2020 has been a rough year, both in general and for our campaign to bring better elections to Toronto. The pandemic resulted in significant delays in the city’s plans to consult the public on adopting ranked ballots and on the purchase of the new voting machines needed to run a ranked ballot election. And it also saw the Government of Ontario revoke the ability of municipalities to use ranked ballots for their own elections.
Summarized this way, things may look a little bleak for our campaign. But achieving voting reform was never going to be easy or achievable without encountering resistance along the way from those who unfairly benefit from the current system.
We know that a lot is going on right now. But later today, the Ontario Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Justice Policy will begin their hearings on Bill 218, the Ford government’s attempt to ban municipalities from using ranked ballots in their elections. These hearings will be one of the last opportunities for the public to make its voice heard on this bill and we need to keep the pressure up.
Doug Ford must be a little surprised. In the few short hours since his government introduced a bill to strip Ontario municipalities of their ability to use ranked ballots for their election, opposition and anger have erupted from all sides. Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats, and Greens are all denouncing this attack on local democracy. We’ve also just learned that Councillor Shelley Carroll will be introducing a motion at Toronto City Council requesting that the provincial government cancel this attempted ban. We understand that Kingston City Council is also introducing a similar motion.
We really don't know what to say. Yesterday we learned that Premier Ford and his government are introducing a bill at Queen’s Park that would, without a breath of consultation or any credible justification, strip Ontario municipalities of the ability to use a ranked ballot for their own elections.
Just a few minutes ago, near the end of a marathon three-day city council meeting, we won a critical victory. We won’t be getting ranked ballots as quickly as we had hoped, but thanks to you, we successfully defeated a last ditch attempt to stop moving ranked ballots forward.
Supporters of ranked ballots have already sent hundreds of messages to Mayor Tory and various members of city council asking them to defend ranked ballots and to proceed with public consultations.
But we still need your help. While the final decision on whether to go ahead with consultations will take place at a meeting of city council on Wednesday, 30 September, there was a meeting of council’s Executive Committee last week which did not go well for us as the majority of that committee voted to not proceed with consultations.
A Path to Adoption of Ranked Ballots for the 2022 Election
RaBIT’s Response to the City of Toronto Clerk’s Report “The Impact of COVID-19 on 2022 Election Preparation Activities”
To read the full detailed response, click here.
The last time we sent out a newsletter was February 2020, and the world looked very different. We know that many in our community have faced significant challenges and loss during this difficult time and we want to thank all of you who have stepped up to provide support and solidarity to others in need.
A belated Happy New Year! We hope that 2020 has started well for you and yours.
As we mentioned in our last message, 2020 is going to be a huge year for RaBIT and we need your help to keep moving voting reform forward here in Toronto.