MP Matt Decourcey Says Canadians Are Not Ready For Election Reforms

By André Faust (May 25, 2017)

The Trudeau government during their election campaign promised that 2015 would be the last year for “First past the post” elections the likely hood of that promise being honoured is now being questioned.

At a rally that coincided with the Fredericton Liberal Riding Association general annual meeting where Liberal MP Matt DeCourcey for Fredericton was scheduled to speak was held.

Upon his arrival, he was greeted by 40 to 60 people representing concerned citizens and various organisations of the riding about the Liberal government backing away from their election promise to dispose of the first past the post electoral system.

DeCourcey explained that from the government’s point of view there is no consensus among the Canadian people for an electoral change. According to DeCourcey, he believes that someday we will see a change in the electoral system, but right now is not the time.


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Proportional Representation Pure Democracy 5 Reasons

proportional-Representation

Presentation to the NB Commission on Electoral Reform, January 23, 2017

Thank you for the opportunity to present this evening. I am sure you have grown weary hearing presenters speak to the narrow focus of your charge; therefore I will speak to the reasons you must get on with recommending that proportional representation be immediately implemented in New Brunswick.

My reasons are five-fold:

1. I believe that the current first past the post system attracts (generally) poor candidates. There are exceptions, of course. But the system seems to appeal to the personality that is most prone to serving himself over others. We are saddled consistently with egocentrics and people with intense corporate connections and interests to serve. A mixed member proportional representation system would be more welcoming to average citizens with no special interests to benefit from the fact of being in public office.

2. Poor candidates lead to incompetent ministers and poor decisions. Witness the Atcon fiasco, brought about solely by elected MLAs who to this day remain in our government cabinet. Straitjacketed by the two-party system, whole regions of NB that are not on the inside of a Conservative or Liberal Registered District Association are shut out of the electoral process. Proportional Representation would allow more parties, more viewpoints, and hopefully, but not assuredly, better candidates to enter the race for public office.

3. Our current system is hollowing out the civil service. It’s hard to go to work every day wanting to do the right thing as suggested by science and evidence, only to be told by a co-opted Minister to develop a policy or program that serves a business or economic ideology, and in practice will result in adverse impacts. When you don’t see your values reflected in your work that is a recipe for suffering—by you, your family and most of all, your work. Right now one department has a motto that has arisen because of Ministerial incompetence, that is, “Loyalty over honesty.” I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

4. Your committee has discussed civics education for students who, I would argue, should be given the vote at age 16. I propose this education be extended to incoming MLAs. This would include extensive coaching on the Public Trust Doctrine (which is the principle that certain natural and cultural resources are preserved for public use, and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these resources for the public good.) AND their personal fiduciary duty to the public of NB in the management of these “resources.” Fiduciary duty, if taken seriously in NB, would not be allowing the NB government to lose many hundreds of millions of dollars on the so-called “management” of our Crown lands, also known as unceded Wolastoq territory. The Auditor General in her 2015 report has shown the government to be ignoring its fiduciary duty to the public and its biggest asset—the Crown forest– in its pandering to unsustainable industry.

5. Finally, in addition to recommending proportional representation be undertaken in NB, I would recommend your commission require changes to the NB Civil Service Act in order to address some of the shortcomings of our politicians and bureaucrats. One might think this Act would be the place to enshrine some of the selfless, universal principles of looking out for the public good and taking care of the commons for the prosperity of all but no, this isn’t the case. The Act is all about secrecy and keeping information out of the hands of the public. It is disgraceful and an embarrassment to New Brunswick. Its overhaul should be part of a major push for electoral reform—one that properly educates MLAs in how they are expected to conduct themselves while in the People’s House, and throughout their terms in office.

Thank you.

 Concerned Citizen


The Canadian Political Landscape Changed Following the 2015 Election

By André Faust

Stephen Harper did the honourable thing and accepted total responsibility for his failure and his party’s failure of re-election. “The disappointment you also feel is my responsibility and mine alone.”

What caused this unprecedented change of government? The Liberals were in third place to move be the ones to gain more than enough seats to form the majority.

During this campaign across the nation the election was not an election to vote someone in, it was an election to vote Stephen Harper out. The reasons were many.

What seemed to have caused the demise of the Harper and his party was the way he did things, His Omnibus bills, him proroguing parliament on numerous occasions. His compulsive obsession to be in control to the point were in muzzled his own party members and essentially gave them a script to present to the public. His lack of response to missing and murdered women, his environmental policies. The Unemployment Insurance reforms that essentially disqualified the seasonal worker for collecting benefits after they paid into the unemployment fund, just to name a few.
Canadians understood effects of voter split, in the 2011 election Stephen Harper had only 40% of the popular vote yet had surpassed the required seats for his party to form a majority.   As a counter measure to split voting, Canadians voted strategically voting for the candidate who was not a conservative and who had the best chance of defeating a conservative candidate.

The Harper experience gives a lot of credence to why we should abandon first-past the post voting system to a more democratic proportional representation system of elections. In the upcoming months, Canadians will hear more about proportional representation as an alternative to first-past the post.


The Future Of Canada: Proportional Representation

Proportional-Representation

By André Faust

Authoritarian State vs. Democratic State

The upcoming October 19th 2015 election is going to be one of the most important elections in Canadian history. Which will determine whether Canada will become an autocratic, authoritarian state or return to a country which dearly upholds democratic principles. An Authoritarian state refers to a governmental or political system, principle, or practice in which individual freedom is held as subordinate to the power or authority of the state, centered either in one person or a small group that is not constitutionally accountable to the people. A democracy on the other hand is a government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Under our current voting system First Past the Post which is a variant of a plurality voting systems, as Election Canada describes:

First Past the Post vs. Proportional Representation

Canada’s electoral system is referred to as a “single-member plurality” system (also commonly called a “first-past-the-post” system). In every electoral district, the candidate with the highest number of votes wins a seat in the House of Commons and represents that electoral district as its member of Parliament. An absolute majority (more than 50 percent of the votes in the electoral district) is not required for a candidate to be elected.

First past the post voting system that is the least representative and arguably most unjust elections system that exists today.

First past the post voting system is what allows Stephen Harper to win elections in 2011 Harper only had 39.62 % of the votes, but that gave him the majority seats in parliament. Voter split between the Liberals, NDP and Green party is what contributed to his success.

Proportional representation would be a much fairer way to conduct an election because the divisions in an electorate are reflected proportionately in the elected body. If 30% of the electorate support a particular political party, then roughly that party will win 30% of seats. If another party received 20%, they would have 20% of the seats. This system would in effect reflect the will of the people.