Sunday, January 22, 2006

Information Report Commitment Bouquets

Fair Vote Canada Election Team 2006;

Thanks for all the amazing work you've been doing! The candidates must be thinking, migawd, they're everywhere!

Fair voting reform is a topic at every all-candidates' meeting and in the news every day, thanks to your persistence and determination in making this an election issue. We are setting up a post-election scenario where we can make solid progress towards a fair voting system for Canada!

I have been posting some of your campaign reports, as well as relevant media stories, general interest election news, and of course, my rants, on Election Canada 2006 - The President's Blog at http://fairvotecanada.blogspot.com/.

I hope you will have a look, tell your friends, subscribe to the blog, and spread the word about fair voting reform.

Just a few more days. Let's make them count!

Wayne Smith, President
Fair Vote Canada
Wayne.Smith@FairVoteCanada.org

P.S. I've also thrown in Michael Moore's analysis of the Canadian election. As a professional journalist, Mr. Moore is, of course, always thoroughly objective.


Information out in Thunder Bay

Larry, Wayne, I'm happy to tell you that I gave out all the flyers and pamphlets you sent me. Each candidate (except the Conservative one) let us put your info on their campaign tables at the candidate's debate held last week. I handed out the Electoral Dysfunction pamphlets to people coming into the debates and everyone took one.

Thanks again for sending the stuff our way.

Cindy Long,
Thunder Bay, ON


Cindy - we really appreciate the effort. As noted earlier, we do not yet have many members in Northern Ontario and with the upcoming provincial reform opportunity, our movement needs a strong presence in all parts of Ontario.

Let's keep in touch,
Larry


A bit late, but here's my report from the Beaches-East York all-candidates meeting.

The crowd was much larger than anyone expected with almost 1000 people showing up. I handed out fliers during the half hour preceding the meeting. Most people were very receptive. I was unable to ask a question even though I had a seat in the 2nd row. No matter, three of the candidates brought up the issue on their own, either in their opening remarks or in answers to other questions. Jim Harris, the leader of the Green Party, mentioned proportional representation several times forcefully throughout the night to a considerable amount of applause. Marilyn Churley (NDP) and Maria Minna (L) also indicated their support for PR without also prompting the audience to show their approval. Maria Minna volunteered that she personally was in favour of a mixed system and partial PR.

Only Peter Conroy (C) was silent on the issue. I know Peter personally, so I had emailed him prior, wishing him good luck and telling him that I was planning to raise PR as an issue at the meeting. His email to me was "thanks". One of the candidates (I think it was Peter) mentioned electoral reform in the context of instituting an elected senate - certainly important, but clearly a diversion from the real issue of PR (my opinion).

After the meeting, I was talking to Peter and was asking him how he stood when he noticed the TV reporter trying to get his attention, so I still don't know where he stands (but I can guess). Talking to Maria afterwards, she regretted that electoral reform had not moved quicker, pointing out that there was a committee due to report in the spring if the election hadn't been called. Also, after the meeting I was approached by several in the audience to let me know that they support PR.

It was heartening to see the keen interest in this election and also in PR.

On Saturday, I distributed the rest of my fliers at the St. Lawrence Market. About 75% acceptance of the fliers with maybe 30% volunteering that they think it's important too.

Paul de Man
Toronto


Commitment from Stephen Owen

Hi Larry,

Just wanted to let you know that Stephen Owen (Vancouver-Quadra) told me he is committed to a process of electoral reform and fully supports citizen-based deliberative bodies (so he's supporting the STV proposal here in BC). He does seem somewhat inclined to wait and see what happens provincially before moving ahead federally, but he was heavily involved in the Law Commission's report in 2004, so could probably be counted on to support a push this time, especially since his party will likely be the opposition and have far fewer seats than they deserve (if they end up not being the opposition, or just barely beat the Bloc, there would be an even stronger case to be made). He also speculated that there might be a constitutional objection to changing the system (ie, need for an amendment), but didn't think that would be a terrifically hard hurdle.

I'd be interested in hearing your opinion about that issue.

Cheers,

Antony Hodgson


Hi Antony,

That is very helpful info. Steven Owen had just left the Law Commission before they began their electoral reform project, but glad to hear he is moving in our direction. Is he likely to get back in?

There are no inherent Constitutional impediments to a new voting system. You just need to ensure the system doesn't violate any constitutional provision - particularly the number or portion of seats per province (the Senate floor, rep by pop, the grandfather clause for provinces with shrinking populations). None of those factors would prevent design of a good PR system.

Larry


Bouquets to Wayne and Larry

You must be pleased today - as PR got lots of time on the CBC/TV panel last night - and again on CBC radio this AM - and expect with yesterday's results it will continue to be well noticed. Now to get some action - eh? as we supposedly say.

And might I suggest you two follow up on the reaction I got at Yorkville Branch and Toronto main Reference Library when I took over flyers for posting. The matter was "political" - and the flyers were not posted. We need to get TPL to see it as an a-political matter, having to do with electoral reform, as it does rather than party politics.

Jean Fewster


Thanks Jean - I think we're making progress, but we still have a long way to go. We're swamped with things right now, so we're unlikely to be dealing with the library bureaucracy in the near future, but it's something to keep in mind. Thanks for the help with the campaign - much appreciated!

Larry

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