Sharing ideas on electoral reform

Federal politics: Liberal Riding Association to host informal consultation meetings

Cindy Derkaz

Cindy Derkaz

Residents of the North-Okanagan Shuswap riding will have an opportunity to have their opinion on electoral reform heard in the coming weeks.

The North-Okanagan Shuswap Federal Liberal Riding Association will be hosting informal meetings throughout the riding to get constituents’ views on the upcoming electoral reform.

“What we’re doing is trying to meet voters throughout North-Okanagan Shuswap and listen to what they want to say to the committee that’s looking at electoral reform; how they feel (Canada’s) democracy could be made stronger and more accessible,” said Cindy Derkaz, former federal Liberal candidate and riding association president.

Derkaz said they will  be submitting their report to the House of Commons Special Committee on Electoral Reform and also making it available to the public.

The Special Committee on Electoral Reform is a multi-party committee with representatives from all three major parties, as well as the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois.

Electoral reform was a major campaign promise from the federal Liberals, they declared the 2015 election would be the last one held using the first-past-the-post system.

“We were waiting in this riding for our MP to take the lead and have either town halls or some kind of way that we could have input. It’s pretty clear that the only thing we’re going to see is the broad sheet that went out to many households asking about whether you want to see a referendum or not,” Derkaz said.

Mel Arnold, the MP for the North-Okanagan Shuswap riding said Canada Post was instructed to deliver a mailout to every household in the riding giving constituents the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted a referendum on electoral reform and to provide comments to those in government.

“That way we can reach every household rather than a select few when there was limited opportunity to get out to every community in the riding” Arnold said.

The process of collecting information from the mailout is not yet complete, with some of them reaching houses just last week, Arnold added.

Results from the mailout are expected by mid-September, in time to provide the results to the Electoral Reform committee.

“It’s disturbing that this government has put this much focus on this issue when jobs and the economy are really what most Canadians are concerned with at this point. We see very little movement on that one in fact the country continues to lose jobs under this government,” Arnold said.

Derkaz emphasized that although a change to the first-past-the-post system was promised, suggestions about other alterations to the electoral system would be considered.

“It’s not an effort to determine what the results will be. It’s an effort to try to get people to participate in a process that I think is once in lifetime. It’s a chance to reform our democracy and we need to get involved in it,” Derkaz said.

Consultations in the Shuswap will be held at:

The Derkaz residence, 891 8th Ave NE at 5 p.m., Sept. 19.

The Hive in Canoe at 7 p.m., Sept. 20.

The Urban Market at 7p.m., Sept. 20.

Blue Canoe at 10 a.m., Sept. 22.

The Sorrento Memorial Hall at 7 p.m., Sept. 27.

The Tim Hortons in Sicamous at 7 a.m., Oct. 3.

And the Malakwa Cafe at 10 a.m.,Oct. 3.

Meetings in Blind Bay, Chase, Anglemont and Scotch Creek are being planned but are not yet confirmed.