trudeau’s lines that stood out for me was this one: “At our best, Liberals are relentless reformers.” Recently, on the death of Jim Coutts, an opinion piece he wrote in 2004 was circulated, and in it, we found this: “The current policy markers of the Liberal party have evolved over time and are fairly familiar to many Canadians. The most crucial Liberal markers are these: Reform, which is so (Read more…)
Just two days before Christmas the GPC received a letter requesting a response on their ideas for electoral reform to be received before Jan 4th. The timing of the letter and the requested response makes the genuineness of the request suspect. We wonder who else was or will be invited to respond and what their response was or will be. Despite the almost impossible time line Elizabeth May of the Greens did reply with several much needed suggestions. Here is her response in full:- Dear Mr. Minister,
The President of the Green Party of Canada, Paul Estrin, received a (Read more…)
Whilst some say that it is already gone and that we are being subject to an Oligarchy well on its way to a Dictatorship, a view that I find it hard to argue against, there is still hope. The recent push back by a small number of Conservative MP’s gives me a little hope, Michael Chong’s introduction of a private members bill to limit leaders’ powers is one such small step, Bruce Hyer’s brave & principled step to quit the NDP caucus due to being forced to vote as dictated by the party whip and more recently to join the (Read more…)
For those who may not know Leadnowis “an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy.” They are particularly focused upon building “a stronger democracy that protects our environment, creates economic opportunity while increasing equality” Leadnow has become THE organization for those concerned with these things, and who cannot be, to support and become involved with and their “plan’ is outlined below as distributed with their latest fund raising appeal. It is an unfortunate reality that it is going to take not only thousands of concerned citizens to spread the word to (Read more…)
Having finally gotten around to reading Michael Chong’smuch-ballyhooed Reform Act, which is being pushed by the media pundit class with a fervor that would make most partisans blush, I feel that, while well-intentioned, what the act proposes is flawed and suffers from a narrowness of view that has trouble looking south of the Queensway.
The act deals primarily with three things: the ability of the caucus to fire the leader, the nomination process (ending the ability of the leader to veto a candidacy by refusing to sign their nomination papers), the removal of MPs from caucus, and the election (Read more…)
There’s one part of the Reform Act that I’m really stumbling over. Specifically the notion that 15% of a party’s caucus can initiate a caucus review of the party’s leadership. If a majority of the members of a caucus agree then that the leader should be removed, the leader is removed and an immediate vote is held to name an interim leader so the party mechanism can be initiated to select a new leader.
Not all parties have the same mechanism to select a leader nor do all political parties leave leadership selection to members only – the Conservatives, and (Read more…)
Michael Chong’s Bill C-559 is a relatively short piece of work, but it has taken me a bit of time to go through it and start to understand the implications of the changes being proposed, mostly because it contains a series of small changes to much larger acts – in particular the Canada Elections Act, but also the Parliament of Canada Act.
As I read through the proposed changes (which required a lot of flipping back and forth to the current Acts to fully understand), I started to come to the conclusion that in some respects this bill (Read more…)
Canadian Democracy is sick. It has been showing alarming symptoms for some time now, they range from the inability of a large portion of our MPs to speak out without first consulting the PMO and a failure to listen to those with opposing or alternate opinions, to totally ignoring the rules and conventions built up over years of parliamentary debate and development, and a total lack of ethics and honesty. A new symptom appearing just this week is the removal of independent and small party MP’s right to intervene at the report stage of proposed legislation and at the Con (Read more…)
Of late there seems to be an increased interest in bringing forward a new way of electing our ‘representatives’ in the House of Commons no doubt brought on by the possibility of the Harper regime winning another majority with a minority vote in 2015. Given their expertise in spinning the truth, using taxpayers money to beat their own drum and fool most of the people most of the time this is a real possibility.
There is little doubt that both electoral and parliamentary reform is needed and that the debate about what is needed and how to accomplish it will (Read more…)
October 8, 2013 – Green Party leader Elizabeth May, speaking at the Speak Up For Democracy Town Hall Meeting in Winnipeg. Photo: Paul S. Graham
Canadian democracy ain’t what it used to be and what it used to be was far from ideal. Still, fewer of us are voting and even fewer are satisfied with the outcome.
In recent years, voter turnout has declined precipitously. Of the 24.2 million citizens eligible to vote in the 2011 federal election, only 14.8 million, or 61.1 per cent did so. Of those who voted, 39.6 per cent, or (Read more…)
The title says it all, our very democracy is in danger of being totally subverted by partisan actions which are aimed at keeping or gaining power with little regard to the well being of Canadian peoples or our country. Elizabeth May is correct when she says there is no consensus on how to achieve the replacement of the flawed and highly biased first past the post electoral system. I fully support the Green party in their long held view that the system is broken and requires a major reform and applaud Ms May’s efforts to leave partisan politics behind and (Read more…)
Green Party of Canada Leader Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, is on a cross country tour, billed as “Save Democracy from Politics,” to call for major reforms in Canada’s Parliamentary system. According to May, Canadian democracy is being undermined by excessive partisanship, a party system that punishes MPs who do not toe the party line, and a Prime Minister’s Office that wields the powers that should be exercised by Parliament.
May was in Winnipeg to speak at a town hall meeting co-sponsored by the Green Party and Peace Alliance Winnipeg. I will post the video from (Read more…)
Even if it could, Senate reform shouldn’t proceed without the provinces – or the people To the surprise of everyone in the Ottawa bubble, Her Majesty’s Minister of State for Democratic Reform, Pierre Poilievre, held a press availability Wednesday not to slam the Liberals for some alleged sins, but to actually speak to an issue of policy substance: the government’s Supreme Court reference on Senate reform. The minister discussed the factum the government has presented to the court outlining its position, marking the first time the words “Pierre Poilievre” and “factum” have appeared in the same sentence. The government (Read more…)
by: Obert Madondo | Twitter: @Obiemad:
Bob Rae. (Photo: Fair Vote Canada)
Former Liberal leader Bob Rae has joined the National Advisory Board of Fair Vote Canada, a grassroots multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for voting system reform in Canada.
Rae joins a cast of distinguished Canadians and progressives already serving on the board, including David Suzuki, Mel Hurtig, Maude Barlow, Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, Hugh Segal, Rafe Mair and Ed Broadbent.
This release from Fair Vote Canada:
Fair Vote Canada is pleased to announce the addition of former Liberal Leader Bob Rae, PC, OC, OOnt, QC, MP, to its National Advisory Board.
“Canadians need to (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Former Liberal Leader Bob Rae Joins Fair Vote Canada’s Advisory Board
A letter of mine found its way into the Vancouver Sun today. This one comes in response to a piece last week by Senator Mobina Jaffer about the role of Canada’s Senate in protecting minority rights. In my letter, I argue in favour of abolishing the Senate and ensuring fair representation for minorities in the House of Commons by means of some kind of proportional representation. Please click here to read it.
Filed under: Canadian Politics, Democracy Tagged: electoral reform, minority rights, Mobina Jaffer, proportional representation, Senate, Vancouver Sun
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Vancouver Sun Letter
Something good happened at Toronto City Hall this week.
I know, I know. I’m as surprised as you are.
Councillors vote to seek end of ‘first past the post’ system in city elections
Toronto city council took a significant step on Tuesday towards dramatically changing how the city elects its leaders — and who gets to cast a ballot.
By a vote of 26 to 15, the governing body asked the provincial government to allow it to use the ranked choice voting system, which demands that the winning candidate accumulate at least 50% of votes cast. It also asked, by (Read more…)
But no results overturned……… Just hours ago the long-awaited Federal Court ruling on election fraud was released…In a clear and bold statement, Judge Richard Mosley wrote: “I find that electoral fraud occurred during the 41st General Election.”
While his ruling stopped short of annulling election results, this is a powerful victory for Kay Burkhart, Ken Ferance, Yvonne Kafka, Bill Kerr, Sandra McEwing, Tom Parlee, Jeff Reidand Peggy Walsh Craig – the eight brave Canadian voters who launched their legal challenges and the thousands of us who continue to stand behind them.