Tag Archives: every voter counts

Show Your PR Colours!

With less than 3 weeks before the voting begins it’s time to show your colours! Let’s paint this province with a huge Proportional Representation brush by using this bright image for your social media profile photo. (If you don’t use social media, read on!)

votingforpr

On Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Simply save the above image to your device, then go to your profile and upload as your new profile pic. Encourage your friends to download and use the image too!

Not on Facebook? Check out our new video: “Confused About the Vote? Sacia Breaks it Down”, and share this video.

Confused about the Vote?

 

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Electoral Reform: An Accurate View of History (Op-Ed)

VotePR12squareCoalition for PR member Marie Burge submitted this op-ed to the Charlottetown Guardian recently. Thanks, Marie!

ELECTORAL REFORM: AN ACCURATE VIEW OF HISTORY

From October 29 to November 7, 2016, Islanders will vote in a plebiscite. The results of the plebiscite will suggest how future PEI governments should be elected. It is a welcome sign that the government is paying for education for us to be well-informed voters. This task was given to Elections PEI. The education seems to be going well.

However, good community education requires an accurate view of PEI history. One important moment in our history was the 2005 plebiscite. It was upsetting to hear the Elections PEI communications director say, “The last time there was a plebiscite (in 2005) there was no real public education…” This comment diminishes the competence and work of a lot of people.

First of all is Premier Pat Binns who had the courage to initiate an electoral reform process in 2003 by mandating retired Chief Justice Norman Carruthers as the one-person commission. In one year Justice Carruthers did a massive research, drawing on knowledge of experts, local, national and international (114 submissions and interviews). He studied experiences of other jurisdictions and concluded that P.E.I. would benefit from a Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system. Premier Binns accepted this recommendation. In December 2004 the government named an eight-person commission to develop and conduct a public education program on First Past the Post and Mixed Member Proportional electoral systems and to design a plebiscite question. That was the Commission on Prince Edward Island’s Electoral Future, with Leonard Russell, a well-known educator, as chair. This commission implemented an extensive public education program. Its report was accepted by the PEI legislature.

To assess the statement, “(in 2005) there was no real public education”, here are some facts about 2005. The government provided its commission with a significant budget, $148,200. The Commission had regular media releases in all Island publications in French and English. There were kick-off media conferences in May 2005. In June, there was a symposium with national and local experts. A communication firm was hired in July. A television commercial was created and broadcast. An information pamphlet was delivered to most Island households and at events in many communities. The Commission created a website and had a 1-800 line. Twelve public meetings were held and the audio recordings of them were added to the website. There were print and radio messages.

The above refers only to the publicly-funded education program. As well, in 2005, a parallel, non-governmental group was active. The YES on MMP coalition of diverse community groups and individuals formed in early October and carried out the YES Campaign. This coalition raised $35,000 private dollars and hired a co-ordinator, designed “Vote YES” signs and buttons, and 3,000 clear language mail-outs. The coalition did some door-to-door campaigning and organized a number of forums/debates, featuring the Yes and No sides.

The misrepresentation of education efforts in 2005 is important because it tends to cover-up the fact that the PC government changed its tune, came to favour a “No” vote, and undermined the plebiscite process at the eleventh hour by requiring a 60 per cent vote and by having few voting stations opened. They and the Liberal party used backroom tactics to warn voters of “the dangers of MMP,” and that it was too difficult for us to understand.

Now because it’s 2016, we expect government and opposition to take the high road. No more 2005 shenanigans. It seems clear that many Islanders are ready and able for change. We can all help by making sure that all eligible Islanders know the issues and that they vote intelligently in the plebiscite.

– Marie Burge of Mermaid was a member of the YES ON MMP coalition in 2005 and is an active member of the 2016 PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation.

Frequently Asked Questions about PR

pr-questionWe’ve added a FAQ to our website! https://peipr.ca/faq/

If you have questions that aren’t answered here, post them in the comments, and we’ll do our best to answer them and add them to the FAQ page.

PR Action Team Launches New Website!

pr-action-team

Exciting news! Coalition member group the PR Action Team‘s new website is up and running today. Visit  www.PRonPEI.vote to pledge your vote for PR and to find out more about upcoming events to promote proportional representation across Prince Edward Island.

Pin It on for PR!

IMG_20160516_160140Look for the Coalition for PR and these nifty flyers and pins at the Dandelion Festival and the Herb Festival and other community events coming up this spring!

Download the printable Website Cards

PEIPR Supports Two Choices in Democratic Renewal Report

VotePR12squareOpinion-editorial by Brenda Oslawsky and Marie Burge

The Prince Edward Island Coalition for Proportional Representation (PEIPR) is pleased that Islanders are receiving more information about the November, 2016 plebiscite on electoral reform. The legislature’s Special Committee on Democratic Renewal has presented its report regarding the plebiscite question and this will soon be debated in the legislature.

PEIPR, as a network of 13 community organizations and more than 120 individuals, supports two of the five choices listed in the recommended plebiscite question. Both Dual Member Proportional (DMP) and Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) produce election results that, among other things, will see the number of legislative seats reflect the total popular vote received by each political party. We know there is no perfect system but both these models contain many favourable features.

In community forums sponsored by the legislature’s Special Committee, many Islanders pressed for electoral systems that could work for P.E.I. There is a hunger for change. However, because many people are not yet engaged in this issue, more work is needed to promote greater interest in the plebiscite.

Using the votes from the May, 2015, provincial election as an example, both MMP and DMP would provide the following approximate results.

  • Party A = 40.8% = 11 seats;
  • Party B = 37.4% = 10 seats;
  • Party C = 11.0% = 3 seats
  • Party D = 10.8% = 3 seats

Both proportional systems, MMP and DMP, would prevent lopsided legislatures in which the opposition would consist of only one or two MLAs. They also ensure that every vote counts and every voter counts.

In our view, these two PR options would give P.E.I. a fairer voting system. The other three options – First Past the Post; First Past the Post Plus Leader; and Preferential Voting – would do nothing to ensure that our legislature would reflect the way citizens vote. In that sense, they are not fair.

The PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation supports the work of the PR Action Team, a coalition member focused on developing a public campaign in support of proportional representation. We echo the PR Action Team’s belief that Islanders are intelligent citizens with a great deal of political experience. Informed Islanders committed to the good of their community will make good choices. We believe that they will embrace the chance to lead the way in Canada and introduce proportional representation to P.E.I.

Brenda Oslawsky of Fair Vote PEI and Marie Burge of the Cooper Institute are members of the Prince Edward Island Coalition for Proportional Representation.

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