Sheila Copps Doubles Down on Winner-Take-All voting

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With little factual information, Sheila Copps weighs into the electoral reform debate calling proportional representation ‘hogwash’ with myths and fear-mongering – reinforcing the new elite framing ‘it’s all too complicated’.

Canadians are not only generous, as she points out, they are also smart and know that the current system is unfair and treats citizens unequally.

In the 2007 Ontario referendum, Sheila was a defender of FPTP. Now, instead of embracing voter equality, she seems to want to double-down on skewed results.

Let’s start with the basics, Sheila. There are two families of voting systems: majoritarian or proportional. One family distorts results, provides false majorities and leaves 1/2 the electorate unrepresented. The other family corrects distortions, has the capacity to create stable government by a true majority and provides effective representation for most. Your suggested system falls under the winner-take-all-majoritarian category and reestablishes the problems we are trying to fix. No thanks.

Granted we need a Made-in-Canada solution for electoral reform but let’s not make things up and entrench myths that claim voters won’t be able to elect their representatives under a proportional system. Hogwash indeed.

Fair Vote Canada insists that we need a proportional system where all local candidates face the voters. To suggest this is not possible is either naïve or disingenuous. In the last election, over 9,000,000 voters were unable to elect a representative. That was over half the electorate. 4.6 million voters elected the MPs who now hold 100% of the power.

Proportional systems not only allow the electorate to vote with their hearts for their favourite, local candidate, it provides most voters the ability to elect a local candidate aligned with their values.

The Liberals would have still won the election under a proportional system and Justin would have been the Prime Minister, unless the Party held a leadership convention. As you know, under the Westminster system, Canadians don’t choose the Prime Minister, that’s left to the Parties.

Proportional systems honestly reflect the intention of voters. That is why 85% of OECD Countries use them. In fact, proportional systems are so highly regarded around the world, the European Parliament requires that all members must be elected through a proportional system to entrench fairness and voter equality.

In February, citizens launched the Every Voter Counts Alliance . A Coalition of over 50 organizations representing millions of voters. These voters have power that should not be ignored. As we know, in our first-past-the-post system, it takes as little as a 2% change in voter appetite to provide wholesale change of government.

Perhaps it’s time for Sheila to venture out of the Ottawa Bubble and listen to what citizens are really saying. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made us a promise. He said he would Make All Our Votes Count. We can hardly wait!

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