The Government of Nova Scotia has established an independent commission to consult with Acadians and African Nova Scotians to determine what effective electoral representation could mean for them.
The Commission on Effective Electoral Representation of Acadian and African Nova Scotians has completed its work. The Commission’s report is now available.
The Commission wishes to thank those who contributed to, and informed our work through interviews, consultation sessions, and written submissions. Your contributions and engagement were invaluable in informing our findings and recommendations.
What does “effective electoral representation” mean?
The right to vote in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes “effective representation”.
Although voter equality is the prime consideration, the Charter allows for some variation in constituency population to provide for the effective representation of communities. Those communities could be geographic, ethnic, racial, or linguistic. For example, the people of a village or a community expect to be together in one constituency, not arbitrarily divided simply to make the number of voters in two constituencies exactly the same.
There is no formula for effective representation and it cannot be a zero-sum game where the one group is promoted at the expense of others. Done well, the increased diversity of voices and perspectives that accompany effective representation of communities makes a better, more responsive democracy.
The commissioners are Doug Keefe, chair, Dr. Kenneth Deveau and Sharon Davis-Murdoch.
Doug Keefe is an independent consultant and former deputy minister of Justice with the province.
Dr. Kenneth Deveau is a vice-president at Université Sainte-Anne. Dr. Deveau has done extensive research on the overall vitality of Acadian and francophone minority communities in Canada and has authored more than 40 publications on the subject.
Sharon Davis-Murdoch is co-president of the Health Association of African Canadians and the health lead for the Local Immigrant Partnership. A social justice champion, Ms. Davis-Murdoch was a public servant for more than 20 years and led the development of the first Provincial Guidelines for Culturally Competent, Primary Health Care.