Fair Vote


Communist nabs Tory seat when he fails

to show for a Toronto Fair-Vote meeting

By Frances Sedgwick
Parkdale Columnist

Wednesday, April 20, I attended a meeting co-sponsored by Fair Vote Canada and Canadians Advocating Political Participation.

The meeting was held at St Paul's Anglican Church on Bloor Street in Toronto to discuss fair voting in our electoral system, and proportional representation.

It was a very informative, well-attended meeting.

An interesting situation arose when Elizabeth Rowley, Ontario Leader of the Communist Party of Canada, a long time proponent of Proportional Representation, got up at the beginning of the meeting to challenge the decision to only include the four main parties — Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats, the Greens.

"Let's put it to the audience to decide whether we should be included," she said. There was applause and then the moderator said, "Okay Elizabeth come up on the stage, since the Conservative Party is a no-show you can take his place, but you have to put forward the Conservative platform."

Well the audience laughed and applauded. As it turned out she was the best speaker of the evening.

An evening of audience participation challenged the current first-past- the-post voting system that exists today.

Canada is one of the few major countries still using the antiquated first-past-the-post voting system — a type of winner-take all voting.

Under the current system, most voters are denied their right to representation because they happen to live in ridings where they do not support the most popular party. And with the majority of us casting votes that elect no one, the overall election results are distorted.

A party winning only 40 per cent of the votes can capture 60 per cent of the seats and form a 'majority' government with 100 per cent of the power.

With proportional representation, parliaments better reflect the wishes of the electorate. Legislation is more responsive and government more accountable." (For more information go to fairvote.ca)

At the close of the meeting I talked with members of the audience. and asked, "Was it a good idea to include Elizabeth from the Communist Party?"  The response was, "Oh yes. She added a lot of life to the debate. Very articulate and also added some humor." 

One more example of why we should hear from all parties.

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