Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions, brought her federal electoral reform community dialogue tour to Ottawa-Gatineau on September 16.

Approximately 100 people attended the event, held in a Gatineau hotel. Parliamentary Secretary Mark Holland made introductory remarks and was followed by Minister Monsef. A representative from the office of the Privy Council presented various options for electoral change.

Archana Rampure, CUPE National’s senior officer of Political Action attended the event and reports that the presentation offered a good overview of the possibilities being considered. “Someone in the crowd expressed a concern about losing their local representation if Canada made the change to mixed member proportional representation. The presenter assured him that he would still have a local MP who would be accountable to him, but that he would also have an additional MP from the list, whom he would also have recourse to.”

The attendees were then broken up into small groups of eight to ten people for face-to-face conversations. “This was my favourite part of the entire event,” Rampure said. “People shared their thoughts and listened to one another. There were warm feelings all around—a very Canadian moment.”

“We were asked what principles we thought were important in changing the election system. Most of the people at my table agreed that proportionality was very important, as was the local relationship to an MP,” Rampure continued.

“I was home in just about two hours,” Rampure concluded. “Not too much time to take to build a better democracy for Canada. I hope others do the same!”

The electoral reform community dialogue tour continues until October 1. Upcoming stops include Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton and Gander.