Canada Needs to Become a Real Democracy
Full repost of letters from Fair Vote Canada to Stephen Harper and Opposition leaders about the importance of democratic reform now, more than ever.
FVC sends open letters to Harper and opposition leaders: it’s time to fix the problem
Fair Vote Canada sent and issued open letters to the Prime Minister and opposition leaders – now is the time for action on electoral reform.
Letter to the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Re: Prorogation and Re-examination: Cut to the Chase S’il Vous Plait
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
On Wednesday you said you ended the current Parliament (without its approval) to give your government an extended opportunity “to re-examine the overall agenda.”
You have granted yourself and your party two unsupervised months to correct course.
Will elimination of Canada’s democratic deficit be on your government’s new agenda? If not it should be.
Your party represents fewer than 40 per cent of Canadian voters. You can’t square that minority support, and the unilateral shutdown of Parliament, with any reasonable concept of legitimate and representative democratic government.
I do not accuse you of violating democracy itself only because the Canadian political system as it stands is intrinsically undemocratic. If you are leading a party of democrats, then surely it is time for you to abandon the shamocracy and make the House of Commons democratic.
The fix is not difficult. Amend the Canada Elections Act to guarantee every adult Canadian man and woman equal representation of their own choice in the House of Commons. Then establish a swift process to produce the necessary electoral reform. That would make Canada, at last, a democracy — and you for the first time the Prime Minister of a democratic state.
The opposition parties – with the possible exception of the secessionist Bloc Quebecois – would not dare oppose democratic reform of the House of Commons. The opposition leaders understand, as do you, that the great majority of voters yearn for Canada to become a functioning democracy.
Do you, with your Reform Party roots, want Canada to become a democracy? What is your action plan to make it so? I look forward to your unequivocal written reply.
Fair Vote Canada
Letter to the Opposition Leaders
Michael Ignatieff, Leader, Liberal Party of Canada
Jack Layton, Leader, New Democratic Party of Canada
Gilles Duceppe, Leader, Bloc Quebecois
Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada
Re: Prorogation – Seize the Moment
Dear Opposition Leaders:
Last Wednesday Prime Minister Harper said he terminated Parliament (without your approval) to give his government an extended opportunity “to re-examine the overall agenda.”
He has granted himself – and you – two clear months to correct course.
There is no sign that elimination of the democratic deficit in the House of Commons is on Stephen Harper’s agenda. It should be on yours.
The Prime Minister’s party represents fewer than 40 per cent of Canadian voters. Nobody can square that minority support and the unilateral shutdown of Parliament with any reasonable concept of legitimate and representative democratic government.
The Prime Minister and his party are deliberately flouting Parliament. We do not accuse him of flouting democracy, however, because the Canadian political system as it now stands is intrinsically undemocratic. If you lead democratic parties, then surely it’s time for you to unite and abolish the shamocracy.
The fix is not difficult. Amend the Canada Elections Act to guarantee every adult Canadian man and woman equal representation of their own choice in Parliament, and establish a swift process to produce the necessary electoral reform. That would make Canada, at last, a democracy.
At present the House of Commons embodies and projects a series of ridiculous untruths. Judging from the current “representation” most Quebecois want to quit the federation; most Canadians are reluctant to elect women; there are no Conservative supporters in Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto; there are no Liberal supporters in Alberta. There are no New Democrat supporters in Saskatchewan and remarkably few elsewhere, and no Green supporters anywhere in Canada.
Democrats, whether in government or opposition, should do everything in their power to bring an end to this gross misrepresentation of the people of Canada.
If the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper uses the prorogation to develop a plan for swift electoral reform, we trust you will cooperate.
In case that is not his intention, your parties, which together represent a substantial majority of Canadian voters, should use the prorogation to re-examine your various agendas and devise a shared action plan for democratic reform.
* Together you should draft legislation to provide Canadians with a democratic voting system and democratic financing of political parties.
* Together you should devise an electoral saw-off sufficient to give Canadians, after the next election, a Parliament with a clear majority committed to implement the democratic reforms.
Each of you should now be asking: does my party really want democratic representation for all Canadians, and what will my party risk or sacrifice, now, to achieve it?
I look forward to your individual written replies – and to your unequivocal commitments to seize the moment and do what is needed to make the House of Commons democratic.
Fair Vote Canada