Real People representing Real People

Good Sunday Morning,

we are doing this for our childrenFirst let me take a moment to explore why Electoral Reform continues to be front and center. I know there are plenty of other pressing issues that demand our attention and am grateful for all of you who maintain your diligent efforts to share on social media, write letters and support progress on those fronts. But Elizabeth has dedicated her summer to this. As she said at the Saturna Town Hall, when everyone else was off for the summer she and the other ERRE committee members had to go to summer school.

In fact Elizabeth fought hard to be given that seat on the committee and be forced to attend summer school. Why? Because she knows how intrinsically Electoral Reform is linked to all the other issues that we face not only as a country but as a planet. To solve the challenges of our time, especially the environmental challenges, we need to work together. We need to bring the best minds to the table, unpack complex issues, and build consensus around common solutions. That's what Electoral Reform is all about; building consensus. That's what the Special Committee has been doing all summer. Literally.

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting Minister Monsef, who insisted we call her Maryam, in the kitchen while scrubbing a few potluck dishes at the Saturna Town Hall. We were all welcomed by the local community and especially Priscilla, Richard and Michael, who went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. Maryam and Elizabeth demonstrated their total commitment to building a better democracy, in part by sharing stories about themselves and each other, and in part by recognizing and including island resident and former Conservative Senator Pat Carney in the discussion.

It was the Minister's first town hall with an MP from another party and her attentive demeanor gave many of us the confidence that she really does seek a fairer, more inclusive voting system for all Canadians. Seeing her in action up close underscored that this truly is an opportunity of a lifetime. We had hoped to live-stream the event but technical difficulties made that impossible. We do have a video record of the event and here is a clip

Now they are setting out to tour the country. There are over one hundred Electoral Reform Events in September alone and Maryam Monsef's Dialogue Tour will take her to 21 communities from coast to coast to coast. The ERRE Committee is also taking to the road and will be in Victoria on September 27th so mark your calendar now. We will keep you updated on the venue once it's been selected. This committee is doing a fantastic job in sifting through the various options. They are working towards building a consensus around a "Made in Canada" voting system that will bring our democracy into the 21st century.

Monsef_on_Saturna.jpgAnd while there are still those voices that are calling for a referendum, it is becoming increasingly apparent that it would be unfair to ask Canadians to vote on something they have not had the chance to experience. Let the All Party Committee do its job, let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau keep his promise, and then let's give the new system a good test drive before we ratify it as part of the 2027 general election. We've been studying alternative voting systems since 1921. It's time to give it a whirl.

Of course there are many other town halls happening across the country. Elizabeth herself will be holding her traditional town Halls on Mayne Island tomorrow and on Pender Island this Tuesday September 13th from 6:00 to 7:30 at the Pender Island Community Hall. That same day Elizabeth will be joining Adam Olsen at a Pender Island Meet & Greet at the Hope Bay Store.

On Wednesday she will host a Climate Change consultation at U-Vic's Bob Wright Centre and on Friday she will be hosting a Town Hall on Climate Change, Democratic Reform and the TPP on Salt Spring. And if any of you have any friends or relatives up Island, be sure to tell them about this fabulous Town Hall on Thursday sponsored by Fair Vote Canada and the North Island - Powell River Green Party EDA. Speaking of Fair Vote Canada, if you are a letter writer and would like to join their team of letter writers in support of Electoral Reform you can do so by emailing Anita Nickerson anita.nickerson@fairvote.ca and asking to be put on their list server.

And now for a quick roundup of some other important issues.

c-51_hearings.jpgThis iPolitics article is now saying what Elizabeth has been telling us all along. "The NEB is a train wreck and needs to be shut down." We need to return to a real and credible environmental assessment process. Why not send this article to a few ministers. Your voices really do matter. And while you are speaking out, remember bill C-51? Well, the Government of Canada has launched a consultation on National Security and is asking for your input.

Yes, it's all happening at once. This consultation too will end on December 1st. The very same time that we will have a final decision on pipelines, trade agreements and of course December 1st is when the ERRE committee will submit its recommendations to the minister. Is it any wonder that sleep comes at a premium for Elizabeth? We are in the process of getting our country back but only if we refuse to let the lobbyists carry the day. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping Elizabeth by speaking out, tweeting ministers, participating in Town Halls and writing letters to the editor. This is your country. This is your planet. This is your future.

Until next week,
Thomas


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