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, October 30, 2016

Electoral News

For the last few months I have been focusing on Electoral Reform here at Democracy Under Fire and in order to 'keep up' have a Google Alert set to give me the headlines on this subject each day. Generally they are just 'more of the same' with one side whining about having a referendum and the other saying there can be no choice but a 'proportional' system. Yesterday there were a couple of items with a little different spin that got my attention, I am not going to attempt to summarize them here or comment (much) on them but simply provide a brief clip and a link to the original articles for your interest.

First up this one from the Owen Sound Sun Times perhaps highlights the partisan nature of some MPs 'reports' to the committee..
OWEN SOUND - A clear majority of people favoured federal electoral reform at an information meeting held Wednesday in Owen Sound.
That's a different message than Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Conservative MP Larry Miller heard in his recent phone-in discussion, in emails and calls on the issue. He said he found there's no appetite among most people for electoral reform.
But at the meeting held at the Harmony Centre, organized by the Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Liberals, 79 people attended, and 71 filled out survey forms with the following results: 63 supported the need for electoral reform, four liked the current first-past-the-post system and four were undecided.

This one I found rather inspirational in its non partisan approach about a meeting on a small west coast island.
When I opened the door of my Saturna Island home earlier this fall, I found a petite young woman wearing black stretch jeans, boots and a jacket standing in my leaf-littered carport. Startled, I recognized Maryam Monsef, the 31-year-old Afghan refugee who is now Canada’s Minister for Democratic Institutions, responsible for changing how Canadians choose their MP’s before the next federal election.

Finally Elizabeth Mays description of the efforts of the Electoral Committee to get at least some direct public input (whilst some MPs did not even bother to consult with their constituents at all) gives me some hope that they will find some middle ground in their final report.
.......And our road trip was intense. Every day for three weeks, we flew (or bused) to a new province or town. We were ready for witnesses by 1:30 p.m. and heard the last witnesses at 9:30 p.m. The next morning, we were on an early flight to do the whole thing again. We held hearings in 19 locations, in every province and territory. We have heard from hundreds of expert witnesses in political science, constitutional law and electoral systems as well as those with expertise in the challenges of voting for persons with disabilities, the poor and groups underrepresented in Parliament: women, minorities, indigenous persons.
Of course, none of this got us any media notice. For reasons beyond my comprehension, journalists seem to think this issue is boring.  Fortunately, Canadians don’t agree. We began to feel like rock stars arriving at airports where hard-core “democro-geeks,” as Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef has dubbed those of us for whom this is a passion, were waiting to cheer us on arrival.

As we approach the best before date of this report I suspect the rhetoric from all sides will increase, but that will be just a whisper of the opinionating that will happen AFTER its release. Let the games begin!

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Lorne said...

With Trudeau's enthusiasm for electoral reform apparently waning, Rural, it is more important than ever for people to be informed on the issue. As your post indicates, people are clearly interested, and need to counter Trudeau's position that the public no longer has much of an appetite for it. My own preference, as I have indicated on Owen's blog, is for a very modest first step into reform via the ranked ballot. While it is not proportional representation per se, it will get people used to the potential that real reform has.

Owen Gray said...

I think it's pretty clear that there will be no consensus, Rural. And, if the decision breaks down on party lines, things could get tough.

Rural said...

Lorne, I agree with everything you say in your comment, including the bit about ranked ballot as I have said here some time ago.
Owen, I suspect you are correct but I am trying to stay positive because I fear what may happen if it comes to the House without some kind of consensus!

Unknown said...

Trudeau's idea of change Rural does not mean real change as shown on his backtracking on electoral reform. My guess is that on electoral reform, he will do only cosmetic changes or none at all.

As Elizabeth May Has shown Canadians do want electoral reform, but if there is a neoliberal or other special interest group that does not want electoral reform, that is who Trudeau will support.

As Trudeau alluded to, he is now our PM and that should be enough to ease Canadians concerns about electoral reform.

Watch Trudeau's decisions on the major issues like electoral reform, bill C-51, CETA and TPP. None of the decisions or changes on these issues will be based on the interests of Canadians.

Trudeau and the liberals are not governing for Canadians, they are governing for special interests and decisions on electoral reform are based on those interests.

Rural said...

Pamela, on electoral reform I am willing to wait and see, Trudeau did after all start the process as promised and its not like we have any more say on it now the 'consultation' period has ended. As for the rest I do not believe that ANY party in power would be much different but I sure don't want to go back to the other lot even if as you say they are catering too much to the corporate lobby!