An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on election reform

Don’t shelve the report of the Standing Committee on Electoral Reform

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter is an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I’m worried. Under Canada’s current electoral system, two governments in succession won 100 percent of the power with just 39 percent of votes. What kind of democracy is that?

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are trying to imitate Donald Trump in the US. What will happen if “Greed is Good” O’Leary or Kellie Leitch are elected with 39 percent of votes? We’ll see the rise of racism. We already are seeing it seeping across the border: I can’t forget how Alexandre Bissonette murdered six Muslims in Quebec last month.

We’ll see attacks on the free press and government lies. Just look at Trump’s ravings against press he doesn’t like. He feeds into people’s prejudices. “Look at what’s happening in Sweden,” he said recently, implying violence supposedly perpetrated by immigrants in Sweden.

The murder rate in the US is five times that in Sweden, but Trump doesn’t care about truth. And he wants more guns in the US!

But defenceless refugees fleeing for their lives from places like Somalia make good scapegoats, just like Jews in the Dirty Thirties. We’ll also see attacks on science. Climatologists agree greenhouse gases from fossil fuels cause global warming. With every year and every study, evidence has mounted but anti-scientists side with big oil, big pipelines.

Make no mistake, more pipelines mean burning more dirty bitumen.

It’s scary when you think of the implications, the extinction of 20 percent of species, and the collapse of entire ecosystems, starting with coral reefs, which dissolve due to excessive carbon dioxide in the oceans. Nature can’t cope with the rapid rate of change. Evolution takes millennia. So, entire species just die.

A Trump doppelgänger in Canada would be tragic. And Trump has only begun his racist, bigoted, anti-regulation, pro-pollution agenda. Americans have four more dismal years, perhaps more if he succeeds in undermining and ultimately silencing the press, like his Russian hero.

Under the current electoral system, the worst could happen here in Canada. You say there is no consensus on electoral reform, contrary to the majority report of the electoral reform committee, which among other things calls for more education on voting systems and a referendum.

Prime Minister Trudeau, we are scared. Don’t shelve the report, keep your promise to Canadians.

For others who are worried like me, please take a look at the Report of the Standing Committee on Electoral Reform, entitled Strengthening Democracy in Canada: principles, process and public engagement for electoral reform. It’s hard to find, and has had woefully inadequate news coverage, but it can be found on the Parliament of Canada website.


Janice (Jan) McQuay