MoVE: Voter Equality for Toronto by 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 “Thanks to Schein and Hunter, Toronto could have proportional representation in 2018” – Parker

New Voter Equality Group Weighs in on Toronto Voting Reform Debate

 Thursday, February 27th, 2014 – TORONTO – MoVE: the Movement for Voter Equality, Canada’s first independent voting reform institute, formed in 2013, weighed into the complex and rapidly shifting Toronto voting reform debate today. MoVE directors placed the organization at the service of Toronto City Council in correspondence with councillors sent today, offering MoVE’s assistance with public consultation, system design and expert legal advice. The group also issued a statement endorsing the private members’ bills by MPPs Jonah Schein and Mitzie Hunter, released over the past 48 hours.

MoVE director Stuart Parker, active in campaigning for voter equality in Toronto since 2005 and veteran of the 2006 City of Toronto Act debate welcomed both pieces of legislation, despite their differences. “Under the new legislation, Toronto City Council could begin working tomorrow with taxpayers to design a system with equal, effective votes for everyone. Thanks to Schein and Hunter, Toronto could have proportional representation (PR) in 2018,” he stated, noting that both bills would permit the single transferrable vote system of PR currently in use in the Australian senate and Irish parliament.

“This is not a right or left issue. MoVE will make a special effort to reach out to conservative councillors in Toronto, many of whom did not support the appeal to Queens Park that started this process. In particular, we note that councillors Parker, Nunziata, Minnan-Wong and Del Grande worked with the Toronto Democracy Initiative during the City of Toronto Act debate in 2006 to forward the very kind of voting equality principles we now have the opportunity to enact. In particular, we want to remind them that there are plenty of urban conservatives in the former municipalities of Toronto, York and East York who are currently unrepresented on council, whose right to equal effective representation would be restored under a system that counted votes equally,” Parker added.

Irrespective of which bill passes, Osgoode Hall law student and MoVE board member Skye Sepp noted that there is urgent action the City of Toronto must undertake. “The Toronto Ward Boundaries Commission is about to be established. Its terms of reference will need to be changed so that citizens can work with their government to design a new voting system for Toronto and the system of ward representation that it will use. This commission will need more resources and expertise and MoVE is here to help,” Sepp stated. As representatives of a national organization, MoVE’s GTA directors, Sepp and John Deverell will be partnering with local democracy activists in allied organizations like Fair Vote Canada to insure that the organization’s intervention complement the work of local activists.

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 For more information, please contact:

Stuart Parker     778-928-9431778-928-9431   sparker@subversive.ca

Skye Sepp           416-556-5974416-556-5974     skyesepp@movementforvoterequality.ca

Attachments: PDF Copy of this release, MoVE Official Statement, Letter to City Councillors

The Movement for Voter Equality