McGuinty Pledge shows electoral reform emerging as key political issue in Canada

Fair Vote Canada - News Release

For immediate release: November 9, 2001

Contact: Larry Gordon 416-410-4034, Julian West 250-245-5406


Today's announcement by Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty indicates that electoral reform is becoming a front burner issue in Canada. McGuinty pledged that an Ontario Liberal government would hold a binding referendum on what voting system would be used in future provincial elections.

"Fair Vote Canada commends Dalton McGuinty for his leadership in setting the stage for fair voting and fair democratic representation in Ontario," said Larry Gordon, president of Fair Vote Canada, a non- partisan national citizens' campaign for voting system reform. "We need to revitalize democracy and voting system reform is job number one. Canadians are increasingly angry and many have stopped voting because they can see our dysfunctional voting system doesn't produce representative government."

Gordon pointed to other recent developments as indications the push for fair voting is gaining momentum. B.C. Liberal premier Gordon Campbell has pledged to convene a citizens' assembly on electoral reform and take their recommendations to a binding referendum. The federal NDP, as well as the Ontario, B.C. and Alberta NDP have all recently embraced the concept of proportional representation. The PEI legislature is studying proportional representation and a new citizens group recently formed in that province. In Quebec, Mouvement pour une democratie nouvelle, a new citizens' group, is finding support for electoral reform in all Quebec provincial parties.

In recent months, many of Canada's leading think tanks have also focused on electoral reform, including the Institute for Research on Public Policy, the Canada West Foundation, the Fraser Institute and the Law Commission of Canada.

"Voting system reform is the lynchpin issue in democratic renewal," said Gordon. "These developments show the issue is now on the political agenda of the nation."