Declaration of Voter's Rights

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Executive Meets in Craik

The Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada Executive met May 9th at the Eco Centre in Craik from 10:30 until 1:40.

Because of the large distances members have to travel to such meetings these events are usually held by conference call so this was the first face to face meeting the executive has been able to have for some time.

There was wide ranging discussion on several issues and a planning session helped to map out acitvities for the rest of the year.

To read the minutes of the Executive meeting please follow the link on the right hand side of the page.

UK Election Prompts Canadians to Take a Look at FPTP

In an odd way the kerfuffle over the "hung parliament" may actually cause Canadians to take a look at our own system. Minority governments are nothing new here in Canada but, they are a big deal in the UK. I good deal is being written about the stupidity of the first past the post system our governments fight do hard to hang on to.

I particularly like this letter by Geoff Rytell printed in the Toronto Star.

Thomas Walkom notes that now, because no party has earned a majority in England, there is going to be a “fierce fight over who will govern.” In the first-past-the-post electoral system, a system that Canada shares with Great Britain, it’s all about winning the seat but not so much about representing all the voters. FPTP is good for horses. But unlike horses, voters pay taxes and deserve to be equally represented in parliament. First-past-the-post fails to recognize that voters who choose to vote for someone who doesn’t take a seat are just as important as those who choose to vote for a winning candidate. British Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg wants to fix that with proportional representation so that the “who will govern” fight becomes instead an amicable sharing of governance.

Let's keep this discussion going.

Ludicrous election results in U.K. match those in Canada

But unlike Canada, Britain may move on electoral reform

Yesterday’s British parliamentary election provided yet another breath-taking example of how an antiquated winner-take-all voting system distorts election results.

With 626 of the 650 seats declared as of this posting anyway, things might shift a bit, the Conservatives won about 47% of the seats with just 36% of the votes. Labour received an equivalent windfall of undeserved seats: 40% of the seats with just 29% of the votes.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats won only 8% of the seats, despite winning about 23% of the votes. As Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said, it is “abundantly clear the electoral system is broken.”

“As ludicrous as Britain’s election results are, they are no worse than what we experience in Canada,” said Bronwen Bruch, President of Fair Vote Canada, a multi-partisan citizens’ campaign for voting system reform in Canada.

“The big difference is that Britain may well move forward on electoral reform, since both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who together represent a majority of voters, are prepared to scrap the discredited first-past-the-post system. The Liberal Democrats are expected to demand action on proportional representation.”

Yesterday’s election in the U.K. follows the 2005 election in which Tony Blair’s Labour Party won a majority of seats with a mere 35% of the popular vote.

How bad are Canadian elections in comparison?

“In recent years we have had three provincial majority governments formed by parties that came in second place in the popular vote,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “The current Liberal government in New Brunswick is an example – the New Brunswick Conservatives actually won more votes in the last election.”

Fair Vote Canada also pointed to these examples of electoral dysfunction in Canada:

  • In 1997, Jean Chretien’s Liberals won a majority of seats with just 39% of the votes.
  • In 1990, Bob Rae’s New Democrats won a majority in Ontario with less than 38% of the votes.
  • In the 2008 federal election, 940,000 Greens elected no one, while 813,000 Conservative voters in Alberta alone sent 27 MPs to Parliament.
“Pressure for electoral reform has been slowly building in Britain and then the MPs’ spending scandal blew the lid,” said Gordon. “Plus, Nick Clegg, the third party leader has said electoral reform is a condition for supporting a new government. A similar mix of conditions may be building in Canada – we can only hope since Canadian voter turnout is dropping as people walk away in disgust from our dysfunctional system.”

For more information contact Fair Vote Canada's Executive Director, Larry Gordon at 647-519-7585

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is Democracy in Canada?

A Public Discussion on Canadian Democracy with University of Saskatchewan Political Studies Professors Anna Hunter, David McGrane and Loleen Berdahl

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010
Time: 1:00pm - 4:00pm

St. Thomas More Auditorium - U of S Campus
1437 College Drive
Saskatoon, SK

With the recent turmoil in Canadian politics many of us have realized that our knowledge and the knowledge of many Canadians is lacking in the principles and details of how our democracy works.

What is a prorogation? Why does a representative of the Queen of England have a say over our parliament? Can several political parties form a coalition government? Does our Prime Minister have the same powers as the President of the United States? What is the Senate and why are it's members not elected?

Many Canadians have also been asking themselves, with all of the inter-party conflict recently, if our democracy is broken. If it isn't functioning properly, are there reforms that could improve it?

These questions and many others will be addressed at this public discussion with University of Saskatchewan Political Studies professors Anna Hunter, David McGrane and Loleen Berdahl.

The event will begin with the three professors answering questions posed by the moderator. Shortly after, discussion will be opened up to everyone in attendance to pose questions to the professors or to other participants. At 2:30pm we will brake for refreshments (provided by the organizers) and following the break, resume with the discussion.

Participants may make statements or ask questions at a microphone or submit them in writing for the moderator to read.

Admission free - wheelchair accessible.

Sponsored by The University of Saskatchewan Political Studies Department, St. Thomas More Political Studies Department, Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada, CAPP Saskatoon (Canadians Advocating Political Participation, formerly Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament) and Grassroots Citizens' Democracy Group.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FVC Advisory Board Member Speaks in Regina

The Regina Public Interest Research Group and The University of Regina’s Department of Political Science have invited Dr. Dennis Pilon a political scientist from the University of Victoria and author of The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada's Electoral System to Regina.

Dr. Pilon will deliver two public lectures while he is in Regina.

The first lecture is on Tuesday February 23rd in Room 114 of the Education Building from 3:00 - 5:00pm (including discussion time);

The second will be at Chapters bookstore from 7:30 until 9:00 that same evening.

Dr. Pilon is a noted scholar of electoral systems and reform, and is a member of Fair Vote Canada’s Advisory Board.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

AGMs are Scheduled

The Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada will be holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in two stages.

The first meeting will be held in Regina, Saturday, February 20th

- Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre

- 2900 13th Avenue

- The Boardroom

- 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

The second meeting will be held a week later, February 27th in Saskatoon.

- Amigo's Cantina

- 632 - 10th Street East (one block east of Broadway)

- The back room

- 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

We hope all Fair Vote members in Saskatchewan can find the time to attend. We would like to take this opportunity to talk about what we have been up to during our first year of operation and what we would like to accomplish in the coming year. We have some ambitious plans for 2010 and we need some energetic and dedicated people to lend a hand.

We are also hoping some of you will put your names forward for election to the Chapter Executive. The process is contained within Article IV of our bylaws which can be found by following this link.

All members of Fair Vote Canada living in Saskatchewan are eligible to run for office. If you are interested in running for any of the open positions please send an e-mail to with a note stating your intention to run in the following format.

I (insert your name) a member of Fair Vote Canada and living at (insert your address) do hereby offer my name for one of the positions in the Fair Vote Canada, Saskatchewan Chapter Executive.

If elected I will serve.

No expressions of interest will be accepted after 6:00 pm, Wednesday, February 17th.

You will receive an e-mail response to confirm your interest. Once that confirmation is received your name will be placed on the ballot.

The election will be held in two phases. The ballot box will be open first at the Regina AGM then after the meeting it will be sealed. The box will be reopened at the Saskatoon AGM and when all ballots are cast at that meeting, the ballots will be counted and the successful candidates announced.

Non members are welcome but cannot vote although membership application forms will be available and we welcome new members. We hope to see you there

Monday, January 25, 2010

Watch This Space

Planning is underway to schedule our Annual General Meeting which we will hold in two parts. The first in Regina and the second in Saskatoon.

All of our Executive positions are up for re-election so we will be looking for interested Fair Vote members to let their names stand. We are hoping for a good turnout.

Please check back and we will post meeting details and information on the nomination process as soon as we have more information.

Photos from the rally in Saskatoon

Thanks to Greg Horsburgh for the photos

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pictures from the Rally in Regina

Fair Vote Saskatchewan Chapter visible at Anti Proroguation Rallies

In Saskatchewan Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament held rallies in three cities. Representatives from the Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada attended all three.

In Regina the rally was held on the Scarth Street Mall and a couple of independent counts put the crowd at 300 plus. Despite the wind tunnel created by the down town high-rises, the crowd was engaged and boisterous. Two members of our Chapter executive spoke to the crowd wearing their other hats. Mike Burton a Political Science Masters Student and Larissa Shasko who is the leader of the Green Party in Saskatchewan.
Electoral reform was spoken of by several speakers and Dr. Joyce Green from the U of R was particularly persuasive about it in her presentation. We had five people from the Saskatchewan Chapter at the rally and we managed to hand out all the leaflets we had and we gathered 132 signatures on the Declaration.

Saskatoon’s rally was held outside City Hall in the blowing snow but despite the weather, 450 people turned out. We were a little light on the ground in Saskatoon but all the leaflets were handed out and well received. Proportional representation and Fair Vote Canada specifically was talked about by speakers. No declarations were gathered.

An indoor rally was held in Prince Albert, those guys know how to beat the cold weather. About fifty people braved the storm to attend, thirty three of those signed the declaration and we distributed leaflets.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Canadians Against Proroguing Parliament

Fair Vote Canada supporters are attend the anti-proroguing rallies all across Canada today distributing leaflets and encouraging participants that one way to encourage change is to join Fair Vote Canada.

In Saskatchewan, our Chapter will be distributing materials in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina.

We hope to see you there on this snowy Saturday afternoon.