Declaration of Voter's Rights

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Electoral Reform Need Not Be Like First-Past-the-Post on Steroids

There was dancing in the streets—or at least in the offices across Canada of non-profit organizations when the Liberals announced a committee on electoral reform that will be looking at systems to replace first-past-the-post (FPTP). Why would non-profits be dancing? Their hope is that the 2019 federal election will use a system of proportional representation (PR); one where seats in the House of Commons will be in proportion to the way people voted.

Community-serving non-profits recognize that FPTP serves the rich community as the rich can bet their money on a party and influence the election. Then, post-election, they have their hands on the reins.

Ominously, as well as PR, the Liberals are considering a ranked voting system called preferential-balloting or alternative voting (AV). Analysis show that Liberals would win with AV because being in the middle of the Conservatives and NDP, people would rank them as a second choice. Enough second choices makes you a winner. Ed Broadbent says, "Simply put, ranked ballots in a federal election would be like First Past the Post on steroids – even larger false majorities, results even more outrageously torqued and even more unrepresentative of the popular will."

The electoral reform committee is charged with finding a system that is effective and legitimate, engaging, accessible and inclusive, and has integrity and local representation. The committee is setting up consultations; written, online, and face-to-face. Visit to compare PR and AV then let the committee know which you think is best for all Canadians.

Nancy Carswell
Co-spokesperson Saskatchewan Chapter Fair Vote Canada

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Can You Name All Six Parties That Ran in the 2016 Saskatchewan Election?

Can you name all six parties that ran in the 2016 Saskatchewan election? Each of these parties is a voice for their voters yet we ended up with a two party government. Where are the other four voices?

Of the 431,140 votes, 277,379 were cast for the winners and 153,761 were cast into the wind. Adding in the 320,424 eligible voters who did not vote, we have 63% of the people of Saskatchewan without a voice in government. Yet, we are told we have a majority government.

Recently Stephen Lewis says replacing first-past-the-post with proportional representation (PR) "is a fight we have to win: it should consume our energies." PR is any voting system designed to produce a legislature where the voices of voters are represented in proportion to their numbers—not their bank balance.

Countries with PR like Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have more income equality and more gender equality in government. They are more likely to have stronger economic growth and at the same time better environmental report cards. Why? Because the parties don't waste energy beating each other, they use their energy to win voters and cooperate for the common good.

If the Liberals don't come calling to consult you on their promise that the 2015 federal election would be the last using first-past-the-post, you can call on Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef to support PR. Once our votes count federally, it won't be long before they count provincially.

Nancy Carswell
Co-spokesperson Saskatchewan Chapter Fair Vote Canada