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For immediate release
June 4, 2002

NATIONAL ELECTORAL REFORM CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF IN VANCOUVER

VANCOUVER A national campaign to change how Canadians elect their federal government will officially kick off in Vancouver when Fair Vote Canada forms its Greater Vancouver Chapter June 4 at 7:30 p.m. Local Fair Vote Canada members, supporters, and interested members of the public will gather at the Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House (800 East Broadway, Vancouver) to adopt bylaws and elect executive officers.

Formed in August 2000, Fair Vote Canada, a non-partisan, grassroots citizen's group dedicated to reforming the national voting process, boasts active chapters in cities across the country. Many prominent Canadians, including Members of Parliament Ted White (Canadian Alliance), Carolyn Bennett (Liberal) and Lorne Nystrom (NDP), as well as eminent University of Victoria political scientist Norman Ruff, have endorsed the organization's "Make Every Vote Count" campaign.

"Forming a local chapter gives us a vehicle to promote national electoral reform in Vancouver and British Columbia," explained interim chapter chair Arn Keeling.

"Fair Vote Canada will both build on and support all the excitement around voting reform at the provincial and municipal levels in B.C.," Keeling added.

Canada remains one of a shrinking minority of democratic nations using the so-called "first past the post" system of voting, whereby the candidate receiving the greatest number of votes in their riding wins, no matter how low the percentage of voters they attract. Critics in Canada and in many other countries argue this system discounts ballots cast for "losing" parties in each riding, and radically distorts election outcomes.

The Greater Vancouver Chapter plans to hold public forums on voting systems, lobby Members of Parliament and their parties, and support Fair Vote Canada national petition campaign to promote electoral reform. The group hopes to make changing the voting system a high priority in the next federal election.

"The voting public across the country are showing their frustration with the inequitable distribution of seats and power at every level," noted Keeling. "Fair Vote Canada gives them a way to take control of their democracy."

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For more information on this event, Fair Vote Canada, or the Greater Vancouver Chapter, contact:
Arn Keeling: 604-874-9046, vancouver@fairvotecanada.org