I’m Dave Brekke, a very concerned former Federal Returning Officer for Yukon. I’m not an electoral scholar. I am simply a concerned citizen who thinks that Canada, the provinces and territories will greatly benefit if all of our community is included at the ballot box. Geraldine Van Bibber, former Commissioner of Yukon said, “The heart of democracy is inclusion.”
I retired from teaching in 1994, and became the Federal Returning Officer for Yukon. In 2005 I had an interesting learning experience serving on an Elections Canada Returning Officers committee to review proposals to increase voter turnout.
I learned about the inadequacies of Canada’s present system that I had never before considered. I hadn’t been aware that votes of voters who didn’t vote for the winning candidate could have an effect on the election outcome. I also realized that there is no perfect system. I saw good parts in all systems and began to wonder if systems could be combined to make a better system. I have that better system. It’s a combination system called Preferential Ridings Proportional. The PRP system is for all citizens and politicians who want all voters’ votes to have value in elections. This PRP system came from what interested people said they wanted in both elections as well as Governments resulting from those elections.
I believe in representative democracy. Truly representative democracy is not possible under Canada’s present system because over half the voters are not represented. The present unfair and power focused voting system leads to a democratically divisive and ineffective government.
Tzeporah Berman, in her book This Crazy Time, says:
“Change happens when there is enough of a public outcry, or the effects of a problem are so evident that decision makers are forced to act.”
The effects of this problem have been evident to me for almost a decade. The lack of inclusive voting in our country has led to unrepresentative, out-of-touch governments, apathetic voters, and dissatisfaction on all sides. I think that might be worth starting a public outcry. Don’t you?
Because of these observations, and my concern stemming from them, I have adopted the following mission:
To assist Yukoners and Canadians, supporters of all political parties, in the development and implementation of an electoral system that gives value and fair representation to all election participants, whether or not they support the winning candidate of their riding (electoral district (ED)).
Dave Brekke, Very concerned former Federal Returning Officer
As previously described, a more effective electoral system for more truly representative democracy became a quest for me. These friends volunteered many hours offering their knowledge, talents and encouragement in the development of the Preferential Ridings Proportional (PRP) system. If PRP becomes accepted and a book is written, I will have many more to thank for their help both before and after the development of the basic system. These are the people who played a major role in the development of this PRP system.
The following are written by me, as the subjects said they didn’t want to write about themselves.
Ted Dean showed hesitancy to accept credit for his work over several years. Using his computer skills and political knowledge, Ted started helping me in 2006 with making all the charts and graphs, giving advice and keeping my computer operational. He was always ready to help whenever he didn’t have another commitment. However, Ted always left decisions to me, saying, “It’s your system, you decide”. My decisions were not all good, but one that was very beneficial was pairing adjacent ridings to have proportional seats without needing to add seats or do considerable work on boundary changes.
Pairing ridings made it relatively easy to apply the PRP system to past election results for comparisons on effectiveness to Canada’s present First -Past-the-Post system. It also made implementing the system relatively easy if and when PRP is wanted.
Bill Mills was a school mate of a mutual friend, the late Cam Ogilvy. We met at Cam’s 80th birthday party and found that we had a common interest in a better electoral system and agreed to meet later. When we met and looked at some of the ideas and thoughts that I had put together, he was quite impressed. Bill said he thought the ideas on voting and truly representative democracy made good sense, but the writing could be improved considerably. Bill then offered to edit anything that I’d like him to. As he was intellectually inclined, I jumped at the chance and Bill edited my writing for several years.
The Rusk Family: On Marlene Rusk’s trip back to the Yukon, she agreed to meet with me, finding the topic of a new electoral system interesting. Though a great deal of work had been done before, Marlene re-established my hope for change with her abilities in project management and the skills of her adult children, Heather and Ian. Marlene’s management ability combined with Heather’s creative and artistic talent created the eye catching, BE HEARD pie graph showing the ineffectiveness of Canada’ and Yukon’s electoral systems. Many people express shock to find that in 2011, Yukon’s Government with 100% power was elected by 27% of the votes and the Opposition by 19%. 54% of the votes, primarily for Opposition parties, elected nobody. Others said that they have known it all along. They just hadn’t seen the information expressed so vividly and clearly.
Heather Rusk wrote the first draft White Paper on the Preferential Ridings Proportional PRP system. She put together all the concerns and suggestions of the many interested people as well as my own. We even met together with David Nash in Edmonton to learn about David’s important concern with votes of equal value and to share what we had in the White Paper at that time.
Dave Nash, Heather and I met when Dave responded to an article I wrote on the value of an inclusive, combination preferential voting and proportional representation electoral system. I had presented the system to the Fair Vote Canada discussion group.
Pierre Morvan was introduced to me by our mutual friend Jacqueline Vigneux, Yukon activist originally from Quebec. Following Quebec’s 2014 election, Pierre learned how the system works and applied the PRP system for a comparison to FPTP for the entire Quebec election results. Pierre sees his role as part of a “Think Tank” group to propose ideas devoted to political education of Canadians, especially with electoral change for a better democracy. Political education of our own MPs is not excluded in his program, as he believes they would serve our Country better by truly representing the people who elected them ahead of partisanship to their Party.