First, I express my sincere thanks to all the friends and acquaintances who have shared their thoughts on what they would like to happen when they cast a ballot in an election. Almost all said they wanted their vote to be represented and have a legislature that worked collaboratively in a truly representative and inclusive democracy. Their input over the past dozen years has been a great help in the development of the inclusive combination Preferential Ridings Proportional PRP electoral system.
Fair Vote Canada (FVC) became organized to improve Canada’s electoral system in 2000. Great minds have persistently worked for truly representative democracy. Fair Vote Yukon Group members realize the need for change. However, they stand for proportional representation in general along with FVC rather than the specific Preferential Ridings Proportional system, so I have not included their names as standing for PRP. Many have put considerable effort and time into raising awareness of the need to repair our electoral system. Their volunteer efforts are greatly appreciated.
Now: Major contributors in the development of the Preferential Ridings Proportional (PRP) system, a form of Mixed Member Proportional MMP that includes preferential voting for riding (constituency) MPs or MLAs:
These now friends volunteered many hours offering their knowledge, talents and encouragement in the development of the Preferential Ridings Proportional (PRP) system.
When I started experimenting with pairing adjacent ridings, grouping paired ridings and calculating comparisons of results in 2005, I was working with pencil and paper, not yet into IT.
Soon after, when sharing my shock with what I’d recently learned about different electoral systems and how Canada’s system could be improved to be more inclusive, two people were the first to offer encouragement.
After returning home from committee work in Ottawa reviewing proposals to increase voter turnout, Irene and I went to an art show. When walking in, I had noticed and reported that a Jaguar’s lights were on. It was John Steins’, former mayor of Dawson City’s Jaguar, so we met. After expressing appreciation, John asked me what I did, so I told him what I had recently learned about electoral systems. After John heard my story, he bought me a website.
Larry Kwiat, whom I knew through lodge, volunteered his technical knowledge and skills to help me build the website, educate me on IT and do system maintenance to my computer.
Later, when Larry ran out of volunteer time, Ted Dean became involved. Using his computer skills and political knowledge, Ted started helping me 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. Ted was so fast. We experimented more with the effects of different sized groups of paired ridings to have a balance of good representation of votes and closeness of voters to their proportionally elected representative.
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. By using present boundaries, it also made implementing the system relatively easy if and when PRP is wanted.
Ted developed a process to do remarkable work on comparison to PRP results of present FPTP election results. He showed hesitancy to accept credit for his work over several years. Ted continues with his help.
Bill Mills (late) 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 for his grand-niece. As he was intellectually inclined, I jumped at the chance and Bill edited my writing for years until he passed. I was also tiring out on this project that I thought was going to take a few months, being so important. You might remember Rick Mercer taking weeks for enough signatures on a petition for Stockwell Day to change his name to Doris.
The Rusk Family: On one of Marlene Rusk’s trips 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 repair with her abilities in project management and the IT 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 elected nobody, those votes being primarily for Opposition parties, 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 after Dave had responded to an article I wrote on the value of an inclusive, combination preferential voting and proportional representation electoral system. I had previously presented the system to the Fair Vote Canada discussion group of which Dave belonged.
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 repair for a more inclusive 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.
Sally Wright realizes the value of the inclusive Preferential Ridings Proportional system. She has joined me or led me in trying to raise awareness of the need for more truly representative democracy. We have attended meetings with our past and present Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), Commissioner and Ombudsman. Inclusion of voters in democracy was considered to be a political question that nobody could deal with. Sally continues to be an advocate of the PRP system. Sally’s partner, JP Pinard, whose main interest is renewable energy, has often used his knowledge and computer skills to assist us.
Sue Greetham realizes the value of community and the PRP system. With her background in sales, with success in standing for what she believes in, she is our present leader on this electoral system repair project.
Conrad Gryba has always been an encourager for me since I first met him a few years back. With his knowledge, plus computer and website skills, he said that he would be pleased to help with the website.
Linda Leon has been interested in a better electoral system for several years. Linda has now been writing thorough individual educational descriptions of various proportional systems over the past several weeks in the Whitehorse Star and on Rabble. She has expressed appreciation of both Yukon Government and Opposition MLAs for their collaboration November, 2017 resulting in unanimous passage of Motion 19 to appoint a Commission on Electoral Reform. Linda has now written an article that was posted June 16, 2018 on her blog at Rabble following publication in the Whitehorse Star titled: Preferential Ridings Proportional is an electoral system that could work well in the Yukon Linda Leon June 16, 2018
I’m Dave Brekke, a very concerned former Federal Returning Officer for Yukon.
My background: I retired from teaching in 1994, and shortly after became the Federal Returning Officer for Yukon. My teaching career started in 1960 with Physical Education where I learned well the value of fairness, both being fair and being seen to be fair. This experience and my experience in the isolated community of Old Crow is from where my motivation came to persist with working on an improvement to Canada’s electoral system.
As you may know, in 2004 Canada’s Government acted on the expressed concern about the dropping number of voters in elections. Government called for proposals from all interested Canadians on what Government should do to increase voter turnout.
To have the proposals evaluated for funding by an apolitical and representative group of Canadians, Elections Canada appointed 18 Returning Officers (RO)s from across Canada to serve on the Returning Officers Advisory Committee (ROAC). At that time, being the longest serving RO in the North, I represented the North on the ROAC.
Shortly after introductions at the first ROAC meeting, one RO stood up and angrily asked, “What are we looking at this stuff for? Why aren’t we looking at our electoral system?” An Elections Canada official immediately said, “That is a political statement. It cannot even be recorded here, let alone discussed.”
At that time, I wondered how anyone could criticize Canada’s electoral system. Canada is such a wonderful country. The candidate with the most votes wins the seat, and the party with the most seats becomes Government. What could be fairer? I thought Canada must have the best electoral system in the world.
The topic of electoral systems received no further time at the ROAC meetings, but in the evenings, I learned about many different systems with positives and negatives towards truly effective and representative democracy. All discussions ended with, ‘There is no perfect system’. I began to wonder, ‘Could those systems be combined to make a better system?’
Before 2005, 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. Until 2005, I felt comfortable responding to the question, “Is my vote going to count?” with “I can’t promise that your vote will count, but I can promise that it will be counted”. Due to my involvement in the ROAC, I now know why the question was asked. I think many Canadians today are where I was 12 years ago, thinking Canada must have the best system.
In elections under Proportional Representation systems, almost all votes count and no party has absolute power. When that happens, collaboration is necessary. Parties can and do work together. Helen Clarke, 3 term Prime Minister of New Zealand, said the culture of democracy changes. There continue to be different perspectives in Parliament, but they work together respectfully to solve problems. As you may know, under Canada’s present First-Past-the-Post FPTP system, only half the votes count – only the votes cast for riding winners.
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.” Ms. Van Bibber is now a Yukon MLA.
A more effective electoral system for more truly representative democracy became a quest for me in 2006 after I became aware of how Canada’s electoral system could be more inclusive of voters and help to build community in democracy.
This combination system called Preferential Ridings Proportional gives representation to almost all, if not all voters. 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 elections as well as how they wanted to be governed following those elections.