OTTAWA—There’s overwhelming support for proportional representation and now is the time to get on with designing a proportional voting system suited to Canada, says a diverse coalition representing the country’s leading women’s groups, the country’s largest unions, leading advocacy groups in Quebec, and organizations advocating for students and immigrants.
The Every Voter Counts Alliance, bringing together over 60 organisations, is making the call just as the special parliamentary committee on electoral reform is about begin its deliberations. The all-party committee is to release its report by Dec. 1.
An analysis of the proceedings to date (covering all but four meetings for which information remains incomplete), shows that of the witnesses that expressed a view about voting options, 89% (or 90 witnesses) support PR compared to 11% opposed, including 7% who support the status quo and 4% who support tacking on a ranked ballot to the current majoritarian system.
Seventy-one percent of witnesses who expressed a view on the referendum issue considered that a referendum would either not be necessary or not desirable before reform is implemented.
“With deliberations just beginning, we’re urging the electoral reform committee to heed the advice of the experts — Canada needs a proportional system with local representation. Let's get busy crafting a made-in-Canada model that makes every vote count,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, founding supporter of the Alliance.
Yussuff made his case at a press conference on Parliament Hill alongside other supporting members of the Alliance. They included Farhat Rehman of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Katelynn Northam, Leadnow's electoral reform campaign and Annie Bérubé, Équiterre’s director of government relations.
"Let's kick off these important deliberations by committing to bringing in a more fair, open, diverse and inclusive electoral system that embodies the principles the government laid out at the beginning of this process. Proportional representation is the way to achieve this,” added Rehman.
“Now is not the time to waffle or step back from electoral reform. It’s time to step up and work together for a truly fair and democratic voting system in Canada,” concluded Willy Blomme, spokesperson for the Alliance.
Other supporting organizations of the Alliance include Fair Vote Canada, Fédération des femmes du Québec, YWCA Canada, Unifor, Institut du Nouveau Monde, Unlock Democracy, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, Movement democratie nouvelle and Canadian Federation of Students.