Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Fight for Democracy in Canada

This fall, I experienced just how unfair our electoral system can be. I have been a Green Party candidate three times in the last three years—twice federally and once provincially. It has become apparent that Canada is suffering from democratic bankruptcy.

Without democracy, we are not able to address climate change. The public is remote from those who make decisions in this country, and decision makers are remote from the environmental consequences of their decisions.

We must overcome the barriers of democratic bankruptcy in order to take urgent action on climate change.

With a new year comes a chance for new beginnings. I would like to invite you to help create a new beginning for this country. Let's bring back democracy!

Founding meeting of "Fair Vote Canada" - Saskatchewan Chapter
Sunday January 18th, 11:00 A.M.
Manitou Beach Hotel, (near Watrous, Saskatchewan)

If you are interested in learning more about electoral reform and standing up for democracy, please join us at the founding meeting of the Saskatchewan Chapter of Fair Vote Canada on Sunday, January 18th, 2009. This local Fair Vote chapter will be a great opportunity to foster public education on proportional representation. Carpooling is encouraged.

·According to Fair Vote Canada, the votes of 50.7% of Canadians who voted in the recent federal election elected no one.

·More than 60% of Canadians voted against the Conservatives, yet they were elected as the governing party anyway.

·In Saskatchewan, the Conservatives received 54% of the votes in the recent federal election, yet they won 94% of the seats (all but one).

Let This Be the Last Unfair Election in Canada!

Canada’s “first-past-the-post” voting system is outdated and is failing to produce results reflective of the general public. Democratic politics has evolved significantly in Canada, yet our voting system has stayed the same. Our voting system was designed for a two party system, but many political parties now represent the interests of Canadians, not just two. Canada, the U.S., and Great Britain are the only democracies in the world that do not have an electoral system of proportional representation.

While political parties with broad support across Canada are ignored by our current electoral system, political parties with dense regional support are often over-represented in Parliament. The Green Party received 7% of the votes in the recent federal election, yet they did not receive a single seat in the House of Commons. Meanwhile, the Bloc received 10% of the votes and won 50 seats. Under a system of proportional representation, the Green Party would have received 23 seats instead of zero, and the Bloc would have received 28 seats instead of 50. Our electoral system is clearly unfair. An electoral system of proportional representation would make every vote count.

Our current electoral system turns candidates and political parties into competitors instead of colleagues. Proportional representation would reduce the overly partisan nature of Parliament that tends to make cooperation difficult. An electoral system of proportional representation would encourage collaboration and compromise so that Parliament can stop fighting and can start taking action on the environment.

Supporters of all political parties stand to benefit from proportional representation. In the recent federal election, our electoral system ignored Conservative supporters in urban ridings, Liberal supporters in Alberta, NDP supporters in Saskatchewan, and Greens all across Canada. Plus, restoring democracy in Canada will be beneficial for all Canadians, especially the many young Canadians suffering from a severe case of voter apathy.

Anyone can join Fair Vote Canada at www.fairvote.ca

In solidarity,

Larissa Shasko

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