Stephen Fuhr CD MP

Your member of parliament for


Kelowna-Lake Country

Stephen Fuhr CD MP

Your member of parliament for


Kelowna-Lake Country

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Kelowna-Lake Country’s report to the Electoral Reform Committee

Kelowna-Lake Country Electoral Reform Town Hall
with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, Mark Holland, MP
and Stephen Fuhr, CD, MP

On July 18, the riding of Kelowna-Lake Country (British Columbia) hosted an Electoral Reform Town Hall with Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions and Stephen Fuhr, MP. The event was well-attended with over 140 engaged residents from across the Okanagan. Participants traveled from as far as Salmon Arm and Osoyoos to share their views regarding electoral reform. In addition to individual participation, all four major parties in the riding were represented: Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green. One of the major highlights of this town hall was the range of people who participated, both young and old, and the caliber of the subsequent dialogue. Participants were well-informed about the issues surrounding electoral reform; the opinions that participants expressed were well thought out and thoroughly explained and participants were eager to share their views and concerns with Mark Holland. Overall, we were very pleased with the success of this town hall. The knowledge of participants and quality of discussion was impressive to say the least.

General

Did you have a dialogue about electoral and democratic reform in general?
Yes.

Democratic principles and values

Did you have a dialogue about the principles and values that underpin Canada’s democracy? Yes.

1) If yes, what were the highlights of the dialogue?
– One of the major highlights of the town hall was the range of people who came out, both old and young, and the calibre of the subsequent dialogue. There were over 140 people in attendance and representatives from all four major parties in the riding: Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green. Participants were well-informed about the issues surrounding electoral reform and were eager to share their views and concerns with Stephen Fuhr and Mark Holland.

2) What principles did participants identify as most important?
– The main principle that participants identified as most important was that the current electoral system is not working and that certain reforms might alleviate the situation. Many participants expressed that they feel that parties are not working together and an excessive amount of time is being spent on partisan politics. They felt that parties are becoming more divided and government is not as effective or efficient as it should be.

3) What principles did participants identify as least important?
– Most participants were unsupportive of mandatory voting saying it would only increase the amount of uninformed voters. Many constituents disagreed with whipped voting, explaining that MP’s should represent the views of their constituents and not just their party.

Canadian federal electoral reform

Did you have a dialogue about different potential Canadian federal reforms?
Yes.

1) If yes, what were the highlights of the dialogue?
– Some participants seemed to support proportional representation, using Germany as an example of an effective use of the system. A participant also said that proportional representation would encourage parties to work together, a change that people really want to see.
– However, some also raised concerns about proportional representation producing minorities and feel that it would become difficult to get legislation through.
– Another participant shared their support for preferential ballots.
– Some participants also felt that FPTP works well for Canada because it is easy to understand and has always been the system used.
– Most participants expressed support for electronic/online voting, however many expressed concerns over security.
– On the topic of mandatory voting, most people were unsupportive, saying that mandatory voting would only increase the amount of uninformed voters. Many constituents disagreed with whipped voting, explaining that MPs should represent the views of their constituents and not just their party.

Additional feedback

Did the dialogue yield additional thoughts you would like to share?
Yes.

1) If yes, what were those additional thoughts?
– Mostly, those who participated in this town hall expressed their frustration with the partisan nature of our current system. People really want to see more cooperation across party lines.
– Someone suggested moving the voting age down to 16 years of age and incorporating education and awareness about the Canadian political system into elementary school curriculum.
– Another interesting thought that one proposed was to have a referendum after the third election of the system we change it too. In other words, he disagreed with having a referendum now because it wouldn’t have given the reformed electoral system a chance.
– A suggestion that seemed to be popular among the crowd was limiting Senate terms to 10 years.