A call to lobby the prime minister to follow through on his electoral reform promise
To the Expositor:
Canadian politics was supposed to be my refuge from the mayhem going on south of the border. Last week I was dealt a blow that has left me feeling jaded and pessimistic. Justin Trudeau broke his promise to reform the Canadian electoral system. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was. When Mr. Trudeau campaigned under the flag of sincerity, compromise (with other parties), and reform, I was enamoured. I was more or less happy to vote strategically in this, the last federal election using the FPTP system, and cast my vote for this noble cause.
My feelings of optimism about Canadian politics evaporated last week with the announcement that Trudeau would not honour his promise. He was obviously shame-faced as he sent his new Minister of Democratic Institutions to deliver the news to Canadians. There was a lot of talk about lack of consensus and no decisive model put forward.
This smacks of “alternative facts” put forward to protect Liberal self-interest. If I was a bit madder, I might even suggest that the PM is lying.
The five-month long nation-wide consultation (public meetings, town halls hosted by MPs, and committee work by an all-party Special Committee on Electoral Reform) found that 88 percent of the public and expert witnesses favoured some form of proportional representation.
Canadians overwhelmingly stated their opinion that some changes to the current electoral system would be useful. The committee’s job (along with looking at mandatory voting and online voting) was then to weigh the merits of the various alternative voting systems and make their recommendations. The PM favoured the ranked ballot (a non-proportional system) and once he realized that his preference would not be one of the proportional systems put forward, he sacked the committee.
I urge anyone who has ever felt disengaged or disenfranchised from the vote to write to the prime minister and tell him they expect much, much more of him. If a leader gives their word to do something, I expect them to follow through.
Anything less is unparliamentary, self-serving and wrong.
Dr. Neil Buie-Lawrence