Democratic voting reform pushed

With next year’s federal election approaching, the Wilfrid Laurier University New Democratic Party group hosted a non-partisan event with Fair Vote Canada, featuring guest speaker

Anita Nickerson. The event took place on Jan. 29 and involved Nickerson, action coordinator for Fair Vote Canada, giving a presentation on democratic reform.

The premise of Fair Vote Canada is a call for voting system reform. Nickerson’s presentation promoted the introduction, in part, of proportional representation in elections for all levels of government.

“The goal of the event was to bring awareness to the issues of electoral reform and help make the student public more aware of the matters of how their votes are simply wasted,” said Samuel Kennaley, president of the NDP group on Laurier’s campus.

In her presentation, Nickerson explained that, under the current electoral system, the party representation within the government does not accurately reflect how the public voted.

“Fair Vote Canada is important because our voting system is fundamentally placed within the foundations of the house representation. If we don’t have that, we can’t change anything else,” said Nickerson.

“It’s about making everybody’s vote count and ensuring that everybody is fairly represented in Parliament.”

The event was open not just to members of Laurier’s NDP group, but also to all students to get the message out to the public.

“We thought it would be good if the event was open to everybody with the thinking this is important for everybody,” said Kennaley. “Electoral reform affects everybody and isn’t just party-specific.”

Under ten people turned out for the event, but Kennaley was happy with the turnout.

“There were a few new faces that we haven’t seen before. Overall, I was quite pleased with it.”

Nickerson believes that the matter of electoral reform is something that young people in particular need to care about.

“Young people need to get involved in this because it affects them. The direction of the country is being decided by a smaller number of voters than ever before, and disproportionally, the votes of young people tend not to count because of their tendency to vote non-traditionally for smaller parties,” said Nickerson.

“The issues that young people care about will not be addressed until their votes count.”

As to why they decided to bring the event to Laurier, Kennaley explained that he believes this is something important that affects Canadian citizens, including students.

“These issues affect the general public and that includes Laurier students,” Kennaley said. “Not a lot of students vote and I think that happens because they know their votes will be wasted and this creates huge problems when you have an unaccountable government.”

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