After 3 years working together to advance Proportional Representation on P.E.I., including leading public engagement for the 2016 plebiscite, the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation is disbanding.
Watch and share our video-message explaining our decision here:
We’ll make no bones about it – the trigger for this decision was the unprecedented, and, we believe, possibly unconstitutional restrictions our government has proposed, which would seriously hamper our efforts to inform Islanders about a better way of electing our legislatures – Proportional Representation.
As a Coalition of 12 organizations, with hundreds of individual supporters, we were shocked to realize that the severe restrictions and draconian penalties embedded in the Premier’s referendum bill were set to expose both the Coalition and each of our members to unbearably high risks. It could also lead to situations in which certain members could no longer remain as members of the Coalition, which has always held inclusion as a top value. With the clock ticking quickly towards the June 1 date that the legislation is intended to come into effect, we faced a future in which we would be forced to either play by the government’s unfair rules, or be forced into silence. Meanwhile, some of our members were coming under increasing attacks and pressure – professional and personal – due to their affiliations with the Coalition.
Does this mean that we’re abandoning the cause? Absolutely not!
Rather than being silenced, our response is to dissolve our current structure and become even more grassroots, even more inclusive, and even more powerful.
Every single one of us and our member organizations remains 100% committed to achieving Proportional Representation. What we’ve realized, however, is that no matter whether this deeply troubling bill passes or not, it is clear that we are now viewed by the powers that be in a way that is unnecessarily adversarial and hostile, and our current structure makes responding to this aggressive stance very difficult. We now believe the most powerful way forward for our movement today is not under the banner of this formal coalition, but instead, as a broad-based citizens network.
The new network will be even more grassroots than our grassroots Coalition was – and we believe those roots are strong. On PEI, marram grass roots keep our coastal dunes from blowing away, but they also allow the dunes to migrate, slowly but surely, until the sand engulfs new spaces.
In other words, this is not so much about “shutting down” as it is a transformation. And we’re excited about it! Please read on to find out what we’re planning and how you can be a part of it.
Here’s what’s next:
During our last days in operation as the Coalition, we are using our assets to further our mission as much as possible before restrictions might take effect. We will be transferring any remaining funds, intellectual property and databases into the trust of the Citizens’ Alliance – a member of the Coalition – to be used in ways that could assist our cause within the new confines of the law, should Bill 38 pass. Some of these assets may eventually be transferred to a new political action group to promote Proportional Representation. If you are uncomfortable with the Citizens’ Alliance holding your contact data, you may unsubscribe. However, we hope that you’ll stay engaged! We and the Citizens’ Alliance guarantee that your personal information will never be used for any purpose other than sharing information and opportunities for action to help achieve Proportional Representation on PEI
Meanwhile, some of our members have also been hard at work setting up the infrastructure for a new grassroots citizens’ network for all Islanders who support democratic renewal. The PEI Proportional Representation Network is an informal information-sharing network that will help all of us stay connected, share information and coordinate our efforts, within the narrow confines of the laws coming down the pipeline. We strongly urge you to stay a part of this movement by joining this new network right now.
So while this is “goodbye” from the PEI Coalition for Proportional Representation, we all look forward to saying “hello” to you as fellow democracy warriors in the new PEI PR Network. This is also a very sincere and emotional “Thank you” for all of your support over the last years and months. We have been – and will continue to be – so powerful together!
Signing off for the Coalition,
Marcia Carroll – The PEI Council of People with Disabilities
Dawn Wilson – The PEI Coalition for Wom
God Bless and sign on!!!