Petition on electoral reform gathers steam

Over 70,000 people are petitioning the Trudeau government to re-commit to reforming Canada’s voting system.

  • Feb. 7, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Over 70,000 people are petitioning the Trudeau government to re-commit to reforming Canada’s voting system.

Sponsored by local MP Nathan Cullen, the NDP critic for democratic reform, the petition started back in March but got a second wind on Feb. 1 when Karina Gould, the new minister of democratic institutions, announced that the Trudeau government is abandoning the promise to replace Canada’s first-past-the-post voting system next election.

“It has become evident that the broad support of Canadians for a change of this magnitude does not exist,” said Gould,reading a prepared statement outside the House of Commons.

“Without a clear preference or a clear question, a referendum would not be within Canada’s interest.”

Cullen joined several critics who pointed out that the Trudeau government never proposed a new voting model, or asked a clear question about whether they want to change Canada’s voting system or not.

As vice-chair of the Special Committee on Electoral Reform struck by the Trudeau government last fall, Cullen said that the committee heard that Canadians want to replace first-past-the-post with some form of proportional representation a system where political parties’ seat totals better reflect their share of the popular vote.

The day before Minister Gould’s announcement, Cullen said she had met with him to hear his input on what the committee’s next steps should be.

“What Mr. Trudeau proved himself today was to be a liar, to be of the most cynical variety of politician —saying whatever it takes to get elected, then once elected seeking any excuse, however weak, however absent, to justify that lie to Canadians,” said Cullen.