Electoral Reform Committee Launches Cross-Canada Public Consultation Tour

Electoral Reform Committee Launches Cross-Canada Public Consultation Tour

by: Obert Madondo |  | Published September 21, 2016, by The Canadian Progressive

NDP MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) is a vice-chairperson of the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform. Photo credit: davehuehn / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
NDP MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley) is a vice-chairperson of the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform. Photo credit: davehuehn / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

During the last session, the Liberals created several special committees to conduct extended public consultations on major outstanding issues at the centre of our democracy project, including electoral reform.

The 12-member Special Committee on Electoral Reform was appointed to identify and study viable alternate voting systems to replace the current anti-democratic first-past-the-post system. The committee is chaired by Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis), who is deputized by the NDP’s Nathan Cullen ((Skeena—Bulkley Valley) and the Conservatives’ Scott Reid (Lanark — Frontenac — Kingston). The other nine members are: Sherry Romanado, Liberal (Longueuil — Charles-LeMoyne), Ruby Sahota, Liberal (Brampton North), Elizabeth May, Green Party (Saanich — Gulf Islands), John Aldag, Liberal (Cloverdale — Langley City), Alexandre Boulerice, NDP (Rosemont — La Petite-Patrie), Matt DeCourcey, Liberal (Fredericton), Gérard Deltell, Conservative (Louis-Saint-Laurent), Blake Richards, Conservative (Banff — Airdrie), and Luc Thériault, Bloc Québécois (Montcalm).

According to an update issued before the launch of the public consultations, the Committee’s mandate is “to identify and conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems to replace the first-past-the-post system, as well as to examine mandatory voting and online voting, and to assess the extent to which the options identified could advance the following principles for electoral reform:

• effectiveness and legitimacy;
• engagement;
• accessibility and inclusiveness;
• integrity; and
• local representation.”

After holding 23 “substantive” meetings and hearing from dozens of of witnesses since its launch in June, the Committee is coming to a major city near you. On Monday September 19, 2016, the Committee launched its cross-Canada tour. Via the Special Committee on Electoral Reform’s website, the schedule:

Monday, September 19, 2016 – Regina, SK
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 – St-Pierre Jolys, St-Pierre Jolys Recreational Centre, MB
Tuesday, September 20, 2016 – Delta Hotels, Winnipeg, MB
Wednesday, September 21, 2016 – Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, ON
Thursday, September 22, 2016 – Delta Hotel, Quebec City, QC
Friday, September 23, 2016 – CARA, Joliette, QC
Monday, September 26, 2016 – Coast High Country Inn & Yukon Convention Centre, Whitehorse, YT
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 – Harbour Towers Hotel and Suites, Victoria, BC
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 – Coast Hotel Plaza & Suites, Vancouver, BC
Thursday, September 29, 2016 – Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel, Leduc, AB
Friday, September 30, 2016 – Chateau Nova Yellowknife, Yellowknife, NWT
Monday, October 3, 2016 – Montreal, QC
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 – Halifax, NS
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 – St. John’s, NL
Thursday, October 6, 2016 – Charlottetown, PEI
Friday, October 7, 2016 – Fredericton, NB
Monday, October 17, 2016 – Iqaluit, NU

RELATED: NDP forces Liberals to surrender electoral reform committee majority

You can also take part in the consultation process by:

  • Participating in this electronic consultation before 11.59pm on Friday, October 7, 2016.
  • Submitting a brief, which must not exceed 3,000 words, to the Committee no later than October 7, 2016. The brief may be submitted by email (erre@parl.gc.ca), or through the Committee’s website.
  • Sharing your questions and comments on social media. Hashtags to use on Twitter include: #ERRE, #choosePR, #ElectoralReform.

According to a press release issued September 16, during the consultations, Canadians will be able to “share their views on electoral reform, online voting and mandatory voting. The opinions and comments from individuals and organizations will not only improve the Special Committee’s understanding of the issues involved, but also assist in preparing its report to the House of Commons by December 1, 2016.”

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Obert Madondo is an Ottawa-based progressive blogger, and the founder and editor of The Canadian Progressive. Follow him on Twitter: @Obiemad

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