CHARLOTTETOWN – Following four weeks of public consultations on democratic renewal that saw Islanders from Alberton to Souris voice their support for proportional representation, the Coalition for Proportional Representation (PR) gathered to share highlights and key themes from the consultations.
Coalition member Ron Kelly notes, “Some people claim that Islanders are resistant to changes in the province’s political system, but the reality is that the Prince Edward Island political system has changed frequently over the years. It was just 20 years ago, for example, that we went with our current system of 27 single-member ridings. In truth, like most political systems, our system has changed and evolved over time.”
A growing number of countries around the world have moved away from first-past-the-post electoral systems like the one we have to adopt proportional electoral systems. Fair Vote PEI Chairperson and Coalition member Brenda Oslawsky says, “Over 90 countries around the world use some form of proportional representation, and among the significant benefits of PR systems is increased diversity of parliaments, including better representation of women and other underrepresented groups.” The move to a system of proportional representation has led to increases in diversity in the legislative bodies of most countries that have adopted the change. “No new democracies have chosen the first-past-the-post system that we currently use,” adds Oslawsky.
The Coalition for Proportional Representation is focused on building support for a new proportional electoral system that meets the needs of Islanders. Coalition member Marie Burge of the Cooper Institute concludes, “We have been heartened by the support for proportional representation that Islanders have been presenting in hearings across the Island. The Coalition for Proportional Representation will be following along closely to the recommendations put forward by the Special Committee on Democratic Renewal in the fall sitting of the legislature. We’re confident that a move to proportional representation will produce both a positive and an acceptable level of change for voters in P.E.I.”
A final session in the initial round of public consultations on democratic renewal was recently added to the Special Committee’s schedule and will be held Monday November 16, 2015 from 7-9pm at Fox Meadow Golf & Country Club in Stratford.
The Coalition for Proportional Representation is a newly-formed network of community-based organizations and individuals promoting proportional representation. Currently, it consists of approximately 60 individuals, plus the following organizations: Citizens Alliance of P.E.I; Cooper Institute; Council of Canadians; Canadian Union of Public Employees (P.E.I Division); Fair Vote P.E.I.; Green Party of P.E.I.; New Democratic Party of P.E.I.; P.E.I Advisory Council on the Status of Women; P.E. I Coalition for Women in Government and P.E.I Council of People with Disabilities.