Two groups that oppose the first-past-the-post voting system are ramping up efforts to get supporters to back Joyce Murray's campaign to become the next federal Liberal leader.
Murray, unlike the seven other Liberal leadership candidates, supports her party cooperating with the Greens and NDP at the riding level to defeat Conservative candidates in the next election. She also supports proportional representation, which impresses Leadnow.ca adviser Julia Pope.
"Many people of my generation believe the crises facing the world are simply too serious to be shuffled into partisan silos—and that to tackle them will require broad consensus and cooperation across party lines," Pope said during the call.
She added that Prime Minister Stephen Harper's political strategy is "to divide his opposition and deactivate a significant portion of the voting population".
"With our broken first-past-the-post electoral system and four parties to the left, Harper can expect to build lasting power and transform the country over the opposition of the majority of the country unless we come together across party lines and enable a different outcome," Pope stated. "We at Leadnow believe that the only way to stop Harper and to achieve progress on the issues Canadians care about right now is for the NDP, the Liberals, and the Greens to cooperate in key ridings to stop vote splitting and defeat the Harper Conservatives—and then change our broken voting system for good."
There's a March 3 deadline to sign up at Liberal.ca to vote in the Liberal leadership race. People don't have to become party members to participate, and there's no fee.
Last year, Leadnow.ca and Project Democracy supported Skeena–Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen's unsuccessful bid to win the NDP leadership because he was his party's only candidate supporting cooperation at the riding level with the Greens and Liberals.
Project Democracy's Christopher Majka stated on the conference call that it's his group's "profound conviction that we need to move as quickly as possible to reform the electoral system in Canada to some form of proportional representation to replace the increasingly archaic and dysfunctional first-past-the-post electoral system".
"The reality is lots of votes simply don't end up being reflected in the composition of Parliament," he said.
Jamie Biggar, executive director of Leadnow.ca, told people on the conference call that the Conservative majority came as a result of winning 14 seats with a plurality of just 6,400 votes.
A Leadnow.ca survey of its supporters revealed that more than 95 percent of respondents either strongly agreed or agreed with the notion that Liberals, Greens, and New Democrats should cooperate to defeat Conservative incumbents in ridings where they are vulnerable.
That's why Leadnow.ca wants people to support Murray, who's the only one advocating this approach.
"Everybody right now in Canadian politics is watching to see how many Canadians will stand up and support her in this race," Biggar said.