Declaration of Voter's Rights

Sunday, November 15, 2009

FVC Saskatchewan Executive Shuffle

Congratulations to Don Mitchell who was recently elected to Moose Jaw City Council. Well done. Unfortunately the additional workload which comes with his election makes it difficult for him to continue in his role as President of the FVC Saskatchewan Chapter.

Consequently, Chapter Vice President Gord Hunter has taken on Don's duties and assumes the role of President. Don will act as Vice President until we can hold an Annual General Meeting when formal elections for all positions, will be held.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Canada's Dysfuntional Democracy

At the risk of overstating what Canadians think, it is clear to me that most of us are fed up with the state of democracy in Canada. If I have overstated it, I know that at the very least most of my friends are.

On September 23, Maclean's and CPAC hosted a round table discussion entitled our “Democracy is Broken: How do we fix it?” at Toronto's St Lawrence Centre for the Arts.

The round table was moderated by Peter Van Dusen and featured Maclean’s Andrew Coyne and Paul Wells. They were joined by a guest panel made up of former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former prime minister's chief of staff Eddie Goldenberg, author John Ralston Saul and conservative commentator Rick Anderson.

It was an interesting discussion, a must for political junkies.

It was turned into a television program and you can find it by following this link to CPAC.

Earlier this week, Sunday Edition's Michael Enright moderated a public forum entitled "Canada's Dysfunctional Politics", is There a Cure For Our Failing Democracy" . Sunday Edition hosted the town hall type meeting at St. Paul's University in Ottawa to discuss the issues. It was broadcast September 27 and will soon be available on podcast.

The panelists were:

Jane Taber ,senior parliamentary writer for The Globe and Mail, and co-host of CTV's Question Period.

Duff Connacher , founder and co-ordinator of Democracy Watch

.Charlotte Gray, is one of Canada's best known non fiction writers, and adjunct professor in the department of history at Carlton University.

William Johnson, the author of five books on politics in French and English including "The Future of Canada" and a biography of Stephen Harper.

Manon Conellier, political columnist for Le Devoir.

Elly Alboim, former CBC journalist and current head of Strategic Communications for Earnscliffe Strategy Group.

And

As well on September 27, on CPAC's Goldhawk Live, the topic is Dysfunctional Democracy. They will be taking live calls from viewers. Political scientist and media commentator John Trent, who is on FVC's National Advisory Board, will be a studio guest.

The program should also be available on-line at the CPAC site if you miss it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Larry Gordon Responds to Gagnon


Larry Gordon, Fair Vote Canada's Executive Director wrote to the Globe & Mail refuting Lysiane Gagnon's recent opinion piece which was critical of electoral reform. His letter is below.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lysiane Gagnon is too hasty to bury the electoral reform movement because of the recent B.C. referendum loss (Thank B.C. For Winning Its PR War - May 25). Voter rejection of one alternative to first-past-the-post does not mean Canadians have rejected the principles of voter equality and true majority rule. What it means is the search for the best Canadian approach to fair voting in the 21st century will continue.

Unstable minority governments in Ottawa are a direct result of our current system. The large parties know an increase in voter support from 35 per cent to 40 per cent may be enough to give them an undeserved majority of seats. That motivates mindless partisan bickering, obsession with wedge issues and relatively frequent elections.

With proportional systems and fair election results, governing parties have to form stable and effective majority partnerships.

Fair Vote Canada,

Meetings Postponed


There had been some discussion about Fair Vote Saskatchewan setting up some events during the summer. Unfortunately as a result of other pressing commitments it has been impossible to follow through and those events have been postponed until we get the chance to regroup, most likely in the fall.

Plans are under way for an Annual General Meeting in early November. As this event if finalized we will post details on this website..

Monday, May 25, 2009

FVC Survey Underway


All Fair Vote Canada members received an e-mail recently with the heading, Future Directions Conference. There is a link to a member survey near the bottom of the page. If you missed it, The survey can he found here.

Please take the time to fill it out. The responses will be a great help to FVC as we plot our future.

John Baglow answers Lysiane Gagnon's column in the Globe

There is a great response to Ms. Gagnon's Globe and Mail piece on Dawg's Blawg by John Baglow. He takes on Gagnon's article and much of the misinformation being spread in today's media about proportional representation.

It is worth reading.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

B.C. - STV In Vancouver Sun Run


The Vancouver Sun Fun Run attracts upwards of 60,000 participants each year. Serious runners, joggers, and walkers participate in the 10 km event. Families run together, young parents push kids in strollers,
In an effort to get people thinking about the upcoming referendum this year the BC - STV campaign took atvantage of the crowds to leaflet and they also put in a team in the run. The bright blue t-shirts were scattered throughout the mass of runners.

Fair Vote AGM


The Fair Vote Canada Annual General meeting was held at Simon Fraser’s Downtown campus Saturday April 18th. The initial part of the agenda reviewed Fair Vote Canada’s history, Treasurer tabled the Financial Statement and the newly elected members of the National Council were introduced.

The main focus of the meeting was the current campaign to win the hearts and minds of British Columbians and to win the referendum which is 24 days away.

The B.C. referendum is the second attempt to let the people of B.C. to choose a Single Transferable Vote (STV) system instead of the current First Past the Post method of choosing a government. The last time this referendum was held a majority of voters in all but two riding choose STV but the threshold was set at 60%. The vote was close but not quite there. It is ironic that governments have been swept to power in B.C. with just over 39% of the popular vote but to change that system the threshold is much higher.

Most of the morning was taken up with a panel discussion with participants Rick Anderson, Rafe Mair, Jim Harris and Judy Rebick. Rick Anderson urged participants to continue the fight. He talked about what he called the democratic deficit in Ottawa and reminded us that countries that have tried proportional representation have never chosen to go back to a first past the post system. They may fine tune the process but they never go back to the flawed older system.

Tricia Marwick, a Member of the Scottish Parliament, then told delegates about the tough fight they went through in Scotland to get local and regional elections held using a proportional represent system and how it has worked for them. They will clearly, never return to the old system.

The afternoon focused on the campaign to win the referendum in B.C. Fair Vote Canada has put a considerable effort into helping the B.C.- STV win the vote. FVC Director Larry Gordon will be working in Vancouver and the Campaign Co-Manager and other FVC members have also come to Vancouver to lend their efforts to the cause. Their message that first past the post gives you government but does not deliver democracy resonates well with B.C. voters but no matter what the 60% threshold is daunting.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fair Vote Canada AGM Starts Friday


The Fair Vote Canada 8th Annual General Meeting begins at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning in Vancouver. Entitled 24 Days to Victory: The B.C. STV Referendum and Voting Reform in Canada will be held at Simon Fraser University's downtown campus.

Gord Hunter, Fair Vote Saskatchewan's Vice President and newly elected member of the fair Vote Canada National Council will be attending the AGM and representing the interests of our Saskatchewan members.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Fair Vote Canada AGM


24 Days to Victory
The BC-STV Referendum and
Voting Reform in Canada

Saturday, April 18, 2009 9am – 2:30pm (followed by BC-STV campaign activities - TBA)

Segal School of Business, Simon Fraser Univerity 500 Granville St., Room 1200-1500 Vancouver, BC Detailed agenda and online registration at www.fairvotecanada.eventbrite.com or register by phone at 416-410-4034

Will British Columbia lead the nation in electoral reform? Join us for an exciting and informative day of learning, discussion and action at the 8th annual meeting and national conference of Fair Vote Canada. Featured speakers include:
• Rafe Mair – political commentator, broadcaster, author and former BC cabinet minister
• Rick Anderson – political commentator for CBC-TV, Globe & Mail, former advisor to Preston Manning
• Judy Rebick – former President, National Action Committee on the Status of Women, currently CAW-Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice & Democracy, Ryerson University
• Jim Harris – author, business consultant, former leader Green Party of Canada
• Tricia Marwick – Member of the Scottish Parliament
• Arjun Singh – President, Fair Voting BC
• Susan Anderson Behn – Campaign Manager, British Columbians for BC-STV
• Shoni Field – BC-STV campaign spokesperson
• David Wills – BC Citizens’ Assembly alumni

Fair Vote Canada, 26 Maryland Blvd., Toronto, ON M4C 5C9
fairvote.ca office@fairvote.ca 416-410-4034

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Message from Don Mitchell


Saskatchewan progressives want to be share in the leadership of the movement for democratic reforms led by Fair Vote Canada (FVC). We urged Gord Hunter to seek a seat on the FVC National Council because he has great communication skills, understands the failures of the present electoral system, and has committed his time and energy to making change. Gord brings a long history of leadership and organizing experience from his work with trade unions. He has lived and worked in different provinces and so has a large network of contacts from right across Canada.


We are fortunate that Gord decided to remain in Saskatchewan following his retirement. As provincial vice-president of the re-invigorated FVC- Saskatchewan Chapter, Gord has been a big part of our recent organizational thrust in Saskatchewan. He will be an energetic contributor to the National Council of FVC. It will be a boon for the prairie region to have active participation on the Council, but Gord’s skills will benefit the cross-Canada movement for electoral reform.

Please vote for Gord Hunter for the National Council of FVC. You will be doing us all a favour!


Don Mitchell

President

Fair Vote Canada, Saskatchewan Chapter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Saskatchewan Chapter VP Runs For National Council


Nine excellent, highly-qualified candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the five open positions on the Fair Vote Canada National Council including Gord Hunter, Fair Vote Canada's Saskatchewan Chapter Vice-President.

The election is scheduled to begin on March 1. This is the first year online voting will be offered to those members with internet access. Qualified members without web access will be given the opportunity to request a paper ballot.

The candidate statements will be posted on the web site prior to the beginning of the election, and mailed to those requesting paper ballots.

Toronto Meeting Draws 200

Nearly 200 electoral reform supporters will pack the University of Toronto Law Faculty, Flavelle House, 78 Queen’s Park Cres. West, from 9am-5pm, Saturday for the “Moving Forward on Voting Reform” forum, sponsored by Fair Vote Ontario.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the post-election surge of support for federal electoral reform,” said Linda Sheppard, president, Fair Vote Ontario. “We’re also excited that much of the new interest is coming from young people, perhaps energized in part by the Obama victory in the US.”

Sheppard also pointed to the timely nature of the forum, coming just 12 weeks before the British Columbia electoral reform referendum. In the 2005 BC referendum, nearly 58% voted for the proportional BC-STV system proposed by the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. Electoral reformers are hoping to surpass the 60% threshold set by the current BC Liberal government and supported by the opposition BC NDP.

The featured speakers at the Saturday forum in Toronto are:

• Marie Bountrogianni, former Ontario Minister for Democratic Renewal
• Andrew Coyne, National Editor, Maclean’s
• Jim Harris, former leader, Green Party of Canada
• Patrick Boyer, former MP, Progressive Conservative
• Bruce Cox, Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
• Larry Gordon, Executive Director, Fair Vote Canada
• Dr. Jonathan Rose, former Education Director, Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform
• Stuart Parker, former leader, BC Green Party
• Dr. Henry Milner, author, Making Every Vote Count

Fair Vote Ontario is the provincial arm of Fair Vote Canada (FVC), a national multi-partisan citizens’ campaign to promote voting system reform. FVC was founded in 2001 and has a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum.

New Fair Vote Canada Chapter in Ontario

February 19th, 2009

PETERBOROUGH – Peterborough and the Kawarthas is the newest region to call for a change to the way we vote. Local citizens have come together to form an official chapter of Fair Vote Canada (FVC), a multi-partisan campaign that believes electoral reform is fundamental for healthy representative democracy and government accountability. The local chapter will be spreading information about electoral reform and signing up members to show support.

"Our antiquated first-past-the-post system was scrapped by most other major democracies long ago," says newly appointed chair, Emily Berrigan. "We clearly do not have a system that represents Canadians."

In the last federal election, the NDP attracted 1.1 million more votes than the Bloc, yet the Bloc took 12 more seats. A quarter million Conservative votes in Toronto gained no representation, and almost a million Green votes garnered no seats.

"We are looking forward to working with people from all walks of life on this most important issue," says Berrigan. "Fair Vote Canada calls on all citizens who want a reinvigorated democracy to add their voice to the growing chorus."

FVC has more than 20 chapters, and members from all political parties. It includes a National Advisory Board of distinguished Canadians from all points on the political spectrum, including Tom Kent, Walter Robinson, Hugh Segal, Judy Rebick, David Suzuki and the late June Callwood.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Message from the Chapter President

Dear friends;

Canada's electoral system is dysfunctional. It consistently fails to represent the majority sentiment of Canadians and our voting intention on a broad range of issues and political representatives. Without repeating it all here, vivid examples of distorted election results are documented on the Fair Vote Canada website at www.fairvote.ca. The current system negatively affects all voters, all political parties, and all regions.
Within the global community, we are among the dinosaurs, resisting democratic reform. More than 80 countries have used proportional voting systems successfully for most of the last century, more than any other type of voting system. Among all the newly established democracies in Eastern Europe in the 1990s, not a single one chose the North American ‘first past the post’ model.
In the last federal election fewer than 60% of eligible voters participated. This compares to 80% to 90% normal participation throughout Europe. Many abstainers here feel their votes are just 'wasted' in a system where only the dominant party in a riding or region is represented.
Under the current, winner-take-all system, most of us vote for candidates who do not get elected, so most of our votes have no effect on the outcome of the election. As a result, election outcomes are routinely horribly distorted. In Saskatchewan in the 2008 federal election, the Conservatives, with just over 50% of the votes, were awarded 93% of the seats. Results are just as distorted in other regions. Sometimes the party with the most votes loses the election!
To create change in the Canadian system will require knowledge of the alternatives and pressure from the bottom up. That's the goal of Fair Vote Canada—to support public education and consultation on electoral reform.
We need your help. Please take out a membership and support our activities and events as we broaden our base across the country.
Join and participate now! You can join online at www.FairVote.Ca. A first-year membership is only $10. Be sure to mention you are joining the Saskatchewan chapter!
We look forward to working with you and pressing this issue forward in the days and months ahead. As we plan meetings or events in Saskatoon, Regina and other centres we will provide advance notice to all members.

Don Mitchell


Fair Vote Canada Saskatchewan Chapter

For further information visit our blog at http://fairvotesask.blogspot.com; You can contact us with inquiries at fairvotesask@gmail.com or me personally at donmitchell@sasktel.net;

Our mailing address for donations to the Saskatchewan chapter is: 954 Ominica St. West, Moose Jaw S6H 1V7

Friday, February 6, 2009

Come to the Great Tar Sands Debate and Meet us. Look for our Table at the Debates

Noted science author and environmentalist Andrew Nikiforuk and Dr. Carolyn Preston, Executive Director of the Petroleum Technology Research Centre in Regina will debate the issue of Tar Sands development in Saskatchewan. Billed as the Great Tar Sands Debate the discussion will travel to different communities across Saskatchewan.

Please stop at the Fair Vote Canada, Saskatchewan Chapter table. We will be there half an hour before the debate starts Have a chat and pick up some information: we'd be delighted to meet you.

Note: Times posted are for when our table will be open. Half an hour before the debate starts

Muenster
St. Peter's Abby, Room 101 in Michael's Hall, Sunday March 15, 1:00 pm

Saskatoon
Broadway Theatre, Sunday March 15, 6:30 pm
University of Saskatchewan, Room 241 Arts, Monday, March 16, 3:00 pm
McNally Robinson Bookstore, at 8th and Circle Drive, Monday March 16, 7:00 pm

Prince Albert
Cuelenaere Public Library, 125 12 Street, Tuesday, March 17, 6:30

North Battleford
Chapel Gallery, 891 99 Street, Wednesday , March 18, 7:00 pm

Regina
University of Regina, Education Auditorium, Thursday, March 19, 6:30

Moose Jaw
Public Library, 461 Langdon Crescent, South Meeting Room, Friday March 20, 11:30 am

Swift Current
Location TBA, Friday, March 20, 6:30 pm

Fair Vote Canada's newest Chapter

There have been a number of loyal Fair Vote Canada members in Saskatchewan for some time now but, until very recently there was no active chapter in Saskatchewan. That changed early this year and now the group has a great new life. A group of members met in Manitou Beach, Sunday January 18 and got the ball rolling. January 25 our reinvigorated Chapter was approved by the national organization.

In the next few months we will be working on materials specific to the Saskatchewan experience and launching a membership drive. This blog is a first step. We encourage you to get involved in our efforts to make this chapter the most active in the country.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fair Vote Story in LP

Interest in finding an alternative, fairer electoral system is growing in Canada. In December the Regina Leader Post interviewed the Fair Vote Canada leadership to find out more about what our group is doing Read the story here