Saturday, January 14, 2006

Fair vote gets thumbs up from federal candidates


Jan 13, 2006

NORTHUMBERLAND - All four Northumberland-Quinte West candidates in this month's federal election are prepared to seriously consider Canada adopting a new voting system, although they do not all agree on how it should be chosen or what it should look like. Fair Vote Canada's Northumberland Chapter asked the candidates a series of questions on the new system to get their point of view on proportional representation (the number of seats that parties' voters win in Parliament should match their votes cast). The following are their answers:

Question: In last year's election the Bloc Quebecois won only 48.9 per cent of Quebec votes, but got 54 of Quebec's 75 seats (72 per cent) rather than the 37 seats their popular support warranted. Do you want this to happen again, should Canada consider adopting a new voting system so that every vote cast will be represented in Parliament?

Paul Macklin, Liberal: Yes, conditionally. With respect to proportional representation, provided that we can find an appropriate model that can be pragmatically implemented in our Parliamentary system, I am prepared to seriously consider proportional representation in whole or in part.

Rick Norlock, Conservative: I support a made-in-Canada solution to low voter turnout. If the "first past the post" system is the root cause of low voter turnout, we must then look at all our democratic options such as proportional representation.

Russ Christianson, New Democrat: Yes, Canada needs proportional representation.

Pat Lawson, Green: Yes, Canada should consider adopting a new voting system so that every vote cast will be represented in Parliament.

Question: Do you personally support an independent, citizen-led process to allow Canadians to choose a fair voting system?"

Mr. Norlock said yes adding "but the citizen-led process must be made up of a genuine cross section of the Canadian population." Mr. Christianson and Ms. Lawson also said yes. Mr. Macklin preferred not to commit himself on this one.

Question: Do you personally support the principle that all voters are equal, no vote will be wasted, and every citizen will have a fair and equal voice?"

Mr. Christianson, Mr. Norlock and Ms. Lawson each said yes while Mr. Macklin declined to answer.

The executive of Fair Vote Canada's local chapter includes active supporters of all four parties as well as two non-partisan members.


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