Frequently asked questions

Who is Unlock Democracy?


Unlock Democracy was created by a group of long-time electoral reform advocates.  Our organisation is completely independent from any political party or organisation.  We are all volunteers, and we hope you'll get involved too!

Collective Working Group:


small_twitter_30.jpgJo-Ann Davis has been active in politics and civic engagement since canvassing with her dad as a grade 2 student.  A long-time PR advocate, she was an executive member of the Fair Vote Canada Toronto Chapter in 2007, and currently serves on its National Council. In 2010, Jo-Ann was elected TCDSB Trustee for St Paul’s, Toronto Centre and Trinity-Spadina. She holds an MA in Chinese politics from the School of Oriental & African Studies (London, UK), and was a PhD candidate in Government at the London School of Economics.

Shoni Field is a fundraiser by profession, and an electoral reformer by chance. She was randomly chosen to serve on the BC Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2004. Since then she’s been a spokesperson for both BC referendum campaigns, a Fair Voting BC director, president of Fair Vote Canada, and is a co-founder of 123Vancouver. She’s a believer in the inevitability of PR in Canada.

small_twitter_30.jpgColum Grove-White became an advocate for electoral reform following the defeat of the 1st STV referendum when almost 58% of BC voters voted for change.  Colum currently lives in Ottawa, and is the spokesperson of Ottawa123, a municipal voting reform campaign.  Colum is excited to play an active role in Unlock Democracy, and transform the way we vote in Canada.

Rebecca Harrison is a professional political organizer and a life long political nerd working on her first campaign at the age of 8. In her spare time she is an advocate on issues like violence against women, social justice and proportional representation. Rebecca is the former Chair of the Fair Vote Canada Durham Region Chapter.

Katherine Janiki

small_twitter_30.jpgSarah Lambert is a globetrotting writer and magazine editor by trade. She became a PR advocate in 2007, after realizing our broken voting system is holding back progress on all of the issues she holds dear. Since then she's served on the Fair Vote Canada Toronto Chapter Executive, spoken at the 2011 National Day for Electoral Reform, helped launch the Students and Youth for Fair Voting caucus, organized a Students for Fair Voting group at Ryerson University, and volunteered as the volunteer coordinator for the RaBIT campaign. [twitter]

small_twitter_30.jpgMaggie MacDonald is an author and campaigner with an MA in political theory. In her wild youth, Maggie ran for office and worked in electoral politics; her desire for a more collaborative, convivial, parliament, and a more representative electoral system was sparked by doorstep conversations with voters who felt disenfranchised by the first past the post system. She left electoral politics in her mid twenties to work for non-partisan NGOs in the environmental movement, and to stage the occasional rock opera, using art to create dialogue and depolarize debates surrounding issues such as unemployment, austerity measures, climate change, and predator drones.

small_twitter_30.jpgDave Meslin is a long-time PR advocate. He served on the Speaker's Bureau for Ontario's MMP campaign in 2007, and was the Director of Field Organisation for the BC-STV campaign in 2009.  Dave is a co-founder of the Better Ballots project and the Local Choice campaign in Ontario.  Dave is also the Campaign Coordinator for the Ranked Ballots Initiative of Toronto.

Manitoba born and raised, Katherine Skene developed a keen interest in politics early; she’s long supported and advocated changes to Canada’s electoral systems to better represent the diversity of Canadians. Through her work as an editor, Katherine is dedicated to educating and engaging students on issues in Canadian politics. Most recently, Katherine has been an elected member of Fair Vote Canada’s National Council and Toronto Chapter Executive Committee, and a volunteer member of the Ranked Ballot Initiative of Toronto. [twitter]

Does Unlock Democracy support one particular voting system?


No.  We're trying to raise awareness about the failure of our existing system, while promoting a range of proportional alternatives including the Single Transferable Vote (STV) and Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP).

It's important that as a movement we are united by the need to change the current system, rather than allow preferences between alternatives, that are all far superior to our current system, to divide us. Once Canadians have won the right to change the system, it will be time to choose between alternatives.

Can I get involved?


Absolutely!  The movement for voting reform depends on volunteers like you.  Please visit our volunteer page to plug into our campaign.

How is Unlock Democracy different from other groups?


There are many groups working on democratic renewal in Canada, and we're proud to be one small part of this growing movement.  Unlock Democracy has a specific focus on long-term outreach and education, as well as an emphasis on being inclusive.   We believe that voting reform will begin from the bottom up: in city halls, non-profits, associations, and schools.  We believe in collaboration, dialogue, listening and cooperation within the movement.

Does Unlock Democracy work on other democratic renewal issues?


We believe that adopting a fair and accurate electoral system is the most fundamentally important step needed to help our democracy evolve.  However we do recognize that there are many areas where our stagnant democracy needs help (many of which would also be helped by electoral reform) and we may support them strategically as resources allow.

How does Unlock Democracy spend donated money?


Unlock Democracy is volunteer-driven, and funded directly by our supporters.  Every dollar goes directly to our outreach and advocacy projects.

Our finances will be 100% transparent, with quarterly reporting on our activities and annual financial reports posted online.  We believe that transparency is important, so our donors know that we're putting their money to work!

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