To Reform or Not to Reform; That is the Election Question!

Many of us at the Maples Met School have been learning about Parliamentary democracy and how Canadians and Manitobans govern themselves. We have learned that our democratic tradition comes from the Westminster model, or from Great Britain. We have a bicameral system federally, where we have the House of Commons (elected) and the Senate (appointed) as part of Parliament. Manitoba got rid of its upper house at the end of the 19th century.

Over the past few decades and certainly more recently, there has been a great deal of talk in Canada about electoral reform. As we discussed a few weeks ago, our electoral system is a First Past The Post system (FPTP). This means that within each riding or constituency, the person that wins simply needs to get the most votes.

Here is a great explanation of how FPTP works:

Here is a great application made through ArcGIS which illustrates the difference between the number of seats won and the popular vote in the last four elections:



Many Canadians feel that the FPTP system is not fair to smaller parties like the Green Party,the Bloc and even the NDP, as these parties get a lot of votes, but they don’t translate into seats. Some people are advocating for a system of proportional representation, where some representatives are elected based on the popular vote.

In Manitoba, there have been many people who have been advocating for a system of proportional representation. Here is a very interesting article from the CBC looking at how the last provincial election might have been more representative of the popular vote if PR was in place. (PEI is currently contemplating PR.)


Taken from CBC Manitoba

What do you think? Should Canada and Manitoba reform their respective electoral systems? Feel free to respond below or via social media using #DoNowReform.

MSSTA Diversity Panel 2016

main-qimg-c2776b7fe0b5c2d411ac68569ecde0edThis panel discussion scheduled for Friday, October 21st at 1:00 pm at the Manitoba Social Studies Teacher’s association PD Day will focus on including diverse perspectives in Canadian history classrooms in the 21st century.
Panelists include:

Matt Henderson (Moderator)
Matt will speak to the idea of Radical Experiences & Radical Diversity! Matt will highlight how understanding the unique experience of each learner may lead to a greater cognitive diversity within a learning community and a greater diversity in ideas, passions, and perspectives. Folks at this session will engage in a discussion about learning, power, privilege, and voice. Matt is the principal at the Maples Met School in the Seven Oaks School Division.

Daraius Bharucha
Daraius Bharucha was a Captain in the Merchant Marine before becoming an educator. He is currently the Department Head of History at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Unionville Ontario. Through the course of his academic and teaching career Daraius has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Governor Generals Silver Medal for Academic Excellence, The Governor Generals Award for Excellence in Teaching History, the George Hopton Award for History and has been recognised for his volunteer contributions to the community by the Government of Ontario. Daraius has been invited to speak and present at many local, national and international conventions and conferences and has authored publications and articles including curricula that have been widely used across North America.

Stefano Fornazzari San Martin
Stefano Fornazzari San Martin was the youngest of three brothers when he arrived to Vancouver as a political refugee with his parents who escaped the military dictatorship in Chile. He holds a Master’s in history from the University of Connecticut where he explored indigenous resistance to Spanish conquest. He is currently the Department Head of History at The Dr. GW Williams Secondary School in Aurora, Ontario.  He has two beautiful children he is raising in french with his wife Marie-Soleil, and enjoys vacationing in Quebec City at every opportunity. He has worked as an educational publishing consultant and reviewer, including being a part of the team that produced THE BIG SIX HISTORICAL THINKING CONCEPTS and other textbooks and teacher resources. Stefano and Daraius. M. Bharucha were awarded the Governor General’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012 for their project entitled: MY PLACE IN CANADIAN HISTORY: DIGITAL STORYTELLING WITH HISTORICAL THINKING CONCEPTS.

Darius and Stefanon Stefano  be talking about identity creation and the way in which young people from diverse backgrounds can locate themselves within the spectrum of Canadian history. The idea being that it is through this location that a critical portion of their Canadian identity is developed and how this generally plays out in terms of the evolving notion of a modern Canadian identity.

Greg Miyanaga
For 27 years, Greg has taught Grades 2-7 in Coquitlam, a suburb of Vancouver.  In 2006, he received the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching History from Michaelle Jean. The Big Idea will be what teaching diverse perspectives and controversial issues looks like in an elementary classroom. He will use examples from his previous GG work in teaching about Japanese Canadian internment during the 1940s, and with my new work in a similar project called Landscapes of Injustice.

If you would like to provide feedback on this session, please do so below!

DoNow: Should the Manitoba Legislative Assembly Accommodate Wheelchairs?


Photo by Paul Armstrong

A few weeks ago, Member of Legislative Assembly and former Member of Parliament Steven Fletcher received a ruling from the Speaker of the House that did not go in his favour.

In the spring session of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly, Steven Fletcher argued that his Parliamentary privilege was compromised as he wasn’t able to access all areas of the chamber.  You can read about his initial point here from an article on the CBC website.

A few weeks ago, the Speaker of the House offered her ruling and suggested that his privilege was not being compromised. You can read about her ruling here from the Winnipeg Free Press website.

Finally, here is an interview with Steven Fletcher following the the Speaker’s decision that he did on CBC Radio’s Up to Speed:

Steven Fletcher also suggests that his concerns might be brought up with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission. Under the Manitoba Human Rights Code, people can make complaints if they have been discriminated against on the following grounds:

  • Ancestry
  • Nationality or national origin
  • Ethnic background or origin
  • Religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity
  • Age
  • Sex, including sex-determined characteristics, such as pregnancy
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital or family status
  • Source of income
  • Political belief, political association or political activity
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Social disadvantage

Do you feel that the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and the Government of Manitoba should make the chamber accessible for all Manitoban’s. Answer below or via Twitter, Vine, Instagram and by using the hashtag #DoNowMBLeg