Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak before you.
I'm president of the Regina—Qu'Appelle NDP federal riding association. This is on the ground, and it's what we're talking about. Our presentation was a product of a consultation within our federal riding executive.
We only have two minutes, although we had also asked to be a witness before the panel, which certainly concerns me, but so be it. We have some critical points to put forward. We believe that a proportional representative system would be certainly an improvement over first past the post.
We are not necessarily in favour of a ranked voting system because I think it would add a whole degree of complexity, and if anything goes wrong, then it's going to undermine public confidence.
A mixed member proportional representative system, we believe, best represents the principle that every vote counts. We've heard the term every vote counts, but from the point of view of our executive it's every vote counts to its maximum potential, and that's the key piece of it. A mixed member proportional system ought to represent, and as close as possible match, the proportion of the vote cast for a given political party in a given province. We believe that under such a system the emphasis must be on the province or the region.
There's a corollary to that, which is important for the Regina—Qu'Appelle riding, and it is that it has to acknowledge a gender balance when we talk about the list for such a mixed member system. It must acknowledge gender balance, first nations, and visible minorities.
This is a particularly sensitive issue for the Regina—Qu'Appelle electorate, because it is composed of 11 reserves. Think of that. We have 11 of the 71. A little over 21% of the population in Regina—Qu'Appelle is first nations, because we are also composed of both urban and rural—