“The petition asks the government to undertake public consultation and to introduce a suitable form of proportional representation for the next election,” said the group’s organizer Ann Remnant.
The brief, informal presentation took place at the Vienna Cafe amidst afternoon diners, coffee drinkers, servers, and the media.
The petition is part of a national campaign by Fair Vote Canada to send MPs from all parties to Ottawa with petitions. According to Fair Vote organizer Anita Nickerson, Nelson has collected more signatures so far than any other municipality in the country.
“The Liberals won their majority with less than 40 per cent of the vote, almost the same percentage support that gave the conservatives their majority in 2011,” Remnant told the audience as she presented the petition.
“Forty per cent appears to be the magic number for winning elections, both provincially and federally,” she said. “Wayne can attest to that. This means 60 per cent of Canadians did not get to elect anyone. We need a system that is both proportional and fair. Proportional means that if the if a party gets 30 per cent of the votes they get 30 per cent of the seats and 30 per cent of the power, no more no less.”
All parties except the Conservatives campaigned in favour of proportional representation in the October election.
Receiving the petitions, Stetski said, “Six hundred signatures from Nelson. I am impressed but not surprised. Nelson is a leader in many things. I will be happy to take these back to Ottawa.”
He said the opposition parties’ job now is to keep watch on the government and on “what (a new electoral system) looks like in the end, because there can be different definitions of what proportional representation means.”
Stetski also announced that he will soon be opening a West Kootenay constituency office on the fifth floor of City Hall in Nelson.