Tell the parties to commit to action on
No party with 39% of the vote should get 100% of the power. It’s time to Make Every Vote Count with proportional representation.
100 years of broken promises has shown us that politicians are in a conflict of interest on electoral reform. We need an independent, non-partisan National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. A process Canadians can trust. A National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform is supported by 80% of Canadians, across party lines. Learn more about a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.
In June, 2021, the Liberals, NDP and Bloc voted YES to a motion to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. (The Green Party also supports this, but they didn’t have a seat on that committee). It was an important first step. But with an early election, the parties are not bound by that vote in the next Parliament.
It’s up to us to keep pushing for proportional representation, to secure a commitment to a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform, and to hold the parties to it!
Party election platforms on electoral reform
“A New Democrat government will bring in mixed-member proportional representation that works for Canada – and we will do it in our first mandate in government. We’ll establish an
independent citizen’s assembly to recommend the best way to put it in place for the next election to ensure both local representation and a federal government that reflects the
voters’ choice of parties. Once Canadians have the opportunity to experience the new voting system and compare it to the old one, we will hold a referendum to confirm the choice.”
* ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM FAIR VOTE CANADA: In June 2021, NDP MP Daniel Blaikie put forward a successful motion at the Procedures & House Affairs Committee to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. Although it passed, parties will not be bound by this vote in the next Parliament.
FAIR VOTE CANADA’S COMMENT ON THE NDP PLATFORM:
Fair Vote Canada commends the NDP for their crucial and long-standing advocacy for proportional representation.
We are pleased that they support a national citizens’ assembly. However, the purpose of a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform is to empower citizens to look at the evidence for all options, not just one electoral system.
When parties do not agree on electoral systems, an open-minded Citizens’ Assembly that truly lets citizens lead is critical to building a process that everyone can trust―no matter which party they support.
A Citizens’ Assembly restricted to considering only one electoral system is not sufficient to achieve this.
In addition, research on referendums and the expert advice given to the federal electoral reform committee in 2016 raise grave concerns about whether referendums produce an informed decision on electoral reform. FVC prefers a more deliberative, independent, citizen-led review of any new system after it has been in use for a few elections.
A Green government will:
● Always support modernising our electoral system, to be based on Proportional Representation. The evidence of the benefits for citizens, and for parliamentary outcomes, are overwhelmingly clear.
A Citizens’ Assembly on Democratic Renewal
Greens will push for a Citizens’ Assembly on Democratic Renewal to be convened as early as possible under the new Parliament. Recognizing the conflict of interest in having politicians re-design the system that elected them, the Assembly would be a diverse and randomly selected body of citizens, brought together with a mandate to consider and to provide a set of recommendations to our Parliament on four interrelated issues:
● Modernizing Canada’s electoral system
● Lowering the Voting Age to 16
● Online Voting
● Mandatory Voting
The process would be supported by a public service secretariat, and facilitated by an independent and non-partisan organization, who would bring in expert witnesses, as well as individuals and groups directly affected by the issue. Properly constituted Citizens’ Assemblies, such as Ireland’s Assembly of 2016-18, are viewed as equitable, free from political interference, and acting in the public interest. Their composition can be more reflective of Canada’s diversity than Parliament; their procedures can be more deliberative and consensus-driven; and they can make
recommendations on sensitive foundational questions that elected officials avoid. Acting in this way, Citizens’ Assemblies can help renew the trust and confidence of Canadians.
ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM FAIR VOTE CANADA:
* In June 2021, the Procedures & House Affairs Committee passed a motion to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. Although it passed, parties will not be bound by this vote in the next Parliament. The Greens support this, but could not vote for it because they didn’t have a seat on this committee.
FAIR VOTE CANADA’S COMMENT ON THE GREEN PARTY PLATFORM:
Fair Vote Canada commends the Greens for a well-rounded mandate on democratic reform and for being vocal in their support of proportional representation.
Liberal Party Platform:
There is nothing in the Liberal platform about electoral reform or continuing the important work started on a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform at the Procedures and House Affairs committee in June 2021 (see note below).
This is a deeply disappointing omission by the Liberal Party. In fact, some of the Liberal candidates are still sending constituents the form letter from 2017 claiming there was “no consensus” (not true for citizens and experts – see here). A National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform is a way to take electoral reform out of the hands of the parties with a vested interest (who do have trouble finding a consensus for the past 100 years) and put it in the hands of informed citizens. Please contact your Liberal candidate and encourage them to commit to continue the work towards a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.
* In June 2021, the Liberals helped pass a motion at the Procedures & House Affairs Committee to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. However, parties will not be bound by this vote in the next Parliament.
There is nothing in the Bloc platform about electoral reform.
*In June 2021, the Bloc helped pass a motion at the Procedures & House Affairs Committee to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. However, parties will not be bound by this vote in the next Parliament..
There is nothing about electoral reform in the Conservative Party platform.
* In June 2021, the Conservatives voted against a motion at the Procedures & House Affairs Committee to study a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. The reason they gave for voting no was that the motion included a Liberal amendment to write a second report (after the report on a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform) looking at what could be learned about citizens’ assemblies in general.
NOTE ON THE PEOPLE’S PARTY OF CANADA: There are usually 10-20 parties in Canada running who do not have seats in the House of Commons. Fair Vote Canada does not have the resources to list the positions of all of these parties and has therefore only featured parties with at least one seat. Maxime Bernier has not advocated for electoral reform. There is nothing in the current PPC platform on electoral reform.
Candidates of Note
Fair Vote Canada would like to recognize the following individuals who have made extra efforts to support proportional representation or a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform over the last few years by speaking up for it publicly or taking some action.
Daniel Blaikie, NDP MP for Elmwood—Transcona, NPD Democratic Reform Critic
Daniel Blaikie is a long time advocate of proportional representation and supporter of Fair Vote Canada. Years before he became an MP, he was involved with Fair Vote Canada’s local chapter in Winnipeg. He served on the 2016 federal Electoral Reform Committee (ERRE).
In December 2020, Daniel made a video for Fair Vote Canada to encourage the thousands of Canadians who were sending holiday cards to Justin Trudeau asking for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. He also hosts a petition on his website.
In November 2020 Daniel introduced a motion at the Procedures and House Affairs Committee (PROC) for a study of a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. This motion came to a vote June 22, 2021, with the Liberals and Bloc voting in support. (Greens also support this, but they didn’t have a seat on the committee).
Elizabeth May, Green MP Saanich—Gulf Islands, Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party
Elizabeth May has been a tireless and continuous advocate for proportional representation and active supporter of Fair Vote Canada for over 15 years. She has spoken publicly about the need for proportional representation on countless occasions (example: Ted Talk here), led the Greens when they were an intervenor along with Fair Vote Canada in the first court case against first-past-the-post over a decade ago, and ensured proportional representation was a priority issue for the Greens in every election she was the party leader.
Elizabeth represented the Green Party on the federal electoral reform (ERRE) committee in 2016. When the Liberals broke their promise, she stated:
“I feel more deeply betrayed by my government today than on any other day in my adult life. When I was asked to serve on the committee, I asked many people in senior Liberal offices — don’t waste my time, tell me now if you’re not serious. Thousands and thousands of Canadians — hundreds of thousands, and certainly young people — believed this promise.”
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Liberal MP, Beaches - East York
Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has been a long time outspoken advocate of proportional representation. Prior to being elected as MP, he was a Fair Vote Canada member and volunteer, which he referred to during his first speech in the House of Commons. When Trudeau broke his electoral reform promise, Nathaniel was the only Liberal MP to apologize to all Canadians in the media.
In May, 2017, after Trudeau broke his promise, the NDP introduced a motion to accept the report of the Electoral Reform Committee. Although acceptance of the report would not have forced the government to take action, it would have symbolized a willingness on the part of Liberal MPs to continue working on electoral reform. Nathaniel was only one of two Liberal MPs who joined with the opposition parties to vote yes.
Nate’s position on electoral reform is clear on his MP website, where he states he will continue to be an advocate for electoral reform as long as he is in Ottawa:
In December 2020, Nate made a video for Fair Vote Canada to share on social media, encouraging the thousands of supporters who were sending holiday cards to Justin Trudeau asking for a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform.
Wayne Long, Liberal MP, Saint John—Rothesay
Right after the 2019 election, Wayne Long spoke out in the media about the need for electoral reform.
In December 2020, Wayne spoke in favour of proportional representation during a facebook live town hall (22:22-23:37):
“I absolutely support electoral reform. I absolutely support some form of hybrid between proportional representation and maybe ranked ballot, which I originally was for, back in 2016. I was wrong, I screwed up (referring to ranked voting). Proportional representation is definitively the way to go in some way, shape or form. And I would support any movement that brought that forward federally or provincially. I am absolutely in support. I see why we need it and I understand that that’s why youth feel so disengaged with the political process. And that’s why we need electoral reform.”
Constituents visited MP Wayne Long about a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2019 and 2021 and found him to be supportive of both proportional representation and a citizens’ assembly. (Post by Wayne on facebook and twitter)
On September 13, 2021 Wayne Long posted a strong commitment to advocate for electoral reform on his facebook page:
Standing for Democratic Reform
“The people of Saint John–Rothesay are tired of old-style, party-first politics; that’s why I am proud to have been one of the most outspoken and effective advocates for the advancement of democratic reform in the last two Parliaments.
In 2019, I jointly seconded a motion to amend the Standing Orders of the House of Commons to tackle party discipline, and, just this spring, I was pleased to be able to work with NDP MP Daniel Blaikie to pass a motion to advance a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform at committee.
Now, as a part of my 2021 Riding-First Platform, I am proud to commit to building upon this work in the last two Parliaments by:
Re-introducing a motion to advance a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform at committee (this will ensure that the work on this issue continues in the next Parliament);
Introducing a Democratic Reform Act designed to rein in party discipline, empower individual Members of Parliament, and bring increased transparency and accountability to federal party caucuses and leadership structures; and
How you can help Fair Vote Canada during the 2021 federal election
You can donate to Fair Vote Canada’s campaign here. Fair Vote Canada is supported by individual Canadians who care about a stronger democracy. Fair Vote Canada is registered as a third party group in the federal election and will be running advertisements! The more donations we receive, the more people will see our ads! If you’re not already on our mailing list, sign the Declaration!
You can deliver doorhangers in your riding! We need both ORGANIZERS in each riding and FOOT POWER. Sign up here.
What do the doorhangers say?
The doorhangers remind voters what’s wrong with first-past-the-post, inform them of the vote that happened in June in Parliament, and encourage them to ask their candidates about electoral reform. There are several designs. A couple of examples are at the bottom of this page.
How many doorhangers would I need to deliver?
The minimum order is 1000 door hangers. If you are an organizer, we will mail them to you, then others who have volunteered can pick them up from you. There’s really no maximum if you have a big group to help you! On average, it takes about an hour to deliver 100 doorhangers to detached houses – but that time can be cut in half doing row houses. If you would like to do doorhangers, but need to find others to help you, let us know. We can put out an email to supporters in your riding to see if others want to help!
Ask about electoral reform at your local all-candidates debate:
Ask a question at your local all-candidates debate! This helps let candidates know that voters care about electoral reform, are paying attention to what has happened, and want a commitment to action. Questions and answers often get printed in local media, which also helps the public find out where candidates stand. Here is a suggested question:
On June 22, a motion was passed at the Procedures and House Affairs Committee of Parliament to do a study of a National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform. The Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs all voted yes. Greens are not on this committee but were supportive. A National Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform is an important step. My question is this: Will your party firmly commit to doing this work in the next Parliament? When will the study begin, and how long do you expect it will take to prepare a recommendation for a Citizens’ Assembly on electoral reform?
Have another way you’d like to help?
Fair Vote Canada relies on the efforts and creativity of supporters. Get in touch: [email protected]