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Focusing on Electing Women Instead of Ending False Majorities

TORONTO, Nov 21, 2016 -- Politicians are “perverting” Canada’s electoral reform process to serve the wrong cause. And their misguided ways are jeopardizing the entire process, according to democracy advocate Dan Yuen.

Mr. Yuen writes on his website, “Instead of finding the simplest system to end false majority governments, the politicians have perverted electoral reform to the cause of electing more women.”

At the heart of the issue is the party list, a controversial method of filling proportional representation (PR) seats or “top-up” seats, the seats that achieve proportionality in PR or mixed PR system. The politicians believe the party list will elect more women. That’s why party list systems are the only type of PR systems discussed in government web pages, like their Electoral System Factsheet and in their town halls. The alternative, a lesser known system proven in Germany called near-winner or runner-up mixed proportional (MMP) is purposely omitted.

The problem is that many people don’t like the party list for a variety of legitimate reasons. Yuen fears if there is a referendum or any form of quest for broad public support, a party list system will fail. Yuen recalls a comment at a Toronto town hall. “If this ever goes to a referendum” a lady supporter of PR says, “it has to be like offering candy to a baby. They have to want it.” Yuen agrees, and adds “But with a party list system, it will be more like pushing bitter medicine down someone’s throat.”

The sad thing is, according to Yuen, the assertion that the party list will elect more women is highly questionable at best and probably will not solve the diversity shortfall in legislature. He points to the critics of this assertion which interestingly, include women MPs sitting on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform (ERRE) itself. Sherry Romanado, a Quebec MP and also a member of the Standing Committee on National Defence is one of the harshest critics. She says blaming the electoral system is like wearing “blinders” that prevents them from seeing the real issues keeping women out of politics, such as lack of social system support like daycare and maternity leave.

Yuen believes we should follow the example of Rwanda who have the highest percentage of women parliamentarians with 64%. Simply instate quotas on percentage of women and racial minorities in the candidates that a party runs in “winnable” districts.

Yuen says the actual mandate for electoral reform was driven by the “tens of thousands” of Canadians who were frustrated they couldn’t vote Harper out due to vote splitting. Harper won a false majority with only 40% of the popular vote in 2011 and passed laws that were even more offensive than in the previous term, like banning religious head scarves at citizenship ceremonies. In the prelude to the 2015 election, these people supported grassroots organizations that pleaded with the Liberals and NDP to cooperate to avoid vote splitting. They also demanded changing to a proportional electoral system so they would never have to be stuck with another objectionable false majority like the Harper Conservatives. To this end, the ERRE has a duty to find the simplest credible system that ends false majority governments. Citing the recent failed electoral reform referenda in Canadian provinces, Yuen believes the committee would be “wise” to propose a PR system that does not use a party list, like the near-winner system used in Germany.

For further information please contact Danny Yuen at or 416-909-7787


Dan Yuen was one of tens of thousands of ordinary Canadians who were so offended by Harper's Conservatives that in the prelude to the 2015 election, he supported grassroots movements like LeadNow and the Canadian Electoral Alliance to ask the Liberals and NDP to cooperate so they would not split the vote again. He supported electoral reform organizations like to demand changing to a proportional representation system. Mr. Yuen authors a website that helps ordinary people understand the issues in electoral reform He also proposes a new form of near-winner MMP system that provides all voters with 1 representative from each party. Mr. Yuen has a master's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Waterloo, practiced as a control engineer in the petrochemical industry and launched successful Internet ventures including