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CKMS News -2023-11-14- Motion 86 and voter-led electoral reform

CKMS News – 2023-11-14 – Motion 86 and voter-led electoral reform

electoral reform, citizens assembly, voting, federal election, democracy proportional representation, first past the post, waterloo region, fair vote canada, green party, ndp, by: dan kellar

Kitchener – On November 7th, Motion 86 on forming a Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral reform had its first debate in the house of commons. The motion seeks to establish a representative “Citizen’s Assembly” which would investigate alternatives to Canada’s first past the post electoral system, and inform the government on which proportional systems would best reflect the needs and preferences of the people in Canada.

The motion was brought forward by NPD MP Lisa Marie Barron, and built on the work of Mike Morrice, the Green Party MP for Kitchener Centre who was the first to second the motion back in June. Morrice’s second was followed by 18 other seconders from the NDP, Liberal, and Conservative parties, including Bardish Chagger of the Waterloo riding.  This cross party collaboration is exactly what Fair Vote Canada, one of the grassroots organisations who contributed to the motion, hopes will become standard operations in governments under an electoral system based on proportional representation. 

This show features interviews with Kitchener Centre MP Mike Morrice, and Evan Rosamond, the co-chair of the Fair Vote Canada chapter for Waterloo Region. 

Motion 86 was debated for its allotted hour, with many MPs announcing their support for the idea of electoral reform. Bloc Quebecois MP Martin Champoux applauded the motion, and called for MPs to have the courage to take action when it is time. Conservative MP Scott Reid stated the proposal was “half right”,  but recommended a referendum over a citizen’s assembly. 

However, support was not universal. Liberal MP Chandra Arya said that a citizen’s assembly would be “an attempt at an entry through the back door into a proportional system”. He then claimed that “Because of the proportional system, Israel cannot come to an agreement with Palestine.” Arya did not offer any evidence for either of his statements.

While the future of motion 86 and electoral reform in Canada is uncertain, the debate in the House of Commons will resume in the coming months, and with hope brewing around successful cross-party collaboration, Evan Rosamond remarked “it is better to talk a lot then to fight with everybody”.

CKMS News – Greenbelt accountability, “Ford Fest”, and byelection update: Interviews with Debbie Chapman and Aislinn Clancy

CKMS News – 2023-08-17 – Greenbelt accountability, “Ford Fest”, and byelection campaigning: Interviews with Debbie Chapman and Aislinn Clancy

By: dan kellar

Since Mid-January of 2023, following the resignation of NDP MPP  Laura Mae Lindo, the riding of Kitchener Centre has been without representation in the Ontario legislature. While not disrupting the balance of power in government, the conservatives deemed the by-election will occur in January 2024, the maximum time allowed by the Elections Act for the seat to remain empty.

Currently, there is no candidate for the Conservative Party in the byelection, while the NDP are running Debbie Chapman, and the Liberal Party is represented by Kelly Steiss. On September 8th, in the adjacent Waterloo riding, which is held by the NDP’s Catherine Fife, Doug Ford held the political outreach and fundraising event “Ford Fest” at Bingemans. 

Bingemans also borders the Kitchener Conestoga riding which is held by PC MPP Mike Harris Jr., who welcomed Ford Fest into the Region, telling CKMS News in a statement:

Ford Fest is a free, non-partisan community event hosted by Ontario’s Ford family.”, and, Harris added “Ford Fest offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with their elected representatives.”

In a piece released by CKMS News on September 8th, Waterloo Regional Labour Council president Jeff Pelich spoke about why folks were heading to protest at Ford Fest. You can listen to that whole interview at radiowaterloo.ca/news

Today’s show will feature interviews with Clancy and Chapman about Ford Fest and the conservative government, the upcoming by-election and what issues their campaigns are focusing on, and the growing calls for accountability around the Green Belt scandal.  Both the NDP and Green Party candidates said the lands removed from Greenbelt protection should be immediately returned to their protected status. The liberals have also called for the Green Belt lands to be returned and for accountability for the actions of the conservatives..

Since the interviews, the conservatives have announced the sites will be “re-evaluated”. 

In response to calls for Ford to step down over the Green Belt scandal MPP Harris told CKMS News that the conservative government will continue with their plan to build homes on “non-sensitive” Green Belt lands claiming this was “requested by many municipalities”.  Harris concluded: “I want to emphasize that, under the continued leadership of our Premier, our Government will prioritize addressing the housing crisis, ensuring more people have a place to call home.”.


CKMS News – Protests to to greet “Ford Fest” in Kitchener

CKMS News – 2023-09-08 – Protest to meet Ford Fest

By: dan kellar

Ford Fest, usually a once a year political outreach event, hosted by the Ford family and primarily held in Etobicoke, has had its reach expanded this summer after Doug Ford took the BBQ on the road to Scarborough, Windsor, and in the evening on Friday September 8th, to Bingemans, a park in Kitchener. There was a by-election in the Scarborough—Guildwood riding shortly after the Scarborough event and there will be a by-election in Kitchener-Centre in January of 2024.

Protests are planned at the entrances and outside the venue where Ford Fest is to take place. Bingemans is in the Waterloo riding, which is held by the NDP’s Catherine Fife, and the property borders the Kitchener-Centre riding, and the Kitchener Conestoga riding which is held by PC MPP Mike Harris Jr. One of the groups organising a protest at Ford Fest is the Waterloo Regional Labour Council. CKMS News spoke with Jeff Pelich, the president of the Labour Council about the many grievances Ford will face from the public at Ford Fest, including the anger over the Green Belt development plans, the cost of food and housing crises, and the underfunding of public services such as education and health care. 

CKMS recently spoke with both Clancy and Chapman about Ford Fest and the Conservatives, and both have called Ford Fest a distraction from the growing Green Belt scandal and for Ford to take accountability, return the Green Belt lands, and step down. 

For the full interviews with Chapman and Clancy, visit radiowaterloo.ca/news

When contacted by CKMS News for comment on Ford Fest in Kitchener, the office for  MPP Harris sent a  statement from Harris which included “Ford Fest is a free, non-partisan community event hosted by Ontario’s Ford family.”, and Harris added “Ford Fest offers a unique opportunity for attendees to connect with their elected representatives.”.  Harris then reminded folks that the event is free, and will include food, concluding “so bring the kids and come hungry!”. No comment was given before this piece first went to air on the calls for Ford to call a full public Inquiry or to resign over the Green Belt land deals.. 

This program is a part of the “Local Journalism Initiative” and is funded by the Community Radio Fund of Canada, Heritage Canada, and the CKMS Newsroom.

Check out the archived versions of this program on radiowaterloo.ca/news, and listen to all the LJI content at canada-info.ca.

If you want to get in touch with comments, or ideas about stories to cover, email us at news@radiowaterloo.ca