Everyone who hasn’t should sign the e-616 Petition… it closes for signature at at 11:20 a.m. (EDT) Thursday March 2nd, 2017.
And then, later in the day, anyone in Waterloo Region who can make it out ought to come out to welcome the Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage to Waterloo Region. The “welcoming committee” is being organized by our Fair Vote Waterloo friend, Sharon Sommerville, to remind the Liberal minister that Canadians still expect Proportional Representation by 2019. Here’s the invite:
The Hon. Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage will be joining Waterloo Region Liberal MPs for a meet & greet at St. John the Evangelist Church, 23 Water Street in Kitchener.
With five Liberal MPs, including two cabinet ministers in one place at one time, we thought we should take this opportunity to remind Liberal politicians that reneging on the promise to end First Past The Post and make every vote count will have consequences.
The meet and greet starts at 6:00 pm, so we will gather at St. John the Evangelist Church (basement entrance on Duke Street) at 5:45 pm. If all the MPs arrive on time, we will rally until 6:15 pm. Bring horns, tooters, drums, signs or funny hats, whatever you like to make a point; we are here, we are disappointed and we aren’t going to forget that you broke your promise to make every vote count.
What: Reminding Liberals Rally
When: Thursday, 2 March 2017 from 5:45pm to 6:15pm
Where: St. John the Evangelist Church, Duke Street entrance
Location: 23 Water St N, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada Map
I have been doing some “reminding” of my own. I’ve just put together 2 short videos to remind Waterloo’s MP, the Hon Bardish Chagger, currently Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Member of Parliament for the riding of Waterloo of the assurances she gave voters about her commitment to Electoral Reform when she was only a candidate in the 3rd place party:
“I am opposed to electronic voting and online voting. I am a computer consultant by profession, and nothing I see in my work shows that people’s home computers or even the computers in most businesses have the security capable of upholding the Integrity requirement, ensuring reliable and verifiable results.
“The main issue with online voting is not computer security, but a fundamental incompatibility between voter identity and the secret ballot.
“When voting takes place outside of a polling station it is important that voter identity is established to prevent fraud. It must be provable that the ballot filled in online was actually filled in by a registered voter, and not by someone impersonating that voter. To achieve this, voters need to be issued a ballot with a serial number or barcode to ensure that only that one ballot is filled in for that registered voter. But if every ballot cast has a serial number, then the completed ballot with the voter’s choices is identifiable with the voter’s name and registration information. The secret ballot is impossible, and the Integrity criterion cannot be met.
“When voting does not take place in a polling station then it is possible that a voter will be coerced into voting according to the demands of the “head” of the household, or voting at the workplace according to the employer’s demands. Without the scrutiny of Elections Canada, voting integrity cannot be ensured.
“But computer security is an issue too. People’s personal computers are constantly being attacked by computer viruses, malicious web sites, and denial of service attacks from compromised Webcams. And spam. The difficulty of ensuring online voting integrity is at least as great as is the difficulty of eliminating spam (unsolicited, unwanted e‑mail, sometimes commercial in nature, sent in bulk). If you haven’t experienced problems with spam then it is likely your E‑mail Service Provider is filtering your e‑mail for you – but how many good messages are being filtered accidentally? You’ll never know, because you’ll never see them.
“There are actually very few large-scale spammers on the Internet, maybe a couple of dozen at most. But they’re responsible for almost all the unwanted e‑mail that clogs up billions of e‑mail accounts in the world. It shows how a few bad actors on the Internet can completely overwhelm an e‑mail system. Similarly, a few bad actors on the Internet can completely compromise an online voting system. If we can’t secure our mail systems to solve the spam problem, it is unlikely that we’ll be able to secure everyone’s computer to guarantee online voting integrity.
“It is unfortunate that there were so few computer security experts providing witness testimony to the Committee. Almost every computer security expert who has commented on electronic voting since the U.S. “hanging chad” elections in 2000 has decried the use of voting machines, and, more recently, online voting. Voting machines are regularly compromised, are not auditable by design (they have proprietary source code), and are prone to failure when needed most. Computer security lecturers delight their audiences with tales of voting machine touch screens that dodge the target when the “wrong” vote is selected, or that play marching band music after they’ve been compromised by a prankish hacker.
“Voting is very much different from buying a product from an online store. If the wrong product is delivered, the store will ship the right product the next day to ensure customer satisfaction. But if the wrong candidate is elected, there is no recourse the next day. It is unlikely that fraud will be detected until the voting machines are audited many weeks after the election, and even when fraud is detected the outcome will be hotly contested by the affected candidates. In fact, if voting machines don’t use publicly published open source code then it is likely election outcomes will be hotly contested because proving that no fraud was committed is impossible.
“However, vote tabulation by machine is perfectly acceptable, although there must be a requirement that vote tabulators are also audited and their source code is made public. Ballots designed for vote tabulators (optical mark cards) can always be counted manually if the electronic tabulation is in dispute.”
[Note: the CPC MP attended and spoke at the LPC event, and of course Greens were there by invitation as well. Where was the NDP I wonder?]
Temara Brown described the six different electoral systems, a fairly difficult task, particularly when being challenged by unruly audience members at every turn. But she carried it off.
The event followed the usual Library of Parliament script for Community Dialogue suggested by ERRE.
Unfortunately there are some errors in the Expositor article. For instance, Michele Braniff was the 2015 GPC candidate. As well as being a GPO Candidate, Temara Brown is the GPO’s Shadow Cabinet member for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.
The article gives a capsule rundown of the 6 electoral Systems discussed, where the worst error in the article mischaracterizes the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system as “A variation of the preferential vote”. Electoral systems are complex, which is one of the many reasons why a referendum would be a bad idea at the best of times.
Historically, STV predates AV by a few decades, so it would be more correct to say AV is a variation of STV. But that’s just semantics. The real problem is that STV is perhaps the best system of Proportional Representation, while AV is a winner-take-all system much like our First Past The Post.
Even so, it was nice to see some balanced coverage of the ERRE event. For the most part, Canada’s Main Stream Media is making no bones about it’s desire to retain the status quo. That is perhaps the biggest reason Canadians are so woefully uninformed about electoral reform options. Instead of informing Canadians of our options, or even actually reporting on the ERRE consultation process, the media tables at ERRE consultation events are standing empty. So kudos to the Expositor for reporting the news!
In spite of the Main Stream Media obstructionism, the process marches quietly on.
Waterloo Region Greens own Bob Jonkman will be presenting “Make every Vote Count” at the Elmira Branch of the Region of Waterloo Library, starting at 6:30pm, tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. In his capacity as co-Chair, Bob helped develop the Fair Vote Waterloo presentation, which starts with our existing electoral system as well as Canada’s electoral reform options. There will be a question and answer session after the presentation.
Hope to see you there!
Next week there will be two more Information Sessions at the Region of Waterloo Libraries in New Hamburg and Ayr.
Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 ~ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
If Waterloo Region had a GPC Member of Parliament, we could look forward to having our own Green Electoral Reform Town Hall. Instead, Waterloo Region has 4 Liberal MPs and 1 Conservative MP. All 5 Waterloo Region MPs managed to attend the Climate Change Town Hall. Unfortunately we won’t see the same for Electoral Reform.
Although the ERRE Special Committee on Electoral Reform is conducting a Canada wide tour, apparently it will only effect a single stop in the most populous province in the land. And that won’t be in Northern Ontario, but rather in the most populous city, Toronto, leaving the rest of the province out of the loop. The Minister of Democratic Institutions is trying to augment the Committee’s limited itinerary with a complimentary tour of her own, which will visit many more spots.
Every MP in Parliament has been is tasked with hosting a Town Hall to consult with their constituents about electoral reform. Unfortunately, Kitchener-Conestoga MP has chosen to mail out a form letter questionaire (read: advertisement) encouraging citizens who have no idea of the alternatives to rally around a referendum (the CPC strategy intended to derail our long overdue electoral reform).
As I understand it, instead of 4 Liberal Town Hall consultations in Waterloo Region, the 4 LPC MPs will join the Honourable Maryam Monsef in one big Town Hall event on Wednesday Night.
This will be our only official ERRE Event, so though the event is being put on by Liberal MPs for a Liberal Government, everyone who can attend should attend to support Proportional Representation in the only opportunity we’ll have for face to face Government engagement on this most important reform.