Statement on Liberal Government Abandoning Commitment on Electoral Reform

Today Justin Trudeau cynically broke his clear commitment to Canadians that 2015 would be the last election held under the first-past-the-post electoral system. His government broke a promise it made in the campaign, in its Speech from the Throne, and countless other times. The Trudeau government ignored the overwhelming support for a proportional system expressed by Canadians and experts at the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform and in town halls across the country.

The Every Voter Counts Alliance, a coalition of over 60 civil society organizations that came together to show their support for a proportional electoral system, is deeply disappointed that the Liberal government is breaking its promise to Canadians to make every vote count. Nothing short of fixing they way we vote will solve the problems of our democratic system.

PROMINENT CANADIANS CALL ON LIBERALS TO KEEP THEIR PROMISE ON ELECTORAL REFORM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

JANUARY 19, 2017

In the 2015 Canadian election, the Liberal Party platform called for 2015 to be the last election held under First Past the Post. True to their word, the December 2015 Speech from the Throne committed that in this session of Parliament, in order to ensure that every vote counts, 2015 would be the last election held under the outdated majoritarian voting system, known as First Past the Post.

Following the commitment in the platform, the former minister for Democratic Institutions, the Hon. Maryam Monsef, put forward a proposal to the House of Commons to strike a Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform. Her innovative proposal brought all Parliamentary parties into an intensive process to review the research and political science literature, hear from experts from Canada and around the world, as well as engaged citizens in every province and territory of Canada. The report on the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform was tabled on December 1, 2016.

The committee report represents a substantive and substantial contribution to the many studies conducted in Canada since the first occasion when a parliamentary committee considered electoral reform in 1921. Since that time, studies in many provinces, as well as reviews federally, have all concluded that Canadian democracy would be enhanced by a move to a voting system that ensured the way Canadians vote is reflected in the composition of our parliament.

The parliamentary committee recommendation is for a voting system that maintains the link between Canadian citizens and a locally representative MP while eliminating the risks posed by majoritarian systems (such as First past the Post and Ranked Ballots under FPTP) of severe electoral distortions of the will of the voters.

We congratulate the newly appointed minister, the Hon Karina Gould, and urge her to move to implement the key recommendation of the parliamentary committee and move to a system of proportional representation for the next federal election.

Maude Barlow – National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

Robert Bateman – Canadian painter and artist. Officer of the Order of Canada (1984).

Arthur Black – Canadian humorist and former CBC radio personality.

Ed Broadbent – Former Member of Parliament and Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (1975-1989). Companion of the Order of Canada (2001).

Deborah Campbell​ – Award-winning writer known for combining culturally immersive fieldwork with literary journalism in places such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Gaza, Qatar, the UAE, Israel, Palestine, Cuba, Mexico and Russia. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, the Economist, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, New Scientist, Ms., The Walrus and other publications.

Raffi Cavoukian – Canadian singer-songwriter and author, founder of the Centre for Child Honouring. Member of the Order of Canada.

Jean-Pierre Charbonneau ​– Former President of the National Assembly of Québec, former Minister for the Reform of Democratic Institutions of Quebec, founder of the States-General of the reform of the Democratic Institutions that took place in 2002 and 2003. Journalist and advocate with Mouvement Démocratie Nouvelle.

Wade Davis – Former Explorer in Residence at National Geographic, best-selling author, Professor of Anthropology and BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Member of the Order of Canada (2015).

William Deverell – Lawyer, civil rights advocate, screenplay writer and award-winning author of best-selling Arthur Beauchamp series.

Katie Gibbs – ​Founder of Evidence for Democracy.

Guy Giorno​ – Former Strategist for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, fellow at the University of Toronto School of Public Policy & Governance. Lawyer and Partner at Faskin Martineau. Chair of the “Law of Lobbying and Ethics” committee of the Canadian Bar Association.

Capt. Charles Trevor Greene – writer, journalist, and former officer in the Seaforth Highlanders of the Canadian Forces.

Sarah Harmer – Canadian singer/songwriter and activist.

Bill Henderson – Lead singer/songwriter of Chilliwack. Member of the Order of Canada (2015).

Alex Himelfarb – Former Clerk of the Privy Council and former Secretary to the Cabinet, and Canadian Ambassador to Italy, Albania and Sn Marino (2006-2009).

Jean-Pierre Kingsley – Chief Electoral Officer, Elections Canada (1990-2007).

Georges Laraque – NHL veteran, sports commentator and former Green Party of Canada Deputy Leader.

Jici Lauzon – Québécois actor, singer and comedian.

Claire Martin – Former CBC The National meteorologist.

Monia Mazigh – Author and Human Rights Advocate.

Gord Miller – Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (2000-2014).

The Hon, Nancy Ruth, C.M. – Former Conservative Senator. She founded several women’s organizations in Canada, including the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a women’s studies chair at Mount Saint Vincent University. Member of the Order of Canada in 1994.

David Suzuki – Canadian academic, science broadcaster and environmental activist. Companion of the Order of Canada.

R.H. Thomson – Canadian television, film and stage actor. Member of the Order of Canada.

Ronald Wright – Historian, novelist, essayist and an award-winning author, most notably of A Short History of Progress (2004).

Neil Young – Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, producer, director and screenwriter. Officer of the Order of Canada (2009).

Letter of support to the Special Committee on Electoral Reform

TO: Members of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE)
FROM: Every Voter Counts Alliance

We are writing to congratulate you and call on the government to act on the recommendation of your committee for a proportional representation electoral system.

Over the past several months, you set aside partisanship in the interest of Canadians and worked together to fulfill the mandate set for you.

As you know, civil society groups, including ours, supported the government’s efforts throughout this process, in which repeated commitments have been made to end first-past-the-post and make every vote count in the 2019 federal election. This was affirmed in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, highlighted in the 2015 Speech from the Throne, and in the creation of ERRE, though delayed, with a mandate to listen to both the public and to experts.

As did many others, we fully engaged in this robust process and consultations that led you across Canada to hear thousands of voices. The message you received from the public and experts was resounding: with two major voting systems (majoritarian and proportional), over 80 per cent spoke in favour of a proportional system.

As a committee, based on this robust consultation, you listened and recommended a proportional system for Canada with local representation. We applaud this process and the outcome. We now call on the Minister to act to table legislation this spring enabling a proportional representation system with local representation in time for the 2019 election.

Let us also state that we are dismayed at the government’s response to date. The Minister’s attack of the work of the committee, for which she later apologized, was wholly inappropriate and inaccurate. The government has also failed to respond directly to the committee’s recommendation to bring in a proportional system with local representation. Instead, it has introduced a widely criticized and discredited online “values” survey that has shaken the public’s faith in the process.

The engagement process was clear, as were the rules of participation, as set by the Minister. Proportional representation emerged as the clear choice, and we thank you for this key recommendation and offer support in its implementation.

Sincerely,

Every Voter Counts Alliance

Statement by the Every Voter Counts Alliance on the final report of the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform

December 1, 2016
The Every Voter Counts Alliance applauds the strong recommendation for proportional representation in the electoral reform committee’s majority report. This recommendation clearly reflects the support for PR overwhelmingly expressed by Canadians and experts over the months of town halls and committee hearings. It is now time for the Liberal government to honour its promise and work with the other parties to reform our electoral system before the next federal election.
The work of this committee itself shows that Parliament can work differently under a principle of proportional representation. The make up of the committee reflected the proportion of the popular vote received by each party, meaning that no single party had a majority. Members were forced to work together across party lines. The result is a majority report that sets aside party interest for the sake of a better electoral system for all Canadians.
The Liberal government must now get to work putting in place the steps to implement a proportional representation system for the 2019 federal election.The committee has given them a clear mandate to honour their promise to Canadians to “make very vote count.”
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For more information about www.everyvotercounts.ca, please contact Alliance spokesperson Willy Blomme, 514-699-4636, or media@everyvotercounts.ca.

New Liberal government survey on electoral reform: misleading, inadequate and overlooks evidence

The Every Voter Counts Alliance has serious concerns about the Liberal government’s recently announced survey of Canadians on electoral reform.

An apparent draft of the survey obtained by the Alliance shows it to be misleading, inadequate, and completely ignores the evidence heard at the parliamentary committee on electoral reform over the last five months. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly promised that the 2015 election will be the last one held under our current electoral system, yet the survey does not include a single question about electoral systems. 

More troubling, the survey fails to ask respondents whether the proportion of support a party receives should be reflected in the number of seats they have in the House of Commons. An vast majority of the expert witnesses that testified at the parliamentary committee recommended incorporating this principle of proportionality into our electoral system.

In short, while consulting Canadians is worthwhile, this survey has flawed components that will produce skewed results. It also overlooks months of consultation with the Canadian public and the work of the committee. The Every Voter Counts Alliance is calling on the government to abandon this draft survey and to listen to the overwhelming evidence and voices of Canadians calling for a proportional system. 

 

MyDemocracy.ca Survey 2016 by Every Voter Vounts Alliance // Alliance Chaque électeur et électrice compte on Scribd

A majority of Canadians want Liberals to keep their electoral reform promise: NEW POLL

For immediate release
November 4, 2016

67% of Liberal voters want the promise to be kept, Conservatives
evenly split

TORONTO – A new poll by Environics Research, commissioned by the Every Voter Counts Alliance, shows that a majority of people agree that the Liberals should keep their promise to get rid of Canada’s first-past-the-post electoral system and make every vote count. The survey was conducted online with 1,042 adults 18 years of age and over.

Support for keeping the commitment to electoral reform includes 67% of Liberal voters, 67% of NDP voters, and 74% of Green Party voters.

Only 10% of Liberal voters want the party to not follow through on electoral reform.

Conservative voters are split on the question, with 40% in support of keeping the promise, and 42% opposed.

“It’s clear that far more people want the Liberals to keep their promise on electoral reform than want them to break it,” said Katelynn Northam, electoral reform campaigner with Leadnow, one of the members of the Alliance. “There’s a clear expectation across party lines that the Liberals stay committed to this promise.”

The findings are supported by a recent analysis of the government’s electoral reform consultation process that shows most of the participants supported a move to a proportional representation system.

The analysis, undertaken by Fair Vote Canada and released yesterday, found that 88% of expert witnesses to the committee, as well as 88% of people who spoke at the committee’s open mic sessions were in favour of proportional representation. They also found that most other consultation events had a majority of speakers in favour of proportional representation. (More information on this at
http://www.fairvote.ca/strong-mandate/)
“It’s clear given this poll and our recent analysis of the consultations that the Liberals have a strong mandate from the public and experts to make these reforms,” said Kelly Carmichael, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “We believe the Liberals need to make an evidence-based decision and to keep their promise to make every vote count. That’s why we’re calling on them to recommend proportional representation in the committee, and then introduce the legislation to get it done.”
Other supporting organizations of the Alliance include the Broadbent Institute, the Canadian Labour Congress, the YWCA, Unifor, Institut du Nouveau Monde, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Unlock Democracy, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Movement democratic nouvelle, and the Canadian Federation of Students.

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For more information about www.everyvotercounts.ca and to arrange interviews, please contact Katelynn Northam at katelynn@leadnow.ca or (647) 530 8882.

To see a copy of the poll and the methodology click here:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/leadnow/Vote+Better/Environics+-+EVC+Omnibus+Report+-+Nov+2016.pdf

Diverse coalition to ERRE: make Canada’s electoral system truly fair and democratic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 24, 2016

OTTAWA—There’s overwhelming support for proportional representation and now is the time to get on with designing a proportional voting system suited to Canada, says a diverse coalition representing the country’s leading women’s groups, the country’s largest unions, leading advocacy groups in Quebec, and organizations advocating for students and immigrants.

The Every Voter Counts Alliance, bringing together over 60 organisations, is making the call just as the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform is about begin its deliberations. The all-party committee is to release its report by Dec. 1.

An analysis of the proceedings to date (covering all but four meetings for which information remains incomplete), shows that of the witnesses that expressed a view about voting options, 89% (or 90 witnesses) support PR compared to 11% opposed, including 7% who support the status quo and 4% who support tacking on a ranked ballot to the current majoritarian system.

Seventy-one percent of witnesses who expressed a view on the referendum issue considered that a referendum would either not be necessary or not desirable before reform is implemented.

“With deliberations just beginning, we’re urging the electoral reform committee to heed the advice of the experts — Canada needs a proportional system with local representation. Let’s get busy crafting a made-in-Canada model that makes every vote count,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, founding supporter of the Alliance.

Yussuff made his case at a press conference on Parliament Hill alongside other supporting members of the Alliance. They included Farhat Rehman of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Katelynn Northam, Leadnow’s electoral reform campaign and Annie Bérubé, Équiterre’s director of government relations.

“Let’s kick off these important deliberations by committing to bringing in a more fair, open, diverse and inclusive electoral system that embodies the principles the government laid out at the beginning of this process. Proportional representation is the way to achieve this,” added Rehman.

“Now is not the time to waffle or step back from electoral reform. It’s time to step up and work together for a truly fair and democratic voting system in Canada,” concluded Willy Blomme, spokesperson for the Alliance.

Other supporting organizations of the Alliance include Fair Vote Canada, Fédération des femmes du Québec, YWCA Canada, Unifor, Institut du Nouveau Monde, Unlock Democracy, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Movement democratie nouvelle and Canadian Federation of Students.

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For more information about www.everyvotercounts.ca, please contact Alliance spokesperson Willy Blomme, 514-699-4636, or media@everyvotercounts.ca.

Broad coalition coming to Parliament Hill at beginning of ERRE deliberations with PR call

MEDIA ADVISORY
October 21, 2016

The Every Voter Counts Alliance, bringing together over 60 organizations from across the country representing diverse groups, will be hosting a press conference on Parliament Hill Monday just as the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform begins its deliberations.

Speakers making the case for why it’s time to listen to the experts and Canadians — and get down to business and develop a made-in-Canada proportional representation system include Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress, Katelynn Northam, Leadnow’s electoral reform campaign lead, Farhat Rehman of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, and Annie Bérubé director of government relations at Équiterre.

The committee is releasing its report by Dec. 1.

WHAT:  Every Voter Counts Alliance press conference

WHEN: Monday, October 24 at 11:00 am

WHERE: Charles Lynch Room, 130S, Centre Block, Parliament Hill

For more information about the Every Voter Counts Alliance, showcasing the broad, multi-partisan support for proportional representation, visit www.everyvotercounts.ca.

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For additional information about the Alliance, contact spokesperson Willy Blomme, 514-699-4636 or media@everyvotercounts.ca.

Diverse coalition marks Democracy Day with call to make Canada’s electoral system truly fair and democratic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2016

New video and digital campaign say it’s time to design made-in-Canada proportional representation

OTTAWA — It’s time to get on with designing a proportional electoral system suited to Canada, says a broad coalition representing the country’s leading women’s groups, the country’s largest unions, leading advocacy groups in Quebec, and organizations advocating for students and immigrants.

The Every Voter Counts Alliance, bringing together over 60 organisations, is making the call on Democracy Day, a global initiative of the United Nations established in 2007 to promote and uphold the principles of democracy.

The Canadian Labour Congress, a founding Alliance supporter, is using the occasion on September 15 to release a new video called Choose PR as part of its proportional representation campaign. The Broadbent Institute, another founding Alliance supporter, also launched a digital campaign on Democracy Day titled My Voting Story to showcase how broken the current system is.

Fair Vote is also marking Democracy Day with a new online tool so Canadians can send its brief to the special committee on electoral reform to their local MPs as part an educational initiative.

“What better time to release a new video on proportional representation to urge our Parliamentarians to heed the advice of what experts are telling us — a proportional system with local representation is the way to go. Now let’s get on with what that looks like in Canada,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

“We asked Canadians to share their voting stories with us, and hundreds from across the country responded. These personal stories are a must-read on Democracy Day,” said Rick Smith, Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute.

Added Mélanie Sarazin, president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, a supporting member of the Alliance: “Let’s celebrate Democracy Day by working towards adopting a fairer and more egalitarian electoral system, which would include measures to ensure gender parity, in order to protect women’s rights to equality, diversity and regional representation.”

“Canada ranks number one in the world on women’s education, but with the best educated population of women on the planet, our House of Commons remains almost 75% men,” added Ann Decter, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at YWCA Canada, a supporting member of the Alliance. “Evidence indicates a made-in-Canada proportional representation system supports electing women. As an organization advocating for women since the 1800s, our message is it’s time for change.”

Other supporting organizations of the Alliance include Unifor, Leadnow, Institut du Nouveau Monde, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Unlock Democracy, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Movement democratic nouvelle, and Canadian Federation of Students.

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For more information about www.everyvotercounts.ca, please contact Alliance spokesperson Willy Blomme, 514-699-4636, or media@everyvotercounts.ca.

Watch Ed Broadbent make case for proportional representation

Ed Broadbent, chair of the Broadbent Institute, testified at the special electoral reform parliamentary committee on Monday, Aug. 29. Here he is on CBC’s Power & Politics explaining why the Broadbent Institute, a supporter of the Alliance, is advocating for PR.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/powerandpolitics/ed-broadbent-on-electoral-reform-1.3740458

#voterequality
Copyright the Every Voter Counts Alliance.