Reasons Why I’m Campaigning for FAIR VOTE CANADA

Reasons Why I’m Campaigning for FAIR VOTE CANADA
Posted on April 29, 2013 | Liz Couture | Written on April 29, 2013
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Letter type:
Open

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

Thank you to James O'Grady, who took the time create this online method of reaching out. Also to June MacDonald of Fair Vote Canada who was the one who suggested that I might like to get involved and run for Council. Now, I'm having fun again....

This is the online launch of my campaign to get elected to the National Council of Fair Vote Canada, to be held at the Annual General Meeting June 2013.

I’m looking to get as many votes as I can get from members of FVC so that I can be successful over all the other excellent, highly educated, and impressive candidates. Also, it would also be amazing to increase FVC membership and with the membership’s help, make great strides forward on getting electoral reform back on the main table. Please read on, and if you think I have some ideas you like, please reply below with comments, suggestions, and encouragement to my efforts, whatever they turn out to be.

The debate about changing the system has been going on for so many decades, it’s hard to believe anyone still cares. But I do, and so do a lot of other informed people. I’m not talking about Senate reform right now, not talking about provincial reform (perhaps the appetite for that conversation will come back for provinces in the future). I’m talking about National Electoral Reform for Democracy (yes, the acronym for that is NERD). I would like the frustrated people of the regions of this country to come together in learning, come together in proper, well-funded discussion and come together to change the way this whole, magnificent country of ours is affected by the decisions of our elected officials in parliament, once and for all.

The democratic system is really not working properly right now, it just isn’t. There are a lot of voices in Canada that are being silenced, ignored, or falsely-welcomed (for example, you get to write to a government ministry about your concern, but it’s never actually acknowledged). Getting “face time” or writing a letter to the elected officials may get a little speech time in the House or a polite email reply, but those token responses are not enough to effect change if the majority of the Members are being whipped into “proper puppet position” to keep in line with the dictated party message. If that message is not in line with the thinking of a large cross-section of the demographic, for example environmentalists (from any and all political parties), then that pool of people, regardless of which affected provinces and regions they are living in, are not represented. More simply put, a system is not purely democratic if a large majority of people do not get their first ballot choice as their elected official, because they may not have the representation they need after the election.

We need a system that uses some form of proportional representation (PR). There is more to come on this topic in future letters to be posted. Fair Vote Canada (FVC) is the organization of choice to get the topic of electoral reform back on the high-priority list of government, and the priority of FVC has always been to pick the most fair system, and that happens to be a PR system. These are my beliefs also, and so I want to help change the system, and obviously, I need to do it in a non-partisan way. No worries, I can do that.

It’s just “you and me and FVC”, looking forward to volunteering for Fair Vote Canada and hopefully working with you in the process. Hey, don’t forget to write a response.

About The Author

Liz Couture's picture

Patriotic Canadian, interested in politics, economics, law, music, small business, religion, just trying to make a mark on my small corner of the world.

Comments

I agree with you 100% Liz and I'm glad to see you put your name forward to be on Fair Vote Canada's Executive. After working with you on the Green Party of Ontario election campaign in 2007, when we tripled the GPO's popular vote, I know you will be a great asset for Fair Vote.

Good luck!

PS: You should include a link in your letter where people can go to join Fair Vote Canada in order to vote for you.

Mark MacKenzie

I agree Liz, that Electoral Reform is so very important as we try to put power back in to the collective hands of the average citizen. Good to see you running for office again.

Thank you for your supportive words, Mark. The very important thing that Fair Vote Canada could do as its main goal over the next few years is make it easy for the "average citizen" to learn about electoral reform. There are so many interesting things out there to learn and to compete with for the attention of the student, though, so hopefully we can find some really creative (and not too expensive!) ways to do it.

Liz, you'll make an excellent Fair Vote Council member. You're many years of participation in politics and you're experiences as a candidate in the provincial election, will give you a fresh perspective on needed electoral reform. I really hope you win a seat. You have a lot to contribute.

There is so much to learn, on so many levels, and I hope to surround myself with positive people who help me along the way. In time, I'll figure out what the best way for me to contribute will be, and hopefully I'll have good judgement, wisdom, and communication skills to help the group. Yes, the "fresh perspective" will be on a national level now, instead of just thinking about it at a provincial level. This is a huge task...

Wilf Day

Your comment on "the frustrated people of the regions of this country" echoes what Stephane Dion has been saying:

“Our voting system weakens Canada’s cohesion. It artificially amplifies the regional concentration of political party support at the federal level. With 50% of the vote in a given province, a federal party could end up taking almost all the seats. But with 20% of the vote, it may end up not winning any seats at all. This is how Ontario appeared more Liberal than it really was, Alberta more Reform-Conservative, Quebec more Bloc, etc.

Dion says “This regional amplification effect benefits parties with regionally concentrated support and, conversely, penalizes parties whose support is spread across the country without dominating anywhere. A party able to reach out to voters across the country is disadvantaged compared to another whose base is only in one region.

“I do not see why we should maintain a voting system that makes our major parties appear less national and our regions more politically opposed than they really are. I no longer want a voting system that gives the impression that certain parties have given up on Quebec, or on the West.”
http://wilfday.blogspot.ca/2012/05/stephane-dion-is-right-alternative-vo...

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins

All right Liz, sign me up as a NERD!

I just made that NERD thing up. What is a nerd, anyway? I think I might be one. At least that's what my brother called me last week. Or was it geek? I don't remember.

Brian

Liz, I hear that the vote counting in this election uses an STV system. There are 21 candidates competing for 9 openings. I would like to know how the votes will be counted to determine who wins. Saying that it's STV just doesn't make this clear to many folks. Can you send me a brief description detailing the vote counting process?
As a side note, I think that running this election using STV could provide a teaching moment for Fair Vote members to tell others about a proportional voting system. Perhaps your response to me will provide the basis for such.

The exact details of how the counting will be done is something I'm looking into, as I was not part of the group to decide on the method to be used. Will post again later...

You are correct in saying STV isn't necessarily clear to everyone, that's why the education portion of Fair Vote Canada's mandate will be so important over the next few years. The mandate of Fair Vote Canada is to promote Proportional Representation (PR), whether it's Single Transferable Vote (STV) or Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) or some other form of PR.

The description of Fair Votes Canada for the STV system to be used in this election is at:http://www.fairvote.ca/en/national-council-election-2013

For anyone interested in learning more about voting systems, the details, history of in this country, the pros and cons of various types of systems, I would refer them to the book by Professor Dennis Pilon, "The Politics of Voting: Reforming Canada's Electoral System" and "Making Every Vote Count: Reassessing Canada's Electoral System", edited by Henry Milner.

Definition of Single Transferrable Vote (from Pilon's book, page 185): "A form of Proportional Representation where voters mark their preferences (i.e.1, 2, 3...21) over the range of candidates in a multi-member riding and candidates who obtain the quota are declared elected. The ballot counting proceeds by stages, beginning with an initial count of the first choices marked on all the ballots. If in this first stage a candidate exceeds the quota, she is declared elected and any surplus votes above the quota are redistributed to other candidates on the basis of the second preferences marked on their ballots until no more candidates meet the quota. Then, the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and his votes are redistributed on the basis of the second choices marked on his ballots. This process continues until someone obtains the quota. These two aspect of the vote-counting process (distributing surpluses or eliminated low vote-getters) continue until all the available positions are filled".

To answer your side note about using this as a teaching moment, my teaching moment has been that it has taken quite a few hours to learn about the other candidates, so that I may cast the best possible combination of votes that I can. This is important to me, as I may have to work with those who are elected, and I want it to be the best possible team.

Brian Chamberlain

You have my support Liz. As we continue to hope for "representative government", we must balance regional perspectives by better reflecting the overall will of the people. It's one Canada, with lots of perspectives and our government should reflect that.

Thank you for your support, I really appreciate it. As I mention in my candidate statement
( http://www.fairvote.ca/candidate-statement-2013-liz-couture )
I do not feel that I've been represented in quite a number of years.

My vote never goes toward electing the person I want, my first choice. I don't WANT my second choice to get elected, I want my first choice vote to count. With Proportional Representation, it would.

Karen Cilevitz

I fully endorse Liz Couture for a position on the National Council and believe Fair Vote Canada can only be a stronger organization to have Liz as a seated Executive. Liz is an exceptional woman and her remarkable achievements speak for themselves. Her experience in the political realm makes her a most desirable asset to Fair Vote Canada and the organizations membership. Her committed drive and singular pursuit of excellence in everything she dedicates herself to, makes Liz the ideal candidate for this esteemed position. Good luck in your new endeavour, Liz!

Thank you, Karen, I really hope I get elected and you're right, I will throw my everything, my heart, soul, mind and strength into the Fair Vote activities. There is so much support for proportional representation out there, it just needs to get collected. Best to you also, Karen, in all your endeavours.

Liz Couture

I didn't get elected. I appreciate the votes I did get, though!

Results came in May 16, 2013 and will be formally announced at the AGM in Vancouver. See www.FairVote.ca

Got outflanked by some members in Fair Vote Canada who don't even believe in proportional representation. Imagine that. Politics is not boring.

Sorry to hear it Liz. How can people who don't believe in PR get elected to the Board of an organization advocating for PR? I certainly hope Fair Vote Canada hasn't been hijacked like other grassroots organizations we know. I hope to be in your neck of the woods this summer. I will touch base when I do.

Liz

Hi James, I probably should have elaborated more. They do advocate for PR at the Federal and Provincial levels, but not a the municipal levels, and so there are some difference of opinion issues that need to be sorted out. All good people, though, and everything is being done to move Fair Vote Canada forward as per its main purpose, which is to promote the best possible system of electing our representative voices in government and making every ballot count equally from the moment it is cast. See you in the summer, if not, have a great one!

Latest news: as of Saturday, September 14th, I was appointed to national council due to resignations of recently elected members. Things sometimes happen in roundabout ways, but I'm pleased to be working with a really dedicated group of people and will give it my best over the next year.