A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Tom Mulcair.

Dear Sir
I am in receipt of you self congratulatory email boasting of how you have just signed the Fair Vote Canada's Politicians' Pledge, I congratulate you on doing so and would hope that many other MPs from all parties join you in doing so but have a number of concerns with the other issues raised in you communications.
Firstly your “commitment to make 2015 the last unfair election — and 2019 the first election to use a truly democratic electoral system” is clearly unobtainable...... unless you intend to either impose a new system upon Canadians without public consultation and a referendum on the issue or propose to hold a national referendum (with its extensive cost and logistics) BEFORE the 1019 election. This assumes that the NDP would be in a position to bring such a thing to pass which seems highly improbable. It is in fact highly improbable in any case unless and until the Liberals and the NDP stop sniping at each other and cooperate on this issues, including recognizing who the real enemy is – namely the Harper Regime.

I am further concerned with your statement that you “will be seeking a mandate to adopt a mixed member proportional representation system (MMP)”, NOT I note a mandate to seek public consultation (as the pledge says) for which system of electoral reform should be put before the citizens. There are several types of voting systems that each bring their own degree of 'proportionality' and with their own set of assets and difficulties, each of these systems can be further influenced by the manner in which they are implemented. It is insufficient to just say we support MMP (or for that matter any of the other possibilities) without detailing the particular version of that system to be considered. It is in fact premature and presumptuous to limit the choice to one system before any public consultation has taken place. I urge you to change you position and lobby for electoral reform as a whole and fully cooperate with those Parties that have also elected for this approach which of course include the Liberals and the Green Party of Canada who have long held this position.

If we are to ever reform our electorate system it will require Consultation, Cooperation, and Consensus among those political parties who are not supporters of the status quot in order that the public does not simply become frustrated with the whole thing. I would hope that you and your colleagues and indeed ALL other MPs can put their political thirst for power aside and put our democracy at the top of their agendas.

The blogger known as 'Rural'.
Owner of the site 'Democracy Under Fire'.

CC Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May

I note that any parliamentary email address in the 'CC' line was-
 rejected by the server for the recipient domain parl.gc.ca. by mailer88.parl.gc.ca. [].

The error that the other server returned was:
550 Denied by policy

What Gives?

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Owen Gray said...

Unless the Liberals, Greens and the NDP co-operate, there will be no new electoral system, Rural.

Rural said...

Sadly I have to agree, Owen.

Gyor said...

The Liberal are the right enemy, if you actually look at numbers and the facts you'll see that the last Liberal Government was to the right of Stephen Harper, the Liberals have cut the social safety net by 40%! Harper did not do that.

The only way out is for Canadians to
reject the online parties, the Liberal have more in common with the Tories both in practice and in corruption.

Rural said...

And your comment gyor is a good example of the highly partisan views that all but ensure that the democratic destruction brought on by the Harper regime will continue and that electoral reform will never take place.

Unknown said...

It is inexcusable Rural to NOT engage the Canadian public in electoral reform. I am fed up with all governments isolationist dictates involving Canadian democracy.The Harper government avoids the Canadian electorate to the extreme. The democratic infrastructure now has the PMO as having the power base to do with the country as they see fit. There has never been an easier time to engage the Canadian people because the digital technology now available makes that very doable. With Harper and his regime dismantling or ignoring our democracy, democratic reform will be the most important issue underlying all the other issues in 2015. Canadians should be offended by this parternalistic attitude their government, including the opposition

CuriosityCat said...

Mulcair should be congratulated for taking such a significant step to remedy our democratic deficit. There is ample proof of the viability of modified proportional representation systems throughout the world.

Meaningful electoral reform - needed in Canada to enthuse voters who now believe their votes in many areas are simply wasted by our FPTP system - is a must.

The Liberal Party - with its leader Justin Trudeau agreeing - has as a policy examining a more democratic electoral system as a top priority within the first year of the next parliament. Note that consultations with citizens and MPs are to be used to get input; note also that there is no commitment to a referendum. If the NDP is now committed to its MPs in the next House voting on significant electoral reform; if the Green Party also wishes its supporters to be fairly represented in Parliament; and if the Liberal Party new policy is a serious commitment, then, after the kind of public consultation the LPC resolution contemplates, THERE IS NO REASON WHY THE MPS OF THESE 3 PARTIES SHOULD NOT PASS LAWS IN 2015 TO CHANGE OUR SYSTEM.

With all three opposition parties fighting an election on significant electoral reform, with consultation, there is no need for a referendum. The referendum in fact will take place in the 2015 election, given the platforms of these 3 parties.

Gyor said...

You can call me Partisan, but you have not challenged my facts, what has Harper done that is as regressive and rightwing as the Liberals who slashed social services by 40%?

The Liberals also finished privatising Petrocan, Broke thier word on Kyoto, Stole from the EII program while disqualifying hard working Canadians that payed into it, the cut taxes heavily in favour of the rich, including both income and corporate taxes, lied about leaving Nafta and getting rid of the GST, lied about creating a national daycare system, refused to block the income trust stand, and so much more.

Healthcare spending and provincial transfers have gone up under Harper, he ended income trust scams, he cleaned up the sydney tar ponds and other ecological disasters which the Liberals refused to do, instead of heavily slashing the social safety net when the global economy tanked he put out a very large stimulus package.

Don't get me wrong, Harper has done horrible things as well, such as screwing vets over, mishandling the FNs file, cuts to various federal services and other stuff, but most of his worst acts were just continuing Liberal policies and being more honest about the Canadian Governments policies on Climate Change, and being an all around asshole.

Am I a partisan, hell yes, I'm a partisan because I look at the facts, I look past my dislike for Harper to the big picture, we need an NDP government point blank, not a Liberal one lead by a man that has already broken his word to his own party on open nominations which was his big promise to his own party.

You guys present allegations of partisanship I plead guilty as charged happily, but you do not refute my facts because you can't.

Rural said...

Yes Pamela Electoral reform and the state of our democracy and the way parliament is currently operating should be THE major issue in the party platforms.

CCat, I would agre with you IF the partys could agree upon (and spell out the details of) a particular system to be considered. This however will not happen, even those of us who want change cannot agree on which system is best. I wish it were that simple!

Rural said...

I mean no disrespect Gyor, most folks are partisan to a greater or lesser extent. We are going to have to agree to disagree on this, my views are clearly spelt out in the almost six years I have been blogging about Canadian democracy. I see little point in reiterating them here in the comment section. I wish you luck in seeing an NDP government, reality says its most improbable.

The Mound of Sound said...

Nicely handled, Rural. Gyor is hyper-partisan to the point where he/she has no sense of the failures of his/her own party going back to the days when Layton danced the lap tango with Harper. Yes there is great criticism due the LPC but that likewise can't be allowed to distract from the fair vote initiative.

Best of the season to you all.

Rural said...

Thanks Mound, and seasons greetings to you and yours also.

Ron Waller said...

Criticizing Trudeau for being the most right-wing Liberal leader to come down the pike is not hyper-partisan or divisive. It's a fact. He is not progressive. He is not centrist. He is not a liberal.

The divisiveness is coming from the Trudeau Jr. himself. He has ruled out working with the NDP in a coalition.

He is using electoral blackmail: either vote for me or you will get another Harper government. Of course, a vote for him is a vote for more of the same neoliberal economic policies that cause rising inequality and debt, economic instability, anemic economic growth and declining living standards.

Trudeau Jr. supports FPTP. His goal is to bring in another designed-to-fail PR referendum like Liberal leaders did in BC, ON & PEI. These leaders put up roadblocks to ensure it fails, like an absurdly anti-democratic 60% win threshold.

I am not a partisan. I have no bias for or against any party. As a centrist, Keynesian liberal, however, I can't stand idly by and give support to a destructive right-wing agenda. We've had 30 years of Tough Tory Times. It's time to drive a stake into Mulroney's failed ideology. Our living standards will continue to deteriorate unless we undo the damage done.

The only real hope comes from real change. Trudeau Jr. is in the pocket of corporations. Let's hope he doesn't fool Canadians.

Rural said...

Once again we are going to have to agree to disagree Ron. Right, Left or Centrist, it all matters little unless we restore our democracy and that rest not only on when, how and who we vote for but a change in the respect our MPs treat parliamentary conventions. I will agree we need change and the Liberals may not be the ideal choice, non of them are, but they sure as hell are better than the current dictators!