Prominent Canadians call for electoral reform

Fair Vote Canada (FVC), a group dedicated to changing the way we vote, has announced its advisory board of 28 prominent Canadians from all points on the political spectrum. It includes such diverse personalities as author Pierre Berton, former Lt. Gov. Lincoln Alexander, activist Maude Barlow and tax critic Walter Robinson.

"There is a groundswell of discontent among citizens about our present voting system," said FVC president Larry Gordon, "and this is reflected in our board."

The board includes current and former MPs from the Alliance, Liberal, NDP and Progressive Conservative parties, as well as former party leaders Ed Broadbent and Claude Ryan. There are such prominent social scientists as Dr. Sylvia Bashevkin, Dr. Sylvia Ostry and Dr. Vincent Lemieux and media personalities Max Ferguson, Rick Salutin, June Callwood and Judy Rebick. Among those from the arts, religious and scientific communities are
Karen Kain, Reverend Lois Wilson and Dr. Patricia Baird.

"Fair Vote Canada is pressing for a national civic dialogue to be followed by a referendum on which voting system we shall use in this country," Gordon said. "Our current first-past-the-post system routinely distorts what voters are saying, produces phoney majority governments, forces many to engage in strategic voting, and has driven down voter turnout to the lowest level in our history.

"Canada, the U.S. and India are the only remaining countries with more than eight million people that are still fully wedded to first-past-the-post voting systems," he said. "Most major democracies scrapped this system and moved to proportional representation between 50 and 100 years ago.

"The public dialogue and referendum process we advocate is similar to that used in New Zealand in 1993, where citizens, after an extensive education process, voted to adopt a proportional representation system," Gordon said.

Other members of the FVC board are Lorne Nystrom, Carolyn Bennett, Patrick Boyer, Mary Eberts, Dr. E. Margaret Fulton, Dr. Phyllis Gross-kurth, Robin Mathews, Dr. Henry Milner, Bernard Ostry, Walter Pitman, Dr. Norman Ruff and Ted White.