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Canadian Muslim Union calls for Toronto City Council to reconsider reforms
Canadian Muslim Union opposes racist reforms for Toronto City Council elections

In a few weeks Toronto City Council will be asked look at a voting system that is generally called Alternative Vote or Instant Runoff Voting (AV or IRV). This will require amendments to provincial legislation to allow the City to use it.

This is being sold a gradual process to improve our elections, starting with asking the province for legislation followed by a trial process using it for the Mayor before moving on to using it for the full council. In reality council appears to be taken for a ride down a slippery slope.

Why does the process begin with asking the province for enabling legislation when you don't know what system(s) you may prefer to use? If you are not clear on what electoral reform(s) you want to implement, how can you be sure you are asking for the correct legislation to allow it?

The answer of course is that you are being asked to implement one particular system without looking at any others. That's why the idea of trying it for the mayor's election is being pushed.

In fact there are no voting systems that improve on our current system that can be used to elect single positions. It is only the ones, like the AV system council si being asked to approve, which are arguably worse than our current system that would permit such a “trial”.

Moreover, such a trial appears to require purchasing the same equipment and making the same changes to vote counting procedures that a more general adoption would. In effect, by conducting the “trial” Toronto could be assuming the full costs whether or not they decide to use it for council elections.

Some or all of these costs could be avoided with other, better, voting systems.

Moreover, if the province passes enabling legislation for AV, will Toronto be willing to ask for further legislative changes to enable better systems? Will the province be willing to provide them?

Don't be fooled. This process is intended to end with the adoption of AV and only AV for all elections in the city.

The Canadian Muslim Union urges Toronto City Council to reject this sham and to instead begin by determining what electoral reforms the city actually wants. It's only when you know where you want to go that you should be preparing a road map to get there.

We ask that City Council reject any move to ask the province for enabling legislation until they have consulted with stakeholders and experts to determine what voting system(s) would work in Toronto and which one(s) they actually want to implement.

Attached is our deputation to the Government Management Committee on May 13, 2013. Please read it and consider our concerns. Electoral reform is important and should not be rushed into without careful study and formal community consultation.

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