ERRE: David Suzuki urges committee to support proportional representation


To Whom It May Concern:

My parents were born in Vancouver (1909, 1911) and raised all their lives in Canada.  They couldn't vote until 1948 because they were Japanese ethnically.  Because of the belated recognition of their rights as citizens, I was raised to regard the right to vote as a sacred duty and after I turned 21, I voted in every federal election.  I am now 80 and until the last federal election in 2015, I never voted for a candidate whose party took power.  Last year, I voted strategically to ensure that the Harper candidate would not be elected. Fortunately, he wasn't and the Liberal candidate I voted for is an excellent person.  My point is that my party preference has never been rewarded with success of achieving power.  

First Past the Post ensures that a diversity of approaches and solutions is minimized at the very time we are celebrating the diversity of our citizens.  As a biologist, I am aware of the importance of diversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels because diversity provides greater options when planetary conditions change.  Humanity's strategy for surviving has also been diversity at the cultural level and today, in a globalized world, I believe human diversity, from gender to religious, ethnic and socio-economic status, will be critical in maximizing the best solutions to the problems that afflict us.  And so our political system should also enhance the contribution of diversity and that is done through the election of a broader spectrum of political choices.  

So as a scientist, I think the encouragement of diversity at all levels, is a survival strategy in an uncertain world and as a citizen whose voting options have ensured for almost 60 years, my preferences would not be reflected in government, I urge you to bring in proportional representation.  The current government was elected on the platform plank of changing our system so I don't see the need for a referendum except to choose between a variety of forms.  Thank you for considering my comments.


David Suzuki