Fair Vote Canada Chapter Exec Statements on the Referendum

Find below statements from board members of the Toronto Chapter, National Capital Region,  Waterloo Region Chapter, York Region chapter and Fair Vote Nova Scotia. 


Fair Vote Canada Toronto Chapter executives support proportional representation (referendum option A)

Many of you recently got a message concerning the upcoming internal FVC referendum from Dave Meslin, director of the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (aka RaBiT).

You may not realize the majority of the Toronto Chapter executive support Option A –proportional representation at all levels of government in Canada.

It is true that Mr Meslin got elected as a Toronto Chapter executive along with two other Rabit supporters. We are a democratic, membership-based organization—not a private club ---so anyone may join and get elected providing they get sufficient votes under our STV electoral system. That is true of all our chapters.

The Toronto chapter executive who support Option A are all long-time members who have put feet on the ground and invested not only many hours but have put “their money where their mouth is” as well in supporting this organization. We all know the value of a proportional system, not only for Canada but for all levels of government.

We believe that Option B is another winner-take-all system and as such fails to improve democracy.  Its implementation (even at a limited level in our largest city, Toronto) will not only jeopardize the substantial support of long time FVC supporters but will seriously undermine the progress toward a proportional system in Canada. 

Some regard the peccadilloes of Toronto as a national source of entertainment but despite the failures of our current system in giving Torontonians good governance, everyone should be concerned that 10% of Canadians live here and not only vote municipally but federally as well.

Establishment of Alternative Vote in Canada’s largest city and sixth largest jurisdiction is cause for concern for those who want PR. I like to say: Unlike Vegas, what happens in TO, does not stay in TO.

Despite their recent votes in favour of AV, the Liberal party is on the verge of opening those closed minds, and we are on the threshold of getting PR. If we can go forward with a clear and focused message, rather than go off the rails endorsing a winner take all system that will lead to a stalemate, we can be a serious force to help PR win in 2015.

So join the majority of the Toronto Chapter executive and Vote Option A. 

Lets keep Fair Vote focused on proportional representation and send a strong message to RaBIT: PR, not AV.

Gerry Hobden, co-chair Joyce Hall, co-chair, Gary Dale, Member-at-large, June Macdonald, Treasurer


Fair Vote Canada National Capital Region Chapter executives support proportional representation (referendum option A)

Following the announcement of a referendum on the Alternative Vote by Fair Vote Canada's National Council, the undersigned members of the National Capital Region (Ottawa - Gatineau) Chapter executives have released the following statement.

Elected members of the National Capital Region (NCR) Chapter executive are in favour of option A, that is "Fair Vote Canada's mandate is to promote Proportional Representation and that Fair Vote Canada only support systems that are proportional, at all levels of government."

The Alternative Vote (AV) in option B is another majoritarian system. Although it is a ranked ballot system, it uses single member
constituencies, just like we have now, and therefore **it is not proportional**. The key to proportionality is for the elected assembly
to be representative of the values and views of the voters. With AV, there is no relationship between the diversity of the voters and the
makeup of a city council, or between the popular vote and the share of seats of each party receives in a federal or provincial legislature.

Alternative Vote is not a step toward a proportional voting system. Australia has used Alternative Vote since the 1920s and has not
changed to a proportional system. In referendums in 2011, AV was rejected in the UK and had only 12% support in New Zealand.

There will still be strategic voting in any single member district systems, both in AV and FPTP, because there is only one seat. Under
AV, many will rank candidates they dislike higher than their true preference, in order to defeat candidates they like even less.
Strategic voting thrives under AV.

AV is a distraction from our goal: a proportional voting system where everyone is properly represented. Some chapter leaders simply could not see themselves campaigning for another winner-take-all system which does not include the right to representation for all.

Under our current system, women, visible minorities, and other under-represented groups face an uphill battle to get elected -- but
they often do win races with less than half the vote. Raising the bar to 50% simply makes their task more difficult. In cases where women
and visible minorities manage to win under our current system, they would more often be defeated during second and third rounds of vote
counting in AV.

Supporting AV in cities -- turning our backs on the principle of equal and effective votes and representative elected bodies -- will only
confuse our message and give fuel to those who are pushing for Alternative Vote at the federal and provincial levels. A vote for
option B could also result in some Fair Vote chapters supporting AV in their cities while neighbouring chapters oppose it. This would
confuse people about where Fair Vote Canada stands.

It should be noted how this issue came about. Earlier this year, Fair Vote Canada sent a letter to Toronto City Council stating that Fair
Vote could not recommend the Alternative Vote. They agreed with the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT) that electoral reform is a
good idea for Toronto, and thanked them for putting it on the table, but would like a citizen led, evidenced based process to look at all
options, including adding proportionality.

Unfortunately, did this not sit well with the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto (RaBIT), an NGO which promotes the Alternative Vote in
Toronto. Not satisfied with merely operating as an independent group, members of RaBIT's leadership ran a slate to take over Fair Vote
Canada's Toronto Chapter after signing up RaBIT supporters. This has resulted in a deeply divided chapter that now operates under
professional mediation. Option B could give a green light to spread this division to other FVC chapters nation-wide.

The NCR Chapter is glad to see a debate on voting system reform between two separate organizations. However, RaBIT's leadership has
proceeded to relentlessly push forward a single issue that is at odds with Fair Vote Canada's mandate. This is *not* a balanced approach and is not in the best interest of voters.

As we head into the 2015 federal election together, it's more important than ever to have a simple and powerful message:
proportional representation, making every vote count. NCR Chapter executive members support option A: proportional
representation. After weighing the evidence, we hope that Fair Vote Canada members will do so as well.

Julien Lamarche
FVC National Capital Region Chapter President

Julie Cook
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Vice-President

Stewart Fast
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Treasurer

Teresa LeGrand
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Director of Communications

Andrew Blair
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Director at Large

Andrew Depedro
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Director at Large

Espoir Manirambona
FVC National Capital Region Chapter Director at Large


Fair Vote Canada Waterloo Region Chapter executives support proportional representation (referendum option A)


Recommendation to Vote A for Appropriate


As members of the Fair Vote Waterloo Region chapter executive, we’d like to express our views on the upcoming referendum.

 First, we are members of the Waterloo Region chapter of Fair Vote Canada. The fact that some people in Toronto want to elect their municipal council using a non-proportional voting method, should have no bearing on us.


Second, our understanding of Fair Vote Canada is that it advocates for proportional representation. The RaBIT voting system, by their own admission, is not a proportional voting system.


Therefore, we do not find Option B to be appropriate. Local politics should not derail the long-established policy and advocacy direction of a national organization such as Fair Vote Canada. This would have negative consequences for Fair Vote Canada's campaigns at every level. The RaBIT group may certainly argue their case to Torontonians, but should not seek to influence a national organization advocating proportional representation.

Shannon Adshade, Co-Chair
Sharon Sommerville, Co-Chair
Aden Seaman, Treasurer
Sean Haberlin, Member-At-Large
Jennifer Ross, Member-At-Large
Mary Jackes, Member-At-Large


Fair Vote Canada York Region Chapter executives support proportional representation (referendum option A) in the Fair Vote Canada Members Referendum vote, and we hope that Fair Vote Canada members will do so as well.

As members of the Fair Vote York Region chapter executive, we’d like to express our views on the upcoming referendum.

This referendum is not about whether you personally feel any particular city would be better, worse or the same with run-off voting for councils. This referendum is about whether Fair Vote Canada, the national citizen’s organization for proportional representation, should fundamentally change its mandate right now to endorse a winner take all system for the election of any municipal body.

The fact that some members in Toronto chapter want to elect their municipal council using a non-proportional voting method, should not derail the long-established policy and advocacy direction of a national organization such as Fair Vote Canada. This would have negative consequences for Fair Vote Canada's campaigns at every level.

Establishment of Alternative Vote in Canada’s largest city and sixth largest jurisdiction is cause for concern for those who want PR. Unlike Vegas, what happens in TO, does not stay in TO.

The Alternative Vote (AV) in option B is another majoritarian system. Although it is a ranked ballot system, it uses single member constituencies, and therefore it is not proportional. AV is a distraction from our goal: a proportional voting system where everyone is properly represented.

Fair Vote Canada has come a long way in the last ten years in promoting a fairer voting system for Canadians. The Green Party and the Official Opposition, NDP, have made proportional representation a priority in the lead up to the 2015 election.

Despite their recent votes in favour of AV, the Liberal party is on the verge of opening those closed minds, and therefore we are on the threshold of getting PR at the federal level.

As we head into the 2015 federal election together, it's more important than ever to have a simple and powerful message: proportional representation, making every vote count. Let's not make a tactical error which would encourage an impasse in 2015. Let's not help create a situation where the parties can blame each other for thwarting progress. Instead, let's build momentum and seize this opportunity to get everyone on the same page for a more proportional system. Let's send a clear message to the parties, the public and the media, and encourage what we do want: proportional representation.
Vote For Option ‘A’
York Region Fair Vote Canada Executive:
Raymond Lorenz
Steve Beriault
Dan Desson

Fair Vote Nova Scotia Execs Support Proportional Representation

Elected leadership supports Option A in Fair Vote referendum


Fair Vote Canada members are being asked to choose between two options in a referendum; namely whether Fair Vote should maintain support for Proportional Representation (PR) or change to support the Alternative Vote (AV) in addition, also known as Instant Ranked Voting (IRV). Fair Vote Nova Scotia members, as part of Fair Vote Canada, are encouraged to vote in the referendum; voting takes place Jan 2 – Feb 2, 2013.


Fair Vote Nova Scotia's elected executive members support Option A (proportional representation). We do not support Option B (the Alternative Vote) because we have serious concerns about AV’s fairness and its ability to address the current problems in our democracy.


We are also very concerned that supporting the use of Alternative Vote on one level of government, such as for municipal councils, would encourage its spread to other levels of government. There are already federal and provincial political parties promoting the Alternative Vote, priming conditions for this “winner take all” system to catch on and spread.


AV is not a proportional voting system. Because it uses single-member districts with only one winner, just like First Past the Post, election results won’t accurately reflect voter wishes or the popular vote. Compared to our current First Past the Post system, over-representation of large parties could worsen under AV while third-place or smaller voices are even more likely to be shut out. It is even possible to have "wrong winner" elections under AV, where the party with the most votes actually loses the election. That's not democracy.


Winner-take-all voting systems like AV and First Past the Post offer little to correct the under-representation of ethnic or cultural minorities, or help in getting more women elected. The Alternative Vote won't help get elected municipal councils or provincial legislatures that better reflect our diverse population.


It is sometimes argued that implementing the Alternative Vote could be used as a stepping-stone towards a proportional voting system. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that it will help us get to PR in cities, provinces, or federally. To our knowledge, no jurisdiction has ever switched to PR from AV.


Fair Vote's mandate is to promote equal and effective votes, fair representation, and to fight so that everyone's vote counts. That means proportional representation. The Alternative Vote will not help realize these goals, and it may be a divisive and time-consuming distraction for achieving a voting system where everyone is fairly represented. As elected executive members, we are concerned that Option B may force Fair Vote Nova Scotia to support another winner-take-all system that does not ensure the right of representation for all.


A debate on the merits of different voting systems is healthy, and Fair Vote Nova Scotia's elected executive members have no problem with other organizations campaigning for majoritarian systems like the Alternative Vote. But Fair Vote need not be the organization to promote another winner-take-all system like AV/IRV or First Past the Post.


FVNS Executives support proportional representation, and will be voting for Option A in the referendum.


Andy Blair

President, Fair Vote Nova Scotia


Sahar Yousefi

Vice-President, Fair Vote Nova Scotia


Matt Settle

Treasurer, Fair Vote Nova Scotia


Steve Caines

Secretary, Fair Vote Nova Scotia


Stella Lord

Member at Large, Fair Vote Nova Scotia


Doug Kane

Member at Large, Fair Vote Nova Scotia