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Déclarations des Candidats / Candidate Statements - FVC National Council Election 2012
|Want to know more? Candidates' responses to questions submitted by FVC supporters can be found here.|
My name is Ryan Campbell, and I’m running to be one of your National Councillors. I first became engaged in issues around electoral reform as an engineering student at the University of Toronto, where I saw first hand the strengths and weaknesses of the variety of electoral systems then in use for student elections. I’ve served on the boards of similarly sized non profits such as the University of Toronto and the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students, and can bring that experience to bear here as well. I’m hugely passionate about electoral reform and would love the chance to apply that enthusiasm in a bigger way with Fair Vote Canada. Thank you.
Mon nom est Ryan Campbell, et je suis candidat pour le Conseil national. Pendant mes études en génie à l’Université de Toronto j’ai eu l'occasion de participer dans plusieurs élections, dont la majorité n’utilisait pas un système électoraux équitable. C’est là d'où viens ma passion pour la représentation équitable. Anciennement j’étais membre des conseils d’administration de l’Université de Toronto et de la Fédération canadienne d’étudiants et étudiantes en génie, et j’aimerais bien avoir cette chance d’appliquer mes expériences ici. Je suis passionné sur le sujet de la représentation équitable, et j'apprécierais beaucoup votre support. Merci.
My family is from New Brunswick but I grew up in British Columbia before moving to Toronto.
Although I was a student activist, my serious campaigning began in the early 1990s within the trade union movement. I was heavily involved in the fightback against the Rae government's Social Contract, including founding the very successful FaxLeft fax network. This network was extensively used during the Ontario Days of Action against the Harris government before shutting down in 1999.
I have been a candidate in federal and provincial elections and have helped run many other campaigns. I run online discussion groups at the provincial, regional and riding level for the Ontario NDP and for a national faith-based organization. I have also been a board member for several national and local groups.
I joined Fair Vote Canada in 2003 and was active in the 2007 Ontario referendum. I was on the Toronto Chapter board from 2008 until 2010. I worked on a number of chapter activities and participated in Better Ballots, the successful Toronto and the (so far) less successful Ontario municipal campaign finance reform initiatives. I was on the national council in 2010/2011.
I have been a passionate voice against phoney reforms such as Alternative Vote and misguided campaigns such as negative voting and “electoral cooperation”.
I'm also an active letter writer and have built a following with my frequently published letters in several Canadian newspapers.
I am very good at analysing issues and formulating strategy and tactics for successful campaigns. We're not going to win electoral reform easily but with the right approach we will be successful.
I have been a member of Fair Vote Canada for nine years and have served on the Toronto executive for three years. I headed the campaign during the Ontario Referendum for the riding of Grey-Bruce-Owen Sound, working with others to organize information tables and events around the county, communicate with media and link with local political groups and party candidates. Having participated at the local level, I would now like to widen my perspective by working at the national level. I would be bringing to FVC National Council concerns about gender equality and good governance and professional experience in public relations and community college education. Some particular goals: to expand membership, create a more dynamic and responsive organization, and see Fair Vote Canada’s web of links to other organizations expanded.
I am running for national council because I feel that advocating for proportional representation is one of the most worthwhile activities to be involved with both for personal fulfillment and for helping contribute to a better democracy for our fellow Canadians.
Over the past three years, in addition to participating on council, I have been active in my local chapter, participating in Women for Fair Voting and coordinating the letter writers’ media response group.
My background as a college educator has given me an understanding of, and some ability in, communicating complex topics. After I became interested in using new media in education, I completed a doctorate with voting system reform as the focus. I have been able to use some of these skills in the national and chapter online environments.
Proportional representation is not a panacea for all our political problems but it still remains our best chance to help repair our democracy and better represent Canadians. A healthy democracy requires all our diverse voices being heard, at all levels of government.
Communicating the values of PR to Canadians has become somewhat easier because more people are now aware of the problems with our winner-take-all system. However, with that success have come new challenges and an urgent push for change as our democratic deficit intensifies. Some advocate another winner-take-all system; however, this has the potential to give us even more distortion and less representation than our present system.
So although we have been successful in casting doubt on our current system, our challenge now lies in ensuring that the substitute system gives proportional representation to our policy and demographic preferences. This is a critical time for reform. I would like the privilege of continuing to work on this issue on national council.
I have devoted my entire adult life to advocating on behalf of working people in Canada and for such causes that would see our Canadian system and society make progressive advancements. I began my thirty year career in the labour movement in Thunder Bay as the President of a 2000 member local union and President of the District Labour Council. Prior to my retirement in 2008 I served for a decade as the senior officer in Ontario for 40,000 members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union and as a Vice President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. As a member of the Executive Boards of both the CEP and the OFL, I successfully advocated for support for the principle and goal of electoral reform as embodied by proportional representation and specifically for financial support of Fair Vote Canada.
I was also pleased to have had the opportunity to work on a committee of the Ontario New Democratic Party which successfully recommended to the party’s convention the adoption of proportional representation as an official policy of the party.
My appetite for active involvement was renewed in 2011 following the most recent Federal election, when it became clearer than ever that our parliament showed a majority situation but it did not reflect the voting intentions of those Canadians who cast a ballot. As a result, in the fall of last year I contacted Fair Vote Canada to assist in establishing a Niagara chapter, where I reside. It continues to be my goal to accomplish its creation.
I welcome the challenge of furthering my involvement by running for election to the national board of directors. I thank the nominating committee for having considered me for this important post, and I respectfully request the support of the FVC members in the upcoming election.
J'ai consacré ma vie adulte entière à la représentation des travailleurs canadiens et à servir de telles autres causes qui ont fait progresser notre société. J'ai commencé ma carrière dans le mouvement syndical à Thunder Bay ayant été élu président d’une section locale de 2.000 membres et, plus tard, à titre de président du Conseil du travail de la région. Pendant la dizaine d’années qui ont précédées ma retraite en 2008, j'ai servi le Syndicat canadien des communications, de l’énergie et du papier en tant que dirigeant de la Région de l’Ontario qui comprenait au-delà de 40.000 adhérents. Pendant cette période, j’ai aussi siégé au Conseil exécutif de la Fédération du travail de l'Ontario à titre de vice président. En tant que membre des conseils exécutifs du SCEP et de la FTO, j'ai réussit à faire adopter des propositions d’appui pour les principes et objectifs de Représentation Équitable au Canada ainsi que des résolutions de support financier pour les activités de REC.
Je suis également heureux d'avoir œuvré comme membre d’un comité au sein du Nouveau Parti Démocratique de l’Ontario qui a réussit à faire adopter le principe de la représentation proportionnelle comme politique officielle du parti lors d’un de ses congrès.
Mon désir de m’impliquer davantage dans le travail de REC fut renouvelé récemment lorsque, peu après l'élection fédérale de l’année dernière, j’ai constaté que rarement avons-nous vu un exemple si frappant d’un gouvernement majoritaire élu sans s’avoir mérité l’appui de la majorité des électeurs. En conséquence, l’automne dernier, j'ai contacté Représentation Équitable au Canada pour aider à établir un chapitre dans la région du Niagara où je réside. C'est toujours mon objectif d'établir un tel chapitre et j'ai déjà amorcé une campagne à cet égard.
J'ai bien hâte de relever le défi au plan national et, à cette fin, j'offre ma candidature dans les élections prochaines au conseil national de REC. Je remercie le comité de nomination de m'avoir considéré pour ce poste important et c'est avec respect que je demande l'appui des membres de REC lors de ces élections.
In the seven years I have belonged to Fair Vote Canada, I participated in the 2007 referendum, helping to organize local debates in the Niagara Region on PR. I had the privilege of serving as the Fair Vote Ontario Treasurer from 2008-09. I have also acted as an advocate for PR during my time as a member of both the Conservative Party of Canada and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Presently, due to contractual obligations, I am a political independent with no affiliations with any federal or political party.
If elected to National Council, there are three areas I wish to concentrate on.
1. Establish a caucus within FVC for Independent and non-partisan voters. Voters that are not aligned with a political party have special needs that any system of PR adopted must address. Provisions need to be made to allow for independent candidates to stand for election under a PR system.
2. Work to increase the number of local chapters, specifically in Ontario. This is a grassroots organization, and best way for FVC to obtain its goals is to have strong, active chapters at the local levels that can communicate with and educate the voters at the local level.
3. Work to establish a Speaker’s Bureau for FVC. FVC will only be as effective the spokesman that FVC have to communicate its message. It is imperative that we have presenters that are both knowledgeable on the issue and are effective communicators that can deal with the media and explain concept of PR in such a way that the average layman can easily understand it.
Thank you for your consideration, and good luck to all my fellow candidates.
If elected, I will bring three main qualities to Fair Vote Canada: experience organizing and mobilizing people on political issues; the ability to strategically influence government policy; and a solid knowledge of the theory and practice of democratic systems.
Over the past twenty-five years, I have led numerous projects and campaigns to mobilize diverse groups – students, youth, new immigrants, low-income families, injured workers - on issues that concern them. I understand both the ethical importance – and positive social impact – of increasing the political voice of people who are typically excluded from government decision-making.
My campaign successes over the years range from leading a boycott of South African goods at McMaster University, improving access to municipal recreation programs by low-income youth in Etobicoke, and supporting church-based campaigns to get provincial governments to adopt poverty reduction strategies.
My recent work as a policy researcher with the Ontario New Democratic Party caucus has given me an on-the-ground understanding of the limitations of our current electoral system, and a good sense of how to effectively influence political party and government policy to improve it.
Finally, I have a solid knowledge of the theory and practice of democracy, governance and electoral systems, having completed a doctorate at York University in 2000 focused on citizen engagement.
I have solid contacts and connections with social change leaders in unions, churches, NGOs, universities and governments across Canada.
I live in Toronto, with my spouse Joanne. We have two teenage sons.
I have excellent French language skills, and have worked with citizens and groups in all provinces and territories of Canada.
I hope very much to have the opportunity to bring my passion, experience, and knowledge to Fair Vote Canada’s National Council.
Please lend me your support!
Si je suis élu, voici les trois points forts que j'apporterai à Représentation équitable au Canada: expérience en ce qui concerne l'organisation et la mobilisation des gens sur des questions politiques, la capacité d'influencer stratégiquement la politique du gouvernement, et une solide connaissance de la théorie et de la pratique des systèmes démocratiques.
Au cours des dernières vingt-cinq années, j'ai dirigé de nombreux projets et des campagnes pour mobiliser divers groupes - étudiants, jeunes, nouveaux immigrants, familles à faible revenu, travailleurs accidentés - sur les questions qui les concernent. Je comprends à la fois l'importance éthique - et l' impact social positif - d'accroitre la représentation politique de ceux qui sont généralement exclus des prises de décisions gouvernementales. Voici quelques exemples de mes campagnes à succès: établissement d'un boycott des produits sud-africains à l'Université McMaster, l'amélioration de l'accès aux programmes de loisirs municipaux pour les jeunes à faible revenu à Etobicoke, et soutien des campagnes de l'église ayant pour but d'amener les gouvernements provinciaux à adopter des stratégies de réduction de la pauvreté.
Ma mission récente en tant que chercheur sur les politiques au sein du caucus du Parti néo-démocrate Ontarien m'a permis de voir sur le terrain les limites de notre système électoral actuel et m'a permis de comprendre comment influencer efficacement les partis politiques ainsi que les politiques gouvernementales pour l'améliorer. Enfin, mon doctorat sur l'engagement des citoyen obtenu en 2000 à l'université York m'a donné une solide connaissance théorique et pratique du fonctionnement démocratique, de la gouvernance et des systèmes électoraux. J'ai des contacts solides et des liens avec les leaders dans le domaine du changement, au sein des syndicats, des églises, des ONG, des universités ainsi que des gouvernements partout au Canada.
Je vis à Toronto, avec ma conjointe Joanne. Nous avons deux adolescents.
J'ai d'excellentes compétences linguistiques en français, et j'ai travaillé avec des citoyens et des groupes dans toutes les provinces et territoires du Canada.
J'espère pouvoir faire bénéficier Représentation équitable au Canada de ma passion, de mon expérience ainsi que de mes connaissances en la matière.
J'espère pouvoir compter sur votre soutien!
I am a semi-retired, long time educator with a PhD in educational administration. Much of my work has been with indigenous populations as I have worked extensively with Aboriginal people and had a 3 year stint in Zimbabwe shortly after its independence. In addition to being on the National Board of The Council of Canadians, I have been the chair of the Prince Albert chapter since 1999, and am on the board of the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Also, I am on the Steering Committee for Food Secure Canada, past co-chair and now a member of the coordinating committee of Food Secure Saskatchewan, chair of Prince Albert and Area Food Coalition, board member and treasurer of Green Energy Project—Saskatchewan, and advisory board member of Next Up. I was co-editor of Beyond Factory Farming based on the proceedings of a conference I organized and editor of Assessing Students’ Ways of Knowing also based on a conference I organized.
My support for Fair Vote Canada comes from recognition that majority Canadian values on priority issues are consistently undermined by a deeply flawed electoral system. We are falsely represented at both the provincial and federal level in a system where most votes don’t really count. I have served on the executive of the Fair Vote Canada Saskatchewan chapter since its formation and recently assumed the role of interim co-chair. I understand the need for public education and awareness as a prerequisite to changing the system, and I’m prepared to work at that as an extension of my work with the Council of Canadians. While active politically on many issues facing the community I have no primary commitment to a political party. I’m in a position to advocate with political representatives from across the spectrum at both the federal and provincial level.
My name is Josh Smee, and I would love a chance to bring my perspective to the National Council.
While it has been some time since I’ve been actively involved in the electoral reform movement, I have always kept close track of it, and relish the chance to become more active. During the 2007 referendum in Ontario, my apartment was wallpapered with riding maps as I helped co-ordinate the Waterloo canvassers for MMP. Often times, I’d make the rookie mistake and get caught up at the door in discussion – but what really struck me is how many people agreed with what’s always been at the heart of my belief in electoral reform: that it just makes sense.
Today, I make my home in St. John’s, Newfoundland. I make my living at the Community Sector Council NL doing capacity building and policy work for nonprofits across the province, and I serve on the executive of Happy City St. John’s, a grassroots organization that’s working hard to build a participatory process for municipal politics in the city. Aside from my governance role with Happy City, I also served on the boards of the Laurier Students Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG) and the WLU students’ union during my time there.
I would bring a number of things to the National Council. Governance and strategic-planning experience; familiarity with policy; experience working with colleagues in government, and the perspective of a young person connected to many other passionate young people doing amazing work. I would very much appreciate the chance to contribute time and ideas to such an incredible organization.
Nick Van der Graaf
My name is Nick Van der Graaf, and I am running for a seat on Fair Vote Canada National Council. I served in this capacity once before, in 2002 - 2003. I am a writer and editor in my professional life, and have covered Canadian politics since the 1980s. I have been something of a progressive activist for 25+ years, most notably in the women’s movement. In addition I have been active in democratic reform and civic engagement issues for most of the last 10 years. I currently sit on the board of the Civics Education Network (CEN), and have organized several Democracy Cafés for the Toronto chapter of Canadians Advocating Political Participation (CAPP). What I hope to bring to Council is openness to working with other stakeholders in Canadian democracy, and a strong desire to help raise FVC’s public profile. I have known some of the senior FVC activists for some time now and can work effectively with them. This is an exciting time to be involved with the issue of electoral reform, and I am keen to be part of the team.
I have been a member of Fair Vote Canada for over two years. In that time, I've restarted the Calgary chapter and helped create the Lethbridge chapter.
I have also been involved with various organizations for over five years. I have worked
with everything from service organizations to membership based special interest groups.
I have also taken leadership training and keep myself up to date with current practices
for business, finance, management and marketing.
I also believe that my profession in Information Technology (IT) as a web-application
developer and programmer will be an asset to the Fair Vote board, as I can give
consultation and support for technical matters such as online strategies and
I also live in the west and can give a different perspective. I have talked with other Fair
Vote members who have expressed a need for understanding the challenges in Alberta,
and I believe I can give the most accurate description of the cultural and political state.
I may not be able to dedicate as much time to Fair Vote as other candidates, but I believe
I can make up for it in experience and skill.
If I am elected, I believe I will succeed in putting Proportional Representation and Fair
Voting practices in the public eye.
Organizational Experience and Involvement
• Western Canada Robotics Society
• Explore IT (explore-it.ca)
• Green Party & Alberta Party
• Kinsmen Club of Calgary
• Centre for Inquiry
• Fair Vote Canada