It has been a pleasure to be able to attend Hon. Monsef’s, Minister of Democratic Institutions, and Hon. Bagnell’s, Yukon’s M.P., public meetings on the past two evenings. A couple copies of the attached four two-sided handouts were distributed to the tables on the first evening, and I think that everyone read at least one and hopefully commented on it.
Though a growing number of Canadians are aware and concerned, many are not yet aware of the importance of improving Canada’s voting system. Just yesterday I was talking with a former student who excitedly described how he knew his vote counted in the last territorial election. He said he and two friends went together to vote, and their candidate won her seat by 3 votes. They had been encouraged to vote differently by friends, but voted the way they thought was best. That would feel good!
Until I heard some ways that our electoral system could be improved in 2005 while serving on a committee to give grass roots feedback on proposals to increase voter turnout, I thought Canada must have one of the best voting systems. “What could be fairer than the candidate with the most votes winning the seat?”, was my thinking at that time. I had never looked at the total electoral system or other systems. Many Canadians have not yet looked.
It wasn’t at Elections Canada that I learned there were several systems in the world in which all votes counted and others in which candidates were elected preferentially, but after the day’s work. I wondered why the good parts couldn’t be taken from several systems to develop a better system, and with a lot of help and feedback I think we now have it, Preferential Ridings Proportional (PRP). Through inclusion of voters, this new system could help to build rather than divide community as our present system does. We hope it will be helpful to you in starting discussions and in the development of a better, more inclusive system.
Attached are four handouts that might raise awareness and help prompt discussion.
What an encouraging message!
Thank you Ms. Macdonald and Fair Vote Canada for the very positive message. The Parliament of Canada with all Canadians now have an opportunity to leave a legacy of truly representative democracy for Canada’s future. Hopefully, we will succeed.
Many thanks to Hon. Maryam Monsef and the Liberal Party of Canada, Nathan Cullen and the NDP Party of Canada, and Elizabeth May and the Green Party of Canada, and anyone else whom I am not aware of, for the inclusiveness with empowerment in this representative and balanced committee.
The Special Committee on Electoral Reform has been named and the committee has had its first meeting. The committee members are: John Aldag (Liberal), Alexandre Boulerice (NDP), Nathan Cullen (NDP), Natt DeCourcy (Liberal). Gerard Deltell (Conservative), Hon. Jason Kenney (Conservative), Elizabeth May (Green Party), Scott Reid (Conservative), Sherry Romanado (Liberal), Rubey Sahota (Liberal), Francis Scarpaleggia (Liberal), Luc Theriault (Bloc Quebecois). The committee can be seen at this link received from Ms. Macdonald: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Committees/en/ERRE.
Though you and the Special Committee on Electoral Reform know about the ineffectiveness of Canada’s present electoral system, some Canadians do not yet know. When I first learned about the need for change in 2005, I was serving on a committee reviewing proposals to increase voter turnout at elections. I was shocked that there could be a better system than Canada’s ‘First Past the Post’. I thought Canada’s system must be the best as Canada was such a wonderful country. “What could be wrong with the candidate receiving the most votes winning the seat for each riding?”, was my thinking at that time. I had never before questioned it or considered other possibilities.
After realizing the need for change, my original understanding was that this change would have to start in one of the provinces or territories. Attempts were made in PEI, Quebec, Ontario and B.C. I thank the concerned people in those provinces for standing up, as those attempts helped to raise this present awareness of the need for change.
However, in Yukon’s 2011 election, the illusory (false) majority Yukon Party Government was elected by 27% of votes cast, the Opposition by 19% of votes cast, and Nobody by 54% of votes cast. With my 2005 realization, those results did not shock me. My second shock regarding elections came following that election when I asked at my constituency meeting what Government was going to do about improving our electoral system. I was told that the illusory (false) majority, “Government Members had unanimously agreed that the way all Members would handle the question of electoral reform, was to refuse to discuss the question”. Believe it or not, I couldn’t even discuss the question privately with a Yukon Party Member.
Although this change is not happening the way that I understood change was supposed to happen with one or more of the provinces or territories leading Canada. At this time I’m convinced that Canada’s Parliament with willing Canadians’ help is going to lead in bringing more truly representative democracy to Canada. When we succeed, this question should no longer have reason to be asked at Federal elections:
“Is my vote going to count?”
As Hon. Monsef has said, inclusion and increased engagement of citizens is of unquestionable importance in both the process of change and functional democracy.
Dave Brekke, very concerned former Federal Returning Officer for Yukon
As Dave Nash told me, First Past the Post (FPTP) is sometimes described as promoting the election of strong, stable governments. Indeed, it does lead more often to majority governments, but not long-term stability.
Link to printable copy: Printable discussion starters
Almost all votes could count in elections – Look at who would have been elected had they counted. View the 2006 and 2008 Canadian election results under Canada’s present electoral system (first-past-the-post) and under PRP here: Canada Comparison 2006 and 2008.
Thank You for Candid Dates with Candidates
Many thanks to John Streicker for “another one of his crazy ideas”!
Though almost everyone involved would have liked the 3 minute dates to be longer, it gave both voters and candidates a chance to meet each other and share some concerns.
For me with my own passionate concern of changing our voting system to do away with false majority governments and elected dictators, I took handouts to share with anyone interested. All of the candidates that I spoke to expressed strong interest in accountability of government and inclusion of almost all voters in elections.
I’m sorry that I didn’t get a chance to talk to Ryan Leef, Conservative incumbent, who stands for keeping the system divisive like it is.
For more on why change is needed, see the 5 minute video: “Do you want your vote to count?” https://goo.gl/NLlVbg
Do you think this change is worth making? What does a friend of yours think?
If you would like a brief description of a new system developed in Yukon on what people said they wanted in an electoral system, you can pick one up at the CYFN office at 2nd Ave. and Black Street.
If you have email, it is attached. YOU CAN MAKE CHANGE HAPPEN! Vote strategically to make your vote count in this election, and your vote can almost always count in future elections. HOW? See Fair Vote Canada campaign2015.fairvote.ca and/or Vote with a block of voters Leadnow.ca – People Powered Change.
Executive summary, September 23, 2015
DEMOCRACY FOR CANADA
by Dave Brekke
1 Canada’s current, “First-Past-The-Post” electoral system (FPTP), has often resulted in election of governments that represent the needs, wants and values of less than half of the voters.
2 Probably because of this, the system has disengaged Canadian voters to such a degree that in the last federal election, only 61% of eligible Canadians voted. (Elections Canada, 2011).
3 The Preferential Ridings Proportional (PRP) system proposed here would make Canada a more inclusive and representative democracy. PRP would allow almost every vote cast in an election to have some impact on the resultant legislative body.
4 PRP is a hybrid system that incorporates elements from Canada’s present riding-based system, but includes both preferential voting, and proportional representation.
5 The development of the PRP system is based on what people interested in improving our electoral system said they wanted in a new system.
6 The PRP system reorganizes the country, province or territory into ridings roughly twice the size of our current ridings, each electing a single representative using preferential voting.
7 The other half of the representatives will be elected to Proportional Seats to give representation to voters who did not vote for the winner in their riding.
8 The allocation of proportional seats will reflect relative popularity of the Parties in geographically coherent “Electoral Areas.” The proportional representatives will be usually the most successful unelected candidates from their Political Party within the electoral area.
9 The effect of the allocation of proportional representatives will be a parliamentary distribution of seats that fairly represents the distribution of political opinion among voters.
Thank you, Dave Nash, for adding the very important component ‘equality of votes’ to
the PRP combination electoral system.
Video – 5 minutes – “Do you want your vote to count?” https://goo.gl/NLlVbg
I am very encouraged by this development! Please check out the news clip in the link below and watch for further news.
This Preferential Ridings Proportional, PRP, electoral system offers a change to a welcome break from the present excessively abusive governance of false majority governments. A false majority government has less than half the votes yet more than half the seats which gives it 100% power and need not be accountable nor transparent. A false
majority government is not elected by the voters. It is elected by the present First Past The Post, FPTP, electoral system. One political party is over represented in the House, which causes other parties to be under represented without a balance of power. Though all the votes are counted in an FPTP election, approximately half the votes do not count, because only votes for winning candidates count. When I became aware of the ineffectiveness of the present system, I found it hard to believe that Canada does not have truly representative democracy.
If you want your vote to count when you vote with your heart and mind, you probably would like to see change to a system with proportional representation, PR. At this time, only Thomas Mulcare, Leader of the NDP Party and Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party have declared themselves to make change to the system. Elizabeth May was the first present leader to call for making almost all votes count in elections. Thank you Elizabeth.