We need your help to KNOW HOW THEY VOTE

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theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture
We need your help to KNOW HOW THEY VOTE

Did you know that almost all voting in the Nova Scotia Legislature is NOT recorded?
You have no way of finding out how your representative is voting or even if your representative is present in the House. The Parliament in Ottawa records all votes, so too should Nova Scotia's Legislature. We need recorded votes to make House activity transparent and to give the voters of Nova Scotia the power to assess and hold accountable those who vote in their names.
So join the campaign to have all votes recorded in the Nova Scotia Legislature!
What you can do
1. Sign our petition. http://www.gopetition.com/online/31901.html
2. Email your MLA. Visit our campaign page for a draft letter and instructions. http://www.atlanticaparty.ca/Know%20How%20They%20Vote.html
3. Visit the knowhowtheyvote web site. http://knowhowtheyvotens.com/
4. Forward this to your friends and family.
5. Indicate that you would be prepared to come to a Know How They Vote event.
6. Volunteer.
You can contact us at [email protected]


Just start a website on your own like these folks did.

How'd They Vote

A resource for political



Sean in Ottawa

I am confused are there other provinces in the same situation? Why is this in the federal rather than atlantic forum?


being in Ontario i understand this.  it helps that people have been clear about the purpose/process of their campaign, for everyone.

theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

Yes, there are other provinces that have this problem as well.


I had a quick look at the NS Hansard and noted that most of the votes are housekeeping.

It was a very quick look.  I did not see any votes on bills.  Do they really not do divisions on votes on bills?

Or are you having trouble going through Hansard to find out what happened?

In Canada's parliament it takes 5 members to force a division.  What's the rule in NS?

If bills are being passed on voice vote, lean on your local member/party to change that.


theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

In Nova Scotia it requires two MLAs to request a vote be recorded. There were 67 bills in the last session, only ten recorded. We are asking specifically that final bill votes be recorded, the other votes that go on are just procedural. Yes there is a lot of 'feel-good' bills that go through the House, we say those should be recorded and made public, voters have a right to know that MLAs spend their time on these 'empty' issues. Perhaps that is why there is resistance to this from the House.

The bottom line is the MLAs control the disclosure of their activities and that is wrong. Important bills (eg gas price regulation) in NS have been voted on without a record of the vote. If my MLA was absent for important votes but supported a stream of empty feel-good bills then I want to know that.

That is why we have started an initiative called KNOW HOW THEY VOTE with an online petition to 'lean' on the House, so voters will have accountanility and transparancy in THEIR House.


there has been a lot of transparency in many Houses, for some time.

but not all.  some manipulators aren't under any petri dish whatsoever.

there isn't fair and equitable viewing.

it's a one way street to frustration, waste of energy, voter disempowerment, and ultimately voters just walk away.

maybe that's the goal of the unjust practice.


10 of 67 recorded?  Yikes!   That's bad.

If you are willing to listen to advice from someone from the worst possible version of away, might I suggest the following:

You need a multi pronged campaign.

It should be both multi-partisan and non-partisan.  Recruit partisans from all parties to have them lean on their party machinery, recruit non partisans to contact their local MPPs (is that what the are called in NS?).

Find a media figure/organization willing to take it on as a campaign.

Do letters to the editor and other information spreading to the general public, I bet very few people know about this. A petition is a good two edged attack here.  It's a good idea in itself and the information campaign will inform the public.

Find two hardass MPPs to stand up and demand recorded votes.  Even better if they are from both sides of the house.

This is a political culture change.  It will be hard.  Good luck.



I've thought for quite a while that it would save a good bit of time having electronic voting in our legislatures. There must be a way of doing it that would be unobtrusive.

theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture

jrootham wrote:

10 of 67 recorded?  Yikes!   That's bad.


It is actually worse than that. In the 59th and 60th General Assemblies, 853 bills were voted on, only 12 were recorded. This is a non-partisan campaign. Thanks for the advice


853?  No way they are all bills.  I can believe 853 votes on motions and stuff, but not bills.  Most of that should not be a recorded vote.  The way parliament works it takes probably at least 1/2 hour to do a division.  400 hours is a lot to add.

But 12 divisions is too low.

How many votes on second and third readings were there?



NewCanada NewCanada's picture

Thanks for the link.  There are more bills than I would have thought. 

The info on votes seems to be exceedingly sparse.  "All in favour? Opposed? Passed."  seems to the the standard.  Even a count would be better than that.  "Without audible dissent" is a useful phrase.

Getting this worked out will be a tough exercise in balancing time taken with transparency desired.