How FVC Should Proceed if Option A Wins

We invite you to suggest ideas for how Fair Vote Canada should proceed in the event that Option A wins in the current referendum. In brief, a win for Option A says that “Fair Vote Canada’s mandate is to promote Proportional Representation and that Fair Vote Canada only support systems that are proportional, at all levels of government.” Direct advocacy for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would clearly be precluded. However, it is not clear what position FVC could or will take with regard to the ongoing debate about Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) in Toronto.

The purpose of this forum is to identify not only the obvious main positions (FVC could actively oppose the IRV campaign (RaBIT), FVC could ignore the IRV campaign, FVC could remain officially neutral about RaBIT, etc), but also a range of related issues (eg, what public information FVC could release, what strategy for promoting PR at the municipal level in Toronto FVC could pursue, what policies FVC could adopt for considering democratic reforms that don’t directly address proportionality (eg, the confidence convention), etc).

The intent here is not to end up with a single stance for FVC, but to bring forward and rank a number of ideas that may generate clarity, positive energy and wide engagement moving forward.

Please note that we have seeded this forum with some initial ideas, but please add more! You have 3 votes – you an either add up to 3 new issues or use your votes to support previously-posted issues. You can cast more than one vote per issue if you wish to express a greater sense of priority for a particular idea (this is a form of cumulative voting, for the technically-inclined).

How FVC Should Proceed if Option A Wins

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  1. FVC might recognize that its own internal membership is split on the question of whether or not a switch at this time from SMP to IRV would be a reasonable benefit. For the sake of maintaining the largest possible coalition in support of PR, FVC could simply remain neutral about IRV, explaining that since it is not proportional, it is beyond FVC's mandate. FVC might issue an official statement to this effect, perhaps stating some potential benefits and concerns about making this move, but remaining clear that the proposed change does not advance FVC's fundamental goal of improved representation.

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  2. One of FVC's strengths is that its core mission is clear - to enhance proportionality of representation in our legislatures and in parliament. One limitation of this is that FVC may not be able to speak to related, but nonetheless, important aspects of democracy. For example, Canada's confidence convention plays an important role in the potential workability of a proportionally-elected legislature. Likewise, the party financing rules are hugely important in affecting accountability to voters. Under what circumstances could FVC adopt a position on these kinds of issues? One possibility might be to assess the views of our representatives and members…

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  3. Since IRV is not a proportional system, it would be outside FVC's mandate if Option A wins. FVC could simply not expend any energy at all on the RaBIT campaign, essentially treating RaBIT as if it were completely unrelated to their goals (in the same way that FVC might ignore a campaign to open a new community centre). Under this scenario, FVC would never mention RaBIT in any of its materials and would not send any messages concerning RaBIT to city council.

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  4. Since the RaBIT campaign does relate to democracy and is not a proportional reform, FVC could actively oppose RaBIT. Taking this approach could be based on one or both of two primary convictions: (1) that having Toronto approve IRV at this time would legitimize IRV at other levels of government, particularly the federal level where the Liberal party has currently endorsed it, and/or (2) that IRV is actually worse than our current Single Member Plurality system (eg, that it potentially reduces diversity by preventing occasional 'accidental' election of strong plurality candidates from a minority political group). While most FVC members…

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