Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Remaining Debates Must Include a Focus on Fair Voting Reform

Fair Vote Canada
December 19, 2005

Call issued to TV network consortium:

Remaining debates must include a focus on fair voting reform

More than 60 prominent Canadians from a variety of backgrounds and political viewpoints have joined Fair Vote Canada in an urgent call to the network consortium and party leaders to focus a portion of one of the remaining debates on democratic voting reform.

“Last week’s debates barely scratched the surface,” said Wayne Smith, President of Fair Vote Canada, “The leaders were neither pressed nor given adequate time to tell Canadians exactly how they intend to fix our failed political system.”

Smith predicted another record low turnout for the January 23 vote, breaking the record lows set in the last two elections. “Over 70% of the citizens of Iraq just literally risked their lives to vote in their election,“ said Smith. “Will Canadians, faced only with the hazards of an icy driveway, do as well? Not likely. In the 1990s, Canada ranked 109th on turnout among democracies.”

“When record numbers of people are walking away from our electoral system, that’s a crisis,” said Larry Gordon, Executive Director of Fair Vote Canada. “On January 23, those Canadians who still vote will be forced to use a widely discredited and antiquated voting system that distorts what we say and inflames regional tensions. Yet in the last two debates, the party leaders faced not a single question about electoral reform.”

Among those joining the call issued by Fair Vote Canada (see statement and complete list of endorsers below) are Gordon Gibson, former B.C. Liberal Party leader; Ed Broadbent, former NDP leader; Tom Kent, former advisor to Prime Minister Pearson; Lincoln Alexander, former Ontario Lieutenant Governor and federal cabinet minister; Maude Barlow, Chairperson, Council of Canadians; Senator Nancy Ruth; former Senator Lois Wilson; Rick Anderson, former advisor to Preston Manning; Alan Redway, former Progressive Conservative MP; scientist Ursula Franklin; political commentators Rafe Mair and Judy Rebick; John Trent, former secretary, International Political Science Association; Peter Russell and Hugh Thorburn, former presidents of the Canadian Political Science Association; economist Sylvia Ostry; entertainers Don Ferguson, Roger Abbott, Luba Goy and Max Ferguson; and youth leaders Nikem Anizor and Dave Farthing.

We the undersigned believe the next Parliament and Government must make Canada’s democratic renewal an urgent priority. We can no longer afford to ignore our democracy deficit or postpone substantive reform to our core democratic institutions, including voting system reform.

Therefore, we call on the broadcast networks and party leaders to dedicate a portion of one of the leaders’ debates to focus exclusively on the “Democratic Renewal of Canada”.

Roger Abbott, Royal Canadian Air Farce

Lincoln Alexander, former Ontario Lieutenant Governor, former federal cabinet minister

Rick Anderson, consultant, columnist, former advisor to Preston Manning

Nkem Anizor, Black Youth Taking Action

Harry Baglole, founding Director, Institute of Island Studies

Patricia Baird, former Chair, Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies

Maude Barlow, author, activist and Chairperson, Council of Canadians

John Beckwith, composer, conductor and educator

Avie Bennett, Chair, McClelland & Stewart

Ed Broadbent, former NDP leader

Larry Brown, National Sec. Treas., National Union of Public and General Employees

Meyer Brownstone, professor emeritus, international election monitor and advisor

June Callwood, author, former chair of Writers’ Union of Canada and P.E.N.

Barbara Caplan, former activist, political organizer and City of Toronto senior manager

John Cartwright, President, Toronto & York Region Labour Council

Michael Cassidy, former NDP MP, former leader of the Ontario NDP

James Clancy, National President, National Union of Public and General Employees

Paul Copeland, criminal lawyer, active with Law Union of Ontario

Bonnie Diamond, Executive Director, National Association of Women and the Law

Howard Dyck, conductor & artistic director, CBC radio host

Margrit Eichler, professor, sociology and women's studies

Dave Farthing, co-founder and Executive Director, YOUCAN

Don Ferguson, Royal Canadian Air Farce

Max Ferguson, former broadcaster and satirist on the CBC

Ursula Franklin, Professor Emerita, physicist, author, activist

Margaret Fulton, educator, former President of Mount St. Vincent University

Graeme Gibson, author

Gordon Gibson, former leader B.C. Liberal Party, Fraser Institute Senior Fellow

Katherine Govier, author

Luba Goy, Royal Canadian Air Farce

Elizabeth Gray, writer

Margaret Hancock, Hart House Warden, University of Toronto

Marjorie Harris, Editor at large, Gardening Life

Mel Hurtig, author, publisher, activist

Richard Johnson, former President, Centennial College, former Ontario MPP

G. Alex Jupp, retired public affairs consultant

Tom Kent, former advisor to Prime Minister Pearson, former royal commission chair

Bruce Kidd, University of Toronto professor and former Olympic athlete

David Langille, Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice

Troy Lanigan, National Communications Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Frances Lankin, Pres. & CEO United Way of Greater Toronto, former Ont. Cabinet Minister

Jeannie Lea, former Prince Edward Island cabinet minister

Betty Lee, author, journalist, editor

Nick Loenen, founder, Fair Voting B.C.

Raif Mair, radio host and political commentator

Henry Milner, professor, author, electoral reform expert

J. Fraser Mustard, founding President, The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Nancy Ruth, Senator, feminist and social activist

John Oostrom, former PC MP 1984-88

Sylvia Ostry, economist, Univ. of Toronto, former Chair, Economic Council of Canada

Bernard Ostry, former chairman and CEO of TVOntario; former deputy minister

Erna Paris, author

Walter Pitman, former president of Ryerson Polytechnic Institute

Judy Rebick, Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University

Alan Redway, former Progressive Conservative MP, cabinet minister

Walter Robinson, former Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Virginia Rock, English professor, educator, specializing in southern American literature

Norman Ruff, political scientist and media commentator

Peter Russell, former President, Canadian Political Science Association

Linda Silver Dranoff, family law lawyer, writer, law reform activist

Hugh Thorburn, former President, Canadian Political Science Association

John Trent, former Secretary, International Political Science Association

Lois Wilson, former Senator and former chair, World Council of Churches

Fair Vote Canada
26 Maryland Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4C 5C9

Phone: 416-410-4034
Fax: 416-686-4929


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