Articles from FAIR VOTE CANADA
NEWSLETTER: June 2004
 
FAIR VOTE CANADA
NEWSLETTER: June 2004
In this issue
- Push for PR gets national media attention
- Martin gives nod to reform
- Dubious Democracy Report shows dark side of elections
- PEI Premier Binns promises referendum
- It's not too late to help!

PUSH FOR PR GETS NATIONAL MEDIA ATTENTION
The growing chorus of voices calling for proportional representation
are finally being heard by Canada's media. Local media coverage
has significantly increased, in large part due to the initiatives of
FVC members across the country. In just the past weeks, a
number of FVC members have been interviewed for various news
stories on CBC Newsworld and CBC's The National. On June 10,
The National ran an extensive story on the growing demand for PR,
clearly outlining the case against the current voting system.
MARTIN GIVES NOD TO REFORM
If you want evidence that peppering politicians with questions on
PR can pay off, consider that Paul Martin recently changed his
tune. Martin has repeatedly been asked in public forums about PR,
most recently at a youth forum in St. John's on June 4. The
following report is from the Toronto Star:
"Martin says he is willing to engage Canadians in a debate about
electoral reform and whether a new model should be adopted. 'I
think that's essential in terms of engaging Canadians, whether it's
proportional representation, whether it's fixed-term limits, whether
it's the role of MPs", he said citing recent studies on electoral
reform in Quebec and British Columbia. We can learn from what
the provinces are doing and then we can make sure that when we
proceed there will be no mistakes."
Jack Layton continues to state that a national PR referendum will
be an NDP condition for supporting any minority government. The
Bloc supports PR and the Conservative platform states the PR will
be considered along with other democratic reforms. The Green
Party strongly supports PR, as do the other parties not in
Parliament.

DUBIOUS DEMOCRACY REPORT SHOWS DARK SIDE OF
CANADIAN ELECTIONS
On June 1, Fair Vote Canada released a study of federal elections
from 1980 to 2000, documenting how Canada has become a
dubious democracy. As noted in the news release, "The data in
this report puts a spotlight on the dirty little secrets of Canada's
electoral system. What we say at the ballot box is not what we get.
What we think and where we live determines whether our votes
count. With a system like that, it's not surprising 40% of us are not
voting - it's surprising that 60% still are."
The 15-page Dubious Democracy Report (available at
www.fairvote.ca on the publications page) provides data and
commentary on wasted votes (nationally, and by province, riding
and party), distorted outcomes (nationally and by province), phony
majority governments, poor representation for women, and
declining voter turnout. The report also includes a Letterman-style
top-ten list of low points in Canadian elections.
PEI PREMIER BINNS PROMISES REFERENDUM

PEI premier Pat Binns has promised Islanders a referendum on a
new voting system. This is the third provincial government,
following British Columbia and Ontario, to promise a voting reform
referendum. In December, the premier received a report from PEI
electoral reform commissioner Norman Carruthers, recommending
a mixed-member proportional voting system for PEI. The premier
said he will set up an independent commission to study
alternatives, develop a public education process, and draft a
referendum question. The commission will have representatives
from all political parties. Binns did not set a date for the referendum,
saying that Islanders first need an opportunity to learn about and
discuss the alternatives.