ANNAPOLIS ROYAL - Residents in the Annapolis Royal area want every one of their federal votes to count.
They took to the street Feb. 11 to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reversal on electoral reform and even invited West Nova Liberal MP Colin Fraser to come talk to them – which he did.
Trudeau campaigned on the promise that first-past-the-post would be passé by the next election but recently reversed the electoral reform process citing a lack of consensus.
Laurie McGowan was one of a handful of protestors at the lights in Annapolis Royal Saturday. He said Trudeau broke his promise of ‘no more first-past-the-post elections.’ Ten people participated in the hastily-prepared event, though it was part of a network of rallies across the country, McGowan said.
McGowan believes the reversal was Trudeau’s – akin to an executive order.
“This was clearly a one-man decision,” he said. “Maybe President (Donald) Trump would like President Trudeau's style.”
Protesters carried signs that said “Count My Vote,” “Make Every Vote Count,” “Honk 4 Electoral Reform,” and “Electoral Reform – Yes.”
McGowan said the group was thankful Fraser was able to meet with them on such short notice.
“He thanked us for letting him know how we felt about this important issue,” McGowan said, adding that Fraser said he would pass on their concerns to the Prime Minister.
“The response from passers-by, as measured in car horn honks, was excellent,” said McGowan. “Better than usual, and I'm sure that Mr. Fraser noted this. Most of those people honking horns likely voted Liberal in the last election.”
The traffic lights at the intersection of Highway 1 and St. George Street is a popular spot for peaceful protests or information pickets.
McGowan said people who want more information of the issue of electoral reform, a good explanation is found on the Fair Vote NS website: http://www.fairvotenovascotia.ca/
"Nationally, Liberals earned the votes of 39.5 per cent of Canadian voters," said Andy Blair, president of Fair Vote Nova Scotia in a post on the group’s website. "Yet the voting system handed them 54.4 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons. This is a majority government -- on only a minority of the vote. The desire for change was clearly evident in the results, but our winner-take-all system granted the Liberal Party many more seats than their vote merits - and shut out other voices to do so."
A list of some of the participating cities and towns may be found here.