During the 2015 federal election campaign Justin Trudeau committed that it would be the last using the “first-past-the-post” system of voting. Electoral Reform Minister Maryam Monsef kicked-off a grass-roots “consultation process” across the country during barbecue season, likely hoping that most Canadians would stay home.
Meeting in small groups throughout the country, usually driven by partisan interest groups including sitting Liberal MPs and foreign-funded special interests like Leadnow and Fair Vote Canada, many of the meetings came off as one-sided lobbying sessions, rather than a critical analysis of the pros and cons of the various voting systems, and an open debate about whether change was even needed in the first place. Here in Calgary-Centre, conservatives attended the town hall hosted by Liberal MP Kent Hehr and heard clearly that Canadians are not aligned on a new way of voting, let alone a need to change the system at all. One thing we did hear is that Canadians overwhelmingly want a referendum on the matter. A majority government elected with 39% popular support has no right changing the system without a clear mandate from Canadians – through a national referendum.
This week Minister Monsef announced that electoral reform will not occur until enough Canadians want it. She said the liberal government remains “committed” to electoral reform, but that no clear mandate came out of the consultations and nearly 700 “expert” witnesses that her special committee heard from.
So for the time being, conservatives and others interested in preserving our electoral system - a system that has worked effectively for hundreds of years in Canada, the United Kingdom and elsewhere - can take comfort in the fact that Canadians have spoken, and spoken against liberal hypocrisy. It has been very clear from the outset that “electoral reform” had nothing to do with justice or fairness whatsoever; it was always about ensuring liberals remain in power forever. Thankfully Canadians have seen through the cloud of misinformation and outright lies, and made their intentions clear: our existing system works just fine, and even if it didn’t, the government cannot change the system without a referendum.
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