Statement by Fair Vote Canada re: third party status in by-elections

Fair Vote Canada is a multi-partisan citizen campaign for proportional representation. We support candidates and parties who support the principle of proportional representation and who will commit to moving the issue forward. We believe all citizens deserve to be fairly represented in the House of Commons. The skewed results that most often lead to false majority governments undermine the integrity and accountability of our country at a time when we should be celebrating our respect for diversity and equality.

In the lead-up to the 2015 election, Fair Vote Canada showcased parties and candidates who agreed with the principle of proportional representation, namely that the share of votes obtained by each party should be accurately represented in the number of MPs elected by each. Three parties promised to “Make Every Vote Count” if elected. “Make Every Vote Count” is Fair Vote Canada’s tagline slogan for what happens under a proportional representation system, Fair Vote Canada showcased the positions of different parties and of candidates who spoke up for proportional representation on its website.

After winning a false majority under the existing First-past-the-post system, the Liberal government has now reneged on their promise to Make Every Vote count despite the unquestionable support received in favour of the proportional representation option. Failing to provide an evidence-based explanation for dropping their campaign promise, the Liberals have come across as dishonest brokers on the issue of electoral reform.

In light of this development, Fair Vote Canada and its supporters have agreed to implement a strategic campaign with the goal of sending a strong message to Justin Trudeau, who claimed the broken decision was his choice to make. Fair Vote Canada registered as a third party so we would be able to campaign with a strategic message aimed at Justin Trudeau in the five by-elections on April 3rd.

Fair Vote Canada campaigned hardest in Ottawa-Vanier, where 73 volunteers signed up to help and distributed 15,000 leaflets and postcards in almost 100 polling areas (half the total in the riding).

FVC’s local Chapter discussed the plan with the two parties that we endorsed (the NDP and the Green Party), but we ran our own strategy and campaign. We did accept publicly available maps offered to us by the NDP office, and this will be reflected in our report to Elections Canada. Accepting these maps was in no way an attempt to deceive, mislead, or defraud others. Nor was it an attempt to circumventing maximum amounts allowed for election expenses. Fair Vote Canada remains below the spending limits in all the by-election ridings.

Fair Vote Canada’s approach in these by-elections has been to ask citizens to vote for candidates who have shown consistent support for electoral reform. It is our opinion that both the Green Party and NDP have been consistent in their desire to modernize Canada’s voting system to reflect and respect voter intentions.

We would dearly welcome an opportunity to support the Liberals again, should they choose to return to an evidence-based process on electoral reform and follow through with their commitment to Make Every Vote Count.

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