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Your letters for Monday July 25: Electoral reform
« on: July 25, 2016, 10:03:09 AM »
Your letters for Monday July 25: Electoral reform

Electoral reform about fairness Re: Electoral reform discussion must focus on Canadian values, July 11. Jonathan Rose is right that electoral reform should reflect shared Canadian values. Tolerance, fairness and inclusivity are perhaps our most cherished values. Proportional representation (PR) elects a more diverse set of people and parties. Countries with PR elect more female representatives than […]

Electoral reform about fairness


Re: Electoral reform discussion must focus on Canadian values, July 11.


Jonathan Rose is right that electoral reform should reflect shared Canadian values. Tolerance, fairness and inclusivity are perhaps our most cherished values.


Proportional representation (PR) elects a more diverse set of people and parties. Countries with PR elect more female representatives than Canada: by 50 per cent in Germany and 80 per cent in Sweden. “Because it’s 2016,” Canada needs PR!


Some opponents of PR stoke fears of political instability if fringe parties win seats. In fact, PR favours tolerant politicians who can work with other parties in a chamber where many more voters are represented.


Our current first-past-the-post system often disproportionately rewards divisive politicians who can inflame a highly partisan base. Sadly, wedge politics, built on xenophobia, fear and anger are known to be more motivating than policy debates. This is not confined to the Brexit referendum or the Donald Trump campaign. In Canada, both federal and Quebec politicians have exploited anxieties about minorities.


While protections for human rights are essential, our multi-ethnic society also needs PR to reduce the political rewards for sowing division. Our discussion of electoral reform need not be so unfocused. Let’s focus on PR and learn from the many countries that use it.


James Mihaychuk, Ottawa


Reform evaporates in summer heat?


In his article, Jonathan Rose writes that “This summer as meetings take place across the country …” and that says it all about the importance the Liberals have put on this. Parties long ago decided that there would be no substantial debate on major issues and no big announcements on government policy in the summer, when people were on holidays, at the cottage, golfing or holding backyard parties. The last thing on people’s minds was politics.


The logic behind holding townhall meetings in the midst of summer, on arguably one of the most important topics ever to come before Canadians, is a mystery. The minister of democratic institutions suggests that this is an opportunity for those voices that are never heard to express their views, and everything will be recorded and sent back to the electoral reform committee. If there are points give out for being naïve, then Maryam Monsef gets plenty, as those not engaged in politics are probably the least likely to show up at these events, summer notwithstanding.


If the idea of holding these events in summer is to limit participation, then the odds are that the government will succeed. Which then leads to the conclusion that for all the posturing and weighty pronouncements that this would be the last election under FPTP, electoral reform town hall meetings are where this election promise has been sent to fade away.


Jeff Spooner, Kinburn


An astute analysis of coup attempt


Re: Turks show how best to respond to coups: Take to the streets, July 21.


Congratulations to Mohammed Adam for a very informative and important analysis of the failed Turkish coup.


He is right: The real victors were the Turkish people who saved Turkish democracy. And yes, African countries may indeed learn a lesson here: that democracy is people-owned, demanding courage and sacrifice, sometimes in one’s own blood.


In post-coup Turkey, one hopes citizens will be rewarded with more freedoms, including academic and press freedom and no death penalty.


Canada can help constructively with Turkish government to strengthen freedoms and rule of law.


Ozay Mehmet, Senior Fellow, Modern Turkish Studies, Distinguished Research Professor, International Affairs (Emeritus), Carleton University


Watch where you’re cycling


As a walker, I regularly use the narrow pedestrian path on the north side of Campeau Drive between Teron Road and Kanata Avenue. A city bylaw forbids bicycles on sidewalks and signs have been placed at intervals along this path encouraging compliance.


Notwithstanding the prohibition, many cyclists continue to use this sidewalk; the beginning and end of the school day are peak periods. I have been clipped once by a passing cyclist, fortunately without injury. When I draw their attention to the bylaw, many continue simply continue on, while a small number abuse me verbally. Not once has a cyclist changed their behaviour, or even let me know they are coming up behind me when overtaking.


There is a wider path on the other side of Campeau Drive, and no signs. There are bicycle lanes on both sides of the road, and the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act says drivers must leave one metre of room between their vehicles and any cyclists they pass. I am all for continuing to make our roads safer for cyclists from vehicular traffic, but surely pedestrians are entitled to equal consideration.


Hal Whiteman, Kanata


 


Source: Your letters for Monday July 25: Electoral reform